Going camping, a nature walk, or a family get-together at home. Here are a few ideas to make this Labor Day weekend, the final 3-day weekend of the summer one to remember!
1. Take a RAINBOW WALK! What is a rainbow walk? The challenge is to find something in nature of every color of the rainbow. This is a great way to get kids to notice nature and really explore their surroundings. Bring your camera on the walk to take a picture of all the colors you find. Afterwards you can create a photo album keepsake with all of the pictures from your walk. Label the picture with the corresponding color to also create a wonderful learning tool for your child. (Thank you to Katherine Lydon, Windham ME's Publisher Mom for this cute activity)
2. Create an ADVENTURE BOOK. Bring a camera, notebook or sketchbook and some markers. Go for a nature walk (or the Rainbow Walk) and try to spot interesting things. This could be a specific bundle of dried pine needles, a curious shaped leaf, an empty cocoon... anything that grabs the attention of you and your children. "Really cool bugs", interesting rocks, an old log... Take pictures that can be printed out and placed in the book later. At the end of the day, help your children remember the fun things they saw and have them draw pictures and/or descriptions. Be sure to leave room for your photos! Doing it this way, rather than collecting items for a scrapbook will not only help preserve Nature but will limit the amount of camping debris you will find in your car and home afterwards!
3. BUBBLES! Who doesn't love bubbles? They are easy, compact and make for a good amount of entertainment for pretty much all ages. Crayola just came out with colored bubbles too. Whereas I don't suggest using them at home or in your driveway (they can stain), camping in the great outdoors could provide the perfect opportunity to play with colored bubbles. *Please keep in mind, they can permanently stain clothing.
4. SHADOW PUPPETS. Need I say more? :)
5. Set out a few bowls with various TRAIL MIX ingredients. Give each child a baggie and let them create their own trail mix. A few common ingredients are nuts, chocolate chips or m&m's, cheerios, and raisins. You know your children better than anyone else and can fit their likes to their trail mix selections. Do this before a trail or hike.
6. STARRY NIGHT. When we live in cities, it's hard to imagine how many stars there truly are. Once away from the city lights, we can truly examine the night sky. Every time I get away from the city at night, I find myself staring up. The night sky is a beautiful thing and to children, it's full of mystery. Some of my fondest memories are of my dad telling me the constellations. Have fun pointing out the Big Dipper or watching for shooting stars.
7. TOY TRUCKS. It's amazing how much fun little ones can have with trucks while camping or at the beach.
8. SCAVENGER HUNT. Create a list of fun things to find while camping and send the children on a scavenger hunt (with clearly defined boundaries of course). The first one to find all the items on the list gets a special treat.
9. S'MORES!! Never doubt the power of a s'more while camping. Children look forward to that first bite of warm gooey marshmallow on melted chocolate sandwiched between to crunchy graham crackers. Everyone has their own technique so have fun!
10. SONGS AND STORIES. It may sound cliche, but it's true that children like to sing and like to hear stories. Take turns telling a story. Have one family member start the story and then pass it on to the next and the next until you've woven an incredibly un-predictable story!
Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend!