I will admit that I’m not great at getting outside with my girls. I’m an indoor girl myself, and too focused on productivity and multitasking to just stop and smell the flowers (though now being able to read/work poolside is definitely a huge draw). I love that my daughters have reached the age that I can send them out the door to play, and and be confident that they’re getting fresh air and exercise without my direct supervision. However, I certainly realize that part of the joy of being outside is spending that time together. My special guest blogger today is Sarah Stevenson, here with some fun outdoor suggestions for all of us (but especially me!)
Summer is here, so it’s time to plop your kids in front of the computer or shove them in the corner with an iPhone, right? Wrong! Technology may seem like a great babysitter, especially considering it keeps our hands free, but it is never a viable substitute for quality bonding time with the family. Instead of allowing your little one to be entertained by technology this summer, how about you get the whole family together for some fun in the sun outside? You can build lasting memories; get some great exercise and all the benefits that come wrapped up with a day in nature. Here are a few suggestions.
• Day At The Park: Parks are a great place to have all sorts of fun. Pack a healthy picnic lunch because you can get hungry running around with your little rascals. Bring kites, balls, Frisbees, bikes, skateboards or anything that would be fun in a big open space. Best of all — it’s free!
• Fun Bag In The Trunk: My son and I have a “bag full o’ fun” ready when the urge to play strikes us. We’ve been known to pull over at random when we see an open space perfect for throwing a football around. Keep your family guessing: they’ll never know when you are going to pull over and get into the fun bag. Fill it with Frisbees, baseballs, footballs, basketballs and kites.
• Outdoor Movie Night: Set up some blankets and pillows outside and take advantage of the warm summer nights — in your own backyard. You can rent a projector and screen or if it’s something you really like doing you may want to invest in one. Pop some popcorn, hang some Christmas lights around the tree for a romantic look and voilà! You have yourself an outdoor movie extravaganza.
• Squirt Gun Battle: Squirt guns are a fun, inexpensive way to burn energy and lock in some silly memories for you and your family. If you family is big enough, make teams. If not, then it’s every man for himself. Wear grubby clothes and fill your guns up with water and a bit of food coloring, whoever has the most color on the opponents gets to pick where everyone goes for dinner.
• Throw-back Fun: Remember the games you played as a kid at recess? Freeze tag, red rover, dodge ball and Simon Says are all super fun activities that the whole family can participate in. This is also a great way to show your kids what mom and dad use to do for fun before the wave of technology hit shore.
• Bug Hunting: Insect hunting can be both educational and fun. Get a bug aquarium for each child and set out for some bug catching. You can do it in your own backyard or go for a hike and find them there. If you’re on a hike, it may be helpful to be able to identify poisonous or not-so-friendly bugs. (A visit to the emergency room, while it may indeed be a bonding experience, is not the most fun way to spend an afternoon or evening with the family.) Once you’ve caught the bugs you can identify what they like to eat, where they originate from, and their particular species. Letting the bugs go is a sweet way to teach your family respect for all living things, so once you’ve had your learning fun, set them free.
• A Family Of Artists: Purchase big pad of paper, watercolor paints, brushes and anything else you may need for an artistic adventure. Take the family to the local beach, park or playground and paint what you see. You even can get a big roll of paper so that you can all paint a masterpiece together. Make sure to sign and date it — maybe even have it framed and hang it on the wall.
• Make a Movie: Here is a fun way to use technology to your bonding advantage. Most smart phones have the video recording option. Think up a story together that you can act out. Write a script and give each person a part. Pick a place to film and set out for LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! You can upload it to your computer, edit it and watch it on movie night.
Once you get out of the house and into the sun or moonlight, you will find the many benefits it has to offer your family. Quality time spent as a whole will cultivate an unbreakable bond between you and those you love. You are teaching your children how to be creative parents someday as well. So get on out there and have some fun in the sun.
Sarah Stevenson, a.k.a., The Tini Yogini, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Southern California and one of the fitness and wellness experts at http://www.beachbody.com. She has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches not only yoga classes but also life affirming workshops. Beachbody provides effective and popular work out videos, including fun fit kid videos from Beachbody trainer Shaun T. Beachbody also has premium supplements for weight loss, sports performance, and better health and home gym accessories.