For most of us the school year has come to an end and now we are trying to figure out exactly how to keep the kids active and entertained during the summer months. Being on a budget as most families are, means looking for free or cheap ideas. We live in a small town so we have to drive around 2 hours in any given direction to get to a lot of activities. That doesn’t mean my boys are bored by any means.
Train for a 5K
My twenty-two year old wanted to run in the Color Run that is going on in Asheville at the end of July. My wife works out daily but isn’t really a runner. With that being said, she started training for the 5K. To a lot of people, running 3 miles is pretty easy, but she wasn’t just getting practice for herself but also our seven year old that also wanted to run in the race. She used a 0-5K app on her phone and our little guy did fantastic. Not only does this keep him active, but it also shows him that he can achieve anything he sets his mind too. She puts our three year old in the jogging stroller, and our seven year old running along beside her the entire time.
Take out Hiking:
A lot of people think that the kids have to be a certain age to take out hiking which isn’t the case. If they are too small you can always wear them in a carrier. Our seven year old headed out on his first hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail when he had just turned four. It was a slow trip, but he had an amazing time and now he loves it. We just started taking our three and a half year old out where he is walking on his own instead of one of us carrying him. We do about three miles total with him at one time and he does awesome. It’s a given anytime you hike with small children the pace is a little slower and they love to “stop and smell the flowers” but that’s alright. It’s teaching them to love nature, it unplugs the entire family and we get to spend quality time together.
This is a passion of mine and we are now opening up this amazing activity to our boys. Once again it’s a great way to spend quality family time, completely unplugged and showing the kids that anything is possible. This is the first year that my seven year old has hit the trails on his own bike and this is the first year that my three year old has ever been on the trails. We do go a little slow and take breaks when our seven year old needs it, but on his first mountain bike experience he went 4.1 miles and we was so proud of him. He’s a very determined little guy!
I started camping with our oldest son when he was around three. We are debating taking them on the hiking trail for a couple of days at a time this coming summer. Now this would be the first long hiking trip for our youngest but my seven year old is a little pro at those things. Living in the country, it’s pretty easy to find wooded areas for camping since we are basically surrounded by woods. It’s secluded and quiet. They would Camp every day if given the opportunity.
Plant a garden
Kids love playing in the dirt and one way to do that is by planting a garden. It’s so exciting for them to see the seeds that they once planted grow and produce food for the family to enjoy. We have just a small garden this year but the boys help water it and check on the plants daily. They get most excited when it comes time to harvest it. For some reason the fun parts are the planting and the harvest time, but they learn so much through the entire process.
These are just a few ideas that we do with our boys that they seem to love. Also, having a picnic with a child will totally make their day. So unplug every chance you get and help make tons of memories for your children to look back on.