Snow is thawing, the weather is warming, and if your family is anything like mine, winter hibernation is taking its toll. It’s time to put the winter gear away, and head outdoors again! With Spring Break upon us, I have compiled a list of 6 easy outside activities for the family. These are sure-fire ways to get your family up and outside without breaking the bank!
1. Go Fly A Kite
Kite flying is a wonderful activity that has really become forgotten over the years. My children were each given cheap plastic kites a few years ago. They wanted to try flying them, but unfortunately they fell apart almost immediately. We went home disappointed, but I had a gift idea brewing. That Christmas, each child and my husband got a kite under the tree. We had stumbled across this amazing Kite Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, when we were on vacation that summer, and I was able to pick everyone up a great kite at an affordable price. I got to make a dent in my Christmas list. And because the kites were nice quality, we still use them year after year. When the weather is looking windy we grab our kites, head to the park and left them fly! Bonus: All the exercise from running around wears the children out.
2. Take A Bike Ride
Whether riding through the neighborhood or putting the bikes in the car and heading to a local park, bikes are an excellent form of exercise. My dad has a collection of bikes that he has picked up over the years. There are lots of grandkids in our family. A variety of sizes ensures he has a bike to fit each child, regardless of how much they grow. All of the bikes have cost virtually nothing since he has found them at garage sales or put out at the curb by other families. He fixes them up, and the kids are ready to go! It’s a favorite activity when the kids head to Grandpas for a visit, and usually ends with ice cream cones.
The lesson here is that bikes don’t have to be new and shiny to be fun! Bikes can be found for free or minimal cost when your family is on a budget. Regardless of what they cost, they will provide many hours, days, years of fun and exercise for the family!
3. Enjoy A Picnic
I love picnics! I also love that they can be added into any of the other activities listed here. Picnics bring even more enjoyment and family time together. It doesn’t matter if you go all out with fried chicken and potato salad, or sandwiches and chips. There is just something about sitting on a blanket outside that adds lightheartedness to any meal. Just to show how spur-of-the-moment and low key you can make this – we once picked up tacos from a local food joint and headed to the beach to watch the sunset. Have fun with it! Picnics in the backyard can be just as fun and are really convenient.
4. Play A Favored Sport
Most families have at least one sport that their children play. In my family it’s soccer and baseball/softball. The yard works great for one on one catch. When the whole family’s involved, there is a park near a friend’s house that we take the kids to. We meet at his house, then walk to the diamond and play catch or a pickup game. It allows the kids to practice their pitching, batting, and fielding, and we spend time together as a family. Afterwards, we head back to our friend’s house and cook out. Everyone has a great time, and the kids really get into it! Don’t have a sports field in walking distance? No problem! Pack a picnic lunch or dinner and pile everyone into the car! A local Middle or High School should have a field available for use, as well as your public parks.
5. Hike The Trails Of Your State Parks
Most areas of the country have some sort of hiking trails, somewhere. Even if it means heading out of the city for the day, it’s really worth it! Hiking not only provides exercises and fresh air, but an opportunity to commune with nature. Make a game out of it and see who can identify the most birds, insects, or flowers. It will engage the whole family, even if some members start out less enthused at the idea of going for a hike.
Plant a vegetable garden with your children. Teach them how to care for the plants, and harvest the crops. It is exciting to see them get involved. My parents always had a garden when I was growing up. When it came time to make a dinner salad, Mom would hand one of us a strainer and send us to the garden to pick it. Everything we needed, including the lettuce, was waiting for us.
I have carried on the green thumb with my children. Each year we plant a container garden at our house, and it is always a family affair to work on it. A good portion of the produce never even makes it inside because the kids love to pick it on the spot. In fact, after 6 years of growing them, I have yet to have strawberries to use in a recipe because they are picked and devoured right at the source. Last year we planted the highest amount of crops, with 9 different kinds of vegetables, and 3 types of fruit. When it came time to make a salad, I taught the kids how to pick the vegetables, starting with the lettuce.
Flowers can be planted from seed, too, and most don’t require a lot of maintenance. I have lemon and avocado trees in my living room because the kids wanted to see if they could grow them from seeds in their food. It makes a great science project, and works for all vegetation. We preserve our tomato seeds for the next year from the current year’s crop.
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