Depending on what part of the country you live in, or the season, your options for ways to spend time outdoors with your family will vary. You might have to bundle up, but spending time outdoors with your loved ones can happen anywhere and almost anytime! Here are four ideas to get you started.
In Italy, the term is ‘al fresco,’ which basically means ‘in the open air,’ and is often used when referring to dining outside. Many people overlook this simple activity, but in reality, especially with younger children, eating outside is something they will get excited about—very excited. Best of all, you do not have to go to a restaurant to do it. Taking a meal outside on your own property can take several forms. For example, if you have a card table (or larger depending on the size of your family), a tablecloth, and a candle, you can create a formal outdoor dining experience that everyone will remember. Other options are throwing a blanket down on the lawn, or pulling up lawn chairs to an outdoor table and having a picnic. In colder months, make an adventure out of it: Bundle up, create a menu that requires very few additions, like pizza, and enjoy the crisp air together, away from the TV and cell phones. If everyone helps set up and break down afterward, an outdoor meal is something you can do with your family anytime, anywhere.
The great thing about walking (as opposed to biking, but more on that in a minute) is that people can carry on meaningful conversations at the same time. Walking is a perfect way to unwind at the end of a long day, week or even weekend. If you or your family have been going in twenty different directions all week or weekend, assembling for a walk around town, the neighborhood, or in a park or nature preserve can slow things down and allow everyone to catch up with all that has been happening in their lives. The obvious other benefit is that it is exercise! Walking has no downside: It is healthy, free, and a way for people to be together.
No doubt about it, bike riding for many kids, and families, has become a lost art. Ask anyone in their 40s or older what their favorite thing to do during the summer was and chances are you will hear “ride my bike!” Today, with electronics competing for attention, if you ask a 10-year-old the same question, you’ll likely hear, “play video games!” Biking, whether around a neighborhood, a park, or even a country road when safe, is another healthy activity that families can do together. If your neighborhood or town is safe for biking on the road, pick a local diner and head there on your bikes on a Sunday morning, or to an ice cream shop on a warm summer evening. If you live in a city that isn’t conducive to biking on the streets, or that is rural with few sidewalks for younger riders, take the bikes to a local park with pathways, or a nature area that allows it, and ride the day away.
Another inexpensive way to spend time outside is to camp. Most regions have some sort of private, state or federal lands designated for camping, backpacking, and hiking. Don’t underestimate the fun your kids can have packing up the car with food and driving to a car-camping property. Even in the city, car- or other camping is generally within a few hours’ drive, and most reservoirs have public areas for overnight camping with water hook-ups and either bathrooms or portable outhouses. Pack a wiffle ball set, a deck of cards, a kayak or fishing pole if there is a suitable lake nearby, and spend time with each other above the hustle and bustle of city or suburban life.
Enjoying the great outdoors offers something for families of all sizes, ages and interests. It is healthy, can be relatively inexpensive, if not free, and one of those things that brings people together no matter where you live.
If you have questions about long-term care coverage or how NPFBA can help serve you, feel free to reach out to us via our website, phone, email or schedule a zoom meeting and let’s grab some face time!