Outdoor and Indoor Activities to do with the Kids This Summer
Is the thought of school vacation making you wonder what you will do with the kids for ten weeks? Are you already imagining the sounds of “I’m bored,” a week after school lets out? If so, we can help. There are lots of fun, local activities you can do with your kids, many of which are free or low cost. Here are some ideas to help you get a jump on planning for summer (all of these places are in or near the New Hampshire Seacoast. For our out of town members, check your local Chamber of Commerce or do an online search for fun activities in your area.)
- There are lots of kid-friendly hikes in the Seacoast. Some of the easier trails can be found at Wagon Hill in Durham, the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge at Pease Tradeport, and Vaughan Woods in South Berwick. The best bet at Wagon Hill is the loop trail. It meanders through a field, the woods, along the shore, and ends up at the picturesque Great Bay. At the GBNWR, there are lots of opportunities to enjoy fields, woods, and water. The Peverly Pond Trail is a serene, wheelchair accessible trail through the woods, and the Ferry Way Trail takes you right through the heart of the habitat for endangered upland birds. This area is home to egrets, herons, black ducks, and a variety of mammals. At Vaughan Woods, you can choose the length of your hike as it is basically one big oval, with short trails connecting the longer sides. The well-maintained trails and water views make this a great family hike. For an added bonus, bear slightly off the trail near the parking lot and head over to Hamilton House to view the beautiful perennial gardens.
- For those seeking more of an outdoor challenge, there are two nearby options for kid-friendly mountain climbing. Blue Job Mountain in Strafford is an easy hike, with only a 350 foot elevation gain. There is also a fire tower along one trail, and great views of Mount Washington, Mount Monadnock, and other New Hampshire ranges. If you time it right, you can even pick wild blueberries at the top, and you will surely see some brightly colored wildflowers. Mount Major, located between Alton Bay and Laconia, has an elevation gain of 1,100 feet, with some steep rock near the peak. The climb is worth it, though, as the views of Lake Winnipesaukee and neighboring mountains are absolutely spectacular.
- On those rainy days or when you just need a bit less challenge, check out the Children’s Museum in Dover. The Museum offers all sorts of experiences for kids of all ages. Some of the exhibits are Dinosaur Detectives, Thinkering Lab, Post Office, Cave Explorers, and Yellow Submarine. There are also changing mini exhibits throughout the year. Entrance fees are reasonable, but you can also check the local library for free passes.
- Another great place to visit is the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There are numerous opportunities for some hands-on interactions with a variety of sea creatures, and the center offers all kinds of programs, both indoors and out. There are even nighttime concerts by the water during the summer months. Since the center is located in Odiorne Point State Park, check out some of the trails. You will find WW II fortifications, salt marshes, and, of course, the rocky shore New Hampshire is famous for.
One of the best parts about activities with children is that it shows them your commitment to family time, and they will be healthy and active with you. You have so many opportunities to teach them the importance of exercise, creativity, and nature this summer.
Whatever you choose to do with the kids over vacation, enjoy yourself. Time together with your family is time well spent, and the memories you create with your children will last all of you a lifetime.
It’s time to start thinking about those beautiful summer months. Let’s start talking about all the ways to get yourself and your body ready for summer. It’s such an exciting time of year!!