Dairy Queen #DQSummerFun Logo with the copy Summer like an expert with these tips and tricks
Dave Salmoni photograph
Dave Salmoni
Dave Salmoni is Animal Planet’s Large Predator Expert and serves as the go-to source on Animal Planet’s wild animal programming. He also serves as Discovery Inc.’s ambassador for Project C.A.T, a joint effort between Discovery Inc. and World Wildlife Fund, among other organizations, to support a global effort to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022. Dave lives in Toronto with his wife, son and daughter.
Tip #1: Set Up Camp in Your Backyard
Set Up Camp in Your Backyard Image

The best way to get out and enjoy nature … is to get out and enjoy nature! Get your gear, head into your backyard and set up a camp. Spending the night in a sleeping bag under the stars, listening to all the natural sounds is an amazing way to spend an evening. My kids are at the perfect age to think that any adventure is a great adventure. So, I like to prep them for a real "in-the-wild" campout by having a few “closer-to-home” campouts first. And picking up S’mores Blizzard® Treats from our local DQ® store helps sweeten the experience even more!

    Toolkit List:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Flashlight
  • Anything you might want to make your camping experience special
  • S’mores Blizzard® Treats
Tip #2: Create Backyard Animal Houses
Create Backyard Animal Houses Image

Making an animal house can be both fun and conservational. And a bonus – one of your favorite animals may move into your own backyard! You can build a home for traditional things like songbirds or nontraditional owls. This project is best done with a bit of online research. There are all sorts of conservation and bird groups that will help you to know what type of animal needs your help. I’ve been hearing an owl near my house lately, so I decided to research the types of owls in my area and then found plans on how to build an owl box to suit that owl species. There are many populations of animals that can be helped while we have fun.

    Toolkit List:

  • Wood
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Research Online
Tip #3: Host Animal Game Night
Host Animal Game Night Image

I love having game night. To make it even more fun, my friends and I love to make it animal themed. Two of my favorite games are animal charades and animal guessing games.

For charades, grab small pieces of paper and have everyone write down two animals that they think would be fun to see acted out. Throw the papers into a bowl and jumble them around. Then everyone takes turns drawing a piece of paper from the bowl and acting out the animal on the paper. Remember, animal sounds are encouraged!

For animal guessing games, fill a bowl with cards featuring the names of different animals and separate into two teams. Instead of acting out the animals, one team member has 90 seconds to draw the animal for the rest of the team to guess. When your team guesses correctly, your team gets a point!

Celebrate a fun-filled evening with the NEW Drumstick® with peanuts Blizzard® Treat from DQ®.

    Toolkit List:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Bowl
  • Animal Smarts
  • Drumstick® with peanuts Blizzard® Treats
Tip #4: Making Animal Tracks
Making Animal Tracks Image

My kids and I love to track animals. Sometimes if we find a really cool track of one of our favorite animals, we will make a cast of it. Other times when we can’t find any tracks … we just use the dogs or our own tracks! To make a cast of a track, first find or make a track. If you’re making one, you can use your pet, your hand or your feet. Next step is to mix up some plaster of paris. Mix it soft enough to pick up detail, but not so runny that it doesn’t set up well. If you want neat edges on your “track cast” make a small border around the track. Then simply pour the plaster over the track and let it dry. To add to the fun, label the back of the track or paint it some fun colors! We also love grabbing Frosted Animal Cookie Blizzard® Treats from our favorite DQ® restaurant to cheers to a job well done.

    Toolkit List:

  • Soft soil for a track
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Goggles
  • Frosted Animal Cookie Blizzard® Treats
Tip #5: Create a Nature Scavenger Hunt
Create a Nature Scavenger Hunt Image

My family and I love a good nature scavenger hunt, and it’s easy to create them in any wild space, such as your favorite park or even your backyard. Make a list of things to find that you know are in the area. Add nests, bugs, trees, birds, squirrels … anything that is part of the natural world around you. Another option – embark on a scavenger hunt with no predetermined list. Everyone goes out together and lists off all the natural things that they see. The person with the longest list wins!

    Toolkit List:

  • Mammal field guide
  • Bird field guide
  • Bug field guide
  • Binoculars

Adult supervision required for all tips. Stay safe and be mindful of social distancing and safety guidelines in your area.

Remember to tag and share your photos with @DAIRYQUEEN using #DQSummerFun.
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