Summer Fun 15 Minutes Outside

15 minutes outside in hot weather

One of my favorite parts of this month's resolution of adding joy back into my life came from reading the book 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House.

It's such a simple thing and literally only takes as little as 15 minutes. Although, I can say, we more often take well over 15 minutes to hang out outside. I grab a water bottle and a notebook (for me), then we head to the playground right across from our apartment. The kids are entertained to play in the sand and I'm happy to have my skin warmed by the sun while I write and brainstorm.

I guess that's kind of cheating--doing the same thing everyday. And will probably result in us giving up on going outside everyday when the kids get bored of doing the same thing. Plus, summer has so many fun activities perfect for outside!

Here are a few activities I'd like the kids to experience this summer and future summers, too. (Go here >> for indoor activity ideas.)

Sleep in a tent

It could be at a campground or in the backyard (in our case, my sister's backyard, because we don't exactly have a backyard). Or maybe just set it up in the living room for fun indoor campout.

Ride a train.

Okay, so maybe this isn't a "normal" childhood memory for most people. But my dad loves trains, and many of our summers included riding the tourist train my dad was a part of or checking out other trains in towns we visited. I want riding a train to be a fun memory for my kids too.


In a lake or at a public pool or in a friends backyard or the fitness center for swimming lessons.

Play at a new park.

Each park has slightly different toys and can be a fun thing to explore.

Run a lemonade stand.

Have the kids set up at a friend's yardsale. Or set up at the corner and give lemonade away on an especially hot day.

Eat a cool treat.

An ice cream cone or a snow cone or a popcicle. Something so cooling in the heat of the day.


We used to walk out of our town to the cemetery which was a perfect place to stargaze. I now realize cemeteries are not normal places to hang out, but a walk just out of town is a better place to look at the stars. Our town also has an observatory I'd love to take the kids to.

Ride a bike.

I can't remember the last time I did so--even this was "the" thing I did everyday throughout my childhood summers. Brylee learned to ride hers just before the winter cool set in. It's time to pull them out (maybe even by me one and get a carrier for Ian?). I'm inspired by this family's bike-riding adventure to go on family backrides.

Watch fireworks.

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because of the fireworks. We used to go to the stadium where they set them off and lay back as they fell right above us.

Roast marshmallows.

Over a campfire or a grill. Make s'mores or just eat plain marshmallows.

Local events.

Lincoln is an incredible place, and the summer is a perfect time to explore. Farmer's Markets, First Friday Art Walk, Jazz in June, local shops and restaurants.

Get wet.

Play in a kiddie pool or sprinkler, set up a slip n slide, have a water fight.

Go to the zoo.

Our nearby zoo in Omaha has the largest indoor dessert and rain forest which makes it perfect for checking out even in bad weather. But it's fun to go when it's warm enough to see the animals outside.

Draw with chalk.

Play tic tac toe, write positive messages for passersby, draw pictures, play hopscotch.


Anniversaries, birthdays, half birthdays, Independence Day, and everything in between.

Visit a nearby town.

Drive somewhere new and walk their downtown and checkout their local offerings like shops, restaurants and parks.

Watch a sunset and sunrise.

At least one of each, not necessarily on the same day. Soak in the sights, sounds and feel of starting and ending a summer day.

Catch fireflies.

Put them in a breathable container to watch their glow before setting them free at the end of the evening. Whatever you do, don't tear off their lights for glow-in-the-dark jewelry like our neighbor used to do for us. Yuck!


Almost every big town has one. Or try out the batting cages or go carts or play tennis. Get active outside.

Aren't these the things fun summer memories are made of?!