Nothing’s more fun than spending time in nature during the spring and summer months.
What better way to get extended family to bond with each other than soaking up some sunshine and reaping the benefits of being outside?
An added benefit of outdoor activities with your grandchildren is that most of them cost very little or are free to do. When was the last time you paid to lay on your back in the grass and do some cloud gazing? Read on to learn more about possible ideas for grandparents to explore the outdoors with their grandchildren.
Staying active into your golden years is a great way to ward off potential health risks such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. One way to do this is by trying to keep up with your grandchildren. Take up a sport that allows you to be outside and moving. Consider signing up for a competitive tennis match or arrange a bocce ball tournament in your own backyard.
In addition to playing good natured sports, you could pick up a local hiking trails map or book and start to check off each one that you visit. To make sure that you continue with this healthy habit, set a goal to visit each trail by a certain date to encourage you to get out hiking as often as possible.
Sage by the Side
Grandparents can’t always be as active as their grandkids would like them to be due to aging joints and brittle bones. Luckily, grandparents can still enjoy the outdoors with the younger generation of their family without having to overly physically exert themselves.
Go to the local community park to allow the kids some time in the sunshine and to burn off some extra energy. As a grandparent, you can still share their joy of getting to explore the outside world as a bystander from a nearby park bench.
Another option could be to take a road trip to a new and interesting outdoor destination — perhaps a nearby national or state park, a geologic wonder, or a local farm tour.
Arts and Crafts
There are many ways to get the resistant artistic child to get outdoors and soak up all the benefits that nature has to offer. For instance, encourage them to take part in building an ephemeral nature art piece out of things they find on the ground. It is amazing what a child’s mind will come up with and what you can learn from your time with them.
If they are younger children, sidewalk chalk or painting pet rocks in the yard might be better suited than a nature art experience. Creating something together can help to cross some generational boundaries and promote a deeper relationship between seniors and their grandchildren.
The outdoor playground can provide some challenges such as needing to plan ahead for a road trip or adjusting to inclement weather. When spending prolonged amounts of time outside it is important to remember the following:
- Pack enough layers to adjust to weather changes
- Apply sunscreen often
- Make sure everyone is staying hydrated (including yourself)
- Don’t push children past their limits
- Carry snacks at all times
- Check that your first aid kit is well stocked with band-aids and antibacterial ointment
In this age of technology and portable electronics it is more important than ever to expose children to the great outdoors. Exploring their local parks and outdoor spaces evokes the natural curiosity that children have encoded into them.
Nature helps to feed their imagination in ways that a movie or video game never will be able to equate to. By introducing grandkids to the activities that you enjoyed as a child allows for them to have a relatable experience that will be remembered for years to come.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @ataylorian with any questions or suggestions.