As summer wears on into the second month, I’m looking to rev up our daily schedule a bit. Despite my good intentions there’s been way too much screen time. So I’m pretty much just dragging them out the door and figuring something out along the way. My goal is to leave the house in the morning and not return until late afternoon.

As someone who grew up on a farm in the country and played in the woods all day until I was called in for dinner, it seems funny to me that this is even a struggle. But, there you have it.

Here are some totally free ways I try to get my kids out of the house and promote family bonding.. this summer and year ’round.

 

 

1- Go to the park

We’re very fortunate to have lots of great parks near us. But even if you have just one, or just a neighborhood playground.. use it to unplug and relax. You can do so many things at the park like have a picnic, ride bikes, play on the playground or just walk.

 

 

2- Take a walk

But you don’t need a park to walk in, you can walk anywhere.. in your neighborhood, down your street, downtown. You can have some of the longest and most fruitful conversations with kids while taking a walk. I think it’s something about getting their legs moving and their blood pumping that also gets their mouths moving.

Many of our walking conversations currently revolve around Pokemon. But hey, I’ll take what I can get. And the enormous amount of Pokemon facts my son is able to retain and explain at a moment’s notice tells me his brain is still working hard even during summer vacation.

 

3- Take a hike

I love exploring a new trail with the kids. My daughter seems to take the occasion as more of a fashion modeling opportunity (with various Hello Kitty accessories). But hey, as long as we’re doing it together. And it helps them appreciate nature more.

 

 

4- Go on a bike ride

If you want to step up the physical activity, hop on a bike and ride around town or through a trail.

 

5- Fly a kite

Find a big, open field, a beach or just your own backyard and fly a kite. Kids love seeing them soar. And for good or bad, it helps me work on my patience trying to teach them how to get it up in the air, unravel the string and keep it up.

 

 

6- Go to a parade

This can sometimes seem daunting with all the walking and waiting and possible weather problems.. but when all that is conquered I just love being at a parade with the whole family. The kids just love seeing all the bright colors and interesting floats (and maybe getting some candy) and it creates stories to talk about for days.

 

 

Need a little help making a walk or a hike interesting for the kids.. or getting them to open up? Click the image below to download and print a free Family Conversation Starter:

 

 

And I’d love to hear what your family is doing to bond this summer or any time of year. Let me know in the comments below.

 

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