Tomorrow marks the official start of summer, and the longest day of the year. Kids are just getting out of school and will have a lot of free time on their hands. We thought, in celebration of the beautiful weather, we’d put together a list of wonderful ways kids can have their summer fun, learn something new, and make a difference at the same time.
Make a Boat Out of Recycled Objects
This activity is great because it gets kids to create their own toy. Using a juice box, heavy paper (consider using junk mail), and a stick, kids can make and decorate their very own boat. Once it’s made, head out to the stream and let them use their imagination. Click here for details.
Mud Brick Houses
We’re not sure your child will ever go back to store-bought blocks after they get nice and dirty with mud bricks. In this activity, kids create their own bricks using not much more than what comes straight from the earth. The beauty of mud bricks is that they can be made in any shape and size so in terms of design, the sky is the limit. Plus, when they are done, the bricks just become a part of the earth again. Click here for details.
Junk Mail Crafts
Even if you have done your eco-duty by requesting that companies stop sending you their catalogues, you probably still get your fair share of paper spam. So, how about taking some of that junk mail and turning it into an eco project? This site has some great ideas on what you can do to turn a negative into a positive.
Creativity can be found all around us. No further proof is needed than these delightful figures made of leaves. Kids will spend their afternoon searching the forest for leaves of all shapes and sizes in order to create people, animals or whatever else they would like. It’s a perfect combination of exploring nature and flexing their creative muscles. Click here for details.
Sadly, many kids don’t know much about where their food comes from. What better lesson than to let them grow their own? Whether you have a bright windowsill, or a full backyard and garden, seeds can be grown anywhere. Check out these great tips on how to plant seeds with kids.
Make a Birdfeeder
This wonderful craft will teach kids how to share their world with animals and allow them to get their creative juices flowing. Earth 911 has 7 different birdfeeders you can make in order to turn your home into a bird sanctuary.
Once you’ve made your birdfeeder, why not grab a book on local birds so your child can learn about the many exciting varieties that live right in your backyard. Even without a birdfeeder, you can always take a hike keeping your eyes pointed upwards in order to identify various species. As Cornell U. notes, you don’t have to be an expert and part of the fun can be learning along with the kids. Click here for details.
Take a Hike
Connect with nature by taking a romp through the forest. Check out the trees, wildflowers, and birds. Allow the kids to get some exercise and use their imagination. Perhaps collect leaves to create your leaf people (see above) or bring a book on birds and do some birdwatching. The possibilities are endless when you’re out in the woods with nothing but the sounds of nature all around you.
Go for a Bike Ride
Even if you ride your bike down the same streets you usually only see from the car window, you’ll find the experience to be totally new. When you’re taking your time pedaling and feeling the wind on your face, suddenly the world comes alive. You notice the trees, the smell of the air and even wildlife. Not only does this get a kid outside, but it also gives them some exercise.
Visit the Farmer’s Market
During a time when American diets consist of 62% processed food, one could argue we need all the help we can get. Get kids excited about healthy local foods by to taking them to the farmer’s market so they can pick their own. That pint of strawberries will look so red and delicious. Not only will they meet local farmers in their community and help the environment by buying local, but they will also enjoy nutritious treats you can feel good about.
Search for Wildflowers
While we spend lots of time cultivating our own gardens on our windowsills and in our yards, Mother Nature, the ultimate gardener, spends her days growing wildflowers everywhere from meadows to forests and even in the cracks in concrete. Take a walk with a child and see how many different wildflowers you can find. If you have a wildflower book (or want to look online when you get home), try to identify them and learn more about the native plants in your area. Or, bring a camera and take pictures of all the different varieties to create a flower album.
The summer offers so many wonderful things to do. Do you have any favorite eco activities you’d recommend for the warmer weather?