Take It Outside

10 fun things you and the kids can do outside!

09-25-2012 // Rosemary Townsend
kids with activity book

Here are ten typically indoor activities that can be taken outside during the pleasant days of spring, summer and fall.

1.  Read outside. 

Take some favorite books out to the hammock, lounge chair or onto a blanket in the grass.  Read together or give the kids (and yourself) some down time by letting them page through some favorite books alone.  Quiet page turning accompanied by birds chirping and leaves rustling can bring some calm to a busy day.

2.  Listen to music. 

If you are fortunate enough to have outdoor speakers, you can enjoy music outside year round.  You can even listen to Christmas carols while playing in the snow.  If you do not have outdoor speakers, any portable music player with speakers can give you the same experience.  Mp3 players made for kids work too!

boy with popsicle

3.  Eat. 

Whether it is a beautiful June morning or an unseasonably warm February afternoon, eat breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks outside.  At a table or on a blanket, eating outside changes the dynamic of a meal for the better.

4.  Paint. 

Painting outside adds a new dimension of fun and makes for easier clean up.  Encourage kids to check out flowers, bugs and trees and give them supplies to paint what they see.  Think about the colors they might find in your yard and offer paint in the same colors or work together to mix new colors they find in nature.  Lots of other art activities would be great to take outside too!

5.  Play. 

Take indoor toys outside.  Put out a large blanket for kids to share or give them some individual play time by giving each child their own small blanket and toy.  Fairies become even more magical when they are walked through the flowers and cars find great dirt roads to travel when they are played with outside.

6.  Sleep. 

You don’t have to travel far to sleep under the stars.  Set up a tent in your yard.  Check out the nightlife.  Fall asleep to the sound of insects and wake to chirping birds.

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7.  Play games. 

Children’s games are a great way to build skills and to spend quality time together.  While we often reserve these for rainy or cold days indoors, they can easily be brought outside to give a little structure to a rambunctious morning or lazy afternoon.

8.  Do homework.

  Homework can be a drag, especially when the weather is nice and kids (and parents) would rather be having fun.  Take it outside.  If you have a table to work at, you can help your child through their work while you both get some fresh air.

9.  Watch movies. 

Create your own outdoor theater by watching a movie on your laptop or any portable device.  Grab some snacks and light a bug candle and you have the makings of a memorable  evening.

10. Do chores. 

There is always paperwork to be filled out, laundry to be folded, mail to be sorted.  Take some of this work outside and make it a little less mundane.  If you have an electric outlet outside, you can even iron outdoors.  When work must be done, enjoying nature while you do it can make it more bearable.

For those of us who endure dreary winter months each year, savoring every moment of good weather is a must.  Try moving some of these activities outdoors with your family or find your own unique ways to get outside!

This article is adapted from "Take it Outside," a post published on the Naturally Educated blog.

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Rosemary Townsend is a stay at home mom with three children and a leader of her local Down syndrome interest group which supports families of people with Down syndrome, like her oldest son.  She has a degree in elementary education from Bloomsburg University and recently started a blog to share the educational activities she and her husband do with their children (Naturally Educated).  They use their children's interests, nature and travel to create meaningful learning experiences for the whole family.  

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