It seems like we have been in the dog days of summer forever – hazy, hot, and humid – and school will soon be starting. Even though fall will be here before long, there is still plenty of time to get in some last minute thrills. August is Family Fun Month and we have ideas galore!
Coming right up is the first ever Delaware County Farm Tour scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18. This tour guarantees excitement for the entire family and it’s free! The tour is sponsored by Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District, Delaware County, Delaware County Farm Bureau, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and Meijer. There are five stops along this drive-it-yourself tour and you are welcome to visit any and all of them between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. At the tour you can:
• Have your picture taken sitting in a combine
• See how a tractor can drive itself
• Sample honey, maple syrup, and jams
• Race on the kids’ pedal tractor course
• Learn about conservation practices that improve soil health and keep our water clean
• Get creative with many hands-on activities designed for all ages
• View the 850 acre Doutt Reservoir owned by the ity of Columbus
A complete itinerary and map can be found on our website at www.delawareswcd.org.
Another Family Fun Month suggestion — take advantage of the recreational opportunities in Delaware County. You can hike, bike, fish, paddle, and swim. Numerous paved trails crisscross the county and many connect neighborhoods and local parks. We have four wonderful reservoirs that provide scenic opportunities for paddling and fishing. Alum Creek Reservoir and Delaware Lake Reservoir offer sandy beaches with ample area for dipping a toe or more in the water.
A great way to ease your kids into the school mind set is to make some gorp, also known as trail mix, for your summer outing. Choosing, measuring, and mixing healthy dried fruits, nuts, and other items gets kids to use their math skills without them even noticing. Each kid can make the gorp to suit his or her taste and it’s so simple to make, easy to transport, and delicious. By substituting reusable containers for plastic bags to store and carry your gorp on your outdoor adventures, you can talk about the value of reducing, reusing, and recycling.
If your kids are enthusiastic about making their own gorp, why not try a stop at a local farmers’ market and/or an orchard? Sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, and a whole lot more are in season, at the peak of freshness, and delectable. Peaches are ripening right now and early varieties of apples are available as well. Homemade applesauce guarantees a lot of pleasure for not much effort, especially if you get a nifty gadget that your kids can operate to peel the apples. Eating local is an ideal way to support your local agricultural community and at the same time get your kids to try some new foods.
August is the time of the Perseid meteor showers. I have fond memories of waking my daughter and her friend in the middle of the night, lying on the patio in blankets, and counting the “shooting stars.” The peak is expected to be the night of Aug. 12 and before dawn on Aug. 13. Kids can discover all about comets, yearly meteor showers, and constellations. and in particular, Comet Swift-Tuttle. A simple internet search will show you several websites and apps that can help kids identify what they are seeing in the night sky. Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and great viewing. To get a deeper understanding of astronomy, check out the Perkins Observatory at Ohio Wesleyan University for its public programming at perkins.owu.edu.
And last but not least, check out our parks. We have township parks, city parks, Preservation Parks of Delaware County, as well as Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks, all within a short walk or drive. Our parks offer special events and programs throughout the year that are appropriate for all ages. Take your kids to story time, on a summer night hike, on a bird walk, or to an evening concert.
The summer is winding down and we all deserve a few more adventures before summer draws to a close. August is Family Fun Month so get out and fit in a few more festivities! Remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to www.delawareswcd.org.