Summer has arrived! If you have kids, that’s means so have they! That’s right now it’s up to YOU to entertain your kids.
As a soon-to-be college student, I know part of my passion and understanding came from the time I was a young child. My parents were constantly finding little ways to bring conservation inside our home and to get me and my brother outside. Looking back, I realize how much I learned from those simple activities!
Even though school is out, your kids are still learning and taking in everything around them. One thing many kids lack in their education is hands-on experiencing the outdoor world. Summer is a great time to make that happen! Below you will find 6 ways you can bring conservation into your child’s life this summer!
1. Plant a garden or flowers.
Planting a garden (or even just flowers) is a great excuse for letting your kids dig in the dirt! They’ll find different kinds of bugs and worms and see what kinds of things make their home in the earth.
A garden is a great way to teach your kids about plants and how they produce their fruit. Plus, they’ll get to enjoy what comes out of it!
When we went to the gardening store to pick out our plants for the coming summer’s garden, my mom always let my brother and I pick out our own special plant. For a seven and eight year old, this was a big deal! You child might not pick out the most practical plant or flower, but they will probably take more joy in that one plant than the whole garden.
2. Raise monarch butterflies.
If you have been keeping up with our website, I know you have heard this a thousand times. That’s because it’s a good one! Raising monarch butterflies is a simple, easy way to teach young children about the outdoors. What better way to learn the life cycle of a caterpillar than by watching it happen step by step? Taking care of butterflies also teaches your children responsibility. They need to make sure the caterpillars have enough milkweed to eat and that the cage they are in is kept clean.
Watching a caterpillar turn into a beautiful butterfly is something I experienced countless times in my youth. I was always intrigued and interested every time I watched the monarch hatch from its chrysalis. I’m sure you’ll be getting an update on the monarch chrysalis every morning just like I did for my parents!
For more information about raising monarchs, click on the images below.
3. Look at the stars.
Grab a blanket and some popcorn and enjoy nature’s light show. It sounds like a very simple idea, but even adults can be fascinated with the things that go on thousands of miles beyond Earth. Almost everyone can identify the Big Dipper, but do you know any other star constellations? Grab your phone and quiz yourself! There are countless apps out there for identifying stars. You might even be able to see a planet!
Stars can be seen better if you can get away from the glow of city lights. If you live in the country where there aren’t lights radiating, you’re golden! If you live in town, this could be a bit more challenging. Brainstorm ideas where you could go. This could be a park or wildlife area by you.
Meteor showers happen very frequently and “peak” on certain nights. The Perseids shower is very popular for viewing as it peaks in mid-August. One of my favorite memories as a child was watching this meteor shower at my grandparents house. You’ll see so many shooting stars the kid’s will run out of wishes!
For more information about meteor showers, visit the American Meteor Society’s website.
4. Go on a nature hike.
There are few better ways to get your family outside and your kid’s exploring than taking a nature walk. Simply going on a walk gives your child’s imagination the chance to run wild. There are so many things they could find!
You can even make you hike into a picnic by packing lunch or dinner! Go for a hike at Miller Farm then hang out at the shelter house to eat!
5. Pick berries.
This could be a challenge, but once you find a good berry patch, it’s definitely worth it! Find a patch of wild blackberries, raspberries, or even just find a mulberry tree. Then take them home for a fruit salad, pancakes, or even a berry pie!
If you’re on vacation, keep your eye out for berries along the side of the road. I always remember going camping on Kelley’s Island and going for a bike ride with my family. Somehow, my dad was always able to find the blackberries when we rode. We wouldn’t make it very far on our bike ride because we always stopped to eat berries!
6. Go fishing.
Fishing is a simple activity to keep kids entertained. Grab a fishing pole, worms, and find some water. And yes, make them bait their own hook. Miller Farm has a catch and release fishing pond with some bluegill and bass.
In the end, your journey might not turn out like you planned. Maybe it ended up being a cloudy night and you didn’t see the meteor shower or you didn’t catch anything when you went fishing. Nothing is guaranteed when you’re dealing with mother nature, so make the best of it! Get your kids outdoors this summer and learning about conservation!
Don’t forget to watch our website for upcoming family programs. Also, don’t forget Water Fest is the first Saturday in August! We hope to see you there!
Check out our Pinterest board “Get Your Kids Outside!” for more fun ideas for playing in nature!
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- Ohio Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp - May 10, 2018