When summer rolls around, we rejoice at the thought of slower mornings, and more time to spend with the kids. But it also means finding ways to keep them preoccupied and productive, while creating precious memories. Here's a list of activities we can do with them, ranging from simple set-ups to ones that require a bit more preparation.
Backyard Activities. Let the fun start in your own backyard! We need not go far to have hours of entertainment. Fire up the barbecue grill and have dinner underneath the stars. For another day, set up an inflatable pool, or soccer nets, bowling lanes, a badminton court. Pitch a tent, and stay overnight outdoors. Never mind the limited space, the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.
Water Sports. When the heat gets unbearable, and spraying yourselves silly with the garden hose isn't cutting it, go to the community pool or plan a trip out of town, where the sea breeze beckons. More than just playing on the sand and shore, encourage the kids to try snorkeling, kayaking, or sailing and when they are old enough, surfing, wakeboarding or scuba diving.
Nature Tripping. Not water babies? Follow a nature trail or learn jungle survival skills, even go rapelling or take a canopy ride through the forests of Subic or Baguio. Check out Tree Top Adventure Philippines for an exhilerating, adrenalin filled day outdoors.
Go on a Picnic. Commune with nature while munching on your packed lunch, under the shade of a big, leafy tree. Pack a mat, a picnic basket loaded with food, drinks, plates and utensils, and set aside a whole afternoon to let the kids run around on the grass, or play in the jungle gym after a hearty meal. Don't worry about stains, there's always Ariel to take care of it when you get home and wash their clothes.
Fun Farm. See and feed farm animals in their natural habitat. Get the kids to appreciate where their food comes from. It's a wonderful way to spend time out of the city, while learning about how plants plants are grown and animals are raised. If you do not have a family farm, check out Fun Farm in Sta. Elena and Yoki's Farm in Tagaytay.
Grow a Garden. If the visit to a farm inspires the young ones to start planting, a fun summer activity that will keep them busy the entire season is to allow them to grow a garden. Start by planting herbs like basil and oregano in pots, and encourage them to plant more varieties by showing how these herbs go into your meals. There's a satisfaction in seeing their hard work, working for them. Make sure after being out in the sun, and toiling with soil, that they shower, or at least wash their hands with Safeguard, for maximum germ and odor protection.
Camping. Go back to the basics and pitch a tent, cook your meals, build a bonfire and go fishing in the great outdoors. Telling each other stories with only the moon, stars and a flashlight for extra illumination is the stuff that family memories are made of.
Bury a Time Capsule. Encapsulate that wonderful summer outdoors by burying a time capsule in a place that you can all go back to twenty or thirty years later. Pack it with snippets and mementos of all those adventures, and write down the stories you'd like to remember (in acid-free paper please), to guide you as you take that trip down memory lane.
Treasure Hunt/Orienteering. All they need is a map and a compass, and a lot of your logistics work behind the scenes! Get the kids scrambling around on a wild goose chase around the village, or all over the city. Get them to search for clues, pack some treats they can uncover along the way, and cheer them on as they race against the clock to uncover a treasure. Hey, why not have them dig up the time capsule they buried, this time with their own kids, twenty years later!
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