It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been to the beach, and it makes me sad.
There’s something so therapeutic about being at the ocean, listening to the waves, looking for dolphins and sea lions swimming along the shore, identifying and counting the number of birds we see, and playing in the sand and water.
We’re lucky that here in Southern California the first few weeks of fall are still quite warm and there are less tourists at the beach. My kids love it because the lifeguards aren’t on duty, so the towers become their mini playground. I’m sure they’re not supposed to play on them, but sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
We try to incorporate outdoor time as much as possible when the weather is good, which is fortunately most of the time where we live. Not only is it good for our bodies, but it’s also beneficial for our mental health. Homeschooling is so much more than academics, and that reason alone is why we all chose to homeschool.
Tips to Enjoy the Outdoors with Kids
If you’re a homebody and need help to get you and your kids outdoors, I’ve got you covered.
Remember, it’s okay to get wet and dirty
That’s what baths and washing machines and carwashes are for. If you have to stay clean the whole time you’re supposedly out enjoying nature, it’ll just induce anxiety in everyone. Plus what kid doesn’t like to play in creeks and mud pools and sand?
Organize a playgroup that meets outdoors
We meet with friends every Wednesday at the beach while the weather is good. It’s usually the highlight of the week and an easy day of schooling for us.
Grab a book or research online for local hikes in your area
We have a local hiking guide book we keep in the car and I often refer to my All Trails app on my phone to find easy hikes to do with the kids.
Start a nature journal
This is something I’m not very good at keeping. I think it’s just hard for me to do with the kids since I HATE lugging a ton of stuff when we go outdoors. Perhaps if we collected or photographed things we find we’d be better able to keep up with our journals.
Do math outside!
Wild Math Curriculum is awesome and we use it in addition to our normal math curriculum.
Look at things a little bit closer
I got the kids these pocket microscopes last Christmas as a stocking stuffer and they were a hit. The kids love looking at bugs, rocks, and leaves close up.
Grab some field guides and head outdoors
I love Mac’s Field Guides and try to pick one up whenever we visit a ranger station. They are laminated, light weight, and easy to slip into your backpack.
Go on a scavenger hunt
I looooooved doing these as a kid. I would actually create my own elaborate scavenger hunts and then make my friends do it while I watched. I’m sure I thought I was quite clever back then. But whether you create your own hunt or download one from online or go geocaching, scavenger hunts can make a simple walk around the neighborhood so much fun!
Plant a garden
If you don’t have easy access to outdoor space, then the next best thing is to create your own. Plant a container garden on your patio or front porch. Kids love getting their hands dirty and eating whatever foods they grow.
Track the amount of time your kids spend outdoors
#1000hoursoutside has a variety of trackers you can download and print out. The idea is to spend the average amount of time kids spend on tech outdoors as a way to bring balance to their lives.
How are you making time in your homeschool to #optoutside?
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and sometimes purveyor of vintage goods. She’s an Enneagram 5, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and day dreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.