Outdoor Living

by Dr. Carla Gull

10 summer activities to do outside before you grow up


Visiting a wetland can be quite different than an open body of water as you find unique plants and animals.

With early school start dates, it seems like summer is winding down; however, there is still plenty of time for outdoor nature fun. Local natural resource providers created “52 Things to Do Outside Before You Grow Up” to help promote more time outdoors. Visit 52thingsoutside.org for more details, related books, printables, and extension activities. Divided by season and anytime activities, summer activities are sure to delight!

  • Look for an animal in water. We often find birds along shorelines, such as the Great Blue Heron. We also enjoy catching and releasing frogs or finding a trail of a muskrat in the duckweed. Find macroinvertebrates in the water to investigate juvenile insects.
  • Have an outdoor picnic. Pack a lunch and head to your backyard, Riverbend Park or Krider Gardens. Enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and natural setting. Invite friends to enjoy nature with you.
  • Catch and release fireflies. After dusk, head outside for a different experience. The glowing insects invite us to gently catch them, investigate, and let them fly off again.
  • Watch a pollinator at work. Look in your flowerbeds, an area quilt garden, or the dahlia garden at Bonneyville Mill to see the many pollinators at work as bees, insects, and hummingbirds collect nectar.
  • Enjoy a bike ride. Grab the bike and helmet to head out to the Pumpkinvine Trail. Enjoy the fresh air, trees, and clear skies!
  • Enjoy the thrill of rolling down a grassy hill. How many ways can you roll down the hill?
  • Blow dandelion seeds. This white globe of seeds is hard to resist! Watch the wind and seed dispersal as the seeds float through the air.
  • Visit a wetland. Marshes, swamps, and bogs offer a unique experience as they host animals, prevent flooding, and remove pollutants.
  • Skip a stone. Find a perfectly flat stone to skip across the water surface. How many skips can you get in?
  • Make a mud pie. Soil and water is all you need; however, you may enjoy adding plant clippings and using pans and molds for unique creations. Hose off before heading inside.

While geared toward children, we can all take a bit of childhood back by connecting with nature. How can you experience all 10 summer activities in the month of August?

Dr. Carla Gull blogs at www.insideoutsidemichiana.com. She is often seen with her four tag-along explorers in the greater Michiana area.