It’s the beginning of summer in North America and it is always hot is SE Asia, so this seems a great time to mention great hot weather activities. Maybe your baby is too young to enjoy being out in hot weather, but early morning and dusk are great times to go out for a walk in your neighborhood. Don’t waste this wonderful time.
Some benefits of being outdoors
- Your children can move or run freely. They develop large muscle skills, coordination, balance and endurance as they exercise outdoors.
- Your children can use their voices. They won’t bother anyone with their noise.
- Playing outdoors gives children the opportunity to choose their own activities and change when they like. It is amazing how this will help to improve their attention span.
- Playing outdoors gives them a chance to soak up Vitamin D for strong bones and a healthy heart.
- A change of routine is good for all of us!
It can be hard to find time to connect regularly as a family in our fast-paced world, but it is so very important. Family time helps boost kids’ self-esteem, enhance social development, and create strong relational bonds.
Some Places to go with a Little Planning:
Public gardens or arboretums
- These are usually free or only charge a small entry fee.
- Watch for notices of children’s programs or family activity days or concerts on the grounds.
- If you are walking with a young child, let him lead the way along the well-maintained paths ahead of you. This lets him choose his own pace and yet lets you keep your eyes on him.
- Try a scavenger hunt suited to your child’s age to help them become more observant.
Nature preserves and wildlife refuges
- Local groups may sponsor these areas to protect certain species of local plants or animals.
- Play ‘I Spy with My Little Eye’ to help your children spot many small animals or beautiful plants.
- Visitor centers often display unusual items for children to view or touch.
- Take an inexpensive camera along for your child to take some pictures of her own.
Parks and Trails
- Walking, running, and climbing make great activities for children on the miles and miles of maintained trails.
- Picnic lunches make parks a great destination for a summer day. (Be sure to pack out your trash.)
Beaches or Lakes
- So much sand to dig and sift and build castles with!
- Point out sand crabs, pelicans, dolphins, and seashells. Sit and listen to the waves and gulls.
- Show your children how to measure whether the tide is rising or ebbing.
- Rent a canoe or paddle boat and row to an island or secluded spot for a picnic lunch.
- Watch the sun go down over the water and maybe even the moon come up.
A Working Farm
As a family pick your own seasonal fruit. Children can learn how food makes it from the farm to the table when you use what you have picked as part of the next meal.
Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown
What do you want your children to remember about the town they grew up in? Take them to see the special spots. Pretend you’re a tourist in your hometown. Look at the buildings from the point of view of a tourist.
Then there is always your own backyard or garden
- Tea Time: Have a tea party with playmates or favorite stuffed animals. A blanket under a tree or anywhere there’s a patch of shade, a few old cups and pot, some biscuits and you can treat your daughter to a little bit of heaven.
- Fairy House: With a little bit of glue and moss, leaves, and stones that your kids can collect from their own backyard they can build a little home for fairies.
- Hopscotch: With some colored chalk your kids can draw a hopscotch grid. Coordination, fair play, and lots of laughter can be the result.
- Tag, You’re It!: Kids of all ages love to run and be chased. This is good family fun.
I know all these ideas won’t work for all families everywhere, but maybe they will spark your imagination and help you find great ways to let your children experience the wonders of creation.
Last year I wrote a similar letter. Here’s the link to Outdoors in the Heat, if you would like to take another look at it.