Hello Summer, our old friend – so nice to be with you again!
And oh boy are we ready for you – the months of quarantine and restrictions, and our weather jumping straight from “June-uary” to record breaking heat domes, has given us a lot to deal with! Now with kids out of school, protocols starting to relax and long days upon us, we are ready to make up for lost time! We look forward to new adventures, while basking in your gorgeous nights that go on and on . . .
But where to begin? Here are some eco-friendly, good-time, summer-time, memory making options for the whole family, no matter the weather… bring on the good times!
Continue reading for ideas for OUTDOOR, INDOOR and ANYWHERE fun!
BONUS! ALL have a very small footprint, and most are FREE and require little or no supplies!
We have kept these quite adaptable – suitable for most, if not all, comfort levels! Get out there and have fun!
Play disc golf
If disc golf is new to you and yours – get ready for a good time that’s outdoors, free (once you own a disc or 2!) and fun! Just what the doctor ordered, yes? For those who put the “ACTIVE” in “activity”, there are throws that can challenge your physical prowess, and for those who are into a more chill toss and stroll – you are covered here too!
A quick overview, a la Wikipedia:
“Disc golf is a flying disc sport in which players throw a disc at a target; it is played using rules similar to golf. It is usually played on a course with 9 or 18 holes. Players complete a hole by throwing a disc from a tee pad or area toward a target, throwing again from where the previous throw landed, until the target is reached. Usually, the number of throws a player uses to reach each target is tallied, and players seek to complete each hole in the lowest number of total throws.”
So, what are you waiting for? Google for a course near you to practice your “thumbers”, “rollers” and “turbo-putts” today! Don’t those names alone just make you want to get out and play??
(Also, check out this blog post at LFT.community for more springtime outdoor fun!)
As defined by our good friend Oxford 🧐:
1 the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website.
The “hidden” object is often a waterproof container with random treasures to observe and a log-book to record your name, but it’s the thrill of “the hunt” that makes this outdoor activity a good time! A unique #covidfriendly and Earth friendly way to explore your neighbourhood and surrounding area! Visit Geocaching.com, grab some co-ordinates, a snack and your bubble, and plan your any-day fun!
Spice up a walk!
Get outside for some fresh air and exercise with one of these ideas to jazz up a regular walk!
Take a Photo Walk
Go on a walk specifically to take photos of your ‘hood!
These days, every family seems to have at least one device that can take pictures, but how often is it used as a camera for something other than just selfies, food shots or documentation…?
Here’s the challenge: Head out and try to capture as many little magic little moments as you can! Summer in her glory, morning dew on flowers, reflections in puddles, busy little ants…. There’s a whole world happening around us!
Take a Nighttime Walk.
While evenings are long and luxurious, taking a nighttime walk is a way to get a little exercise without the heat – and if you time it for the “magic hour” (sunset/dusk), it gives you a chance to view your neighbourhood with fresh eyes. You can really see that it’s called “magic hour” for a reason! And, for you lucky ones who live in an area with fireflies – this is a great time to witness that little miracle of nature!
Make an obstacle course!
Create your own customized obstacle course! Do you have access to some green space? A friend or neighbour with a yard? A public park? Create an obstacle course! A fun and creative way to get some exercise, burn some calories and blow off some steam! It’s amazing what you can do with pool noodles, planters, and some time spent on Google! Even without green space you can create an obstacle course on the pavement with chalk! But whatever you do, play safe and take care of each other…. And remember to adjust per age/ skill levels! Son might only have to do 5 push ups to advance past the push up station, but let’s see if mom can do 10!
Have a staycation
First step of the plan is to set a perimeter – your neighbourhood, community, or community and surrounding 25 km for example. Each person should write 5-10 activities and places from within the designated area on small slips of paper and put them in a hat. These can be favourites, or those yet to be experienced, but try to put an emphasis on free and low cost! One by one pull the ideas out, and vote for “now” or “later”. Combine all the “nows” into a list and plan an itinerary! Make sure to include rest times and meal breaks, and you are all set!
(Think: parks, trails, bike rides, ice cream, escape rooms, picnics, local treasures…)
BONUS: – don’t stop at daytime activities, get creative with the overnight portion too! For example – camp in your yard or living room! This idea can be fun with a little pre-planning – not to mention saving you time and money! Though a tent might be a little hard to pitch in your living room, with careful planning a blanket tent might just do the trick! And we admit s’mores aren’t the same when they aren’t made on a campfire, but they are s’mores just the same! Light some beeswax candles, unplug the phones, shut off the lights, tell some stories (maybe a scary 1 or 2), and make a memory camping in your own place!
Tie Dye with Bubbles
Here’s a crafty idea for outdoor fun – with a bonus that you may just end up with some new favourite threads!
We call it: Gettin’ dirty with bubble blowing!
– White clothes (go for thrift store scores – white top, sweats, etc)
– Live for Tomorrow dish soap (okay, more or less any dish soap will do, but all-natural LFT soap means its non-toxic, so better for all concerned!)
– Pails or bowls (one for each colour)
– Natural food colourings: ie. matcha, turmeric, beet juice, paprika
– Bubble wands
Step 1: Gather necessary supplies, including hit up a second-hand store for white clothes – white top, joggers, etc., – and some bubble wands*
Step 2: Whip up a batch of bubble solution – try this recipe: 2 parts Live for Tomorrow “Dish the Dirt” Dish Liquid, one part cornstarch, 6 parts warm water. Mix and divide it into containers for however many colours you have. Add your “dyes”.
Step 3: Get dirty with it! Blow bubbles at your own, and each other’s, clothing to see what kind of cool designs you can make!
*No bubble wand? There’s always a solution! Find a stick. Shape a wire into a circle at the end of the stick. No stick? How about a pen or pencil? No pen or pencil? How about a toothbrush? No wire? How about a twist tie? Or a paper clip? You got this!
Have a picnic dessert!
Call us old fashioned but we love this one! Head out for dessert after eating dinner at home. This option is so much easier than planning a complete picnic and is such a treat!
DIY with a home-made pie, tarts or other sweet indulgence, or support a local sweet spot or farmers market for an ice cream cone, special dessert or a favourite treat and choose your spot! A neighbourhood pond to watch ducks float by, or a local viewpoint for sunset – grab your picnic bag with your washable dishware and a blanket and soak up the beauty of the summer season!
Tell Stories around a Fire.
Telling stories around a fire is a tradition that has existed since time immemorial – it’s how legends and lessons were passed down the generations in times pre-written. Tapping into that ancient ritual is a pretty fun and inexpensive way to spend a family-fun-day! Some provincial park day use areas allow campfires, and beach fires are allowed in certain locations also. Please check with local authorities to see what is allowed and available in your area, and make sure to practice safe fire habits and take care of each other. (Or use a propane fire barrel or an oil lamp to set the mood with less risk.)
Here is a great resource for some campfire story inspiration: https://www.ultimatecampresource.com/camp-activities/campfire-stories/
Or, take turns telling a favourite memory from childhood, or something interesting that happened this week – the important thing is to have fun – and trying to make each other laugh wouldn’t hurt!
Activites for when the outdoors is just too much! Perfect for rainy days or just too hot…
1. Do a Group Drawing
At the very least, this activity just requires a pen and scrap of paper, but you can also get really complex! Choose your “weapons” – for example felts, pencil crayons, or ball point – and your paper can be printer paper, or cereal box, or card stock – sometimes the more durable the better though. Now pass the drawing tool back and forth and take turns creating . . . whatever!
Picture this for a 3-person family: person one draws a squiggle in the centre of the page. Person 2 envisions it as an elephant and turns it into a kind of funny-looking beast. Person 3 pictures roller skates, so adds those on, and back to person 1 who adds a sun to the sky. Person 2 puts sunglasses on the sun and adds a snake to the ground…. It goes on until you decide its complete! Depending on how you feel, it can be coloured in and framed, or you can simply move onto the next!
You could also create with a theme in mind (ie. jungle or city)), or each player uses a different colour or technique – it’s fun to get creative!
P.S. – this is also a fun way for a couple to spend an evening together!
2. Create Your Own Universe
Build a mini world – a recreation of your town, a jungle, castle, farm, universe, just go with it!
Fun for the whole family, regardless of age! You can incorporate man-made and natural elements, ie. houses made of empty cereal boxes, coloured with paint made from flour, salt, water and food colouring, leaves glued on for shingles, and toys and figurines cleverly positioned. . . get creative! You can even make little signs with popsicle sticks, and mini artworks with scraps of paper and markers. Dioramas may have been dreaded when required for a school assignment, but when done for pleasure they can take on a whole new meaning.
Designate a space on a table, floor or counter so you can work on this project over days and weeks – see how detailed you can get!
3. Make Cards Together
Thank You, Get Well, Missing You, Happy Birthday, Congratulations… There are always so many events to celebrate, both big and small! A fun (old school!) way to reach out to loved ones, and those you miss, is to make your own cards. This is a great way to spend a summer day that’s either too cold, too wet or too hot! Clear off a tabletop and spread out – gather up recycled paper, arts and crafts supplies from around the house, and get creative! You can do a whole year’s worth of cards in one go if you really get into it! Fun for the whole family?!
BONUS points for cards for care workers, and those in care homes!
4. Start a Family Scrapbook
This is an ongoing activity that just keeps giving!
Step 1: Gather content! Dig up as many photos, ribbons, invitations and mementos that you can find.
Step 2: Strategy! Make a list of ideas including trips, events and occasions. Do you want to do a timeline? Do you want to do sections by family member, or event? Do you want a scrap book for just birthdays, or just for trips? Everyone can contribute ideas!
Step 3: Find a book to begin with… 1st choice: Try repurposing an old book that you no longer use (like an oversized atlas!) and gluing your photos to the pages. *Pro tip, you may need to remove some pages so it doesn’t get too thick!
Step 4: Make tags and labels and decorate each page! You can use paints and bits of paper and collage what you already have. Cutting and repurposing designs from past birthday and greeting cards can add a lot of flair!
Remember to leave pages to add in things you might have forgotten, and don’t forget to just keep on adding… even if this project grows to take up multiple books!
5. Decorate Your House!
Such a fun creative way to spend some inside time! Why should Christmas, Halloween and Easter get all the attention? What about decorating for just the joy of it! Decorate to celebrate summer, or Pride, missed summer festivals or flowers! Make your home an ever-changing sanctuary that ignites your spirit! We recommend second-hand sheets for backdrops, cutting out flowers and other decorations from scrapped paper and anything you can find second hand that can add a little pizzaz to your party! Celebrate the joie de vivre!
6. Have a Family Fashion Show
Have a fashion show! This can go in a few different directions, you just need to decide what works for your family! Option A… take it seriously ~ try different combinations of clothing from closets, invent a new style to rock this summer and beyond. Everyone’s input can help create a new unique style, or style combinations that might otherwise be overlooked! Another option – assign different clothes to different family members and see what they come up with! Throw all clothes in a pile and everyone must pick a combo and make it work. Or you can just go straight to fun with costumes… Why should we have to wait all year for Halloween?
7. Build A Puzzle Together
Oddly satisfying. Okay, maybe not for everyone, but there definitely can be a feeling of accomplishment once one has finished a multi piece beauty. And it can be an evening’s activity for the whole family! Organizing by colour, edges separated from the rest…
8. “Make Your Own Pizza” Night
Speaking of fun for the whole family! Start with finding an easy dough recipe online, and each family member can explore different topping ideas to create their masterpieces! Watch your kids take pride in their creations, and gain appreciation for cooking and a valuable life skill along the way! Because who of us didn’t rely on pizza for a meal or 2 through high school, college and beyond? Making your own is always a healthier, tastier alternative to delivery or frozen!
(And for clean-up duty? Don’t despise it! Use Live for Tomorrow dish soaps and let their essential oil aromas relax your senses!)
9. Kids = Head Cook, Parent = Sous Chef
Let the kid(s) take the lead tonight!
🍕 🥪 🥙 🌮 🌯 🥗 🥘
They pick the meal and take the reins with the cooking, and you do the prep, support and clean up!
– Kids =
✅ Self confidence
✅ Kitchen skills
✅ Planning, delegation
– You get to control the mess (but be careful to not get carried away!)
Things you can do anywhere, inside or out, you pick!
1. Have A Family Photo Shoot
Have a photo shoot! Family photo time needn’t be reserved for the holiday season! Head to a beach, a park or a blooming rose bush near you and celebrate the summer! 📸
Co-ordinate outfits (or not), set a scene (or not), set the self-timer on someone’s phone camera and dive into place! If you have a selfie stick (or better yet, a selfie stick with tripod and remote) you are set!
Don’t forget to include your “extended” family… fur babies (or gilled and feathered ones), your child’s favourite doll or stuffed animal, and pictures of loved ones that cannot be with you in person.
P.S. This will put you waaaay ahead of the game come Christmas time also – perfect to use in an ecard!
2. Volunteer Somewhere Together
Not likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think “Family Fun”, but you might be surprised at the memories you can make while contributing some good to the world, and depending on the activity – helping someone else live a richer life! It can be a little difficult to navigate with Covid Protocols still in place, but options like delivering groceries, distance visiting elders in homes, and picking up litter never go out of style! Whatever you do, remember to follow protocols and wash your hands!
Check out volunteer.ca for an opportunity near you…
3. Play “Would you Rather?”
#BubbleFun! For those who prefer bubble life!
Invent your own game of “Would you Rather?”. This is a game that can be played anytime, anywhere, with anyone! (Including car rides, around a campfire, on a zoom, etc.) It doesn’t need supplies, or pre-planning… and to be honest, chances are pretty good your kids can tell you how to play…