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Weekly Outdoor Excursions for the Family this Summer

June 30, 2013

Island Lake Trails

Summer vacation is upon us. Here’s hoping you can get out and enjoy! I encourage all to get out with their kids, to allow them off the beaten path where appropriate and just as equally and important, I hope you let them lead the way.

I have five, as of September, six children. As such, trips to Disney or far off adventures are just not an option at this time in our lives. Not only that, but every one of them has different abilities and interests. However, summer memories are important and we try to do our best in providing those moments. Let’s make sure they all are ready in September for that “What did you do in the summer?” assignment when they return to school.

Here is a list of 10 simple things – that’s one a week over summer vacation – but great family things I encourage you to do this summer. That’s just one a week but whether you head to the cottage, another country or like many work through the summer – this quality outdoor time is sure to bring the family together.

1.      Berry Picking – strawberries, blueberries, Saskatoons or gooseberries – it doesn’t matter what it is but a couple of hours of berry picking – like a good outdoor lesson leads to hours of follow-up activities afterwards!

2.      Hike down a new trail. Explore, investigate your area – by the end of summer hopefully you will have a new favourite trek. And again, let the kids lead the way! Need a place to start looking? How about a local conservation area?

3.      Spend a night under the stars. For me that will mean a trip with my older kids into the interior of Algonquin Provincial Park – but it doesn’t need to be that intense … but I would encourage all to be “in tents” – even if it is in the backyard. Amazing discussion happens under canvas.

4.      Drive outside of town, spread out a blanket & witness the awe of the Perseids meteor shower.

5.      Visit as many “Capitals” as you can. I live in Ontario, Canada and in this province you’d be surprised how many different capitals of the world. Think of the envy of everyone in September when you tell them your family went to Paris, London, Dublin, Zurich, Moscow, and all the other world capitals. You don’t need to tell them they were all within hours of where you live.

6.      Fish. Teach patience, empathy for wildlife, fresh air and family time all wrapped up into one lazy day.

7.      Play in the rain. Raise your head to the sky, open your mouth and drink the sky’s tears. Stand under a cascade of water dripping from the roof or let the kids splash each other . Let them learn like we did that if there is no fender on the back wheel of their bike their rear end will be soaked riding through the puddles.

8.      Head to the beach. Sand in the toes, cascading waves, moats and sand castles.

9.      Visit the local farmer’s market. While at it, visit some of your areas “big ones” as well. In my area, the St Lawerence Market  & St Jacob’s come to mind immediately.

10.  Give your kids $20, tell them to get on their bikes and have them plan their day themselves and, if you want, join them as long as it’s their agenda for the day.

Let me know how many you manage to accomplish this summer and the results?


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One Comment
  1. Rob, here are a few more…

    11. Bring large newsprint paper and naked crayons or chalk and head over to a cemetery to make grave stone rubbings.

    12. Take your children geocaching. If they like it, create your own geocaches.

    13. Grab a blanket and narrow beamed flashlight and lie on the deck or roof of your house for an evening of stargazing. Use the analogue clock and 0 to 90 degrees method for showing the direction of objects in the sky. The flashlight can be used to point out constellations. Have your children create their own constellations and name their favourite star.

    14. Bring a sunhat, sunscreen, bottle of water and put on old running shoes and take your kids for a “river hike” of a local creek or river. Play it safe and avoid deep or fast moving water. Have young children wear lifejackets or PFD’s.

    15. Visit an arboretum. Give your child a camera and a theme to shoot such as colours, shapes or “looks like”

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