As the economy continues to stagnate and gas prices continue to hover around $4 a gallon, more and more parents are forgoing summer camps for their children in the hopes of saving a little money.
As one of those parents, it has been a struggle to find fit and fun activities for my children throughout the summer months. So this year I am planning ahead.
Over the past eight months I have been on a personal mission to find more ways to stay active as an adult. In the process I have come across several free and inexpensive activities that work for the entire family.
- Hiking—Although we most often think of hiking in the context of heading to the hills and exploring new ground, this year my family will be exploring trails closer to home. We will hike the trails behind Annapolis High School and walk along the paths through Quiet Waters, Downs and Kinder Farm parks. We will head into downtown Annapolis and onto the USNA grounds to explore the community we live in. While these are not exotic and new locations, to my 5-year-old every outing is an adventure.
- Geocaching—My daughter agreed to with me for an article I was working on several months back. With the discovery of her first cache she was hooked. For a minimal cost, you can download an app for your phone and be off on a treasure-hunting adventure. There are dozens of caches to be discovered in Annapolis alone, including this one right in Riva. If we are feeling really adventurous maybe we will create a cache of our own.
- Kayaking—My older children and I started kayaking last summer while we were on vacation. It is a fun and active sport that has a little bit of the cool factor to it, as well. There are several places in the area to rent kayaks, but I have found that friends and neighbors are happy to let us borrow their kayaks when they aren’t in use. Fortunately for us, they are not in use much of the time.
- Cycling—Cycling is a wonderful sport for families and Anne Arundel County has done a wonderful job creating family friends trails in our park systems. In addition to the B&A Trail and the trails in our local parks, I am hopeful about tricking/bribing/cajoling my older children into some early morning, pre-traffic rides through Annapolis and down to City Dock.
- Orienteering—You may have thought the plan for early morning rides was my most ambitious plan for the summer, but no. In recent weeks, I have stumbled upon , a sport that involves traveling in a straight line from point to point using a map and a compass. Though I have not been able to find an orienteering event in Annapolis, this sport screams out summer adventure to me. With the help of a couple of neighborhood moms, I plan to create an orienteering course either at the park or even within our neighborhood. Working together or in groups the race will be on.
As a family I am sure there will be plenty of days spent lazing beside the neighborhood pool. I am sure there will be evenings spent watching movies. And whether I like to admit it or not, I know there will be hours wasted playing video games.
But I hope this summer with a little planning and a lot of cajoling we can use these activities to stay fit and active as a family.