The clouds have parted and we are soaking up as much of the unseasonal sunshine as possible. To make the most of the weather and family time, we’ve thought of some fun ways to keep everyone active in the great outdoors. Pick your favourites and kick off Move for Health week with some creative outdoor exercise.
Take your little pirates to find real hidden treasure all over the city. Sign up on Geocaching.com and download the Geocaching app to start your adventure. If you’re feeling intrepid, explore remote parks and forests around the city like Deer Lake, Burnaby Mountain or Lynn Canyon. Geocaches are everywhere! Just bring a pencil to log your name when you’ve found each cache before putting it back. The excitement of treasure will keep the kids hunting for hours. We also love that geocaching teaches kids the power of computing while getting exercise!
Foraging for Wild Mushrooms and Edibles
Children are natural foragers. Our little ones stop to pick flowers, collect sticks and examine rocks and wildlife (especially when we need them to move along!). Embrace their curiosity by foraging for edibles. North Vancouver has some great spots to look for bounty such as Mount Seymour, Lynn Headwaters, and Cleveland Dam, but any local forest and trails will do. Use this guide to find out what berries, mushrooms, shoots and leaves to pick. Most mushrooms are found in fall, but the Morel pops up in spring and is one of the easiest varietals to identify and safest to eat. If you don’t find anything exotic, dandelions are edible and easy to find. Mix their petals into muffin batter or steep some for dandelion tea. Talk about working for your lunch!
Cleveland Dam and Capilano River Park has impressive views and moderate trails that weave through the forest. Some routes are short enough for the smallest family members and you can finish your outing with a visit to the jumping salmon at the fish hatchery. Lynn Canyon Park offers a range of hikes for kids of all ages and is home to a free suspension bridge that sits 50 metres above the canyon. Fearless tots will bound across the bridge and peer over the edge at the water below.
An obstacle course was the star of sport’s day when we were kids, but it can also be the star of your family’s Sunday afternoon. With a few supplies and some creativity you can build a course in your backyard or at the park. Include a run through a ladder, running with an egg on a spoon, hopping through hula-hoops, the crab walk, scattering golf balls to collect in bags, and finish with a few jumping jacks. It’s a great way to keep moving and laughing all afternoon.
This is an oldie but a goodie that can be played in your backyard or at any open space. Create ‘holes’ using baskets for the frisbee to land in, or natural objects to hit like stones or trees. Each family member has a frisbee and tries to complete the course with as few throws possible. Try a few practice tosses to determine each person’s ability and avoid making the course too difficult or easy.
A stretch on a grassy field is good for the body and the mind and great for any kids that aren’t keen on traditional sports. Check out our article on family yoga for the best kid-friendly poses.
If your kids drag their heels to get out for a family walk, consider some of these activities to get them excited about being outside. And if you get through this list, we’ve got ten more family adventures in Metro Vancouver to try. Not only will you get the kids out but the kid in you will come out too.
By: Alex Cubitt