15 Summer Activities to Help Your Kids Appreciate Nature

The following is a guest post.  No compensation was received. 

What are your kids doing this summer? For many of us, summer time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine, and if you’re lucky the ocean!

As much as kids love summertime, keeping them busy can be a real chore! If you don’t have the luxury of sending the kids to camp, then it’s up to you as parent to find things for the youngsters to keep busy with.

Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen.  Research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of children.

Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental ill health and it’s on the rise. Prescription medication of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options for cost effective services for mental health and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. We need to learn from the past when kids got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building dens rather than spending hours inside.

Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic on 15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature.

This is what it looks like:

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature

From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there’s plenty for the youngsters to get up to. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids out and about enjoying nature.

An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.
Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.

December Baby – 18 months

Sweet boy,

It’s hard to believe you are halfway to 2 years old!  

Lots of learning going on around here!  You figured out how to ride the ride-on toys, and you zoom all over the house!  You learned a new sign, “bath”.  When I ask “where’s your belly button?”, you lift up your shirt.  And, you’ve added a few new words to your vocabulary.  

I love you!
Mommy

Current stats:

Weight: 28 lbs. 7 oz.
Height: 33.75 in.

Pants: 18 months
Shirts: 18 months
Shoes: size 6
Diapers: size 5
Teeth: still 12, I think?

Foods:
Likes – almost everything lol
Dislikes – green beans

18 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Will “read” board books on his own – Yep
  • Scribbles well – Yes

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Strings two words together in phrases – “Uh oh”, “thank you”, “hi dada”
  • Brushes teeth with help – Yes
  • Stacks four blocks – Been there, done that

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Throws a ball overhand – Been there, done that
  • Takes toys apart and puts them back together – Yep
  • Shows signs of toilet training readiness – He’ll point to his diaper sometimes when he’s wet.

December Baby – 17 months

Happy 17 months, sweet boy!

This month was a big one on the language front. You’ve added a few more actual words to your vocabulary, and can now say “bye” and wave. You can understand simple directions, and follow them. You point to your nose when asked, and you love to high-five! It’s so cute!


I love you!
Mommy

17 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Uses six words regularly – Yes – “mama”, “dada”, “hello”, “bye”, “no”, “go”…
  • Enjoys pretend games – Yep
  • Likes riding toys – He can sit on them, but hasn’t quite figured out how to make them go…

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Feeds doll – Nope
  • Speaks more clearly – He’s getting there.
  • Throws a ball underhand – I haven’t seen him do this, but he throws overhand really well.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Dances to music – Yes
  • Sorts toys by color, shape, or size – Not yet
  • Kicks ball forward – Maybe once or twice? He prefers throwing them. Lol

December Baby – 16 months

Happy 16 months, little guy!

You are becoming more verbal and mobile everyday. You still mostly jabber, but you can now say 5 words/phrases (Uh oh, mama, dada, go, thank you). You also sign “more” and “milk”. You’re an expert at climbing on and off the couch. Your one year molars are in, bringing the teeth total to 12.

You’re just now getting into the tantrum phase, but overall, you’re a happy boy who loves to laugh and play!

I love you!

– Mommy

16 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Turns the pages of a book – Yes
  • Has temper tantrums when frustrated – He’s just starting this.
  • Becomes attached to a soft toy or other object – Nope

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Discovers the joy of climbing – Definitely
  • Stacks three blocks – Been there, done that.
  • Uses spoon or fork – He’s getting more coordinated.
  • Learns the correct way to use common objects (e.g., the telephone) – Yes

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Takes off one piece of clothing by himself – Not yet
  • Gets finicky about food – Yes
  • Switches from two naps to one – Not everyday, but more often than not.

December Baby – 15 months

Sweet Boy –

I can’t believe how fast 15 months have gone by. You are so full of personality! Your laugh is infectious, and you have to do everything your big brother does. You love to be outside, and will run to the back door every time we let the dog in or out, even if it’s pouring down rain!  It is so much fun watching you grow up!

I love you!
Mommy

Current stats:

Weight: 26 lb. 2 oz.
Height: 32.5 in.

Pants: 12-18 months, depending on the brand
Shirts/Onesies: 18 months
Shoes: Size 5
Diapers: Size 5
Teeth: 8

Foods:
Likes – cheese, bread, blueberries
Dislikes – green beans

15 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Plays with ball – Yep
  • Uses three words regularly – Not yet
  • Walks backward – Nope

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Scribbles with a crayon – Kind of…
  • Runs – Yep!
  • Adopts “no” as his favorite word – He doesn’t even say “no” yet…lol

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • “Helps” around the house – Yes, he loves to sweep and “unload” the dishwasher.
  • Puts his fingers to his mouth and says “shhh” – Nope

December Baby – 14 months

Happy 14 months, sweet boy!

You are growing up so fast! You can now kick and throw a ball, which is lots of fun when playing with big brother and the dog!  You’re also becoming quite the little helper…you love to “sweep” with a broom. And, when you hear music, you dance (bouncing up and down). 

You have 8 teeth (4 on top and bottom). You’ll eat almost anything I put in front of you, but you love fruit the most (especially strawberries and blueberries).

I love you so much!

Mommy

14 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Eats with fingers – Yes
  • Empties containers of contents – Been there, done that.
  • Imitates others – Yep

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Toddles well – Been there, done that.
  • Initiates games – Not really
  • Points to one body part when asked – Nope
  • Responds to instructions (e.g., “give me a kiss”) – Not yet

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Uses a spoon or fork. – We’re working on it.
  • Matches lids with appropriate containers. – Not yet
  • Pushes and pulls toys while walking – Pushes – yes, still working on pulling

December Baby – 13 months

Happy 13 months, sweet boy! The last month has just flown by with the holidays! We celebrated three Christmases (one with each side of the extended family, and our own on Christmas day).

You have 7 teeth (4 on top, 3 on bottom), and can now feed yourself with your hands. You hate to be spoon-fed ANYTHING! You’re also no longer drinking formula or using bottles!

You can point to what you want, and shake your head “no”. You’re still a huge fan of toys with wheels, as well as containers you can take stuff in and out of.

It’s so much fun watching you grow up! I love you!

13 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Uses two words skillfully (e.g., “hi” and “bye”) – He says “go” and points.
  • Bends over and picks up an object – Yep

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Enjoys gazing at his reflection – Not that I’ve noticed
  • Holds out arm or leg to help you dress him – On rare occasion

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Combines words and gestures to make needs known – Just “go”, like I mentioned above.
  • Rolls a ball back and forth – Yep

December Baby – 12 months

Sweet Boy –

I can’t believe how fast this year went by. The saying, “The days are long, but the years are short.”, is so very true! You have grown so much this year…from a tiny 6 lbs newborn to a walking and babbling 12 month old with a little belly! You love to laugh and play with your big brother. Your favorite toys are anything with wheels.

You’re so much fun, and I’m so blessed that you are part of our family! I’m looking forward to year two!

Love,
Mommy

Current stats:

weight: 25 lb.
height: 30.25 in.

Pants: 12 months
Shirts/Onesies: 12-18 months
Shoes: Size 4
Diapers: Size 4
Teeth: 4 (2 on top, 2 on bottom)

Foods:
Likes – Turkey, bread, sweet potatoes, blueberries, strawberries
Dislikes – green peas

 

12 month milestones (from Baby Center):

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)

  • Imitates others’ activities – A little
  • Indicates wants with gestures – Not yet

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)

  • Takes a few steps – More than a few…lol
  • Says one word besides “mama” or “dada” – “Uh Oh”

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)

  • Walks alone – Yep
  • Scribbles with a crayon – We haven’t tried this yet.
  • Says two words besides “mama” or “dada” – He just makes sounds. Nothing that really sounds like words to me.

 

See all of his first year:

Birth / One Month / Two Months / Three Months / Four Months / Five Months / Six Months / Seven Months / Eight Months / Nine Months / Ten Months / Eleven Months

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