Here comes the sun... finally! 5 fun and easy outdoor "learning" activities for kids

Sometimes I forget that the weather in Los Angeles is not the norm for most people. And while it has felt like July since March around here, talking to friends and family on the East Coast over the weekend reminded that the rest of the country is just now escaping the throes of Winter.  

So now that we are all finally starting to play outside again, I want to share with you some of my favorite ways to enjoy the nice weather, while showing kids just how wondrous the outside world can be:

1. Bug Hunting

Little bugs

This has got to be one of my favorites! Whether it's a hiking trail, or small patch of grass, find a place where you and your kids can stop for a while and learn about the little things. Take this as as chance to talk to them about the importance of little creatures, while also showing them who to look out for. Some kids are already interested in cool animals, so they'll love it. And the ones who aren't convinced yet, can start to overcome fears through learning. Plus, any chance a kid gets to get their hands dirty is always fun! 

2. Play At The Arboretum

 How cool are these? What kind of plants do you have in your arboretum?

How cool are these? What kind of plants do you have in your arboretum?

If you are lucky enough to live by an arboretum, get there now! There is so much to see, and it's a great escape from our everyday surroundings. Most arboretums will have signs and plaques telling you a bit about the plants you're seeing, so play the "can you say" game and see who can pronounce the latin names of all the plants. Also, check to see if they offer tours, while it may get a bit boring for the littler ones, most tour guides can be a lot of fun!

3. Urban Tour

 Coco, Ryder, and Frankie on their urban exploration

Coco, Ryder, and Frankie on their urban exploration

Getting lost in your own city can be so fun! Just walk out your door, or pick a neighborhood you haven't been to, and let your kids be the guides. Switching roles can be super fun, so give them a time limit and let them lead the way. If you really want to play their part, during your walk, ask questions that you would normally get from them, like whys, whats and whens. You can also, let them bring their favorite "friends" along which gives you a bit of a breather. 

4. Fossil Making

Okay, so you don't HAVE to be outside for this one, but once they are made, you can turn it into a fossil hide and seek game. And because I can't do it any cuter, here's my favorite video tutorial on how to make your own fossils brought to you by Home Grown Fun. You can also make this a time to learn more about our biggest fossil finds, which kids love to hear about.

5. Night Photography

 Create your own fun glow stick figures

Create your own fun glow stick figures

This is another super fun activity that is great for Summer when kids are allowed to stay up a little later. Get a couple of glow sticks, or flashlights, your camera, and you're good to go. If you have a camera with shutter speed controls, great, if not, your phone should have a setting that lets you control the exposure. Now, just got out and find interesting shapes and shadows and let your imagination run wild. Use the glow sticks to add a fun effect to the pictures, and illuminate your journey.

Go out, have some fun, and remember to share with us what good you are doing today!