The air is warm, the flowers are coming up, we can finally fire up the BBQ and stand beside it while the food cooks instead of running inside and setting a timer so we don’t forget our food is outside.
I love this time of year. The kids come home from school and we immediately turn around and go back outside. Whether it’s in the backyard, to a park or for a bike ride (or all three), it makes me endlessly happy.
Family Fun time doesn’t have to be scheduled and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. Fresh air, exercise and time together are the perfect ingredients to make free family memories. Even if you can just get out with your kids for half an hour after school or on a Saturday after swimming lessons, it’s the best.
For my family, this will be the first year that we’ll be able to go for a bike ride all together. My daughter has training wheels and is getting to the point where she is confident enough to ride without me walking beside her “just in case”. She’s getting the hang of her brakes and I’m beginning to trust her to stop at all roads and watch for cars in driveways.
I can’t wait for the day we can all hop on our bikes and go to a park for a picnic, with no particular time to be home. My daughter’s naps are pretty well finished so we don’t have to rush home for lunch or naps anymore. Exciting! And free!
When bike riding, make sure your kids are wearing a proper helmet and have a bike that is right for their size. Any place that sells bikes and helmets should be able to fit you and your children properly so they are safe and comfortable. We make sure our kids always have their helmets on before they even sit on their bikes. If it becomes habit, it won’t be a big deal when they’re older.
Also, as unattractive as bike helmets can be, we need to set an example for our kids. We MUST wear helmets when riding. You never know what can happen, and it only takes one fall to have a serious injury. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here but don’t take the chance and wear a helmet! Your kids are watching you!
With young kids, I find it’s easier to have a destination when going for a ride. Choose a park or go to the end of the street and back. As they get older they can just “go”, but young kids need to know when there will be a break and when they are halfway. I find this makes things easier. If you’re going to be out for more than an hour, it’s also a good idea for that halfway point to have a bathroom! A coffee shop, community centre, friend’s house…whatever! Pee before you go, and be ready to run in to a store.
It’s hot out! And you’re wearing a helmet and pumping those leg muscles! Kids are going to get thirsty. Take a backpack with water and snacks if you’re gone for a while. Think of taking a bottle of water on your bike if it’s a short ride. You can always refill it at your halfway point!
Enjoy this time and have fun with your kids. Bike rides, inline skates, taking the dog for a walk, going to the park-it’s all free. It doesn’t matter WHAT you do, as long as you’re taking the time to do it together. Our summers are short-get out every day and include your kids.
For more fun ideas to spend time with your family, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, visit my “Family Fun” tab for some good times!