Monday, April 1, 2013

Outdoor Outings for Spring and Summer

Now that spring is in full swing, it's time to head outside with the kids! I love being outdoors with my children who typically run wild, climb, jump, hike and get super muddy. Zero qualms with muddiness here, if the end result is a very active and fulfilling day. Besides, it is refreshing to NOT hear the usual "I'm booored" rant of a lazy Sunday afternoon spent indoors.

So if you're looking to head outdoors too, try one of these fun ideas:

1. Explore local farmers markets: There's plenty to enjoy at farmers markets like crafts, food, music and more. We recently visited a farmer's market in Huntington Beach, CA. that offered donkey rides and face-paintings for kids. We feasted on delicious fresh fruit to beat the heat and really enjoyed a beautiful day outdoors.

2. Try camping for the day: Visit a large park, beach or nearby lake. Most folks live close enough to one of these options. But before you go, make sure these spots accommodate day passes for camping and/or tent (BBQ) set-ups. You'd be surprised how many places do. Then set up tents, treats, games and ENJOY! Think 'smores at sunset. Kids love the feeling of camping, but this busy mom prefers "speed-camping."  Keep it simple and you'll find one day of "camping" is plenty. 

4. Go fishing: This is usually simpler than it seems. Fishing equipment can be rented near beach communities and folks simply visit the end of the pier to fish. 

5. Find a kid-friendly hiking trail: My kids love going on hikes (i.e Griffith Park in LA). We make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks and "dress for the mess." Hiking trails are such a great way to enjoy and appreciate nature, plus it's a great workout for moms like me that end up inevitably carrying a kid or two.

6. Enjoy local festivals and city-sponsored activities: Every city usually hosts an array of spring festivals/summer activities (i.e. summer concerts in the park). Nowadays, a city's website is full of information on city-sponsored activities. The best part is that these activities are usually free or very low cost for families. We once went to an all disco summer concert that was an absolute blast. Or how about movies at the park? Bring blankets and popcorn and you're all set!

7. Plant a garden: This is such an easy, but fun-filled outdoor activity. Visit your local home improvement store, pick out colorful plants or flowers and get to planting. Sometimes hardware stores even offer weekend activities for kids to come into their stores to plant or create on site. These activities tend to be held in the outdoor/garden area of home improvement stores. Home Depot even sets up every child gardner with an apron they can personalize and keep. 

So there you have it. Seven simple ideas to kick start your outdoor fun! 

What's your favorite spring/summer outdoor activity?

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