Check out these backyard adventures with your kids

COVID-19 has made planning family trips harder, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with your little ones, even in your own backyard or neighborhood. No matter what your children’s interests are, from being a social media star to a modern day explorer, these ideas are sure to be fun for your family! 

The explorer — loves spending time outdoors and getting to know nature

Take a walk or a bike ride around your neighborhood. Your kids will be amazed at what they’ll discover in trees, the grass or even on the sidewalk. Bring a magnifying glass to get a closer look at critters and plants. Bring a notepad or a camera to take observations about plants, flowers, insects and animals. Don’t forget to put some SPF 30 on yourself and your kids to stay safe from the sun!

The artist — loves painting, drawing and being creative

Make art in your surroundings or out of the things you find nearby. Sidewalk chalk is an old standby that can provide hours of endless fun. In addition to giving kids a means of expressing themselves creatively, you can also use the chalk to draw games like tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, four square, or even mazes. If chalk isn’t your children’s cup of tea, you can also collect and decorate items you find in nature, like beautiful leaves, flowers or stones.

The fish — loves swimming and getting wet

As the days heat up, some nice cool water can be more refreshing than ever. Even if you don’t head to the pool or the beach, you can bring the fun to you. Have a water balloon fight in your backyard (you can use sponges for an eco — and clean-up! — friendly alternative to latex balloons) or play with squirt guns. As the kids play with water, remind them to stay hydrated by drinking water before they get thirsty, too. Water is essential to good oral health (especially when it’s fluoridated!)

The helper — loves to help out around the house

Some children are natural born helpers and volunteers. Going out for a walk around the neighborhood is a great opportunity to let your kids develop pride in the community. Just bring a trash bag, some gloves and wear closed-toe shoes, and you can help beautify your neighborhood!

Make your day extra fun and rewarding by offering a prize — such as stickers or a healthy snack — when the task is complete. Healthy snacks can be fruits and vegetables such as carrots or apples. Avoid sugary treats, such as fruit snacks or cookies, that can contribute to tooth decay.

The athlete — loves to run around and play games

Grab the entire family and get ready for a fun day outside! If your children are competitive, this is a perfect time to put a fun twist on running around, such as three-legged races, crab walks or wheelbarrow races. If you have rope, you could teach your kids classic jump rope moves or even play tug-of-war. For children who aren’t competitive, there’s always the simple joy of catch. Whatever you choose, make sure kids wear their mouthguards when play gets physical!

The shutterbug — loves taking unique and interesting pictures

With smartphones and social media, everyone’s a little bit of a shutterbug, but some kids find taking beautiful pictures to be really rewarding. A fun way to encourage budding photographers is to send them on a scavenger hunt. Make a list of what your child might see in your neighborhood, like interesting animals, exotic plants and creative garden decorations, and go with your children as they take pictures of their surroundings. Set a timer and see how many photographs they can collect.

There’s lots for kids to do in their own backyards and around their neighborhoods. This summer, accompany them as they go outside and enjoy the neighborhood. Just take a few simple steps to protect their mouths and bodies, and you and your family will stay healthy, safe and smiling all summer long.

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