Get back to nature and try some of these family activities to get away from the electronics and back to nature this summer!.
1. Commit to a weekly outdoor adventure
As a group, do something new each week or at least each month this summer. Try something you’ve never done or give yourself the chance to recreate your favorite summer activities or trips. Retrace the steps of a backpacking trip you did 25 years ago, or try rafting. Not every choice needs to be an expensive or elaborate deal. Take the kids zip-lining, head to a water park, or do a summer luge run on an Alpine slide.
2. Take advantage of the night
There’s something about the dark that’s more fun and mysterious than daytime. Kids especially relish the subversive feeling of staying up long past daylight hours. A day hike turns into something totally different at night. Stories, games or singing/music making by the campfire will feel more intimate. Even lying on the grass, studying the stars, and watching the clouds move across the dark sky together will be a more memorable occasion.
3. Head out for a day of foraging
If you’re new to foraging, look for a local Meetup or naturalist organization devoted to foraging. Alternatively, visit an area farm that offers berry picking. Even a trip to the local farmer’s market can offer a different experience for every member of the family accustomed to grocery store fare. Foraging is a great chance to teach the kids what’s edible (and not) and how people used to feed themselves back in the day. It’s also great for infusing some added diversity to your menu.
4. Go spelunking
Nothing says Primal like a cave. Spelunking is one of those adventures even the younger ones can manage (depending on the terrain), and they might be the most excited in the bunch. There’s something about those dark cave corridors that fuel the imagination with just the right mix of curiosity and apprehension. While the thrill of it is enough for most people, there’s plenty of scientific and aesthetic enjoyment to be had as well.
Load up with the right gear, be sure to go in a group, and make sure the caves you visit are approved for recreation. Some are home to poisonous gases, which can kill. For more information on staying safe and finding a cave near you, check out the National Speleological Society.
5. Enjoy mud, rocks and sand
Remember the days when these were the toys of choice? Let’s not kid ourselves. We all need these. Forget the perfect summer. Go for the dirtiest, messiest few months you can, and be sure it’s not just the truck that needs washing at the end of the day.
Get the kids back in the dirt and sand whenever you can, and join them. Look for sea glass on a rock beach, or make a miniature stone fort in the woods. Skip rocks at the lake, or make a sand castle. Create mud pies (or have a mud fight) with the cousins. Grok would approve.
6. Check off every park on the map
Depending on your ambition, find a local map, and hit up every park and nature preserve you find. Let it spur everyone’s competitive side. Bring a token back from each for fun. Be sure to save the map in your family memory box.
7. Study nature together
Let kids know the most important things to learn aren’t on the Interwebs. Choose a summer theme to “study” like birds or trees, and make it a family affair. Grab some binoculars and/or cameras, and add a scrapbook, sketchbook or nature journal that everyone contributes to. Leave time for plenty of first-hand study, and visit natural museums and nature centers for some screen-free education.
8. Spend time in natural bodies of water
This isn’t to discount the pool, but swimming (or other recreational activities) in natural bodies of water offer a totally different experience. Check out area beaches, lakes, rivers, and favorite swimming holes. For other options, consider surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and creek stomping. For the tiniest ones, even puddle stomping after a good rain is an awesome time.
9. Take up a family service project
Get in the Primal communal spirit, and do some good. You can often find community organizations or houses of worship that organize house painting, yard tending or other repair work. Additionally, groups like Habitat for Humanity build homes. Local chapters of ecological organizations or park and rec services often advertise for help with trail clearing.
10. Have a power outage party
Grab the kids or a whole brood of friends for a massive, late night (or overnight) power outage party. Munchies and games are welcome. Electricity, however, is off limits. Candles, backyard torches, and bonfires offer better ambiance anytime.
11. Start a family garden
While it may not be as literally hunter-gather-minded as foraging, it gets you int eh dirt and in touch with what you eat. It’s a great project that everyone in the family (or neighbourhood if you’d prefer to go that route) can contribute to. If you don’t have access to a plot (or don’t want to take on too much), consider some potted tomatoes and herbs.
12. Organize a track and field day
The bigger the crowd, the more fun you’ll have with this option. Consider an extended family or neighborhood event. Set up a large yard or field for sprints and relays as well as jumping and throwing events. Have the kids prepare by making homemade spears to throw and collecting coconuts for an easier “shot put” event. Throw in a Primal picnic to feed all the hungry athletes. Include some Ultimate Frisbee too, while you’re at it.
13. Grab the camping gear
Even if it’s just setting up the tent in the backyard or taking the pop-up camper to a campground with the cousins or friends, everyone will enjoy the break. As you’re willing and the kids are ready, take on bigger trips like camping in more remote spots and add activities like backpacking or canoeing to your destination.
14. Learn a new outdoor skill
Learn anything from rock climbing to kayaking, geode hunting to fishing, archery to matchless campfire building.
15. Build Something
Maybe it’s putting up a new garage with your brothers, working with your spouse to build the kids that tree house they’ve always wanted, teaching your kids how to build some simple furniture items, making walking sticks, or even setting up raised gardens or an agility/exercise course in the backyard with ropes and natural barriers.
16. Make a communal summer bucket list