9 Evening Family Adventures
But getting their own family active wasn't enough for the Meeks, who have written three books encouraging families to get outside and spend quality time together.
In their latest effort, "50 Evening Adventures," Tim, Kerry, Amy and Ella share 50 of their favorite ideas to get moving between 5 to 9 p.m., so families can squeeze adventures into their weekday routines instead of just killing time between weekends and vacations.
The book splits the adventures into three categories: Go, Do and Eat. We highlighted a few of our favorites, but pick up a copy of the book to see all 50.
GO... to the Forest/Woods1 of 10
Every adventure idea in the book includes advice on health and safety, such as knowing which forest plants aren't safe to touch. They also feature tips for increasing the fun, like riding bikes instead of walking through the woods and being unafraid to get dirty when enjoying nature.
GO... to Public Art2 of 10
Help your kids develop an appreciation for the arts by exploring local public exhibits. The Meeks suggest creating a map of the area so kids can mark all the public art hot spots.
Each adventure also features a quote from kids Amy and Ella. Regarding public art, Ella says, "I like learning about the history associated with statues, but also find them very entertaining when there are birds sitting on them!"
GO... to the Street3 of 10
As the Meeks put it, "Once upon a time, the local streets and cul-de-sacs were where kids used to hang out after school: playing ball games, riding bikes and generally being kids. Try to reinstate this childhood entitlement down your own street if you can—even for just one evening."
DO... Clean Up Something4 of 10
The only thing better than spending time with your family is spending time with your family while supporting a good cause. The Meeks suggest instilling a sense of civic responsibility in your kids by picking up litter.
Some of the adventures also feature "Beat the Clock" tips to help reduce prep time during your already limited evening hours. In this instance, the tip suggests having a litter-cleaning kit (picker-upper, gloves and bags) ready by the back door or in the trunk of your car.
DO... Collect Something5 of 10
Starting a collection of any sort can help support your child's interests. For example, kids can collect trading cards if they like sports, leaves from different trees if they're interested in nature and coins or stamps if they're history buffs.
Helping your kids figure out a way to display their collections can be a fun project, too.
DO... Reuse and Recycle6 of 10
Beyond just recycling bottles, cans and paper, the Meeks suggest making use of nature's waste, such as fallen leaves or flowers. One fun activity they propose is collecting stones and decorating them with positive messages like, "Good Luck," or "Have a Nice Day."
EAT... at a Picnic7 of 10
Family dinner can take the form of an adventure, too. Allow your kids to help prepare a meal at home before you pack it up and take it to a local park to enjoy outside.
EAT... by a Campfire8 of 10
You don't have to save the campfire for actual camping trips. Visit a park near you with a designated fire pit for some genuine, fire-roasted s'mores for dessert.
EAT... at a Barbecue9 of 10
If you don't want to cook your dinner before you leave the house, just pick up a portable grill for an impromptu barbecue at the park or beach. Take some burgers and kebobs in a cooler and cook it once you get to your destination to enjoy an outdoor dinner with the view of your choosing.