15 inspirations to get your family outside

Now that our weather has become truly pleasant, the outdoors has been calling me.  Sometimes it takes a little extra motivation to get us all out there, but I always find it to be so worthwhile when I make the effort.  To get everyone in the spirit of spring, I’ve listed a handful of inspirations for heading outside with your family.  Hopefully there’s something for everyone on this list!

BeachExercise

  1. Go for a walk, either in your neighborhood or in a local park or preserve.
  2. Haul out your bikes, scooters, roller blades, skateboards, plasma cars, unicycles…
  3. Play a game: run a race, practice your sports skills, play tag…
  4. Climb–anything.  It could be a tree, a lighthouse, a mountain–take your pick!
  5. Swim, or at least move around and play in the water!
                                Explore
  6. Go somewhere new, be it a new bike trail or a new park or beach.
  7. Spend time outside in a usual spot, but experience it in a new way. Lie on your back and look up at the trees, get down on your stomach and inspect insects through a magnifying glass, close your eyes and listen carefully to the sounds you hear.
  8. Go geocaching and see if you can improve your skill at spotting camouflaged objects.
  9. See how the wind is moving–fly a kite or a model airplane or try to make a sailboat.
  10. Look for small wildlife. Take some nets and containers and try to catch a minnow or tadpole in the stream; enjoy it for a while and release it back into its habitat. Find some bugs and pop them into a magnifying bug-hut for closer inspection. See how many different types of plants you can find and photograph.
                                                                         Create
  11. My kids could spend hours imagining outdoors, cooking with leaves and dirt, building forts from fallen branches, crafting furniture and fixtures from rocks and nuts.
  12. Take a sketchbook and take time to draw what you see.
  13. Take photographs of everything you find that’s living, then begin to make your own local guidebook, researching the names and details of the things you’ve photographed.
  14. Make art in or from nature. Stack rocks, paint rocks, make acorn-hat boats, paint pictures with water on rocks or with mud on paper or on yourself. Make leaf rubbings, leave prints in mud, try painting with berries or flowers.
  15. Make your own alphabet or number or shape book by hunting for your selected topic outdoors. A rectangular window, a curved stick resembling an S, a pavement crack that looks like a 4—your kids will find incredible variety once they start looking!

Enjoy the fresh air, use those muscles, soak up some Vitamin D–but don’t forget your sunblock and sunglasses!

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