Several fun activities to enjoy the outdoors with children | News, Sports, Jobs

The great outdoors can be an inviting place with plenty of opportunity for adventure. It is also a treasure trove of sights and sounds that can serve as a springboard for a lifelong yearning for knowledge.

Children of the 1980s and before can remember long days spent outdoors with the obligation to “come back when the streetlights come on.” Kids today may not have as much freedom, but they can still benefit from unstructured and structured play outdoors. Here are some outdoor activities families can do together.

• Fossil Hunt: Whether or not there is a natural fossil bed nearby, children can use colanders and plastic shovels to dig through dirt or sand to see if any treasures can be found.

• Collect and paint stones: Collect stones and then paint them with brightly colored patterns or sayings. Once painted, families can put them back in their natural environment for others to discover.

• Make a nature collage: Take a hike or a walk in a nearby park and pick up little treasures along the way. Glue these items to a piece of card stock or cardboard to create a collage that will serve as a keepsake of the day.

• Pass through a sprinkler: Swimming pools can be a lot of fun, but something as simple as a garden sprinkler can keep everyone busy for a few hours.

• Visit a botanical garden: Visit a nearby botanical garden for the opportunity to see flowers and plants that may not be native to the area. Bring sketchbooks and draw your favorite plants.

• Go camping: Whether you’re camping in the backyard, in the woods, or at a campground, spending a night in the great outdoors can be an unforgettable experience. Camping equipment can be rented or borrowed, if needed.

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Sally J. Minick