Blue Suit Mom

Keep the Kids Busy with These 5 Outdoor Activities

shutterstock_137360270On average, kids get 195 days off from school each year, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality. The longest stretch happens in the summer, of course. If you don’t have enough time off yourself to travel or you are on a strict budget, try these fun outdoor activities to keep the kids busy.

Take a hike. Explore a new path at a city, state or national park in your area. It’s a great way to get kids moving and to connect them with nature. Look at trail maps ahead of time to pick a destination that suits the age and ability of your hikers, and be sure to outfit them with sturdy yet comfortable shoes. Also check to see if the park has a nature center on-site with kid-centric programming.

Root, root, root for the home team. Taking the entire family to a Major League game can cost almost as much as a weekend getaway, so cheer on the local Minor League Baseball team instead. Many of these teams even let the kids get in on the fun.

Visit a working farm. Show your kids where their favorite fruits and veggies come from with a farm tour. Depending on when you go, there may even be items they can pick themselves to take home. Hayrides, mazes and opportunities to pet farm animals also are among the fun to be had.

Go geocaching. Never heard of geocaching? Think of it as a high-tech treasure hunt with a smartphone instead of a pirate’s map. There are 2,463,828 active geocaches waiting to be found worldwide, with the official app pointing you in the right direction.

See an outdoor concert. Odds are there is an amphitheater or outdoor venue in your area hosting live music this summer. Pack a picnic and make a family night of it. You can even let your kids invite a friend or two to up the fun factor, but don’t be disappointed if any teens in your party bring their own blanket and sit elsewhere.

As with all of these activities, the key to hassle-free fun involves preparation. Pack the following:

Sun Protection

Sunscreen and hats are a must to avoid sunburn, and sunglasses help prevent damage to young eyes. Because of their larger pupils and clearer lenses, kids are particularly vulnerable to damaging UV rays, according to a 2014 report by The Vision Council. The report also states that wearing UV-protective eyewear from childhood can set a person up for healthy vision into their senior years. Invest in high-quality sunglasses for all members of your family and replace the lenses as needed—every scratch and scrape of the UV coating exposes the eyes to damage.

Snacks and Drinks

As you know, hunger and thirst make for cranky kids. Bring along plenty of their favorite snacks and hydrating beverages. When hiking or geocaching during the summer months be sure to outfit older kids with a personal hydration pack. It will keep them feeling and looking cool.

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