The worst part of summer is the desire my children have to sit in front of electronic screens. As a mother, I'm constantly trying to come up with ways to stop them from zoning out while playing video games, looking at pointless videos of funny cats, or even pinning cute outfits. The summer checklists are doing a pretty good job this year, but I'm still coming across drooling, zombie-like children on the couch, mesmerized by a three-inch long glowing screen more often than I like.
"Why don't you go outside?" I ask.
"There's nothing to DO outside!" they unanimously sigh.
So, I made them something to DO outside.
Right now, Chloe is at camp and Bria was actually reading. Sophia was the bored one, so I made up a quick scavenger hunt for her and we went outside to scavenge.
Nothing too complicated, but also lots of great chances for looking at the neighborhood a little more creatively. We didn't have the car or I might have driven her somewhere else, but it was easy enough to do in our neighborhood--we do live in the middle of the woods, after all! (There's a link to the printable download at the end of this post if you are interested in doing this with your own kids.)
I decided to make our scavenger hunt a "things to photograph" one. You could do "things to collect" and hand them a paper bag. Or you could do "things to do" and they could video themselves doing various things in nature.
Even though there is still "electronics" usage in this scavenger hunt, it is an appropriate use of electronics and Sophia wasn't tempted at all to look at anything on my phone other than her own photos. Half of the time she handed the phone back to me so she could mark off her list and more effectively search for the next item.
I really enjoyed watching her get down on the ground and try to find her favorite angle of the thing she chose to photograph. She had some really creative ideas, too!
Here, she is smelling various plants to find out if any of them are "stinky." In the end, she decided that forget-me-nots are stinky. I'm not sure I agree, but it was her scavenger hunt, not mine!
In the end, she got some really nice photos. She also got some exposure to nature, a bit of exercise, together time with mom, and she learned a few things--like what wild apples look like when they're just starting to develop. She found some trash in a lilac bush for her "something ugly" and I was proud of her for climbing right up there and taking it home to throw away, too. And I most loved her "something sticky"--a dead tree branch full of sticks.
As much as I want my kids out of the house and in the beautiful summer sunshine, I also want to make sure that they are protected from that beautiful summer sunshine. Even a quick jaunt around the neighborhood on a summer day is going to require sunscreen.
I'm a big fan of Banana Boat® sunscreen, I like the spray versions because my kids are always annoyed by the time it takes to put on lotion sunscreens (though we still use plenty of that, too!). The sprays go on white so you can make sure you have enough coverage, and they are easy to use. I love the Banana Boat® Kids Free version best, because it has nothing in it that will irritate skin or eyes.
Easy peasy. We sunscreened up, then off we went to find something itchy.
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