Plan a summer filled with homegrown adventures to reconnect with the kids and feel more deeply rooted in your community.
Get started with ideas for frugal fun inspired by Whole Kids Foundation®’s mission to support healthy families.
Visit a pick-your-own fruit farm, ranch or farmer’s market. Kids love seeing where different foods originate. Encourage them to ask questions about the crops, animals, bugs, climate and growing conditions. Take home some fresh ingredients and cook together (find ideas from Whole Kids Foundation’s collection of kid-friendly cooking activities and healthy recipes).
Plant a vegetable or herb garden in your yard, neighborhood or school. Spend an afternoon making an easy seed starter (PDF). If you’re short on space, plant an indoor windowsill garden with herbs for cooking.
Get crafty with recycled materials. Use recycled glass or plastic bottles to make a garden art installation for your yard, such as a hummingbird feeder. One of my family’s favorite summer traditions is making stepping stones with basic concrete mix from the hardware store. We add new stones to the garden every year with each child’s handprint or footprint. Simply (and carefully!) break up any glass materials you no longer need (colored glass bottles, plates, cups, ceramic tiles) to use as mosaic pieces, then let the kids press them into the wet, molded concrete before it sets. Get more hands-on recycled craft ideas from Whole Kids Foundation.
Take the family bike ride to a new level. Try a scenic bike trail, take a guided sightseeing bike tour of your town, or rent tandem bikes just for fun.
Volunteer for a day at a community garden, soup kitchen, meal delivery service or animal shelter. Working as a family team to invest in the beauty and wellness of your community provides amazing quality time.
Travel with your taste buds. Pick a far-off destination you’d like to visit as a family and learn how to cook a menu of foods from there. Since you’re staycationing, instead of spending on travel, go ahead and splurge on some really exciting fresh ingredients.
Have a spa day at home. Shut off all outside distractions and focus on just being together. Do yoga in your living room, fill pitchers with ice water and cucumber slices, take turns giving back rubs, read a book, relax and daydream in a hammock.
Hitch a ride; rediscover your town. Pick a public bus route and find as many interesting places as you can to visit along the way. It’s a great way to discover new city attractions, while also reducing fuel use and carbon emissions, and getting easy exercise as you walk between stops.
Learn how to do home canning together. It’s a surprisingly easy and fun activity, and a great way to stretch your dollar. Plus you get to keep on sharing summer flavors with your family all year long! The National Center for Home Food Preservation offers a wealth of information on canning, dehydrating, freezing and other preservation methods.
Spend a day at your city’s largest library. Explore the aisles, pick some books, read them together, then have a family book club meeting and talk about the themes. Check out book ideas for young kids from the Whole Kids Foundation book club.
Feed your curiosity with a museum visit. Choose one that’s new to you and learn about local history, food or art. Or get in touch with nature and find the nearest aquarium, planetarium or dinosaur exhibit.
Take pictures along the way and talk about each adventure after it’s done. Did everyone enjoy it? What’s the coolest thing you learned? What are your favorite memories? Spend time making a photo album together.
Also talk about how your summer activities changed the way you see the world. Will it influence your daily choices in the future?
Opening lines of communication and talking with children about their choices can help set them up for a better future. Whole Kids Foundation offers loads of free kids activities to help parents start healthy conversations.
Visit www.wholekidsfoundation.org to learn more about how we work to grow healthier, happier kids by inspiring families, supporting teachers and improving access to fresh, healthy foods in schools.
What are your summer vacation plans?