Outdoor alternatives to boring playgrounds

Kids love to play outdoors, but trips to the same local playground can get boring. The good news is you do not have to go to the playground to enjoy a great day outdoors. I recently wrote an article about some of the benefits kids reap from being in nature. There are many ways you can get them outdoors and have a little fun this summer. Here are some alternative locations you can enjoy with your kids.

A swimming hole

Whether you visit the beach, a lake, a creek or even a local pool, it is great to spend time with your kids in the water. Kids act completely different in a swimming hole than they do on land. You may have noticed they seem happier, more exuberant and just more free. Don't just sit on the bank. Jump in and swim and frolic around, too. You'll feel like a kid again yourself.

Down the trail

Bike or hike, it doesn't matter. Just find a trail and go exploring. Be sure to research any dangers you might find on the trail, such as local snakes and poisonous plants, so that you will be prepared. Then lace up your shoes and go. You will be amazed at the things your kids will find that you might never have seen, and you can learn about your world together.

Back to school

Go explore a school yard that you have never visited before. Keep your eyes out for lost treasures in the sand and enjoy a whole new set of playground equipment. Race around the track and explore the hidden nooks and corners of the lot. Maybe bring along a ball and play catch on the softball field. School yards are fun when school is out and you have the whole place to yourself.

Up a tree

If you are really daring and a little bit athletic, try climbing a tree together. Very few children climb trees anymore, and when they do try, grown-ups often promptly tell them to get down. Find a friendly tree and climb on up and see how the world looks from up high. Just make sure you know how to get back down.

Out on a bridge

Kids love looking at things from a fresh perspective. If you know of a park or nature center with an accessible bridge, take your kids and let them look at the water from above. Take along a small baggie of dog or cat food to toss in the water and see if fish come up to grab a bite. You may be surprised at the frenzy you will see below.

More from Tavia:

Helping Kids Overcome Nature Deficit Disorder

Comprehensive Guide to Field Trip Etiquette

Why Dads Should Get Caught Reading