3 min read

Spending the Summer Outside

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Have you heard of the 1000 Hours Outdoor Challenge social media trend? The goal is to match nature time with screen time. 

During a year riddled with more screen time than normal, consider tackling this challenge and prioritizing outdoor time this summer.

Here are a few free and low-cost ideas for getting your kids outside.

Visit playgrounds.

My family has been known to drive up to an hour away to enjoy some of our favorite playgrounds. My kids love the wooden ones! Make the adventure even more engaging by creating a Playground Passport like Prince George County, MD did.

Design a booklet with pictures and information about some of the best playground facilities in your area. Don’t forget to include playgrounds at the schools too. The kids will enjoy picking which playground to visit and will be driven to experience them all.

Water makes everything more fun!

For most kids, playing in water even applies to rain. Make the most out of wet summer days by allowing your kids to grab some swimsuits and jump in the puddles.

On sunny days, use squirt guns to have water battles and buckets full of water to make some mud. Let your kids have a blast.

If you have a playset, create a waterslide at home by tucking an inexpensive shower curtain under the slide for hours of slippery fun.

You don't need a full-sized pool to enjoy the water. Even older kids can cool off in a kiddie pool. Don't forget to check which local playgrounds have splash pads.

Start a Garden.

You don't need a green thumb to start a garden. Purchase a few packets of vegetable seeds and show the kids where to plant them. They will love digging in the dirt, watering the area, and watching their vegetables grow. They may even be inclined to try a new food they've grown.

Eat meals outside.

Kids love picnics. Pack a basket and spread out a blanket in the grass. If you prefer, set up some foldable lawn chairs or eat lunch on the porch or patio. Eating outside is a win-win, too, since messes will be easier to clean up.

Take the inside, outside.

Things traditionally done inside can often be done outside, too. When your kids tire of outside toys, bring the Legos, board games, and puzzles to an outdoor space. As the kids play, you can read a book in a hammock while soaking up some sun.

Even if you’re not on a quest to hit a particular milestone for outdoor fun, hopefully, these ideas will spark your family’s interest and encourage you to enjoy extra time outside this summer.

How do you spend time outside with your kids? Leave your ideas in the comments section below.

Ryan Jackson

Ryan Jackson recently joined the Lincoln Learning Solutions team as a mathematics teacher. She has more than 8 years of experience in online education. Ryan spends her free time traveling across the U.S. with her husband and two children.