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  • Sprinkler run

    When it's hot outside, play in the sprinklers. It's cool and no one is too old for that.

    Don't forget to put on some sun-block. Go ahead and put on your bathers, or just run outside in your casual clothes for some spontaneous fun. Check for any rocks or sticks to protect your bare feet.

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  • Can you find the treasure?

    Hide a surprise in the backyard. Make a map and have the kids find the surprise. Draw in trees, bushes and walkways to help them along the way. X marks the spot!

    Read a pirate or treasure themed book for fun before you do this. Dress up like pirates for the day, I'll put you in the mood!

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  • Guess what's inside! Nature's mystery bag

    Collect different types of leaves, grass, twigs and foliage that will fit in a sack. Have kids reach their hands inside (without looking!), hold onto something. Older kids will have fun guessing what they're touching.

    Collect the objects for the bag when your kids are occupied doing something else so it's a complete mystery for them.

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  • Animal sounds guessing game

    Take turns making animal sounds. Add some mystery to it by having your child guess what animal you're mimicking. Then take a turn being the guesser.

    If you're going to be at a park or away from home, bring a list of fun animals for ideas. Don't be afraid to be a kid for this one! You're children will love your participation in this wacky game.

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  • The smallest bug

    Use a magnifying glass to look at the smallest plant or animal you can find. How many legs does it have? Does it have wings? Does it wave at you?

    When you're done looking at the animal or bug, go inside and recreate the animal by drawing or painting it. Be careful not to burn the creature because magnifying glasses can create a lot of heat in the sun!

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  • What's around the block?

    You'll be amazed by what might be right in your neighbourhood. Try taking a walk around the block and look at the plants and trees that surround you. Are there some especially pretty or unusual ones? What animals do you spot along the way?

    Take a piece of paper and map anything interesting on it. You can bring it the next time you come and constantly add to it. Bring a neighbour or friend with you. Everyone sees the world differently.

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  • What scent is this?

    Gather four different objects with different scents, like grass, flowers etc. Place the object close to the child's nose with his or her eyes closed, and ask the child to smell it and try to identify what it is.

    Flowers and grass are particularly pungent. Take notes of the most weird or nice smells.

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  • Backyard camp-out staycation

    Spend a weekend away in your own backyard. You don't need a big place for a big adventure. All you'll need is a tent and your family to join you. Pitch the tent, bring some flashlights, ghost stories and enjoy the time away from the world and with your kids.

    Have the adults or older kids be prepared to tell some ghost stories in advance to add a real sense of the outdoors.

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  • Hill climb and panorama

    Is there a tall hill nearby? Kids love lookout points. Climb a tall hill with your kids and look at the view. What can you see from that's different every time you look in another direction?

    Try to find some points of interest from the top of the hill. Bring a camera and take photos of your kids looking like they're on top of the world.  Imagine you're on a journey across the highest peak? Ask your kids what you would do, wear or eat!

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  • Mud pie master pie maker

    Do you have any pie tins lying around the house? Take your kids outside where there is some good looking mud and bring a mixing bowl and the pie tin. Get your hands in there and glop several handfuls of mud into the mixing bowl). Stir the mud concoction so that you get all the lumps out and it's as smooth as brownie batter. Pour the mud into a pie tin and leave out in the sun to dry!

    If you have no true mud available, just do the same using sand or dirt and a cup or so of water. Put some grass or leaves on top of the dry pie as a nice garnish. Let your kids have fun experimenting with different types of pie: garden soil, dirt, mulch, sand, mud or a combination of all of the above.

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  • Easy-peasy compost bin

    Choose a location that is easily accessible from you kitchen and/or garden. You can use a bin or just surround a pile with a mesh fence. You can start it with leaves, grass clippings and other garden debris. Help activate the compost by adding a shovelful of finished compost or garden soil to your compost pile of one cubic metre brown and green material (2 parts brown to 1 part green). You and your child can work together to turn the pile about once every week. You'll be satisfied to see finished compost about two months after you began the project.

    Do not add any animal waste, oils, dairy, diseased plants or chemicals to your compost. Checking the moisture level and adding water/drying pile will prevent the compost from not heating up and from smelling.

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  • Make a bird bath

    Birds love to freshen up after flying all day and they're great to watch. Use some empty plant pots or even a frisbee as the bath. Take the container out to your yard and let the birds come to you! The best bird baths will have running water. You can turn an old soda bottle into a drip bottle as another do-it-yourself project.

    Once birds start coming, watch with your kids and try to identify them. If you have stagnant water, empty it out and refill it every now and then to keep the mosquitoes away and the birds healthy.

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