With the 4th of July just a day away, the school year is over and summer is here. Longer and warmer days means more time outside for you and your family. Whether your summer is mostly unscheduled or packed with vacations, camps, classes and family events, you’re bound to have some free time that is looking to be filled. Want to take advantage of the outdoors with some simple activities? We’ve culled five below that are great for all ages.
You don’t need a big yard, either, your local park will work fine. Just load up a bag with the noted supplies and head out for some fresh air, fun, exploration, and summer memories looking to be made.
DIY Bird Feeder
Toilet paper roll
Any kind of nut butter (sunflower butter would work for nut-free kiddos)
Knife/popsicle stick (or whatever you’d like to use to spread the nut butter)
Twine or string
Pour the bird seed into a baking dish, tupperware, shoe box, or any other container. Pour enough bird seed to cover the bottom of the dish. Using your spreading tool of choice, cover the toilet paper roll with a layer of nut butter.
Roll the toilet paper roll in the bird seed until all of the nut butter is covered with seeds. Thread the twine or string through the toilet paper roll and tie it in a tight knot. Hang the bird feeder in your yard or outside a window. Let the bird-watching commence!
Spray Bottle Painting
Watercolor paint (liquid or solid)
Large piece of paper (any paper will work fine, although watercolor paper will handle the moisture best)
Hang the paper outside on a fence or against a wall. Use the water colors to paint designs and cover the paper with different colors. Spray water directly only the painted designs, allowing the colors to blend to make an abstract, tie-dye effect.
On a rainy day, you can paint inside and then hang the paper outside in the rain. You won’t need to spray the paper as the rain will create the same effect.
Ice Cream in a Bag
1 cup whole milk, heavy cream, or coconut milk
½ cup salt
1 quart-sized plastic bag
1 gallon-sized plastic bag
Any sweetener or flavors you would like to add to taste, such as vanilla extract, chocolate syrup or chips, fruit or jam. You can mix in other toppings later, as well.
Pour the milk, desired sweeteners, and mix-ins into the quart-sized plastic bag. Make sure the bag is completely sealed before you shake it a bit to blend the ingredients together. Fill the gallon-sized plastic bag about half-full with ice.
Add the half cup of salt. Place the milk filled bag inside the ice bag. Double check that both plastic bags are sealed tightly. Shake the bags for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the ice cream reaches your desired consistency. Grab a spoon and your favorite toppings and enjoy the ice cream right out of the bag!
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Bag or empty egg carton to collect treasures
This activity can be tailored to the age of the child. For younger children, you can simply create a list of different colors and the child can search for different things outside that match the colors (such as leaves for green, or a pebble for gray). You can create a more specific list for older children.
You can even search Pinterest for free-printable lists. Then, all you have to do is download, print, and let the search begin. Display all the objects at the end and discuss the adventure.
Supplies (for the bubbles):
Large bucket, storage bin, or baby pool
Supplies (for the bubble wand):
Two straws or two sticks of the same length
A hoola-hoop can be used to make giant bubbles if you’re using a baby pool to make your bubble solution
Mix together water, dish soap, and glycerin in your bucket. You will need to use about one cup of dish soap and 1 to 2 tablespoons of glycerin for every 4 cups of water. The more glycerin you add, the stronger the bubbles will be.
To make the bubble wand, you will need to cut a piece of string that is about 5 times longer than the straws or sticks you are using. If you are using straws, you can thread the string through the straws and the the ends together. If you’re using sticks, you will cut the string in half. Tie one end of the piece of the string to each stick. Holding the sticks or straws in either hand and dip it into the bubble solution. Lift the wand into the air and make large sweeping motions and see the giant bubbles come to life. Walking backwards while holding arms up high will create the largest, longest bubbles.