Above is our wonderfully useful water/sand table that Stefan made last year, and it still finds use almost every day. If you can peek at the top left hand corner of the picture, you can see our bikes hang up outside from the porch, and this table is a lifesaver when I am putting together or taking a part the bike trailer after our bike rides.
Here is a picture of Lukka and his friend M running downhill in the crunchy leaves.
I fully recommend hours of unstructured outside playtime, which we do every day that it's not rainy out. Studies have shown that unstructured outside time is beneficial for so many things involving brain function, retention, relaxation, and has even been shown to provide a nonmedical balance for children diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities in many cases. It has a calming affect not only on children, but on adults as well. Here is a link to many, many articles about the topic, as well as the book that first got me passionate about kids in nature.I have noticed that just with my own children, the times we are inside, are so much more peaceful when we've gotten a good dose of exercise, exploration, and fresh air.
Here are a some fun things to do OUTSIDE (some are local to Lincoln) or with NATURE :
- Go to a Park--Safari Style. Check out Pioneers Park for $1 educational hours, day camps, or weeks long programs and end with a hike!
- Take the family out to Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center for some bird watching.
- Take a walk or bike ride on any of the local trails. Our city does a great job with bike trails and we're always adding more!
- Visit a farmer's market! Old Cheney, Haymarket, and Havelock all have them on different days and different times.
- Jazz in June is only a little over a month away. Hundreds of people come out to the Sheldon Art Museum's green space to listen to a free jazz concert every second Tuesday evening. 7-9PM.
- Trago Sprayground will be opening soon (my guess is around Memorial Day, can't find a website that gives me proper info) and it's FREE! This awesome modern playground has tons of epquipment, and a free splash/spray area for kids of all ages to enjoy when it's hot outside.
- Make a play area in your back yard using found materials, or a sand/water table for under $30!
- Pick up a bunch of treasure-from pinecones and nuts to leaves, flowers, and weeds-to grace your dining room table or plop them into a basket for the littlest hands to discover.
- Pack a picnic and head to a favorite local spot.
- Pick your own! Veggies and fruit places all over the US let you pick your own for a flat rate. We love the strawberries at Roca Berry Farm! This is an excellent way to teach your kids about nature.
Lastly, the by far the easiest thing to do; find a wide open area of nature, plop down, and relax. Anyone can use a little of that!
Just don't forget your bug spray!