We are so excited to have Katy Farber from Non-Toxic Kids guest posting today. Katy Farber is an author, blogger, and teacher from Vermont. She writes the green parenting blog, Non-Toxic Kids which features parenting news; information about how to raise kids naturally; book, music, and eco-friendly product reviews; environmental issues; and opportunities for activism. Katy has published two books about education: Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus and Change the World with Service Learning: How to Organize, Lead and Assess Service Learning Projects. Please enjoy her post below!
5 Ideas for Green and Free Summer Fun
Ah, summer: feet in bare grass, watching the clouds go by, late afternoons and long evenings. And thinking of things to do with the kids. Here are several activities that are cheap (or free!) and green. Most are readily available in your yard, or nearby, with barely any materials.
1. Outdoor Art: Pull your child’s easel outside! Let the kids throw their whole bodies into outdoor art. You can buy a canvas, and have your little one use a flower as a paintbrush. Or if you are ready for fun, and a mess, have your child dip their feet or hands into paint and preserve their foot and hand prints forever. Press found flowers under heavy books to use in projects later. or create a tree guide with your kids. Have them collect leaves from various trees. They can tape them into the pages of a homemade tree book, to later identify inside.
2. Speaking of nature, have your kids create a nature guide for your backyard. This can be as simple as several pieces of paper stapled together in a book, and your young child draws everything in the yard he or she sees, and as elaborate as a nature notebook with dates, animal sightings and identification.
3. Put up the Tent! Whether your camping or not, all kids love to play in tents. Set up a tent in the shade, and watch your kids use their imaginations to create elaborate stories. If you are feeling inspired, sleep out in the yard and have a campfire. you will create outdoor memories without spending a penny or having an impact on the environment.
4. Go for a hike. It’s all in how you pitch it. An adventure? Lots of snacks? Rocks and streams to play with and in? Yep. Be ready to turn back when you have to so it doesn’t become a forced march and they want to do it again. See this post for more tips.
5. Go wading. Find a stream or pond, put on shorts or a swimsuit and get ready to explore. Bring a bucket and a colander or net. Be ready to catch tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, and aquatic insects. Get your feet wet, explore the rocks, and take some exploring the waterways and all they have to offer. This makes for a perfect summer afternoon.
Whatever you do, enjoy this fleeting season. in Vermont, it seems to last only a few days. We love our local ponds for swimming too. A perfect Vermont summer afternoon involves pond swimming and playing, then a creamee (the local term for soft serve ice cream) in the late afternoon sun. I can feel it coming. Can you?