5 Unique Ways to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

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In these warm, beautiful summer months, few things are as tempting as getting outdoors. Something about the notion of “going out to play” appeals to the kid in all of us! So, why not maximize your opportunities during the remainder of this golden season? Along with picnics, swimming, and BBQs, these ideas offer additional inspiration for fun in the sun:

Enjoy a U-Pick Farm

Did you know that many farms offer a U-Pick option to share their bounty of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies? This is a terrific outing for kids, who typically enjoy picking, and are far more likely to eat produce they select themselves. A trip to a farm, orchard or pumpkin patch reminds children where our food actually comes from. It’s also a great way to get out, enjoy the day, and of course, collect the makings for a fabulous meal that evening.

Try Bird-Watching

The next time you head outdoors with your child, why not bring a pair of binoculars? You never know what feathered friends you may see. Get acquainted with the birds in your region, which you can find in trees, bushes, parks and other areas. Teach kids to observe a bird’s color, shape and size, as well as its song and how it flies. You can also attract birds to your yard with a bird feeder, birdbath, or nest box.

Gather Nature’s “Gifts”

Kids of all ages may enjoy walking and hiking even more with an added purpose─collecting nature’s gifts! You’ll find a host of possibilities on trails, near streams, etc. Look for acorns, colorful leaves, moss-covered twigs, or pinecones. If you love the beach, why not search for pretty rocks, shells, sand dollars, driftwood, and seaweed? Once home, children can create a range of fun, simple crafts from their natural treasures to keep summer memories alive.

Befriend Some Critters

Connie Zakowski, author of The Insect Book: A Basic Guide to the Collection and Care of Common Insects for Young Children (Rainbow), suggests that kids make friends with insects like Ladybugs, grasshoppers, or other friendly specimens. You can collect bugs with an insect net, and create a temporary habitat in a jar with a few leaves and twigs. Simply punch a few holes in the lid for air. Kids can enjoy their new friend for a day or so before returning it to nature.

Create Edible Presents

How about doing something nice for others while enjoying fresh air and sunshine? Create edible gifts! You can collect small pots on the cheap at craft stores, and then purchase seedlings like basil, rosemary, mint, or miniature tomatoes. Once you re-pot them, decorated with bows of raffia or twine, you have some lovely, inexpensive gifts to brighten someone’s day. For a fun touch, pair pineapple mint with a fresh pineapple, or chocolate mint with an organic chocolate bar.
These ideas should help you expand on what you already enjoy doing outdoors. Come winter, you’ll be glad that you took advantage of every gorgeous, sunny moment!

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