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As parents, I think we can all agree that it is easy to run out of ideas to keep your kids entertained all summer. Sure it is great to go to swimming pools, zoos, museums, etc., but that gets expensive and you can only do the same thing so many times. In this situation, it is easy to turn to TV or video games to keep your kids happy and entertained, but with just a little bit of planning, it is actually pretty easy to find fun things for your kids to do outside!

Each of these ideas will keep your kids staying active and get a lot of energy out. And they are fun for mom and dad too :).

1. Find a fun hike
Find a hike that the whole family can do. If you have young children and are interested in doing this often, it may be a good idea to invest in a hiking backpack. You can actually find ridiculously good deals in local classified ads for these and most of them have hardly been used. Make sure the hike is easy enough and short enough that your kids will be able to make it there and back. Try to hike to a destination and bring snacks (and water) for them.

If you live in Utah, one of our favorite hikes to do with all the grandkids in my family is Battle Creek Falls in Pleasant Grove. It is only about 0.7 miles each way and there is only one fairly steep hill for the kids to go up. Best of all, it ends at a waterfall where the kids can climb over logs, throw rocks, and play in the river.

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2. Get out the bikes, rollerblades, skateboards, anything!
I know it sounds almost too obvious to mention this, but I think sometimes we forget about the simplest things! Remember how fun it was to ride all over the neighborhood when you were a kid? Well, kids today think it is fun too! Try to plan a few days where you can all go explore somewhere new or take a new trail to keep it interesting and fun.

3. Make a simple obstacle course
This doesn’t have to be time consuming to plan. If you give kids directions on what to do and then time them, they will have fun. You can use simple things like “hit the ball off tee, run around the tree 3 times, run to the trampoline and do a somersault, then run through the sprinkler.” Seriously, kids will love anything. And if water is involved, they will love it even more on a hot summer day.

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4. Plan a scavenger hunt to find their favorite toy
This one does take a little more planning to hide the clues and everything, but it will be worth your time! My husband did this with my nephews quite a few times last summer and they LOVED it. He hid one of their Mario toys and then left clues all over the house to find their hidden toy. After a few times of doing it, they started making up their own scavenger hunts. It was so fun!

5. Go for a walk
Just getting outside and going for a walk is fun. Even better, you can theme it. Turn it into a nature walk and have them find all different colors of rocks or point out different types of flowers and trees. Planning a walk to a destination is also fun. One of our favorites is to walk up to Bridal Veil Falls up Provo Canyon in Utah. It is an easy walk on a paved trail and at the end, there is a river and a shallow pool of water at the bottom of the waterfall for kids to play in. It is also extremely gorgeous.

6. Play in the water
Have a sprinkler they can play in, fill up some water balloons, have some water guns, invest in a little plastic backyard pool, all of these can keeps kids entertained for hours! There are also splash pads popping up all over the place these days. Splash pads are awesome when it is too hot to be at the playground. They are also usually free!

7. Find a local pond
Find a pond where you can feed ducks or float little boats. In Utah, we go up to Liberty Park and take small plastic boats. They have a river there for kids to play in then there is a huge grassy area to run around on afterwards.

Above all, get involved and have fun with your kids this summer!

-Jaeme

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