Family Experience, Parents

Essential Outdoor Activities for Kid-Friendly Summer Fun

Are you ready to abandon the artificial chill of air-conditioned living and head out into the great outdoors this summer with your family? Need some ideas for kid-friendly outdoor fun? We’ve got some awesome activities that’ll spark your imagination AND boost your love of the outdoors.

How do we know this? Because it worked for us! We asked some of our staff for their favorite childhood summer outdoor activities and made a list to share with you.

You can try a few new ones this summer or check them all off for the ultimate outdoor summer of fun.

Creek Stomping

“No summer was complete without spending time exploring a river (or creek) and getting a little muddy (okay, sometimes a LOT muddy). We’d put on our oldest play clothes, slide on our water shoes, and ride our bikes down to the Ottawa river for some watery fun. Clambering around on trees, wading into the water to catch crawdads, searching for fossils and oddly shaped rocks, each time we found something new and came home tired, muddy, and happy. I highly recommend a creek stomping adventure as you and your girl explore the outdoors this summer!” -Megan Ramey, Program and Partnerships


“One of the best memories I have is riding bikes with my friends in the summer. We would ride on our street or short trips around town.  As we got older, the distances that we rode grew.  Now I would love to get on a bike path with a picnic lunch and spend the day just riding and seeing our communities from a different view.” -Bonnie Edgin, Inside Sales

“I do love biking with my family! Miami County has some great bike trails. It’s so fun to go biking in a wooded area, and see trains going by on the train track, and see the river, and streams, and other wildlife. My husband has one of those alligator tails to attach to my son’s bike so they can stay together. I have a Wee-Hoo that is a little seat with pedals that attaches to my bike. Holly sits there. It’s a fun adventure. We like to go bike riding in the evening when its cooler and ride 4 or 5 miles on the trail.” Megan Sherman, Community Outreach


“As soon as the weather started to warm up I would beg my dad to take me fishing. We would pack up our poles, nets, worms and tackle box and head for the farm pond. Nothing was more exciting than walking up to the undisturbed stillness of the water. As soon as I would set up my pole and put my bait on the hook I was wading in the water excited for fish. I would watch dragonflies zip from cattail to cattail with one eye while keeping the other eye on the line as I waited for my first bite. All of a sudden the line would jerk and I would pull my line out of the water. Pretty soon I was catching fish after fish and having the time of my life.” -Chelsea Hinojosa, Program and Partnerships


“Lots of hiking! Doesn’t matter if it was just down the road to fish in the creek by our house or on a family camping trip. Every place we went there was a new discovery, which is what made it so much fun. I have been lucky enough to hike in places like Colorado and the Poconos in Pennsylvania, but the local park districts are just as amazing and full of new sights, sounds, animals, plants…I could go on forever! There is something magical about discovering your own “backyard,” knowing that so many amazing things in nature are only a few steps away if you just take the time to explore.” -Kelli Rempe, Customer Care


“Summer doesn’t seem to begin until pools are open!  As a former swim team member, I love swimming fun!  Whether at a lake, a river or the community pool; endless hours of sharks and minnows, water polo or Marco Polo, water time is a needed summer activity!” -Sarah Kelly, Program and Partnerships


“I love canoeing the Mad River. It’s a quiet and peaceful day on the river. The current takes you down stream and you just have to steer and watch for wildlife. Go over the tractor pass (a teeny dip) in your canoe and keep an eye out for water snakes, little schools of fish, and birds as you drift. It’s a great opportunity to talk or just be quiet. My daughter and I pretend we’re Pocahontas and sing “Just Around the Riverbend.” Summer’s not summer without a canoe trip!” -Amy Orwick, Product Sales


“I love the freedom and control that I get with a Kayak, it’s always been my favorite way to hit the water! For me the best is the Little Miami, with tons of perfect places to stop along the river for picnics, swimming, rock/fossil hunting, plenty of shade to keep you cool, plus there are always friends to be made on the river! When we are done nothing better than a soft serve ice cream cone to cap off the day. I have my own kayak so it makes it easy but with tons of liveries along the river that offer rafts, canoes, kayaks, and tubes (!) there is a trip for everyone at every level and you can make a day of it or just an afternoon.” Devon Beck, Product Sales

Try Something New

What’s a fun activity you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had a chance? Then make this summer your try something new summer! Here are some ideas from our staff to get you started:


“I haven’t done this myself, but want to with my family. I didn’t realize how many local groups there are for letterboxing. Girl Scout groups, Facebook groups, etc. There is so much fun to do out in the local communities with Letterboxing. And a fun way to explore outside!” Megan Sherman, Community Outreach


“Growing up in the days of no smart phones, I still loved a good treasure hunt. And now we have an activity that combines the outdoors, technology, and treasure: a geocache! There are over a million hidden geocaches all over the world and all you need to join the hunt is a GPS receiver (or a smart phone with a built-in GPS receiver) and a free account at or to look up current caches. Some serious family fun!” Megan Ramey, Program and Partnerships

So what are you waiting for? Slip on your favorite moisture wicking t-shirt, grab a hat, slap on some sunscreen, and take your family on an outdoor adventure this summer!

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