Planning things to do while the kids are on school breaks isn't limited to just traditional schoolers. We homeschoolers like to take breaks as well, even if it seems like we are always planning educational activities. I'm not always a fan of getting out in nature, because nature can be really fickle in my area of the world. But, when the weather is right, taking a nature break can be just what you need to decompress and readjust for the next school cycle.
Head Out On A Nature Hike
Getting out in nature is a great way to get the entire family involved in an activity. If you are not a big hiker, then start slow. Go for a leisurely stroll to start out. As your fitness levels improve and everyone gets more comfortable being out in nature and hiking, you can start to tackle longer or more challenging trips.
It’s an important motto to live by as you go out exploring. Make sure your equipment is in good shape. Dress appropriately and wear shoes with good grip and ankle support for your hikes. On a hiking path, encourage your kids to stay reasonably close to you and not wander off the path.
Be prepared for anything you might encounter on your hike. Before heading out, check the weather so you know if you should pack a poncho or other weather gear. Have basic tools in your nature backpack for first aid and observing nature. If you’re headed out for more than an hour or two, pack a little snack to keep up your energy. And, always make sure to pack plenty of water.
Above all, have fun and enjoy the hike or ride. Take pictures, explore nature, and come back to do it again and again.
Go For A Bike Ride
Hiking and biking are both great ways to get the entire family out there, doing something together. I encourage you to give it a try even if you haven't been on a bike in years. Though it might not be quite as easy to get back into the hang of "riding a bike" that is often touted, starting with flat, wide paths can help you get steady on those first few trips.
Again, start slow and small and see how things are going. Make sure your equipment is in good shape. Wear a helmet. Make sure you can easily be seen if you’re sharing the road with vehicles. A safety vest and reflectors on your bike are always a good idea.
Check Your Equipment
Give all bicycles a good once-over before you hit the road, path, or trail. Know where you’re going. Know your route well and take a map with you if needed. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you’re going. This is particularly important when you’re hitting a trail in a park, nature reserve, or in the backcountry.
Before you head out with the kids, make sure they are aware of all important safety rules such as crossing streets, giving hand signals, and passing.
And don't forget your nature backpack! You don't want to forget necessary supplies like water and sunscreen, especially during the hot summer months.
Take a Camping Trip
Camping can be a great way to spend a frugal homeschool break, particularly if you already have the equipment you need.
If you’re a seasoned camper, check your gear. Make sure nothing has been damaged since the last camping trip, and you’re good to go. If you’re new to camping, deciding what type of camping trip you want to take is an important first step. Do you want to camp in a tent, in a camper, or rent a cabin at a campsite? Depending on what you decide will make a difference in what supplies you'll need.
If you don’t have any gear, ask friends what they use and if you can borrow some basic items like a tent. Set it up in the backyard at least once before you head out to make sure you’re familiar with the setup and that everything is in good working order. Sleeping mats are a good idea to make sure you’re comfortable. Depending on the climate, you can take some old blankets and comforters to snuggle up under if you don't have sleeping bags.
Head to your local superstore and pick up a gas stove and a few essentials like a pot and pan. Dig through your cabinet for plastic plates and bowls, or stick to disposables for this first trip. Keep it simple and inexpensive until you know you’ll enjoy camping.
You have a lot of options when it comes to campsites. State and national parks have great places set up for camping, or you can choose a KOA or local campground. If you do use one of these campgrounds, reserve your spot ahead of time, if possible. Many campsites fill up very quickly in the busy summer months. You can even choose to camp in your own backyard or on a friend or relative's land.
Food and Snacks
This is where you will have to be more specific about your family's dietary needs. You can pack either meals that you have already made ahead of time, or you can make a run to the store to pick up some staples for cooking. Dry goods are easy to store in the car, and you can always pack a cooler for everything else.
Keep it simple. Soup and sandwiches are always a big hit, as is roasting hot dogs over a campfire. Pack easy snacks for the kids. Grab some hot dogs and marshmallows and have dinner and entertainment! Sitting around the fire, roasting marshmallows, and telling stories is always a big hit.
Get Your School Break Bucket List of Ideas
There are tons of great ideas to add to your nature break list. We even created a bucket list for you that you can add to when great ideas pop up. Just click the button below!
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…