Whether it's the cool morning hours, the sun-soaked afternoons or the star-studded nights, summers are custom made for exploring the outdoors. Getting your preschooler outside does more than just burn energy; it can be packed with learning moments, too.
Try these outdoor educational activities, which are great for keeping young minds and bodies busy. Your kids are sure to sleep soundly tonight!
Get fit at the library: From the American Library Association, ilovelibraries offers suggestions for staying fit that start at your local library. Check out summer programs for kids and sign up for a local class if available. (Parent-child yoga, anyone?)
Geocaching: Kids love a scavenger hunt, so why not take it to the next level with geocaching? There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world, with many right in your community. Find one at www.geocaching.com and then use a handheld GPS tool (or a GPS app on your smartphone) to find your first cache.
Read and explore: Visit your local library and check out books on the local flora and fauna. Help your little ones read the books and then plan a hike to try to find some of the local gems. Finish by coloring pictures of the objects you've found.
Visit a county fair: Summer is fair season across the country! Fairs are more than just fun; from agricultural programs to talent shows that expose kids to different art and cultures, fairs are packed with educational opportunities.
Start a garden journal: Whether you have a whole plot or just a container, kids adore planting seeds and watching them grow. Not only does caring for a plant help kids learn responsibility, it provides insight into biology and science. After the day's outdoor plant tasks are complete, have kids draw their observations in a garden journal.
Visit state parks: Your state park provides a treasure trove of trails ripe with learning value. More than just a place to visit, state parks feature kid-friendly educational programs throughout the week, so do your research and plan a day trip.
A lemonade stand: Do you remember selling lemonade as a kid? It's still fun today! Preschoolers will probably need help from older siblings and/or a parent, which makes it a great bonding activity. Set up a stand, determine a reasonable price and help kids practice counting money and saying "thank you" to patrons.
Stargazing: The summer's night sky is ablaze with stars. Is that a plane, shooting star or satellite? Talk about astronomy and set out to learn more about the skies above. End with a s'more (even if it's the microwave kind) and you have the ideal summer evening.
Go local: Last but not least, one of the best ways to get out and enjoy your neighborhood is to check into the city's parks and recreation activities. You're bound to find exhibits, events and concerts happening in or around your area. Stretch those legs, meet your neighbors and learn something new today!
These outdoor activities are more than just fun, they're educational, too! Your kids will have a great time while exercising their bodies and minds.