We know getting out in nature is essential for growing humans. But maybe you are an indoor cat like I am and struggle to get yourself and the kids outside for even a few minutes every day. Here are some suggestions that make outdoor time quick and easy during one of the most delightful months of the year.
I have relied on Rebecca Cohen's book Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids for inspiration for years. Her suggestions are seasonal, good for a range of ages, and usually don't require any special equipment or skill. The following ideas are inspired by her book and other activities I've done with my own kids when the weather is nice and we have a few minutes to get some fresh air.
11 ways to get the kids outside in MayPlay keepy uppy.
Bluey and Bingo's favorite game works outside and can be played by 1-100 participants. Use a beach ball or balloon, and incorporate tennis rackets or ping pong paddles if you have them.Take a backroads drive with the windows down.
You may feel like you spend more than enough time in the car, chugging through pick up lines and to soccer practice. But what if you just wandered? See what you can discover within 15 minutes of your home. And 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time to listen to our favorite family podcast about wondrous locales: Atlas Obscura
I suggest doing this haphazardly and with low expectations. May is the perfect time to toss wildflower
bombs or random zinnia packets. Designate a patch of yard or a big pot for gardening experiments, sow, and see what comes up. "Checking on the flowers'' will be an easy excuse to get outside again and again this summer.Play in the rain.
Perhaps you have this romantic notion of dancing and singing in the rain, but in real life you're always trying to keep the kids dry and clean as you shuffle them between activities. When a light rain blows through this month, blow their minds by letting them get out in the middle of it. Prep a stack of towels by the back door, and head straight to a warm bath afterward. Take a popsicle break.
Yep, that's the whole thing. Popsicle + outside = extraordinary parenting.Take homework outside.
Less fun than a popsicle, but if they have to do homework, changing up the scenery could make it less of a chore.Create a house portrait.
Take your easel or sketchbook outside and have everyone draw/paint/collage a portrait of your house. Make it an annual tradition and you've got gallery wall gold.Turn over rocks.
This literally gives me the heebie jeebies, but a certain kind of kid will be thrilled by it. Rocks, logs, pots, lawn chairs--any item that has been sitting on the wet ground through winter and spring is likely harboring some worms or insect life underneath. Gaze at the moon.
The full moon is this week, on May 5. Take a few minutes to feel its awe. Have kids put out their favorite trinkets or stones to "charge" with full moon power. Make potions.
If your kids really get into stuff like magic and moon power, let them make potions with empty water bottles, food coloring, and whatever botanicals and stones they can find. Then they can water the flowers with their magic growing potions.Create a mandala.
Challenge the kids to gather sticks, leaves, flowers, weeds, sand, etc., and arrange them in a symmetrical pattern on the sidewalk. Add chalk for flair.