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Eco-Friendly Summer Activities for Kids of All Ages

By Kim Robson:

Summertime is fully upon us. It’ll be a few more weeks before the kids go back to school, and I bet they’re already whining about being bored. Here are some ideas for eco-friendly summer activities for kids, teens or even adults!

Outdoor Activities

Plant Trees: Order a dozen or so baby pine or oak trees from a nursery, and plant them in your backyard, neighborhood or park. Be sure you have permission first! You can return with the kids to visit them and give them some tree food and water. In fact, pack a picnic and make a day of it.

Climb a Tree: Instead of driving to an indoor rock-climbing wall (which is probably covered in germs), why not just climb a good old-fashioned tree? Not only is tree-climbing super fun, but it also builds muscle strength, coordination and risk evaluation. Make sure they wear sneakers and keep an eye on them until you’re sure they are confident in their skills.

Visit a National Park: If you’re planning a road trip this summer, consider visiting a national park. The experience will create lifelong memories and develop a greater appreciation for nature and the importance of preserving it.

Nature Scavenger Hunt: Send the kids on a scavenger hunt for things found in nature. Send them looking for objects of specific colors, textures and shapes. Include items like a seed pod, a feather, a rock, a leaf, a flower. Make a checklist (or use this printable one) for hands-off things like insects, clouds, birds, amphibians, etc.

Pick Up Litter: I know this doesn’t sound like very much fun, but kids really get into the challenge of racing to find the most pieces of litter. You can go to a park, playground, river or lakefront, or to the beach. Make it into a contest with a grand prize for the most litter collected, plus rewards for everyone’s participation, like a trip afterwards to the pizza parlor or ice cream shop.

Visit the Farmers’ Market: With the kids out of school, they’re probably tagging along with you as you run errands, right? Take them to the farmers’ market, talk about the importance of eating locally grown and organic food, and introduce them to the farmers who actually grow what they’re eating. Plus? Kids LOVE free samples!

Indoor Activities

Start a Container Garden: Don’t have the space for planting trees? Kids love starting and tending windowsill container gardens. Start some seeds in cups made from recycled materials, then transfer to a larger container when they’re ready. Have them chart the plants’ growth and progress — they won’t realize they’re learning about botany and agriculture!

Make a Blanket Fort: Planning, assembling, and then playing in a blanket fort is great interactive fun for all ages. String up some fairy lights. Stock the fort with pillows, cold drinks and healthy snacks, then relax and chill with music and books or a movie played on a tablet. And since it’s summer, incorporate a fan into your design. You also can make a quick & easy air fort with just a duvet cover and a fan.

Make Cardboard Art: Arm the kids with a bunch of recycled cardboard (don’t forget paper towel and toilet paper tubes) and some duct tape, markers, glue and decorations. Come back in an hour to see what they’ve created. Ideas could include a cardboard fort, cardboard animalsor masks, or a cardboard city. Click herefor even more ideas.

Paper Plate Balloon Tennis: Tape paper plates to rulers in order to make paddles, then bat a balloon around with it. Much safer for kids and valuables than throwing an actual ball around!

Make Fresh Fruit Popsicles: All you need are popsicle molds, wooden sticks and plenty of fresh fruit. There’s nothing more refreshing and delightful on a hot summer day. Fill molds with whatever seasonal ripe fruit you have on hand, like kiwis, pineapples, peaches, blueberries, strawberries and mangos. Pour white grape juice over fruit to cover, then freeze. They’re almost too pretty to eat!

How are you keeping your kids entertained this summer? Share with us in the comments!

About Kim Robson

Kim Robson lives and works with her husband in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour east of San Diego. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and animals. She has written a blog since 2006 at kimkiminy.wordpress.com. Her interests include the environment, dark skies, astronomy and physics, geology and rock collecting, living simply and cleanly, wilderness and wildlife conservation, and eating locally.

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