7 activities to do with your children

Shot of a group of youth having fun with colourful powder at summer camp

Summer is a great time for family activities and making memories. However, many options are time consuming and expensive. Here are ideas for family fun that you can do before you run out of summer.

1. Hit a local greenway

Spending time outside in nature has nearly endless benefits for children—and adults. A great way to immerse yourself in the great outdoors is in Tennessee’s extensive network of greenways and trails. Pick one near your home and plan a short excursion. You could start with a short walk on a nearby greenway, and then progress up to longer walks or hikes. If you have younger children, give them an easy task to accomplish while you’re walking. This could be counting birds or looking for wildflowers along the way. Older children might be interested in tracking their steps with a digital device or taking photos for a collage or photo album.

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2. Go creek stomping

Cool off by wading in a shallow creek or stream. Look for crawdads and minnows, skip a few rocks and make a splash. Bring a small boat to float in the water, too. However, just as you would keep a close eye on your children any time they’re around water, be sure to monitor them constantly.

3. Visit a farmer’s market

A great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet is to buy fresh produce from a local grower. Bring your children to check out your local farmer’s markets. Encourage your child to pick out a fruit or vegetable that they’ve never tried before. Or, suggest buying several different varieties of peach or tomato and holding a “taste test.” When you get home, ask them to help you find and prepare a recipe that uses some of the produce that you’ve just purchased.

4. Pick berries

Visit of Tennessee’s numerous farms where you can pick your own fruit. Strawberry season may be over for the year, but it’s peak season for picking other fruits, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and peaches. It doesn’t get any fresher than picking your own fruit right off the vine or tree. And you’ll be amazed how delicious it is, too. You can even freeze berries to use later in the year when summer’s just a memory.

5. Host a lemonade stand

Kids have been selling cool lemonade to thirsty neighbors on hot summer days for generations. Keep up the tradition by encouraging your kids to give it a try. They could even make some other simple but tasty, healthy treats to sell along with their lemonade. You could sell watermelon slices, fruit pops, or frozen fruit kebobs or even lemon squares.

6. Tie dye

You can purchase a simple tie-dye kit online or at the local craft store or supercenter. Gather up a few old t-shirts, dishtowels, or pillowcases that could benefit from a little color. Then don some old clothes and some plastic gloves and get to dyeing!

Caution: this is definitely an outdoor activity, due to the potential for spilling dye and creating stains.

7. Make a bug hotel

Doesn’t every family have a child who’s fascinated by grasshoppers, ladybugs, and fireflies? Nurture your children’s interest in nature and their creativity by helping them make a bug house or bug hotel. Take a nature walk to gather up some grass, bark, twigs, leaves, and maybe a few flowers to make their creation into a beautiful and welcoming habitat for insects.

Jennifer Larson

Jennifer Larson is Nashville-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years of experience. She specializes in health care and family issues.

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Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.