There's something about spending time outdoors that brings families closer together. Maybe it's the fresh air or the natural beauty that surrounds us, but whatever it is, there's no doubt that getting outdoors is good for the soul.
From gears like a HeadLamp to a telescope, we’ll cover a few fun activities that everyone in your family is sure to love. We'll also explain why spending time outdoors is so beneficial and give you a few tips on making the most of your outdoor adventures!
The benefits of the outdoors
In today's technology-focused world, it's easy to spend hours upon hours cooped up indoors and glued to screens of all shapes and sizes.
But as beneficial and enjoyable as technology can be, too much time spent indoors can lead to various problems. Some experts believe that the current generation of children is the most sedentary in history, not to mention the host of linked health problems that come with it.
From obesity and heart disease to anxiety and depression, there are many reasons why everyone needs to get outside and move their bodies regularly. Here are some of the greatest benefits you and your family can enjoy by spending more time in nature:
- improved mental health
- increased physical activity levels
- better sleep quality
- reduced stress levels
- enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills
So now that we know how good the great outdoors can be, let's look at some fun activities and games, you can enjoy with your family!
1. Stargazing or backyard astronomy
Fan the flames of learning and discovery by heading outside for a night of stargazing! This activity is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about astronomy and our place in the universe.
All you need is a clear night sky and a blanket or lawn chairs to get comfortable. But if you want to take things up a notch, here are some gear you can invest in:
A small telescope
Go for the whole experience by investing in a small telescope for stargazing beginners. This will allow you and your kids to look at planets, stars, and other celestial objects. Here are some telescope options for beginners:
- Celestron Astro Fi 102
- Celestron Inspire 100AZ
- Orion StarBlast II 4.5 EQ
For a cheaper option, you can purchase a good pair of binoculars, which will allow you to see the moon and planets up close without spending too much money.
In fact, you can see celestial bodies like the Orion Nebula and the Beehive Cluster with just a pair of binoculars!
Star charts or an app
If you want to make things more educational, bring along a star chart or download a stargazing app on your phone. This way, you can point out different constellations and planets to your kids as you're looking at them.
Some great apps for stargazing include:
- Star Walk
- Nite Sky
- Night Sky Lite
If you live in an urban area, you may need to drive to a dark sky preserve to get the best stargazing experience.
But even if your view of the stars is limited, there's still plenty of beauty and wonder in the night sky. Don't forget to bring some snacks and hot drinks to keep you fueled during your late-night adventure!
2. Scavenger hunt
Nothing excites kids quite like a good ol' scavenger hunt! This activity is perfect for kids of all ages and can be done almost anywhere. And the best part is you can customize the scavenger hunt to fit your family's interests.
To get started, make a list of items for your kids to find. These can be flowers, leaves, rocks, feathers, berries, or acorns. You can also include items that are specific to your location.
If you want to make the scavenger hunt more challenging, you can add items that are harder to find or require some detective work, like animal tracks or a specific type of tree.
You can also include riddles or clues for each item on the list to make things more interesting. Once everyone has had a chance to find all the items on the list, see who can find the most items or find them the quickest! Here are some essentials you'll need for a scavenger hunt:
- A list of items to find
- Clues or riddles (optional)
- Bags or buckets for collecting items
- A timer (optional)
- Flashlight or Rechargeable Head Lamp from HeadlampPro (if you're doing the hunt at night)
- Prizes for the winners (optional)
Scavenger hunts are a great way to get everyone in the family moving and exploring their surroundings. They're also a great opportunity to teach kids about different plants, animals, and rocks.
3. Nature crafts
One of the best things about nature is that it provides everything we need to make beautiful crafts! All you need is a little imagination and some basic supplies, and you can create all sorts of wonderful things. Here are some nature craft ideas to get you started:
All you need for this activity is a piece of paper and some leaves. Place the leaf flat on the paper and rub it over it with a crayon or pencil to transfer the leaf's veins onto the paper. You can also use different colors of crayons or pencils to create a multi-colored effect.
Pinecone bird feeders
These are fun and easy projects that both kids and birds will love! All you need is some peanut butter, birdseed, and pinecones. First, spread a layer of peanut butter on the outside of the pinecone.
Then roll the pinecone in birdseed until it's fully coated. Hang your feeder from a tree or bush, and soon you'll have feathered friends flocking to your yard!
When in doubt, get back to basics and go camping! This is a great way to bond with your family and appreciate the beauty of nature.
There are different ways to camp, from pitching a tent in your backyard to spending a week in the wilderness. No matter how you choose to camp, there are a few essential items you'll need:
- Sleeping bags
- Camping stove
- First-aid kit
- Food and water
One of the best things about camping is that it gives you a chance to unplug from technology and spend some quality time with your family.
There are different games and activities you can do around the campfire, like telling stories, roasting marshmallows, or playing music. The list is endless!
If you and your family are the adventurous types, then hiking is the perfect outdoor activity. There are all sorts of different trails to explore, from easy walks to more challenging hikes.
Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, and it's also an opportunity to bond with your family and appreciate the beauty of nature. Here are a few things you'll need for a successful hike:
- Hiking shoes
- A map of the area
- Water and snacks
- First-aid kit
- Bug spray
- Comfortable clothes
Remember that hiking can be as easy or difficult as you make it. If you're hiking with young children, it's best to stick to shorter trails and take breaks.
Gardening is a great way to teach kids where food comes from and how plants grow. It's also a fun and relaxing activity that the whole family can enjoy.
If you don't have a lot of space, you can start with a few potted plants on your porch or balcony. Herbs are always a good choice, as they're easy to care for, and you can use them in your cooking.
If you have more space, you can plant a small vegetable garden. Tomatoes, peppers, and carrots are all good choices. Just remember to water your plants regularly and give them plenty of sunlight!
In the end, the most important thing is to spend time with your family and have fun! There are different ways to do this, but one of the best is to get outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer.