At long last, summer has arrived and school is out. You can either let the television and computer babysit your kids, or healthily make the most of the year's warmest months by playing and being active outside. Check out these creative outdoor activities your family can enjoy this summer.
Summer Health Essentials
Before you get into the swing of summer, check a few necessities off your family's to-do lists. Make an appointment for annual check-ups with your kids' doctor and dentist. Taking your kids to the dentist and doctor at the start of summer ensures that your family can enjoy the next few carefree months without worrying about cavities or illness.
Family on Wheels
Bike rides throughout the summer keeps the body moving and becomes a favorite childhood memory. Family rides can be as simple as taking the bikes for a few laps around the block after dinner during dusk or riding to get ice cream cones. If you have a bike carrier for your car, hit the road for longer scenic rides. Also, check out any rails-to-trails programs in your area. Rails-to-trails are old railroad tracks renovated into paths for biking, walking and horseback riding. Beach bound? Bring the bikes along. There's nothing quite like riding your bike alongside the ocean while inhaling the salty sea air. You can even ride bikes on most boardwalks early in the morning.
Take your family camping this summer, even if it's only into your backyard. Kids excite over sleeping outside, and the convenience of home for a forgotten toy or to use the bathroom are bonuses. For more traditional camping at a campsite, invest in a tent that has two rooms — one for the adults and one for the kids. While kids can typically and comfortably sleep on the ground without a cushion, you may want to use an air mattress or camping pad. Bring along supplies for standard camping fare, such as skewers to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire, firewood and plenty of water. Go for a small fire pit for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs if you're doing backyard camping. Whether you're at a campsite or in your yard, get playful. Break out the guitar and sing classic campfire songs such as "Kumbayah." Tell ghost stories, star gaze or get crafty by building a log cabin or making pebble pets with simple earthy materials like branches and rocks.
Thoughts of summertime creates visions of jumping in a pool or riding ocean waves. Cool off with water by going on a family canoeing trip. Take your family on a vacation road trip and rent canoes for the day. Pack a picnic so that you can enjoy lunch mid-way through the trip. Rather stay close to home? Have crazy fun with a simple hose and sprinkler. Organize an obstacle course with a sprinkler in your yard. The goal is for the kids to move throughout the course without getting wet. After overcoming obstacles, hit play on some "Limbo Rock" and get low with Water Limbo. Use your hose as the limbo stick and see who contorts the best.
Jackie Liberman is a guest blogger for The Children's Workshop. She is a mom first and a writer second. She loves to spend her free time freelancing from her New England home.