Let's Go Play Outside!

backyard projects, hikes, and other outdoor family fun


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#13 – Fly a kite! {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

IMG_0724 (2)For her birthday, we gave C a new kite.  (Mainly because it was on clearance at Wal-Mart for only $.50.  But it’s also covered with a picture of Cinderella, so she LOVED it.)

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 Finally, this weekend, we had a day when it was windy enough and sunny enough and not raining and we were all together and we got to fly her kite!IMG_0721 (3)

Daddy got things going with proper kite technique lessons.   For being a $.50 kite, it did really great!

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Then C took the helm.  We didn’t get a picture, but during this part, P asked “Can I lay down?  In grass?” and proceeded to crack herself up laying down in the field and looking up at the kite.

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And all afternoon, I kept singing to myself, “Let’s go fly a kite…up to the highest height…let’s all go…fly a kite!”  It was a lot of fun and we’ll do it again soon.

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#12 – Go to the county fair {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

county fair I grew up in what we can call a more metropolitan area than where we live now.  When we went to the fair, it was crowded, there were lots of loud rides, and I don’t remember seeing any livestock except for the “world’s largest pig” that I paid $.50 to see with my friends when I was in 10th grade.

Now that I am raising my little family in the middle of nowhere, the fair is totally different.  Here in the country, the fair smells like cows, not like funnel cakes.  At the little county fair we went to last weekend, there were no rides.  There were antique tractors though.  It was nice to walk around on a cool, sunny morning and marvel at the animals that still seem exotic to me, but are not quite as fascinating to my children who have seen quite a bit of cows, chickens, and sheep in their brief lives.  Neither of them wanted the cows to be too close to them.  We did watch the FFA kids showing their cows, which seemed to be a lot of standing around while an announcer tried to make jokes about who was doing it best.

We like to hit the exhibits too.  Giant pumpkins!  Giant sunflowers!  Quilts!  Golf carts!  Bunnies! Tons and tons of grade school artwork.

Anyway, it was good times.  You should go to a fair too.

 

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#11 – Go flower picking {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.clippersWhen I was visiting C’s classroom last week, I noticed the flower arranging tray and started thinking how much this would be  awesome activity for us at home.  So I gave her some clippers.

off to find moreAnd set her loose in the yard.  To find whatever flowers she liked.  She had to stop to examine all our vases and pick out which ones she would use.

the flowersSome of her selections.  We have a decent variety of flowers in our yard, but I guess you could also go flower picking in a more public area, if you were careful and considerate.

hydrangea bloom

Our hydrangea bushes are huge and full of blooms, so this one is in a vase on our kitchen table right now.

flower picking

First arrangement!  C took a lot of pride in finding locations around our house to display her blooms.  It would also be really nice to pick flowers and then share them with a neighbor.


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#7 Go Berry Picking! {52 Outdoor Activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

C finds the good berries

If there’s anything I love more than good food, it’s good free food.  We’re blessed to live very near a large blueberry patch that is free for the picking, so you better believe I put the whole family to work picking us some berries.  C, in particular, is a fantastic berry picker.  The summer before she turned 3 she got it and started picking more ripe berries than the unripe purple-y pink-y ones and since then she’s just gotten better.

C reaches for the berries

P is not so great at the picking, so she mainly sat in the stroller and transferred the berries we put on the tray into her bucket.  Great for fine motor skills.

P puts berries in the bucket

There were a lot of ripe berries – we filled our two buckets very quickly.  There are lots that haven’t ripened yet either, so we’ll be going back soon.  To find an opportunity near you to pick your own fruit, check out http://pickyourown.org/.  It’s very satisfying to see a fruit in its natural environment, on a bush, in this case, and to put some effort into gathering it, and then to eat it.

More berries to come! Bucket 'O Berries

And, if you’re looking for a little bit of literature to accompany your berry picking, try out two books we enjoy especially during berry picking season – Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey and Jamberry by Bruce Degen.

#5 Set up a toy wash outside {52 outdoor activities}

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{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

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We had some sadly dirty baby dolls around our house, so, inspired by this post at Simple Kids, we gave them a bath outside. When it’s hot, it’s the perfect time to do some water play. One of my children is rather…finicky about getting wet or dirty, but it was warm so she didn’t mind splashing a little out on the porch.

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I’m seen some great ideas to set up bigger toy washing operations too, which we probably need to try out as well. Back in 2008, No Time for Flashcards suggested washing toy cars as a perfect outdoor activity for toddlers. Mummy Musings and Mayhem added shaving cream to ride-on car washing. And if you’ve got more money and time, this drive through kid bike wash sprinkler contraption featured at momfluential is pretty awesome.

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#4 Go to an outdoor musical event {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

Maybe this is only the case in the area where I live, with lots of small towns desperate for tourist traffic, but I feel like every town I visit is advertising some kind of a free “Music on the Square” weekly or monthly event during the summer months.  What a fantastic family outdoor activity.  While attending an outdoor concert probably won’t get your kids dirty or particularly tired(though we got pretty wet this week), it does reinforce the idea that much of what we do inside is just as enjoyable – if not more enjoyable – outside.  And you get some fresh air and cultural education while you’re at it.  Bonus: these types of outdoor concerts don’t usually expect one to sit still and only make noise when one is clapping politely at the end of a piece.  Perfect for kiddos!

drum circle

We were on a little weekend getaway with friends in the Asheville area, so we hit the Asheville drum circle.  (Go look at the pictures and videos at that link. That’s easier than me trying to describe it.) It sounds hippie-dippy, but there are truly people of all ages and all backgrounds there.  Also, what kid doesn’t want to go bang on some drums with a crowd of other drummers?  Or bust out their own unique dance moves? And, it’s FREE.

IMG_20130705_181428_953IMG_20130705_181658_153c at the drum circlec loves to drum!

We were having a great time.  Unfortunately, it started to rain pretty hard and most of the drummers left.  We also were blocks away from our cars and had no umbrellas.  So we danced for a few minutes under some trees then headed off to French Broad Chocolate Lounge.  Who cares if we were wet and we only got to drum for a few minutes?  Now we’re eating chocolate!

C and I dancing in the rain

C and I dancing in the rain

My guess is that it is not too hard to find an outdoor concert in most areas, but I figure it would also be a fun activity to make your own outdoor concert.  Take a guitar to the park.  Bring the karaoke machine out into the backyard.  Start your own drum circle in the town square.  Good times.  (Actually starting your own drum circle in the town square probably requires permits or something.)

You can see the other activities in the {52 outdoor activities} series by clicking here.  Check back next Monday for #5!


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#1 Have a tea party-outside! {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

tea party!C was pretty excited to host a little tea party for some friends earlier this month, and we decided to have it outside.  Sure, we could have had it inside, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun.  Might as well enjoy the fresh air and sunshine with some tea.  And we ran around the yard a bit and blew some bubbles after the refreshments.

tea and cupsThe great thing about tea parties is that they are terribly easy to host.  We served homemade strawberry muffins (made with berries from our garden) and cheese puffs.  C selected peach herbal tea, which we drank iced with a little sugar.

We used some pretty glass plates and cups that used to belong to Matt’s grandmother.  And, of course, there were some pretty dresses.  But to have a tea party all you really need is tea.

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So, grab some and head outside today!

(And, check back next Monday for the second idea in the {52 outdoor activities} series!)