Summer break will be upon us sooner than anyone expects, and then comes the annual battle with boredom. What to do with the kids when school is out? Well, school or not, you spend so much time and energy making your property beautiful, why can't the backyard be the answer? There are so many fun ways the family can relax in the backyard, but they're not always obvious. Remember that every hour your family spends playing outside brings them closer together, and helps support a healthy, active lifestyle. Here's a look at a few inexpensive backyard family activities you should try out the next time you have a nice day and bored children on your hands.
Bug explorers. Kids love bugs, the grosser the better. And you don't have to go any further than the backyard to find a whole range of amazing bugs to keep the family busy. Give everyone a jar with a lid poked full of holes, a magnifying glass for closer analysis, a notebook and set them loose. Make a game of it, where the person who finds and makes notes of the most varieties of bugs wins. If the kids are old enough, give them a camera to take pictures as well. Get them started by showing them how to discover the little critters; around plants, under rocks, or hiding in long grass. The older kids can run inside to research unusual specimens, and the younger ones will love spending hours in the dirt.
Camping. There's no need to rent a campsite when you have a backyard. Get all the gear together and head out for a night under the stars. You could set up a tent if you have it, but if it's a warm, summer night you could probably just set up some sleeping bags and enjoy the view. Turn off your exterior lights for the best show. Or hand a flashlight around and tell scary stories. If you have a firepit, roast some marshmallows. Whatever plan you choose, it'll make for a night of inexpensive fun for everyone.
Gardening. You may look at it as a chore, but your kids will see it as a great reason to get their hands dirty. You'll love gardening together. It's fairly simple, so kids of all ages can get involved. And if you plant fruits and vegetables, you can actually save money by eating the results.
Bird watching. This one might be tricky, depending on where you life. But if it's the right time of year, with a little bit of luck and a good pair of binoculars your family can experience a beautiful show. Make sure you've got a book on hand, so you can figure out what sort of birds you have in the yard. If the kids seem to be responding, pull out some paper, crayons and brushes, and encourage them to draw what they see. It's peaceful and relaxing, and you may be surprised at the variety of bird you've got right in your back yard.
Games. Backyard games are great, because you can get a lot of people involved. Break out your best garden tiller, neaten everything up, and try your hand at horseshoes or bocce. If you're not thrilled with the idea of kids throwing metal or heavy balls around, try old favorites like freeze tag or frisbee. With the right games, your family will be entertained for the whole day.