Summer Outdoor Activities
Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Kids love simple activities such as kicking a ball around on the back lawn. Here are some more ideas to help keep your kids occupied outdoors this summer.
Hit the beach
New Zealanders love the beach, and beaches around the country are favorite holiday and day-trip spots. The beach is a great place to try out all the new Christmas presents, like boogie boards and buckets and spades. Pack up a picnic lunch or dinner, and it makes for a cheap outing, but one that your child will remember forever. Some beaches also have coin-operated barbeques.
Young children may enjoy playing in the sand, feeling the different textures of wet and dry sand. They may also enjoy splashing in the shallow water, and picking up different shaped shells and sticks.
Rock pools are a great entertainer for older children. They might find crabs, shells, seaweed and many other treasures. Make sure they wear shoes to avoid any nasty cuts!
Kids love water, and the warm summer weather is the perfect opportunity to get wet!
A paddling pool in the back yard is perfect for young kids, and it doesn't have to be an expensive inflatable one. A large, shallow container, even a baby bath, will provide hours of entertainment when filled with water. Try adding different flowers and leaves to make a pond. Or add glitter and bubble bath for a bubbly 'fairy bath'. Plastic containers are great for pouring games, even a handful of bath toys will take on new meaning outdoors.
If it's swimming you're after, check out your local yellow pages. Many areas have open-air pools which are open to the public free of charge over the summer.
Remember, when near water it is important to watch your children at all times. Young children can drown in only a few millimeters of water.
Young children have vivid imaginations, and there are so many outdoor activities which promote this.
A couple of old bedsheets slung over some low tree branches makes a great 'hut', or 'cave', or 'hideout'. The possibilities are limitless.
Your child could host a 'tea party' for his or her dolls and stuffed toys on the back lawn. A few plastic cups, some water for 'tea' and some pretend 'food' makes a great tea party - even better if mum provides some fruit or a surprise treat!
Young children love to explore outdoors, and New Zealand has an abundance of beautiful bush to explore.
Outdoor exploration is a great way for your child to learn about his/her senses. Ask your child what he or she can hear, see or smell. Explore the textures of different things you find - leaves, sand, grass…
Most areas have a variety of bush walking tracks, with information about how steep the track is, how long the walk will take, and whether the walk is shaded or exposed. Some bush walk tracks are pram friendly, so even baby can join in the fun. For more information, contact your local regional council or tourist information centre.
Many Kiwis make the most of the warm weather by taking care of odd jobs outside. This is a great opportunity to spend time with your child - he or she will love helping to weed the garden, or wash the car, or even raking the clippings while you mow the lawns.
Remember to be sun safe!
When you are outside this summertime, remember to protect yourself and your children from the sun. Apply sunscreen, and top it up regularly, especially if you've been in the water. Wear a hat, and make you're your children wear hats. If your young child doesn't like to keep his or her hat on, try stitching a piece of ribbon to each side so you can tie it on. Wear a T-shirt rather than a singlet when in the hot sun, and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm). Young babies should stay in the shade as much as possible.