12 DIY Outdoor Activities This Summer
At SiamMandalay, we like to promote healthy living, in-doors and out – for the whole family and people of all ages.
In the age of Nintendo's, YouTube, Facebook and cable TV – organizing your children to go outside and play has never been more important. Kids today spend 55 hours a week indoors using electronics, apps and tablets - resulting in less and less time outdoors.
Consider this, more children are now admitted to hospital for falling out of beds; than falling out of trees.
Research by Cornell University found that children who interact more with nature have reduced stress levels and increased attention spans.
To help you out this summer we made a quick list of low cost and free DIY activities that can help get your children outside safely and healthily.
1. Get back to nature – hiking and camping trips have made a renaissance, there is no better way to introduce your kids to the wonders of the great outdoors. If your family isn't quite ready for the wilderness, organize a campout in your backyard – camping is cheap, fun and super easy! Conveniently, July 27 is the Great American Backyard Campout! Visit: http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Campout.aspx for more.
2. Wildlife Watching – You don't need to be in the Serengeti on safari or have a set of night-vision googles to get an eyeful of fascinating wildlife. Your local neighborhood is abundant with a whole variety of sites, smells, sounds and creatures just waiting to be explored.
3. A Treasure Hunt - complete family friendly fun. Hunt for objects or landmarks outdoors; this is ideal for older children, exploring is always fun, as is putting their problem solving skills to the test. You can set up a scavenger hunt in your backyard – this can be amped up another notch with Polaroid cameras. What will you discover?
4. Origami water fights – All that is required is scrap paper and a calm day. Why not practice some origami, you can make a zoo full of animals or water bombs! (of course your going to pick water bombs). All your origami lesson needs are here: http://www.origami-make.com/howto-origami-instructions.php
5. Gardening – planting flowers is an engaging activity that helps children understand life cycles, pollination and nutrition. Research has shown that children who have helped plant vegetables tend to make healthier dietary choices as adults.
6. Back Yard Science Class – check out these sites and do some backyard science – cheap, easy and a bit messy. Balloon rockets anyone? Strawberry DNA? thehomeschoolscientist.com. Prepare for lift-off!
7. Bug-spotting – Plentiful, accessible and fascinating for kids to study up close. All you really need is a magnifying glass and you're good to go.
8. Build a fort – No batteries or instructions; classic, timeless fun. Don't let the kids miss the chance to exercise their imaginations and build up their own. Tipis are easy with a bit of fabric –but why not throw a BYOB (Bring your own box) party and build a palace.
9. Unstructured play- Who can remember their favorite times as children? How many of them involved adults? We know sometimes it's hard to find a safe place to let your children loose. Luckily, non-profit KaBoom, have helped create a map where children can run around to their hearts content.
To visit the ‘map of play', or add your own playspace. You can visit them here: http://mapofplay.kaboom.org/
10. Rock Collections – Growing up who didn't enjoy a bit of backyard science? I had a fascination with rocks, analyzing heir shape texture and sheen. I also loved to paint them, turn them into pets or collect a stash and balance them in a tower.
11. Crack open the Board Games – Not exclusive for rainy days, everyone has a little pile of choice games somewhere. Monopoly? Chess? Delves into the recesses of your cupboard and bust open the board game you haven't played in ages.
12. Light nights and family fun: Roadside America – search for unique tourist attractions in your area – a variety of prices, all reviewed and waiting for you to show up.