Motherhood is gruelling work. And the summer months are no exception.
In fact, a lot of the time it’s in the summer that motherhood becomes a lot more intense and full-on due to the kids being off school.
So one strategy I use is to take the children outdoors so that they get fresh air and run around.
The problem is that if I’m not careful we end up going to places that require spending money, like the zoo, outdoor café or museums and play centres.
Nothing against those. We go to them often. It’s just we need to balance these with free options as well, what with budget restrictions and all. 😅
So I’ve come up with a list of free outdoor activities.
Here are eight options I love:
1. Nature Scavenger Hunt
This one is great because all you really need is somewhere in nature to walk! We have some nature trails near our home so we walk there, making this activity completely free.
In terms of materials, you can get free printables from websites, print them and take them with you, or write down a list of insects and plants on a sheet of paper.
(The other day my daughter, Abby, got a piece of paper and drew some plants and insects and checkboxes below each one, which she subsequently ticked off once she found the things on the list.)
Or you can simply take a notepad and a pencil and write what you see as you go along.
If you’d like to combine this activity with a picnic, you could do this as a sort of prize at the end of the scavenger hunt.
2. Go Flower Or Leaf Picking
This is a simple activity but one my kids love. If you think your kids would like this but may not be in the mood straight off the bat, you could try researching different types of leaves or flowers in a book or on the internet, and then challenge your kids to go and find them.
Alternatively, you could simply go out hunting for different leaves and/or flowers, and then look up information about your treasures after.
If your children aren’t into leaves and flowers, try insects. My children have found ladybirds, caterpillars, and woodlouse on a lot of our walks and rehoused them in our garden! (They didn’t stick around though!)
3. Outdoor Library
We all know libraries are great for a rainy day. However, if the weather is nice and you don’t want to be stuck indoors, simply make your own outdoor library.
Go round your house and look for books your children aren’t familiar with but might be interested in (the Chronicles of Narnia, for instance) and then take these to a local park or your outdoor space.
You could also take some comfy blankets to sit on and do a reading time with a craft time at the end.
4. Do An Outdoor Tea Party
My children love tea parties so this is a great activity for a sunny day when we want to be outside in our garden. You could bake a simple cake, and serve it with lemonade, or have some simple snacks and serve them with some milk in teacups.
To make it extra special, ask your children to decorate the space beforehand with any materials you have at home.
If you don’t have an outdoor space, you could try doing a tea-party picnic in a local park.
Invite the children’s toys along too! 😊
5. Play Games At The Park Or Beach
Do a scavenger hunt around your house and look for toys and games that haven’t been played with for a while, and then take them to your favourite park and enjoy a couple of hours of leisure.
Alternatively, if you live near the coast or near a river, gather some bats and balls and take your children to the beach. You may even be able to sit down and read a book while they get on with the fun and games!
6. Waterside Walk
Find a pond, river or lake close to where you live and spend the morning walking alongside the bank and spot boats, fish, ducks, whatever you and your children find interesting.
You could combine this with a trip to the playground, or take a picnic lunch.
7. Identify clouds
This is a great free activity to do on a cloudy day. Take a blanket to your garden or a local park, lie down and look at the clouds. To help you identify them, take along a book or your phone with info about the different types of clouds.
If your children like drawing or painting, you could also get them to copy the clouds.
8. Plan a family hike
This is a lovely activity for the weekend when you have more time. Search for a hill or mountain near where you live and plan a family hike up to the top!
If your children are little, you could drive up and do a short walk once you get to the top. Also, you can combine this with a picnic, and even a nature scavenger hunt (to keep your kids motivated for the walk) if your children are younger.
Alternatively, if your children are older, challenge them to a long walk and invite their friends along too! Then when it’s over get everyone together for tacos or pizza al fresco.
Another thing you could do if you have teenagers is create a two or three-day hike plan with an overnight camp option!
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