5 Ideas for Eco-Friendly Summer Fun with Kids

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With summer just heating up, everyone can benefit from a few tips on how to have kid-friendly fun while also being environmentally thoughtful. Check out these five ideas for eco-friendly summer fun with kids to ease you into your summer.

1. Nature Scavenger Hunt

Getting your kids outside and away from their screens is always a good idea. To help you get your kiddos engaged with nature, set up a scavenger hunt. It’s a great way to help them really get in touch with the natural world.

To print out the below Nature Scavenger Hunt, go to mygreenside.org.

Nature Scavenger Hunt created by Wendy Gabriel

2. Recycled Craft

For those rainy summer days or, if you reside in my part of the world, the days when it feels like you’re living on the surface of the sun so you’d rather be indoors, here’s an adorable recycled craft to do with your kids.

Recycled Bottle Fairy House

What you’ll need:

  • Recycled plastic bottles (2 bottles per fairy house)
  • Multi-surface craft paint
  • Craft knife and/or scissors
  • Natural decorations (leaves, moss, pinecones, flowers, rocks)

First, cut off the top of a water bottle. Since this is the top of the fairy house, we scallop-cut the edges and rolled them upward to make it look like a flower. Then cut an oval hole in the side of the other bottle. This will be your fairy’s entrance.

Next, paint your water bottles. We painted the inside of the bottles so the outside finish would look shiny. When your paint is dry, put your shorter (with the scalloped edges) piece on top of your other bottle. You may want to add some craft glue or use a glue gun to attach them. Then the fun begins. You can decorate your fairy house with whatever natural materials (or things from your recycle bin) that you can find. Make a welcome rock, add some flowers or moss — let your creativity run wild.

We hung our fairy house in the backyard, so we also painted one of the bottle caps and added string for a hanger. We put a piece of washi tape around the cap for added cuteness.

For more recycled water bottle craft inspiration, visit Pinterest.

3. Healthy Summer Snack

Snacks don’t have to be complicated, especially in the summer months when fresh, local produce is plentiful. Getting your kids involved with picking out (or growing your own) fresh fruits and vegetables really is the best way to encourage them to eat healthier. Whole foods, not processed snacks, are always the better choice when possible, so snack recipes that have fewer, fresh ingredients are the way to go.

One of the easiest and most fun summer snacks ever! Just cut up a watermelon and insert wooden popsicle sticks. Photo: A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

Here’s an easy, healthy recipe that is great for snacking or even breakfast on the go:

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins, blueberries, etc.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mash your bananas, then add the rest of your ingredients. Drop spoonfuls of your mixture onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. They should be firm and slightly browned when done.

For more easy and healthy snack recipes, visit Super Healthy Kids.

4. National Park

In this country, no matter where you live, there’s a national park nearby.

And, if you have a fourth-grader (for the 2016–2017 school year), this is your lucky summer. The program Every Kid in a Park gives a pass to every fourth-grader (and their travel companions; see website for details) for entry into participating national parks for free. The pass expires Aug. 31, 2017.

Since we happily happen to have a fourth-grader, we’re planning to visit a number of close national parks.

To get more information and print out your own pass, visit EveryKidinaPark.gov. Even if you don’t have a fourth-grader, this site is a great resource for planning a trip.

5. Unstructured Time

Let your kids have some unstructured time. When children have to entertain themselves, they learn to be creative and independent. Slow down the pace and remember that it’s healthy to have a little free time.

Feature photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
5 Captivating Recycling Books for Kids 5 and Under
Take a Hike! Awesome Hiking Activities for Kids of All Ages
5 Tips to Cultivate Happy Gardening with Your Children

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Wendy Gabriel

Wendy Gabriel

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in California. Wendy's work has been featured in numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled “Simple Tips for Green Living.”
Wendy Gabriel

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