Outdoor activities offer a great way to chase away boredom and to keep your children from turning into couch potatoes during summer vacation. Here are five activities they can do that will entertain them and even help them learn a thing or two in the process:
1. Go on a Nature Scavenger Hunt.
This type of activity allows children to explore and understand the world around them, as well as to experience science and nature in a hands-on way. Scavenger hunts can take the form of an “object” hunt, such as for looking for leaves, pinecones and animal tracks, or they can be more experiential in nature and can involve tasks such as catching a fish or hiking to a certain location. Older children can plan their own hunt by searching online for things they might do or see in their local natural environment, or they can do research after the fact on the items they located on their hunt.
2. Plant a Garden.
This activity gives children the chance to develop a scientific understanding about food sources, the growing cycle, nutrition, how irrigation works, etc. It also offers lessons in math, such as how far apart rows need to be planted and how deep seeds need to be sown.
3. Open a Lemonade Stand.
Children can practice their measuring and money-counting by mixing the lemonade and making change for their customers. Older children can work on more advanced math skills, like determining the cost per serving and setting a profit margin.
4. Tell Time Using the Sun.
Have your children perform an interesting science experiment by creating a sundial for telling time. To do so, find a sunny spot in the lawn or on the sidewalk and put a stick in the ground (or put the stick in playdough first if placing it on the sidewalk). Throughout the day place a rock or chalk mark for each hour indicating where the shadow falls at that time. This process may take a few days to complete. Children can work on their precision skills by tracking the sundial and making necessary adjustments in the days to follow.
Let your kids stay up later than usual on a clear summer evening. Grab a blanket and spend time outside looking at constellations and locating planets. This may require a bit of work ahead of time, including either doing some online research or taking a trip to the library to pick up an astronomy book.