6 Fun Family Ideas for Escaping to the Great Outdoors
As the thrill of summer vacation wanes, the kids become restless and boredom sets in. Plan a camping getaway as an exciting end-of-the-summer hurrah and escape to the wilderness. Here’s inspiration for an unforgettable family summer retreat with nature.
Despite being called “work,” prep work for a family excursion into nature can actually be just as fun as the road trip and outdoor adventures. Start with the main courses and prepare your foil dinner camping fare as a fun family affair. Foil dinners are quick to make, easy to pack and tasty to eat.
Recipe inspiration blog Just Get Off Your Butt And Bake recommends hamburger patties seasoned with fresh pepper, onion salt and brown sugar. Pair hamburgers with sliced red potatoes and carrots and place these sides on top of the patties. Fold in the foil sides and seal the tops — voila! Dinner is ready. Check out Six Sisters’ Stuff’s 30 delicious tin foil dinners for fancier palate-pleasing ideas.
Mix & Match Trail Mix
Exploring a hiking trail or swimming in the lake will work up an appetite. Curb ravenous hunger with homemade sweet and salty trail mix that includes healthy ingredients and kids’ favorite treats. For an out-of-this-world trail mix recipe to cure snack cravings, it’s all about mastering combinations. Make sure to start with these major trail mix food groups, per healthy lifestyle site Greatist.com, and pick at least one ingredient from each.
- Dried fruit
- Savory extras
Homemade Bug Repellent
Food and snacks, check. Tent and sleeping gear, check. Flashlights, headlamps and lanterns, check. As you run through your camping checklist (REI offers a great comprehensive list!), don’t forget a crucial item that prevents a miserable time — bug repellent.
Waking up to a beautiful sun rise and warm sunshine is good. Waking up to enough mosquito bites to look like chicken pox, bad. Avoid getting eaten alive and concoct your own DEET-free bug repellent lotion and spray made with shea butter, lemongrass and pennyroyal, as suggested on MossyMossy.com. A mixture of various essential oils, including citronella, cedarwood, rosemary, and eucalyptus, effectively repels insects. Always test for an allergic reaction before using and reapply frequently.
If you’re a thrill-seeking, adrenaline-pumping family who loves to get dirty and go fast, invest in a four-wheeling play toy. Riding an ATV is an excellent way to kick an alfresco retreat into high gear. ATV riding isn’t recommended for little ones under the age of 6 though. Children age 6 and older can drive youth ATVs equipped with simple controls, moving at extremely low speeds, typically between 10 and 15 mph. By ages 12 and 13, kids can increase speeds to under 25 mph, according to ATVSafety.gov.
And of course, never let a child on an ATV without a helmet. Twenty-five percent of U.S. adolescents have ridden an ATV, and less than half regularly wear helmets, and a quarter never do, according to Reuters.com. Prevent serious injury or fatal crashes by always wearing helmets and safely ensuring ATV parts are top-quality.
Glow-in-the-Dark Campfire Games
Once the sun sets and the fire’s ablaze, keep the excitement going with campfire games. Bring along glow necklaces to make glow-in-the-dark hopscotch and ring toss games. Momma Did It blogger Alison even put five glow bracelets in a beach ball before blowing it up for volleyball. And what about glow-in-the-dark bubbles? All you need are the materials below and to follow the easy steps provided by Crafts4Boys.net to make fun DIY glow in the dark bubbles.
- Non-toxic glow sticks
- Clear bubble liquid
- Bubble blowing wands
- Paper towels
No place is better for being starstruck than the quiet, remote wilderness surrounded by nature. Now that the fire’s barely crackling, it’s time to gaze into the twinkling dark night sky. As you stargaze, identify planets like Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Then find the Milky Way and its distinct string of stars. AstroViewer is an excellent resources for a night sky map and sky alerts.
Have a healthy and fun family day!