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Creative Outdoor Activities: Helping Your Child Learn

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There's lots of fun and creative ways to learn - sitting in a traditional classroom is not one of them. The weather is beautiful, the kids are chomping at the bit, and you're drawing a blank for outdoor activities. "But what will I do outside? There's nothing to do!" A common refrain from children forced to experience Vitamin D.

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Keep on reading for a list of 12 creative outdoor activities that you can keep your child entertained (while growing their skills). Whether it's spring, summer, or fall, these are some fun and creative outdoor activities that involve you and your child! Don't just kick them outside - go with them!

1. Outdoor Swimming Lessons

Being able to swim is a life skill. While indoor swimming lessons are great, the chlorine content in traditional public pools is not. If you can, try doing swimming lessons in a natural body of swimmable water. Enjoy the sun and fresh air, and pack some energizing snacks. Bonus points if you opt to teach your child how to swim on your own!

2. Rock / Seashell Collecting

While you’re at the beach, start a seashell collection. If your child is more interested in rocks, do searches in nearby forests to collect them. Do some research and pick up some basic tools for cleaning and storing these natural specimens. You can encourage writing by taking your child to the library or local bookstore to pick up picture books for the collection you’ve started. Follow your child’s lead, and be just as excited as they are when they discover something new.

3. Evening Outdoor Story Time

Try changing up the routine and enjoy the longer days that come with nicer weather! Do an evening outdoor story time, where your child makes up a story based off the first sentence that you can think up. You can follow up this activity by transitioning the audible story to a written project. You can even do some self-publishing and have family story books printed for you to keep in your home library!

4. Fishing

Going for a fishing trip is a great way to teach your child patience. Taking time to enjoy the natural environment is a rare gift in busy North American society. Using a tackle box, hooking up bait, choosing where to cast the line: all these things teach your child independence. And when they finally catch their first fish, they experience the joy of accomplishing their goal.

5. Soccer with a Beach Ball

Take your child out for as many sports as they are willing to try! It’s a great way to get them to burn off their energy. Try playing soccer with a beach ball for a fun airborne twist that teaches problem solving and teamwork!

6. Outdoor Painting

Outdoor painting can be as simple as bringing the canvas, paintbrush, and paint outside. Or it can be as wild as pasting a huge sheet of paper to the ground of the driveway and dropping paint-filled balloons to practice abstract artistry. It's art! Let it be fun, let it be expressive. And right now, settle with the fact that its going to be messy. That kind of mess is okay.

7. Start a Vegetable or Herb Garden

Teach your child the process of planting seeds, caring for the growth, and harvesting food by starting a garden. The great thing about this is that your child gets to see their hard work produce food that they can eat. This might even expand into teaching your child recipes for the produce they harvest. And the best part? You're fostering skills and knowledge that will serve them well into their adult years, and contribute to their growth as an independent and self-sufficient human being.

8. Build a Recyclable Fort

Challenge your child to build a fort only with recyclable materials. Add some artistic flare with paint, posted photos or magazine pictures. The possibilities are endless! This project can teach your child design and architecture, as well as art and mathematical skills from measuring height and length.

9. Capture the Flag with Friends

Capture the flag is a classic game that gets better with the more people you add. Invite as many friends as you can fit at your local park and bring snacks, water, and flags. Bring some music and a whistle, because you are going to need it! Your child will love it; they will use up their energy and they will learn what productive teamwork is all about.

10. Trampoline

The trampoline is a classic, and a great way for your child to gain confidence in their physical ability. Additionally, your child gets to push their limits and creativity as they make up new tricks to practice and perform.

11. Outdoor Dancing Challenge

Take the dancing outdoors, and challenge your child to make up a new dance every day or every week. Bonus points for taping the dances in different locations and creating a fun family video for your viewing. Talk about making memories!

12. Scavenger Hunt

Doing scavenger hunts gives your child opportunities to practice deductive reasoning, attention to detail, and following directions. These sorts of practical skills improve focus and concentration ability.

Enjoy the list, and take every opportunity to create fun learning experiences with your child!

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