summer forts outside

Simple Summer Nature Fun for Kids – Let’s Celebrate Summer!

Summertime and the livin’ is …outdoors, I hope, especially because kids need nature time! Let’s head outside for some simple summer nature fun today. Wherever your family lives, dress for the weather, be it boots and umbrellas or hats and sunscreen.

simple summer nature fun

1. One of the simplest outdoor nature activities is to check the weather. Open the door and go outside. Look up at the sky and down at the ground for clues. Feel the air with your body. As you put out your hand, say hello to nature and wave.

simple summer nature fun

2. A walk around the block can be an adventure quest. What’s there to see? Sometimes, nature hides in hidden pockets in city spaces, but somewhere there will be grass, trees, and flowers. Ants might be crossing the sidewalk. Turn over a rock to see if there are any bugs and crawlie creatures. Besides eyes, use hears to listen for nature too.

connecting to nature picnic3. Time in nature is food for the mind and the soul. Pack some food for the body and go for a picnic outside.

kids nature collections4. A nature collection is one way to bring nature home. Some things to collect could be rocks, shells, sticks, and plants. This is a photo of a young boy who lives near the ocean and finds bones!

blanket forts outside5. Make a blanket fort outside. Since this is the longest day of the year, it’s also the shortest night. How soon is the sun up where you live?

simple summer nature fun

Backyards and parks are giant trunks with nature gems and other treasures for some simple summer nature fun. And the key? Just some T.I.M.E.

Have you heard the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’? According to writer and researcher, Jackie W,.”it may also be worth a thousand vitamins, especially if the picture is a photograph of a beautiful, old-growth forest. In addition to healing faster, natural views improve your body’s ability to ward off colds and viruses. (13 Reasons That Prove Viewing Nature Scenes Can Improve Your Health)

If just seeing pictures of nature has a positive impact on all aspects of health, how many more vitamins is actually spending time in nature? Richard Louv, who first wrote about nature-deficit disorder in children, calls nature Vitamin N. In his book, Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature Rich Life, Louv reminds us kids need regular doses of this vitamin. Daily ones, preferably. Did you know that kids are now spending less time outdoors than prison inmates? Even prisoners think that is a depressing statistic.

Spending time outdoors can be spontaneous or planned, and best of all, easy and simple. What will you do for some simple summer nature fun?

Play ideas are shared everyday on the 123kindergarten blog.

Summer Blanket Forts (GORFs): Fun and Learning Outside

Summer time and the livin’ mostly happens outside. So does a lot of fun and learning for kids. Recently, dozens of articles are being shared about the importance of outside play and here is another idea to do that: blanket forts or GORFs, good ol’ reliable forts.

summer fun activities for kidsDepending on the weather, GORF’s are great fun outside. They appeal to kids because a fort gives them a place of their own. Inside a GORF the kids make the rules and decide what happens. We don’t think of making decisions as being a skill, but kids need lots of opportunities to make them and experience the outcomes so that they learn how to make good decisions. For instance, it’s a bad choice to push on the walls of the fort because it collapses. Squishing into the space is a better choice. It’s a bad choice to fill the fort too full of stuff because there there’s no room to play inside. But kids need to learn what happens from their decisions.

summer fun activities for kidsForts feel like safe spaces for kids. Because it’s such a small space, kids feel more in control. They also learn that it is okay to fail. Each time a fort collapses, that is a fail. Or is it? It’s easy to deal with by building it back up again. That’s a great lesson for life! Inside, the fort can be quite magical, as kids can imagine it is anywhere and pretend to be and do what they want.

GORF’s are easy to create with some old blankets or sheets. A blanket can be draped across a rope between two trees, or over a clothesline or stand. Lawn furniture can be used, as long as it is heavy enough so it doesn’t tip over. A big sheet will often cover a table and have enough extra fabric for the sides. GORFs are even a great place for a nap when kids are tired out from all the fun and learning. For an outside play-of-the-day, how about a blanket fort or GORF?