As the school year winds down, homework requirements slacken, social calendars get less overbooked and days grow longer, it's worth getting your kids outdoors and reaping some of the fiscal and environmental benefits.
Here are a few ideas:
- Hop on a bike with kids who are old enough and find safe routes for peddling to the movies, nearby restaurants, baseball practice, dance class, friends' houses and even on small errands. You'll save money on gas and show your kids that they don't always need you and your car keys to get around.
- Fishing or berry/apple/pumpkin/whatever picking shows kids that food does not come in an endless stream, neatly packed in boxes from someplace far away. They'll see that what we eat has to be grown, or grow up, on farms and in the water and woods and it teaches them what grows and swims locally. They'll start to appreciate why it's important to protect local waters and farmland and woodland, and maybe even waste a little less at the dinner table.
- Remember, when you're small a little green space goes a long way. There are 5,842 state parks covering 13 million acres. They have 43,000 miles in walking trails. And there's city and county parkland on top of that. Some of these areas are suitable for camping, canoeing, skiing and swimming; others are just the right size for a leisurely, hour-long weekend excursion.
Getting out to one of these green spaces near you is a good opportunity to show your kids the nature you have, and that's worth protecting, right in your own hometown.