The neighborhood kids were over last Sunday and started the day with an arts & crafts project.  While their googly-eyed green monsters were drying, my daughter said, “Let’s do a science project!”  Pete, my husband, walked in and told the kids about how he and his buddies used to turn over old logs in the woods to see what was under them.

The kids decided they needed some plastic bags before they headed out the door and into the back of the pickup truck.  Pete drove them over the lawn to the back woods behind the house.  An hour later I heard them running back to the house to turn the hose on.  I peeked out the door and saw a mess of dirt, water, worms, buckets, jars, and beautiful smiling faces.

With warmer days ahead and a summer vacation to fill, I want to have a full arsenal of ideas to get the kids outside exploring the world around them.  I went to the bookstore that night to research books that had good incentives to get the kids (and adults) out of the house.  I came across some great ones that are available at Royal River books and will be on my bookshelf at home.

“Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play and Enjoy Your Garden” by Renata Brown is packed with creative activities for all ages.

“Great Things to do Outside” by DK publishing has great projects and activities like bird watching, hunting for fossils, forecasting the weather and building a dam.  All of the projects have color photos and step by step instructions.

“The Adventurous Book of Outdoor Games” by Scott Struther contains a treasure trove of the best neighborhood games invented by children since the beginning of time.

There are many others as well, including the classic, “Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots”.  Hopefully we can encourage all of the little people and the big people to enjoy the great outdoors this spring and summer!