HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
August 13, 2007, Herald Journal

Summertime adventures


Although summertime is dwindling, there is still time available to engage in summertime play activities. Barring bugs and thunderstorms and with sunscreen applied, fun in the sun can be enjoyed with simple things around the yard or house.

Getting outside and getting some exercise is also a great benefit to engaging in some outdoor activities. Create a simple obstacle course with things you already have.

• Ride a bike, scooter, or ride-on toy masked in racing goggles (swimming goggles) for a portion of the course.

• Walk, hop, or skip on a winding hose, rope or jump rope.

• Walk with a ball between your knees.

• Hit a tennis ball on a racquet a set number of times.

• Blow some bubbles.

• Hula hoop (around hips, arms or however the child can) while counting to 10.

• With hula hoops lying on the ground, jump in them to the next obstacle.

• Crawl under a lawn chair.

• Do any or all of these activities with the sprinkler on.

• Be creative. Hop, skip, jump, use balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, soccer cones, baseball bases, bubbles, etc. in traditional or nontraditional ways. Fun is in the process, too.

My children, ages 3, 7 and 10 and I devised our own obstacle course and just adapted the various parts of the obstacle course for each individual.

Part of the fun was using our creativity to come up with the different obstacle activities. We all had great fun making up the course, as well as trying it out.

We had a plastic rocket launch with sponge rockets that the obstacle participant launched for the obstacle course finale.

• Have a treasure hunt – literally. Hide some coins in the sand and have your child search for the coins. Add some summer learning. Depending on your child’s age, have them count the change or name the coins they find.

• If you have a slide, put a bucket or pan of water at the bottom of the slide, and roll some toy trucks, cars, or balls down the slide into the water. Race two cars down at the same time.

• Get some exercise, see the neighborhood sites, and work on some directionality skills. Take a walk with your children with a coin in your pocket. Flip the coin. If it’s tails, turn left. If it’s heads, turn right. Do this at every corner and you’ve added some fun and adventure to your walk.

Idea sources: www.amazingmoms.com, and tried-and-true ideas.

• Remember making mud pies as a child? I sure do, and it was a lot of fun. And the good thing is the mess is outside.

Provide your child some old aluminum pie tins, plastic plates, a plastic or clay pot or any container, and allow their chef skills to soar.

Make a mud pie using water and dirt. Stir with a plastic beach shovel or an old spoon. Add some nuts or berries (pebbles). Put a crumb crust on top with sand. Finish off with a cherry (rock). This is one pie that should just be enjoyed by looking at it and not eating it.

• Jump roping is a great physical activity also. Add some water to the equation. While partners are turning the rope, a child (adults too) can jump rope holding a cup of water trying to keep as much water in the cup as he or she can.

• Put up a net or tie some rope or string between two trees or other objects and play beach or balloon volleyball. Familyfun.com recommended adding a tropical twist to the game. Instead of scoring points, teams are awarded letters to spell A-L-O-H-A or P-I-N-E-A-P-P-L-E, etc.

Have fun and be creative.