6 Easy, Fun Ways to Bond with Your Kids Outside this Summer

While Coronavirus is still a thing, we are all trying to come up with easy ways to have fun with our kids this summer. Safe activities while social distancing and ways to make great memories with our children are very possible! Check out this list here for some great, easy, activities to bond as with your kids this summer!

1. Outdoor Meals & Kid’s Kitchen 

When I have the space to finally do it, I am definitely putting a “mud kitchen” outside for the kids. Preferably it will be wood and weather the seasons so I don’t have to deal with or care about it. Right now, we just have a regular old kitchen play kitchen made of plastic outside, along with some plastic foods and cookware. Having a play outdoor kitchen, grill, or other play cooking station is so great in the Spring/Summer/Fall for some lovely independent imagination long-play for kids. Set it up on the patio so you can kick back and drink your mimosa while overseeing the Chef. It is also such an easy activity to be involved with as a parent. “Oh, you want me to eat this pretend cake, coffee with watermelons in it and a hot dog? Great! Delicious.” Having a mud kitchen will even be more fun for the kids, and I do not plan to be involved except for the hosing off part. 

Simply having a REAL meal outside – picnic or patio! – is a great way to spend time as a family. For more details about making summer picnics an easy and memorable experience for all – check out this post

Cooking Book Recs: Stir, Crack, Whisk, Bake, A is for Artichoke, Look, I’m a Cook!, Curious George and the Pizza Party, Arial, the Chef   

Outdoor Kitchen Toy Recs: Plastic foods, plastic cookware, kitchen set, grill set, chef’s station, Chef’s costume 

2. Camping (or Faux Camping – my style)

Kids love camping! Or at least the idea of camping. We recently have to read “A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee” (over and over and over again) to our boys. Truth be told, I love the book too (I love pretty much every book written by Chris Van Dusen). 

This summer, I am looking forward to doing a fake camp out with the kids (because I really cannot sleep outside right now, it’s not in me). We are planning to make s’mores (marshmallow and hot dog sticks here!), set-up a family-size tent outside, play some games, picnic at our tent with our awesome picnic blanket, tell some stories around the fire, read books with our lanterns (we have two of these and they are super great), and then, ya know, go inside and go into our real beds. If they insist, they can sleep in sleeping bags on the floor

Camping in the backyard is a pretty good idea for the ease of it all. Though, I hope for those of you who truly love camping and can’t wait to get outdoors this summer – that you are able to do it safely! There is nothing like being with nature and teaching your kids to appreciate it like you do. 

Camping Book Recs: A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Llama Llama Loves CampingThe Tent Mouse & the RV Mouse, Curious George Goes Camping, Pete the Cat Goes Camping

Camping Toys Recs: Walkie Talkies, New Sprout Camp Out Kit, Kids Play Camp Gear Set, Kids Binoculars   

My complete guide to backyard camping- coming soon! Be sure to check back!

3. Outdoor Painting 

Painting in your backyard is the best. Why? The clean-up! I try *not* to be super type-A about mess making (making a mess is part of playing and learning, I get it, but my WALLS!!). We always, always, always use washable paint sets, but outside you can be a little less careful and have a variety of paint mediums to pick from (like water colors, acrylics, finger paints, etc.). Especially the older your kids, the easier it is to pick almost any kind of paint (and the accessories to go with it!).

Painting outside is a great way for the kid’s to be outside while also playing, learning, being creative and entertaining themselves. 

Art Book Recs: Mini Masters Board Book Set, Painting with Picasso, The French Masters, ABCs of Art, 123s of Art, This Little Artist   

Outdoor Paint Toy Recs: Art Easel, Spill Free Paint Cups, Lots of Washable Paint, Easel Paper Roll, Paint Brushes, Finger Paints, Art Smocks    

4. Kite Flying

With all this social distancing, it’s easy to run out of things to do and places to go with kids this summer. However, kite flying is actually an awesome way to spend time outdoors together while socially distancing from others. That is, if you live near a park, beach, or field for all this flying fun. Kites are perfect in imperfect weather so it doesn’t have to be a cloudless day to go out for this kind of fun. As long as you can find the space, kites are great entertainment for so many ages. 

Kite Book Recs: Kite Day – A Bear and Mole Story, A Kite for Moon, Curious George Flies a Kite, Kite Flying  

Kite Toy Recs: Kites for Kids, Decorate a Kite Kit  

5. Fishing (or faux fishing)

I really don’t know how to fish, but I am not above getting a couple of poles (or a quick fishing kit!) and trying/pretending. If you can go along with someone who actually knows how to fish, even better! Make sure you have the right safety gear near water like lifejackets, sunscreen and bug spray! But more so – have patience and have fun! 

Fishing Book Recs: Edison’s Tackle Box, The Berenstain Bears: Gone Fishin’!, H is For Hook, Curious George Goes Fishing 

Fishing Toy Recs (for ‘fake fishing’): Fishing Kit for Kids (Toys), Fishing Pool/Pole

6. Bicycle Adventure

I’d LOVE to become a biking family. At our current house we barely have room for our car in the garage, nonetheless a bunch of bikes (one kid’s bike and kid’s scooter take up enough space!). There are SO many bike possibilities for families wiht young kids. I’d recommend doing some research before deciding what kind of bikes you want/need. Incorporating biking into your family life is an AMAZING and fun (fit!) way to be together and have all sorts of adventures. Bike picnics, scavenger hunts, “roadtrips”, races, the list goes on and on! 

Bike Book Recs: Go Bikes, Go!, Wherever You Go, My Bike 

Bike Accessory Recs: Bike Wheel Lights, bike horn, bike reflectors, bike flags, bike lock

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