Big Day Out

Baby Center
is having another (apparently it’s an annual thing) Big Day Out and this year it’s on Saturday, June 25.  What this means is that parents from around the globe are taking a pledge to go outside and play with their kids in a special way this Saturday.  I’ve taken the pledge; you can do so on their Facebook page and let others know your plans or invite others to take the pledge, too.  Maybe you’ll inspire someone!

To get you inspired, here are some suggestions.  Add your own in the comments – I need new ideas, too!

  • Hit the beach!  If you’re lucky enough to live within driving (or even better, walking!) distance from the ocean, grab the buckets and shovels, sunscreen and beach umbrellas, and spend some time getting sand between those winter-white toes.
  • Try a new park.  You know, that big one on the other side of town (or in the next town over) you’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t yet?  Yeah, that one.  Go give it a try!
  • Have a zoo day.  Unfortunately, I live in a town too small to have anything close to a zoo, but we do have a decent outdoor aviary.  Whatever your town has to offer (or the big city an hour or two away), go have fun showing your little ones some animals they don’t see every day.
  • Create a scavenger hunt.  Whether you hide objects around the yard and send the kids scrambling to find them, or make a list of nature items they can collect, make sure there’s something for every age.  If your kids are older, they might have fun deciphering simple clues to find the next item.
  • Attend a local outdoor event.  Every town has their big summer event(s); this year be one of the families that really gets into the blueberry festival, the local dog show, the bagpipe parade, or whatever it is your town does.
  • Do a fun run/walk.  A lot of cities offer “walk for a cure” type events, such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, among others.  If there’s one happening near you this weekend, sign your family up and do a bit of educating before and/or after the event so your kids learn a little bit more about what the walk represents.
  • Visit the farmers’ market.  Even though I live in a town of about 40,000, we have a great little farmers’ market during the months of May-October.  Every time we go there’s something new, but there’s also the old standbys we love (the fresh-pressed lemonade stand is a favourite!).  Pick up some local produce and locally made bread, some fresh herbs, and introduce your kids (and yourself!) to some area vendors you didn’t know existed.
  • Run for the hills!  Pack a picnic lunch and plenty of high-protein, low-sugar snacks and water, and head up into the mountains for a day-trip in the cooler temperatures.  Find a walking trail that looks fun (and possible for all in the family) and walk until you need a break.  If you’ve got little ones but no way to cart them around, talk to some friends about borrowing a child backpack to haul them around with you.  They’ll love it…and might even fall asleep!
  • Chalk it up.  Buy a variety of colors and sizes of sidewalk chalk and cover the driveway in temporary artwork.  Don’t forget the popsicles!
  • Pool day!  If you don’t live somewhere near a beach, create your own!  Buy (or borrow) a portable kids pool (decent-sized inflatable pools are available at places like Wal-Mart for $15-$20) and set it up in the yard.  If you have a sandbox, move it over next to the pool for a “beach” effect.
  • Serve your community.  Stock up on water bottles (Costco, anyone?) and head down to the local greenbelt.  Offer water to anyone you see.  Make homemade popsicles this week and take them down to a nearby playground.  Ask the parents first, but offer the frozen treat to any kids (and parents!) there.
  • Camp in the backyard.  Set up a tent (or just spread blankets and sleeping bags on the lawn), haul the BBQ/grill out, fill an ice chest with cold drinks, potato salad, deviled eggs, and fruit, and pile hot dogs, buns, and s’mores ingredients in a box.  Spend the day in the backyard (don’t forget the sunscreen/block!) and when it gets dark, lie on the grass and watch for shooting stars.  Set up croquet, bocce, badminton, or any other favourite yard game, and have some Frisbees on hand, too.
  • Pick your own fruit.  Find a nearby berry patch (where I live backberries grow wild all over the place), grab buckets and pick your own berries.  That evening you can work together washing them and putting them in freezer bags, and then top some ice cream with some fresh ones and enjoy the delicious treat on your front porch.

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