It's only summer once a year
eing outdoors should be a part of everyone's daily lives. But lately it seems as if people are forgetting about the natural world. The recent book "Last Child in the Woods" even gives it a name--"Nature Deficit Disorder"--and claims our children increasingly suffer from it.
Nevertheless, children are naturally drawn to the outdoors. If you let them, toddlers will pull you outside constantly. They have the right idea and we should all try and get out more. Here are five fun activities that the whole family can enjoy.
1. Have a water fight.
Fill up some water balloons and start tossing! This game can get a bit rough for small children, so you might want to limit participation to ages 8 and up. Alternatively, you can play water games like Toss the Balloon, where two people stands a couple of feet apart and toss a water balloon back and forth, trying not to break it. With each successful catch, they both take one step backwards. Eventually, they will be too far apart and someone will get splashed!
2. Have a picnic.
Picnics are a terrific way to enjoy the outdoors, and one that we participate in far too infrequently. Pack up a few sandwiches, some lemonade and hit the nearest park. You can even have a picnic in your own backyard, there is nothing saying you have to travel to your outdoors location!
3. Go for a hike.
Getting outdoors and getting active is the perfect combination. Hiking is perfect for the whole family because you can choose a trail that accommodates the fitness level of each person. For example, if you have toddlers or small children that might need carrying, you certainly don't want to be scaling a mountain! However, a family with teens might consider a more challenging hiking trail.
4. Join an outdoor club.
Whatever you are interested in; there is a club for it. Choose an outdoor club like 4H, that works with animals, or another one that requires being outdoors for every meeting. This is an ideal way to schedule being outside into your every day life. If you just aren't good at being spontaneous, a club could be just the thing to get you off the couch and outdoors.
5. Hit the beach.
If you live near any body of water, you have the perfect excuse to be outdoors. Kids love to splash in the water and build sandcastles while parents can read in the shade, sunbathe or just relax and play along with their offspring. It is the perfect solution for summer boredom, but don't ignore the beach during the cooler months! You might not be able to go in the water, but sandcastles and walks on the beach are still a lot of fun.
Unless you live in the country already, making an effort to get outdoors is the only way it will happen. The benefits are many. Your kids will enjoy being outside as well as relish the time spent with you. You will feel more energetic and healthier just from being out in the fresh air. There is no reason not to get outdoors today and start living a new lifestyle.