Are your kids stuck to the couch this summer? Get them up and moving and out the door with one of these fun summer activities:
1. Hiking: You don't need expensive gear or special instructions to take your kids hiking. Just grab some comfortable, closed-toed shoes and hit a trail, any trail. With kids, patience is the key so don't worry about going fast or far. In fact, don't be surprised if your kids want to stop every 5 feet to observe another bug or flower. You can even make a game out of it by turning the hike in to a scavenger hunt for nature.
2. Gardening: If you haven't already started a garden, don't worry, it's not too late. Depending on where you are in the country, there is still plenty of time to grow tomatoes, green beans or summer flowers. In just a few weeks, it will be time to plant fall crops like spinach, broccoli and peas. The trick here is to keep it simple. Start out with a small raised bed or even just a few pots and get your kids outside everyday to check on them.
3. Taking pictures: Some kids can really connect with nature when they watch it through the lens of a camera. There's just something about the beauty of capturing an image on the screen (we used to say "on film", right?) that helps kids see that smallest details and the grandest landscapes with greater clarity. Any old camera will do ... the kids just need to be able to point and click and see the results on the screen. For tips on taking an expert shot, check out the National Wildlife Federation's Photography Tips Center.
4. Bird watching: While some kids like to watch nature through a camera lens, others love to view it through binoculars. Bird watching is a lot of fun for kids because it gives them a chance to see wildlife right in their own backyards. You can attract birds to your own backyard by offering their favorite plants, a bird bath, or a birdhouse. No yard? Just hit the closest local park or hiking trail to see the birds.
5. Stargazing: Not all outdoor activities have to take place in the heat of summer. With the dog days of August right around the corner, you might be looking for fun activities for kids that get you out of the summer heat. Why not try star gazing? All you need is a blanket and a clear summer evening to enjoy this activity. You and your kids can take turns looking for images in the stars, or if you want to get technical, pick up an astronomy book at your local library to learn the constellation names. Better yet, download a cool star-gazing app like Google Sky and let your phone give you a tour of the night sky.