Parenting

Ten Ways To Enjoy Nature With The Whole Family

Written by Sam Skelding

Many parents can find themselves stumped when it comes to where to go and what to do with the kids, but Summer can be a perfect time to bond with your family by playing, exploring and getting active. Here are 10 great ideas for spending time out of the house together.

Visit a farmers market 

Summer is an ideal time to get out to a farmers market with the whole family, the sun is shining and you get to enjoy fresh, locally grown food that tastes good and is better for you. Many farms will also open pop-up shops or run events for Easter too, so keep an eye out for fruit tasting for the little ones to enjoy and farm-produced ciders for the grown-ups – not to mention petting the animals.

Not only does buying local food help to support your local economy and support eco-friendly farming, but when you buy food from a farm you can ask questions about where the food comes from, how it was grown, the best ways to cook it and more. This will be an excellent learning experience for the kids and helping them understand where fresh food comes from at an early age can only be good in the long-term.

Have a picnic in the park

Going to the park is a terrific way to get outdoors and enjoy any nice weather we might get – some of the larger parks will even be hosting events or fetes so look out for any news. You can also make it more fun by inviting the whole family to help make sandwiches and snacks to take along for a picnic.

Put your food in a basket and bring a large blanket for the kids to lie on or if you want something a little more comfortable, perhaps even a special padded play mat to put down on the grass. As well as the snacks, your family will also enjoy playing a few games so bring some cards, board games, a Frisbee and a football. It may be a bit old-fashioned, but eating outside together, listening to the birds chirp and soaking up the sun can still be a wonderful experience for the entire family.

Plant a garden

If you’re looking to do something a bit closer to home with the kids, perhaps growing a vegetable or flower garden is more up your street.

Again an easy way for the family to learn about being eco-friendly and eating healthy, food also tastes better when you know you’ve had a part in growing it and it can teach your little ones to appreciate the value of food. If your garden doesn’t have enough room for a patch, you could always start a container garden or perhaps even find a community space in your neighbourhood where you can secure a piece of land for your family.

Visit the zoo

Although they can be fairly busy during the holidays, visiting the zoo with your family during the Summer can be an ideal trip.

If you can make it past the crowds, you’ll see a wide variety of animals basking in the sun. It’s also an educational trip for the kids – you can teach them about the circle of life, conservation and exotic lands. If you don’t have a zoo near you, look for a petting zoo as these can be a lot more interactive and pretty fun!

Take a trip to the museum

Spend the day at a museum with the kids and let their imagination run wild as they learn and explore while building their curiosity about the world around them. One with interactive exhibits like the Science Museum will keep kids’ attention better as they get some hands-on learning and discover. Museums can also be fun for adults too as you’re never too old to stop learning and the best part – most are free or just require a small donation.

Encourage your kids to ask questions and participate in any tours, programs, or activities. When you get home, you can keep the experience going by asking your kids about their favourite and least favourite exhibits and talk about the different things they got to see.

Take a Summer vacation

You can’t beat getting away during the holidays. If you fancy a vacation away but don’t want to go too far afield, Britain still has plenty to offer – with the added bonus of many places hosting summer-specific activities and offers.

Go on a nature walk

Especially for families who are used to the hustle and bustle of the city, a nature walk makes for a nice change of scenery and can even help kids improve their ability to concentrate. This is also a fairly simple option, as if heading to a specialist nature-park is out of the question, even just driving out to the country-side would still work.

Have your kids point out the different kinds of plants, birds and insects they see. Encourage them to focus on their different senses and pay attention to the different sights, sounds, and smells around them. You can also bring along a camera to take pictures of flowers and birds; then when you get home, you can continue the activity by looking them up on the internet and trying to identify the different species.

Make chalk art

If you have any brickwork or a concrete patio in the garden you don’t mind getting messy, have your kids get in touch with their artistic side by handing them a box of chalk.

You can play hopscotch, draw pictures and fun designs or make up games to play with each other. Wet the chalk for more vibrant colours and a smoother texture. Another fun thing to do is to find objects in the garden and have your child outline the shadows, then let them have fun colouring it in!

Take a family road trip

If a long vacation doesn’t suit you over the Summer break, maybe take the family on a road trip to the beach, lake or any other place that will be a new experience for your children. A road trip is an adventure in itself as you can stop at different landmarks along the way to your destination and play games in the car.

To make sure of a relaxing road trip, plan out your journey beforehand and pack essentials like snacks, toys, a first aid kit, and of course, some comfortable clothes.

Camp out in your garden

You don’t always have to leave home to have some outdoor fun in the Summer. Use your own garden for a family campout, something a bit different for the kids and you’ll get to enjoy still being able to use your own bathroom and kitchen.

Don’t forget to gather all of your regular camping essentials for an authentic experience. No campout is complete without a large tent, some sleeping bags, flashlights and a sing-along! Make sure you bring plenty of snacks so you don’t have to make too many trips indoors and while you’re at it, go for a hike around the neighbourhood and explore some roads you haven’t travelled before.

Once it gets dark, lay out the sleeping bags, safely toast some marshmallows and gaze up at the stars to end a memorable night.

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