Summer is almost here and a break from school means more time with the kiddos. Although it’s tempting to stay indoors, especially in the sweltering Texas heat, parents are trying harder to get their kids outside. Experts worry about the amount of time children spend in front of screens and a summertime decline in stimulating physical and mental activities. Fortunately, there are lots of ways for parents to take advantage of the summer to enrich their kids’ lives and keep the learning going until fall comes again.


Nature Walks

This is an old standby and an easy way to get your kids out and exploring. We don’t always take the time to appreciate the beauty we can find in our own backyard. Traditional education keeps kids inside, even when they’re supposed to be learning about nature. Most kids just need to get outside and start exploring. You may have some interesting areas nearby, like a park or a little wood that you can take the kids too. Even urban areas let exploration happen, though! Look for nearby greenbelts or even just show kids the different kinds of plants that are coming up through the concrete or planted alongside city streets. Having a tangible connection to nature is invaluable for growth and development.

Create Miniature Worlds

An intriguing way to engage creative play, many parents have started making little garden worlds to enchant their children. They range in theme and design. Fairy gardens with overgrown moss and tiny figures are very popular right now but don’t let that stop you! Inspiration is everywhere, from dinosaur digs to miniature oceans and so much more. Let your children’s favorites guide your decisions.

Outdoor Science Projects

There are too many DIY projects to resist sneaking some science into your summer. Get them going on some messy, outdoor fun and see how much progress you can make! You can try any of these exciting “recipes” for potions and other mixtures—mostly messy, so you’ll want to keep them outside. These bubble snakes can be made out of water bottles and old socks, then dyed with food coloring to make fantastic rainbows. When it comes to kids and science, keep it simple, fun, and messy for maximum enjoyment.

Artistic Endeavors

Sure, crayons and markers are fun at the kitchen table. But, good art is messy and exciting. Let your kids throw their all into their art by letting them play with shaving cream—bonus points for letter and number writing practice here! You can also experiment with different types of natural paintbrushes by picking weeds and flowers with interesting leaves and petals and bundling them up, so kids can paint with a variety of different textures alongside color and realize how natural shapes create an entirely different aesthetic. And a rainy day is no excuse to stay inside! Take advantage of the water and try these rain painting methods for a new way to enjoy everything the weather has to offer.

There are hundreds of ways to engage your kids in the natural world and experience the outdoors together. Most of these activities have more play than learning, which makes them perfect for sneaky parents whose children resist reading and anything that even looks like math! Summer is a time to be free, enjoy the sunshine, and explore the world around without a classroom. Make sure you and your little ones make the most of it.

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