I am so glad that summer is finally here. Summer to me is sunshine, flowers in full bloom, warm weather, watermelon and ice cream; lots and lots of ice cream.
This is the time to get outside and enjoy nature. Time in nature has tremendous benefits. It is a surefire way to decrease stress in adults and kids. Nature is the best way to help everyone relax. Kids (and even adults) who have attention issues can find relief after being outside. Research has shown that adults and children are able to concentrate better, complete tasks and are more able to follow directions after they’ve spent time in a green setting.
Spending time in nature does not require travel or expensive camping equipment. All you have to do is just step out of your front (or back door) to get started. Here are 5 simple summer outdoor activities for kids:
1. Do nothing:
Daydreaming is a lost art in our modern world, where we value productivity and achievement. However, most experts agree, that our brains need a break. Children and even adults can concentrate for just so long and then they need to space out. Not only that, goofing off or spacing out helps in fostering creativity in adults and certainly in our children. Summer time is the perfect time for absentmindedness. Gazing at the clouds, sitting barefoot in the grass, and watching bugs or birds, can help us refresh ourselves, reduce stress and get our minds working again.
2. Take neighborhood walks:
There is so much to see in our neighborhoods. We are usually too much in a rush, or in our cars, to actually take note. Children view the world in a unique way, every rock, bush, police car and construction site can fascinate them. Take the time to see your neck of the woods through their eyes. Let them take the lead in showing you how to stop and appreciate your surroundings.
3. Blow bubbles:
There is no child that does not love bubbles. It is a sure crowd pleaser. It is obviously best to do it outside so no one gets upset about the inevitable spills.
4. Paint rocks:
My kids loved this activity. I would buy some washable paint and we would collect rocks and then paint them. Even very young children can do this. Have some water on hand so you have an instant way to wash off and stay cool at the same time.
5. Vegetable gardens:
Kids love to tend a little plot of land and can help get your kids outside everyday, watering and weeding. Planting seeds and watching them grow is one of the simplest ways to appreciate G-d’s world. If you are a newbie to gardening, you might want to plant some vegetables in large flowerpots. Tomatoes, cucumbers and squash plants grow pretty quickly, so your kids can easily see the fruit of their labors.
There you have it. 5 simple summer activities that will get you outside in no time.
Adina Soclof is a Parent Educator, Professional Development Instructor and Speech Pathologist working with children in a school setting. She received her BA. in History from Queens College and her MS. in Communication Sciences from Hunter College. Adina is the founder of ParentingSimply.com. She delivers parenting classes as well as professional development workshops for Speech Pathologists, Teachers and other health professionals. You can find her text based CEU courses at PDResources.com and video courses at Homeceuconnection.com and SpeechPathologypd.com.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.