Active, Educational Summer Activities For Kids of All Ages

It’s summer. All of the regular activities are done and school is out. So now what?

Here are a five fun activities to keep the kids busy, healthy and learning this summer.

Farmers Market

photo credit: 86805724@N00

1. Farmer’s Market

Taking weekly trips to the local farmer’s market is a great way to get outside, and teach your kids about real food. And letting your kids help pick out fresh produce is also a way to get them to eat more fruits and vegetables.

Eating seasonal, local fare will really give you and your kids a taste of summer – fruits and vegetables at their peak can’t be beat.

There are quite a few farmer’s markets in the area (you can search for one close to you at Local Harvest) and every Tuesday my kids hop in the wagon, and we walk to the Grandville market.

We love our little walk, and we stock up on fresh produce so we can preserve it for the rest of the year. My daughter even likes to help me pick out what we buy and enjoys trying new things.

And visiting the market is also a great way to meet local farmers and learn more about your community.

2. John Ball Zoo

The zoo is a fun place to get fresh air and exercise and learn about animals.

John Ball Zoo is great because it’s small enough that it doesn’t take a whole day to see all of the animals and yet there is still so much to see:

  • you can feed some of the animals and take camel rides
  • there is a zip line and rope course
  • there is a petting zoo and play train
  • and new this year is a funicular

John Ball Zoo is great for a quick outing or an afternoon of picnicking and fun. Memberships are also very affordable so you can enjoy it all year-long.

childrens literature

photo credit: terwilliger911

3. Library

Looking for a rainy day activity? Check out your local library!

The library is a wonderful place to learn and play. There are toys, computers and of course….books. Our local libraries also offer summer reading programs with incentives for the kids to keep reading through the summer. Visiting the library is a great activity for kids of all ages.

And the best part? You get to bring the fun home.

Check out a few (or a lot) of books and keep learning all summer long. Reading with your children is one of the best things you can do for them.

4. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Another great place for learning and never-ending fun is the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. It has many hands on activities for a wide range of ages. The GRCM has activities all summer long (view the event list).

The theme for June is Fur, Fins and Feathers.

You can even get a membership to GRCM as well to enjoy it the whole year-long. The museum is even open in the evenings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

After church fun. <3 summer!

photo credit: donielle

5. Parks

What’s summer without a trip to the park?

West Michigan has a great selection of parks, so make sure you find one near you. And a walk to the park is a great way to get exercise and soak up some Vitamin D.

It is also a great place to meet with other families for socializing, so pack everyone up and enjoy company and fellowship.

Summer is a great time for learning, fresh foods and lots of fun. Get out (or in!) and enjoy it.

How do you stay active (and learn) during the summer with your kids?

 

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

My first experience with yoga

a guest post by Mary.

I am not super flexible.

I am not meditative.

I am not an easy-going person.

I’ve been playing soccer since junior high, through college and into adulthood. I love to run, be active and stay busy. But I am also a worn out mother of two that needs some rest and rejuvenation. Many days lately exercise feels more like a chore than a joy and that it could actually be doing more harm than good.

So recently I decided I need a change.

I need to challenge my mind and body in a new way instead of doing the same routine day after day. I need a new approach to fitness and taking care of myself.

Coincidentally a few weeks ago I heard of a new yoga studio (PeaceLabYoga) opening just down the road in Grandville. I’ve always been curious about yoga. But being such an “athlete” I always wondered how doing a few stretches could keep you in shape, so I never tried it.

grandville mi yoga

I really know nothing about yoga, except that it seems like everyone that practices loves it. So apprehensions aside I decided to go for it.

Two weeks ago I took my first yoga class at PeaceLab Yoga with the amazing instructor Melanie McQuown.

Before the first class I was very nervous. I had no idea what I was doing so the beginner class was perfect for me. Melanie explains things very well and is very patient. Her assistant Kirsten is excellent as well.

There is no pressure and you don’t need any experience. By the second class (just a few days later) I was hooked. Yoga is a new experience for me.

It is challenging my body in new ways and I love how I feel during and afterwards. Although it is physically challenging it is also very calming. I found myself actually getting sleepy a few times! I guess that will happen when an overtired mother of young children gets a few minutes of quiet and relaxation.

I have only taken a few classes so far, but I love it!

grandville mi yoga

I am excited to see how practicing yoga will impact my physical health, my fitness and my overall well being over time.

When it comes to staying healthy and fit it is important to do a variety of activities to work all parts of your body. If you’ve never tried yoga I strongly encourage you to do so. I was skeptical for years. But after just a few classes I can already see how beneficial this will be for me. I am excited to strengthen my core and improve my posture. As someone that has struggled with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder for years I am hoping it will also have a positive impact on my mental health as well.

If you live in the West Michigan area I recommend visiting PeaceLab Yoga. Melanie McQuown, the owner, is a wonderful woman with a gentle spirit and a heart for building community. I felt very welcomed and at ease from the moment I stepped into the studio. I don’t know how often I will be able to take classes, but I will look forward to it each time I can.

A little escape from the chaos of daily life, a time to refocus and balance, a chance to take a little time for myself, an opportunity to get in shape and challenge my body in new ways – that is my first experience with yoga.

I hope that it will be a life long journey to continue this process and learn what more yoga has to offer.

 

Do you enjoy yoga?

 

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.