Make the Most of Summer Time Together

Make the Most of Summer Time Together

Summertime excursions were delayed, but families are trying to make the most of the weeks they have until schools – hopefully – reopen safely. When you are out in the RV with your kids in tow, or your visiting grandkids, this is the perfect time to spend making memories, sharing laughs and learning to enjoy a simpler, unplugged lifestyle.

Setting up camp in a campground or park already provides opportunities to explore nature, study the stars, moon, and planets, or dash in and out of the lake or ocean. There’s hiking, kayaking, fishing, paddle boarding, surfing, and a plethora of other outdoor activities to keep everyone active and the adrenaline pumping. While these are the mainstays of an RV vacation, there are other ways to pass the time that will also help build relationships and foster togetherness along the way.

Finding activities your children will enjoy is also beneficial to their intellectual, emotional and psychological growth. While learning-oriented tasks like reading or practicing math skills keeps a child developing while out of school, free time play is also important, according to child psychologists. It spurs brain growth in pre-school and elementary school aged children. It also helps them tap into their creative side, letting their imagination take hold and maximizing their brain function capability.

There is also the opinion that summer activities can help to improve a child’s overall self-esteem and foster new interests. The key is to find activities that utilize a child’s natural skills and talents and keep it fun for all involved. Summer fun should never feel like school or work.

Here are some suggestions to keep the fun times flowing:

1.Take advantage of your surroundings.

  • Organize a nature scavenger hunt. Create a list of things that children (and the participating adults) would be able to find wherever they are. These objects can be as small as an insect or as big as a species of tree. Incorporate all their five senses, if appropriate. This way they can learn to recognize the call of a specific species of bird, the scent of a wildflower or a woodland mushroom, the taste of an edible berry, the velvety texture of moss, as well as objects they can find with their eyes. This activity can be easily adapted for children of all abilities as well as to specific environments.
  • Build a campsite obstacle course. Use the natural elements of the campground as a starting point for your obstacle course. Is there a playground, a stone wall, a tree stump, or any other natural or manmade structure that could become part of your course? Add pool noodles, jump ropes, tarps, toys or any other object that could be used as a safe obstacle and have a friendly competition. This idea can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be, and teaches children to persevere, challenge themselves and to follow directions.
  • Go on a night hike. Taking a hike along some of the same trails your family traversed in the daytime adds a new dimension to the great outdoors. Make sure the trail you choose is easy to navigate in the dark and that you can easily find your way back to the campsite. Bring along a flashlight or two, a blanket to lay on to watch the night sky and your powers of observation to enjoy the sounds of nature at night and how if differs from daytime.

2.Throwback to the “Good Ol’ Days".

  • Resurrect some of the childhood games you once played. Chances are your kids are playing similar versions. Remember Red Rover, Kick the Can, Mother May I and other backyard days from your own childhood? Or, let your children teach you some of the games they are playing with their friends.
  • Work together in a relay. Remember the relay races many of us had to endure as children? Share that experience with your kids. Some popular favorites are: pass the orange, the blanket relay in which a teammate pulls another team mate who is sitting on a blanket across the grass, and Over Under, in which a small object is passed over the head and then through the legs and repeated down a line of participants. Or see which team could fill a bucket up the fastest using a cup or – for a more challenging feat – with a spoon or sponge.
  • Bring the board games outside. Family game night doesn’t have to take place around the dining table. Set up the Monopoly game on the picnic table, or spread a blanket down and play Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, or any other board game that your family enjoys playing. Even Charades or Scatagory can be fun played around the campfire or under the outdoor lights of your RV’s awning.
  • Read a few of the classic children’s books. But this is not your ordinary reading aloud activity. As these stories are well known, have family members take turns acting out the story. Find out who is the better actor and encourage participants to put together costumes and props.

3.Get wet and/or dirty. Staying clean when you are camping is over rated.

  • Fight it out – with shaving cream, water pistols or balloons. Put that sibling rivalry to use and encourage your family to make up teams for a little campsite battle. Dress appropriately for the occasion (bathing suits and swim goggles to protect the eyes) and blast each other with shaving cream or a fully loaded water pistol. Be sure to set some rules and create a safe zone. If using shaving cream, be sure to have a hose or water handy to rinse out eyes.
  • Make mud pies. Nothing is as much fun as playing in the mud, with parents’ approval! Add water to dirt to create mud and then let the little ones make pies and shapes. These can then be decorated with treasures found in nature, such as acorns, twigs, flowers and other plant life.

This summer will soon be but a memory so now is the time to amp up the fun. Letting off a little steam with some outdoor fun is a good way to get ready for the challenges a new school year brings and is a welcome relief from the anxiety the Corona Virus has caused. So kick back, plan a scavenger hunt, prepare to be pelted with water balloons and simply relish these times with your children.

Jul 16th 2020 Lois Tomaszewski

Recent Posts