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The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the kids are…inside on the iPad? Hmm, something isn’t adding up here. If your kids need a bit of coaxing to enjoy the great outdoors, here are five activities that will keep them entertained all summer long. And don’t worry, they all require minimal effort on your part (you’re welcome).

kid grabbing water balloons
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Compete in Backyard Olympics

Invite your kids’ friends over and pick teams out of a hat. Be sure to vary the challenges so that they appeal to different strengths and abilities. Our favorite games? Water balloon toss, three-legged race and hula-hooping. Feel free to sit back and root from the sidelines or get right in there with ’em.

Sponsored smithfield ham sandwich
Smithfield

Turn Lunchtime Into a Game

School’s out, but that doesn’t mean you should retire the packed lunch. For an afternoon away from video games, whip up a few Smithfield on-the-go ham sandwiches and take them with you for an outdoor scavenger hunt in a nearby park, beach or hiking trail. Depending on where you go, write down a list of things for your kiddos to look out for along the way. Think specific animals or trees, giant spider webs or unique shells. Trust us, this will keep them engaged for hours.

sidewalk chalk in bucket
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Play Games with Sidewalk Chalk

Raise your hand if you stayed outside for hours on end when you were younger making murals with sidewalk chalk. Well, who said that had to stop now that you’re a mama? This time around, use the chalk to draw your own Twister game or giant checkerboard (use colored paper plates as the pieces). You can even play a game of Pictionary with the blacktop as your canvas.

tent and blanket in park
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Camp Out in the Backyard

Summer = the season of camping. To experience a much less stressful version, pitch a tent right in your backyard. Once it gets dark, bring out the flashlights and cuddle up in your sleeping bags. The best part? Everyone can walk right back inside if the allure wears off.

planted herbs in garden
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Plant a Mini Herb Garden

This is one of the easiest ways to teach your children how to care for a living thing (especially fitting if they’ve been begging for a family pet). What’s more, they’ll feel proud knowing they were able to grow something from scratch. Opt for easy-to-grow herbs like basil, lavender, peppermint and lemon balm. Tip: If you have a garden of your own, plant your kid’s garden close by so you can keep an eye on what they’re doing without hovering over them. Or, simply use some empty containers to create a garden on the back patio or deck.

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