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Outdoors just for kids 5-30-13

Summer is almost here! Yippee! No more school! Hurray! But what are you going to do with all of that extra free time? Hmm.

Maybe your parents already have you scheduled to go to summer camp, or one of the many activities offered in Billings by the parks department, Audubon Center, ZooMontana or YMCA. If not, here are some ideas to help you fill your days so you don’t have to go to your sitter, mom, dad, grandparent or sibling and complain, “I’m bored. There’s nothing fun to do.” Hopefully the ideas will also keep you from staying inside and repeatedly playing video games on a computer or watching endless television.

Go to a park. You could fill up a week just going to all of the parks in Billings – developed and undeveloped. There are parks on the Rims and next to the Yellowstone River where you can get great views of the city and even have the chance to see deer, ducks, songbirds and geese. You can crawl on rocks, climb trees and maybe wade into shallow water as long as you’re safe. City parks offer some great playground equipment to hang off of and slide down, too. There are also swimming pools, water slides and water parks worth checking out. You may need someone to give you a ride, or if the park is close you might be able to walk or ride your bike.

Play in your backyard. If you can’t get a ride to a park, why not play in your own backyard? You can take some chairs and blankets outside, with your parents’ permission, and create a cool fort. Maybe you can talk your parents into making you a sand box, which is a great place to build sand castles, roads, lakes and hills. If you have toy trucks, cars or tractors, a sand box is the perfect place to use them. Maybe your parents can get you a wading pool or squirt guns to have water fights. Water balloons are also fun to fill, toss and break. How about taking a blanket or beach towel outside and having a picnic, listening to music or reading a favorite book? There are also lots of fun games for outside like croquet, badminton, Frisbee or catch that you can play with a friend, brother or sister.

These are just a few ideas. I bet you can come up with a bunch more. The idea is to use your imagination and have fun outside. Summer is short. Enjoy it while you can.

— Brett French, Gazette Outdoors editor

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Montana Untamed Editor

Montana Untamed editor for the Billings Gazette.