For any parent, it’s not hard getting the kids outside on the beautiful days of summer. But author Rebecca P. Cohen‘s book, 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids (Sourcebooks, 2011) inspires me to be more creative when we are outside together.
She writes: “My husband and I had demanding corporate jobs, and spending time outside with the kids was limited to precious weekends and rare vacations. Back then, I was always rushing to spend time inside’rushing to work, racing down office corridors, eating lunch at my desk between meetings, and then dashing out to pick up my boys so they wouldn’t be the last ones at school. On weekdays it felt as though we were racing through our home rituals‘breakfast, dinner, bath, and bedtime routines’and then my husband and I would collapse in front of the TV, exhuasted.”
So, she kicked off her family’s Fifteen Minutes Outside campaign and shares her ideas in her book (some are more than 15 minutes, but that’s a good amount of time to aim for). Each chapter is a different month of the year. Here are some of her great ideas for what to do outside with the kids in the month of June:
Find a strawberry festival: There is nothing quite like the taste of a strawberry picked from the vine. You may even be inspired to plant your own strawberry crop.
Go to an outdoor pool in the evening: Take advantage of the longer daylight and cool off after a hot day. You can even take a picnic dinner with you. They kids have an active place to get out their energy, and they’ll sleep great that night!
Draw the lanes: Use chalk on the driveway or sidewalk to make a track for bicycles or scooters; work in stop signs and stop lights.
Build a log cabin with sticks: You can build one house together by stacking sticks in a square shape and then laying sticks horizontally for the roof. Pluck flower heads from nearby weeds or wildflowers and decorate your house.
Look for bugs: Even if you don’t like bugs, it’s fun to explore and see what you can find. If you are inspired by your exploration and would like to know more about what you might have seen, you can look at whatsthatbug.com.
Wash the car together: Staying cool and doing something functional is always helpful, and kids love to help wash cars.
Sleep under the stars: Pitch a tent in the backyard and sleep out there with the kids. Then try a real overnight camping trip within an easy drive of your home. Ask dusk falls, watch for interesting creatures. If you’re lucky , you might see lightning bugs or even bats!