Put down the smartphone and turn off the TV, because this summer, your family needs to spend time together outside. The kids won’t sit inside watching reruns or conquering worlds through video game consoles. Grown-ups won’t waste weekends catching up on email or scrolling through social media. It’s time to disconnect to reconnect — so leave the not-so-great indoors and venture into the really great outdoors.
Plant a tiny garden
Even if you don’t have a huge backyard, you can set up a family garden using flower pots on your windowsills, or even inside eggshells. Gardening is a wonderful family activity because it touches on so many topics. Kids can learn about botany and see the direct result of their efforts.
Kids delight in eating what they’ve grown, even vegetables they used to frown upon. So if you choose to grow fruit or vegetables, your children just might eat that kale they’d otherwise push around their plates. You can even extend the gardening project into a cooking project for the whole family—plant herbs and use them in simple dishes everyone can help grill.
Enjoy a movie outside
Setting up a small outdoor theater in the back yard is easy and relatively inexpensive. Technology has come a long way in recent years and it’s simple to connect your laptop to a projector and show your favorite family movie on a big screen. No screen? Improvise with a white bed sheet. Make a game out of choosing which movies you’ll watch, or let each family member pick their favorite on a special day. Selecting a movie can also be a good reward for kids who do all their chores.
Enroll the entire family in summer camp
You want your kids to have the full summer camp experience, where they make new friends and learn to swim, kayak, and hit the bull’s eye in archery—but you also want quality time together. Get the best of both worlds in a program that includes the entire family. Hale’s Family & Community Program in Westwood offers outdoor fun for everyone, kids and parents alike. Whether you choose to spend your entire summer there or take a two-week staycation, adults can join their kids in all those memorable summer camp activities. Swim, kayak, and canoe in Noanet pond, brush up on your archery skills, or enjoy a family movie night together on the beach.
There are plenty of activities for adults to enjoy while the kids are on their own adventures. Relax with a book while they swim, boat, and play. Take a yoga class, then meet up for a family lunch. Afterward, go on a nature hike with other parents, then end the afternoon grilling together with your family—and maybe a few new friends! However you plan your day, you’re sure to reconnect as a family when you enjoy countless activities in nature.
Play lawn games
If you’re a fan of barbecues, you probably know the number of lawn games seems to increase every year. Classic American pastimes are easy to set up and can stay in the back yard all summer long for big family tournaments. You can put an Italian twist on them with bocce, or a British one (croquet is making a comeback). Vikings supposedly invented Kubb, and Mölkky comes from Finland. Modern lawn games include giant Jenga and Connect Four, and Spikeball, a game that involves tennis balls and a mini-trampoline. Frisbee and Wiffle ball are always fun, and Gaga Ball is increasingly popular with older kids and teens (especially at Hale Summer Camps).
Hale has stood the test of time, and our 1,000+ acres of adventure in nearby Westwood and Dover feature 20+ miles of trails, two ropes courses, and four ponds. Hale offers members access to private beaches and a fleet of canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sailboats, and SUPs. American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructors teach swimming lessons for ages 3 and up. So come by for a visit, stay a while, and enjoy an unforgettable family summer together!