A child relaxing in a hammock at the beach
A child relaxing in a hammock at the beach

Kids Say Just Relax This Summer

The year was 1984. It was the middle of August in sweltering Ann Arbor, Michigan, and nine-year-old Sean Moeller was feeling “sort of tired and real hot.” That’s when he had an idea — that people should have a special day to just sit back and relax. In 1985, with the help of his grandfather, National Relaxation Day was born.

Celebrated every August 15th, National Relaxation Day offers time to pause, slow down, and take a break from our busy summer calendars. But between planning vacations, facilitating playdates, and choosing a summer camp, figuring out ways to relax can feel like just another thing on your to-do list. That’s why we decided to call in the help of some experts: kids! Kids aren't worried about productivity or efficiency the way adults are. So when it comes to relaxing, they have some great ideas for how to spend unstructured time. Here are six kid-approved outdoor activities the whole family can do close to home to get into relaxation mode.

"Lie out on a hammock.” – Sean, age 9

Even the idea of a hammock gently swaying in the breeze is relaxing, don’t you think? All you have to do is lie back, hang out, and enjoy the sweet sounds of summer. Or, you can add another layer of relaxation by spending a couple hours in the hammock reading a good book, listening to a podcast, or enjoying an afternoon snooze.

“On a hot day, the best way to relax is hanging in the pool.” – Waylon, age 5

Whether you head to the neighborhood pool or set up a kiddie pool in the backyard, some soaking or play time in the water is a refreshing way to relax. Don’t have access to a pool, but still want to savor the relaxing benefits of water? Fill up a bowl or large tub with some water and Epsom salt, find a spot on the patio or porch, and voilà, you’ve got a relaxing outdoor spa for your feet!

“When I’m outside, what helps me relax is looking at the clouds and finding shapes.” – Hannah, age 8

Remember those long, lazy afternoons when you were a kid, just lying in the cool grass and watching the clouds move across the sky? Well, if you've never done it before, it's a must-try. We’re getting relaxed just thinking about it! Find a spot in the backyard or head to a nearby park for a meditative cloud experience. Just don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!

a child laying in the sand at the beach

“If it’s nighttime, you could watch the stars.” – Hannah, age 8

If you find the daytime sky relaxing, give the night sky a peek too. Although it’s easier to spot the stars when you’re farther away from city lights, you can usually still see the brightest ones on a clear night in town. Grab a star map or download an app like SkyView to help identify constellations and planets. Looking for a really dark spot to view the celestial sphere? Check out Dark Site Finder to locate nearby viewing spots with less light pollution.

“Take a break, take a walk, take a nap!” – Sophie, age 10

The trifecta of relaxation. Start by taking a break from your to-do list, chores, or errands. Next, put on your walking sneakers or sandals and take a stroll around the neighborhood, your favorite park, or nearby nature area. Maybe give walking meditation a go! After you’re done with your walk, head back home for a nice afternoon nap to round out your day.

“You can do whatever you want.” – Sean, age 9

Key word: want. Sean reminds us that relaxation is all about doing what you want to do with your time. Read a book, sunbathe, go bird-watching! If it brings you peace, you’re on the right track.

National Relaxation Day was founded on the idea that people everywhere should make time to rest and reduce stress. Here at KEEN, being outdoors has always brought us peace and relaxation. Whether you doze in the hammock or take a walk through the park, spending time outside is the perfect way to celebrate National Relaxation Day.

children looking for seashells

 

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