It’s great to get out of the house and enjoy nature. The feeling of the sun on your face and the warm breeze blowing through your hair is irreplaceable. However, that feeling gets put on hold as the summer goes on and the heat sets in. When the cool breezes are gone, the warm sun turns blisteringly hot, and the still air gets humid, it’s no longer pleasant to remain outdoors. Is your family starting to feel cooped up staying in the air-conditioned house day after day? There’s still fun to be had from time spent out in nature, no matter what the temperature or season. Here, Ranger Mac is going to take a look at what you can do to get your kids outside and enjoying nature, even when the summer heat sets in!
Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors as a Family
Taking your kids to the pool is a great way to cool off, but it can get old if you go too often. Luckily, there are other options available to beat the summer heat! Let’s take a look at some activities you can do as a family to enjoy the outdoors when it’s hot out:
- Try to Stay Dry Obstacle Course - This is a great game for the whole family. Set up an obstacle course in your yard and then grab some squirt guns or water hoses. As people run through the course, they have to avoid getting hit with the spray. This adds a fun twist to the game, and you’ll all get a workout while you have fun with your family. Just remember - if you get wet, you’re out!
- Play Flashlight Tag – Waiting until it’s dark and the temperature drops a few degrees to play outside is a fun, cooler option if you have older kids who can stay up that late. Grab those flashlights and get ready to have a sneaky time running around the backyard, with a fun twist on this classic game. You’ll be having so much fun that you wont even realize it’s the middle of summer!
- Visit Cool Places – Check out cool natural locations nearby that can help you beat the heat. Are there any shady rivers to canoe or float down in an inner tube? Does your area have any fun caves to explore? Use the heat as an excuse to find some interesting locations you wouldn’t normally visit!
- Stargaze – If you can find a bit of land that’s away from the city lights, stargazing is a beautiful and calming way to learn more about nature at a cooler time. Research some constellations and see how many you can find!
Ways for Kids to Enjoy the Outdoors on their Own
Sometimes you need to get your kids out the door and enjoying nature on their own while you focus on other tasks. Here are a few ideas to help get them started:
- Observe Bugs - This can be done during the daytime or nighttime. Hang a white sheet up from a tree or on the fence and have your kids relax and watch all the types of bugs that wander by. Have you child create a journal to write down or draw all of their observations as they watch the bugs. If your kid wants to do this at night, make sure you place a light near the sheet to help attract even more bugs and let them see how the insects react to light. If it’s the right time of year and location, they might even see some fireflies flashing!
- Water Games - The possibilities for water games are endless. From filling water balloons to making your own slip-n-slide, having some water fun is as easy as turning on the hose. Your kids can toss water balloons back and forth, stepping further apart with each throw, or they can have a water balloon or water gun fight. You can also always fall back on the tried and true games of running through the sprinklers or setting up a small kiddie pool.
- Make a Waterscope – The next time you come across an empty glass jar, keep it around. Your kids can take it to a shallow creek, river, or puddle. This empty jar is now a waterscope that can be used to check out what’s in the water! They just need to set the jar into the water and look down into it. The jar works as a weak microscope that allows them to see what’s swimming or floating in the water with a bit of magnification. This is a fun way to explore a part of nature that they may not have known they could explore before.
More Tricks for Keeping Cool
Even in the hottest parts of summer, there are a few things you can do to stay cool while getting outside:
- Get out earlier. Don’t wait until the hottest part of the day to get out and enjoy nature. Prepare for an outing the night before, get up early, and get out before the sun gets too high.
- Go out later. If you have older children, you might be able to wait until the sun goes down before letting them run around outdoors.
- Stay in the shade. Go to a forested area, a park with lots of trees and pavilions, or other shady spots.
- Stay hydrated. Especially in the summer heat, it’s crucial for everyone to drink enough water. Bring a cooler full of ice to keep your beverages cold. You can even bring some popsicles along!
- Water games. Adding water to summer games is an easy way to stay cool. Just remember to keep applying that sunscreen.
As the summer progresses, you’re sure to hear your kids use the phrase, “It’s too hot to go outside!” Now when you hear this excuse, you have a list prepared to give your kids some fresh ideas to get outside and enjoy nature, despite the summer heat. If you want even more ideas for nature activities you can do with your kids, check out Ranger Mac’s blog here!