I know some of you parent’s are getting a little discouraged trying to figure out some fun things/ideas keep the kiddos busy outside. Well, here is an exhaustified list!
Remember your kids will have a harder time engaging in these activities if you don’t try it first!
There is a reason why kids are “afraid” to go outside to play (or feel as though they are bored to tears). Some haven’t been taught to play (for an extended period of time) and explore (yes, I said taught). Question: Where is their outlet to pretend and explore for enjoyment, when children get their entertainment brought to them on a silver plate with all their video games, movies, t.v., etc.? (You can’t miss what you never had, and in this case it’s an imagination.)
I was outside all the time as a kid with my cousins. I had older kids to play with to “keep me safe” in the neighborhood. BUT and a big BUT… today’s playground isn’t like it use to be because of the world we live in…with stranger danger. So with that in mind, your kids desperately NEED an example from you as a role model. (I’m giving myself a pep talk here!)
Enjoy. For goodness sake… have fun with your children! You only get to experience there “younger years” for a short time. Note: This list is more catered to boys (since I only have boys). Feel free to add girly suggestions in the comments!
1.) Do a bonfire night.
2.) Do a sink or float experiment.
3.) Do a tri-cycle car wash.
4.) Do a watermelon speed spitting contest.
5.) Do an outdoor movie night.
6.) Do cart wheel races.
7.) Do some jumping jacks.
8.) Go blow bubbles.
9.) Go bury little plastic army men (you can get them at the dollar store) and little plastic animals in the dirt or sand, then let the kids dig to find them.
10.) Go camping.
11.) Go collect some rocks, then come back and paint them; make them into rock people (add googly eyes and yarn hair).
12.) Go dig for dinosaurs in the sand box (or puddles).
13.) Go examine nature with a magnifying glass.
14.) Go find a beach or sandy spot. Dig your toes in.
15.) Go fishing.
16.) Go fly a kite.
17.) Go for a bike ride.
18.) Go for a walk at twilight.
19.) Go geocaching.
20.) Go hammer nails into a stump.
21.) Go hunt for bugs.
22.) Go look for shapes in the clouds.
23.) Go on a boat (do water sports i.e. tubing, or canoeing).
24.) Go on a hike down a trail (go on a nature scavenger hunt).
25.) Go to a local church’s Vacation Bible School.
26.) Go on Daddy-Son/ Mother-Son date (let the daughter or son make the plans for the date).
27.) Go out for ice cream.
28.) Go paint the sidewalk with water.
29.) Go paint the sky on some paper with water colors.
30.) Go paint with fly swatters.
31.) Go paint with golf balls (or marbles).
32.) Go pick fruit in an orchard (bring the kids along and make a morning out of it).
33.) Go pretend fishing.
34.) Go read books outside.
35.) Go roll down hills.
36.) Go run around outside (scream your loudest).
37.) Go stay out in the yard under the stars (point out the constellations).
38.) Go swim in a lake, your own kiddy pool, or local pool.
39.) Go take a walk.
40.) Go take each child out for a special meal.
41.) Go to a local baseball game.
42.) Go to a farmer’s market (let the kids pick out some fresh fruits and vegetables).
43.) Go to a parade, local fair, ice cream social, run a 5k (many 5k events do a kids run as well).
44.) Go to an outdoor concert.
45.) Go to a park and have a picnic (or make a day of park hopping).
46.) Go to story time at the library/check out books.
47.) Go to the zoo.
48.) Go visit a nature center.
49.) Go wash the car.
50.) Go watch a fireworks show (or make your own out of cotton swabs).
51.) Go watch the sunset.
52.) Make a “Parachute Guy” and drop him off the deck.
53.) Make a balloon “ping pong” game out of popcycle sticks/paper plates/tape and balloon.
54.) Make a boat (out of recycled material).
55.) Make a tin foil river and place the hose at the end.
56.) Make chalk letters by tracing with water to erase.
57.) Make chalk scenes (take pictures).
58.) Make child’s name in really big, colorful, bubble letters and they get 3 crayons to color it in (no sharing, no trading…just 3 colors…GO!).
59.) Make flour “stars” in the back yard (cut out a star and place the stencil on grass; shake some flour over it).
60.) Make old-fashioned silhouette pictures.
61.) Make s’mores.
62.) Make some grilled pizzas.
63.) Make sponge balls out of cut up sponges and then play sponge ball tag (great alternative to a water fight!).
64.) Make water balloon “pinatas” on a board.
65.) Make your own jump rope from marker caps.
66.) Make your own outdoor obstacle course.
67.) Make your own slip & slide out of durable black landscaping plastic.
68.) Make your shadow by tracing it.
69.) Play “follow the leader”.
70.) Play “outdoor” twister (it’s not hard to make your own).
71.) Play “red light – green light”.
72.) Play “Simon Says”.
73.) Play “the color game” – colored paper, tape, chair in the middle of it all – outside (run to color).
74.) Play “tic tac toe” on the sidewalk.
75.) Play “school bus” or “driving in the car”.
76.) Play a 3-legged race.
77.) Play a jump rope race.
78.) Play a water ballon fight.
79.) Play Angry Birds by bringing them to “life” in your back yard (complete with your own slingshot).
80.) Play baseball (or kickball in your back yard).
81.) Play beach ball volleyball.
82.) Play croquet.
83.) Play flashlight tag.
84.) Play hide & seek.
85.) Play hopscotch.
86.) Play in the rain.
87.) Play in the sandbox (make sand “angels” instead of snow angels).
88.) Play in the sprinkler.
89.) Play mini golf (if you don’t have one close by, diy a set).
90.) Play on the swings.
91.) Play picnic/tea party for all your dolls and stuffed animals outside.
92.) Play pretend by being airplanes, wild animals, (or anything else you can dream up).
93.) Play silly races.
94.) Play t-ball.
95.) Play tag, (change it up and each kid gets a spray bottle and play freeze tag).
96.) Play with frisbees.
97.) Play with ice.
98.) Play with rocks.
99.) Play with shaving cream on the slide.
I know it is hard to get out of your comfort zone. I am there daily in my bubble. It has been a challenge for me because I have forgotten how to play… and sometimes (forgive me) it’s not all that exciting to play with my kids when I have other things I’d rather be doing. I know I am not alone when I say that. So let’s get real here.
When you get to be in your old age and look back, what will you be saying to yourself… “Gee, I wish I did the laundry more and had a prettier house.” (OR) “Gee, I wish I could go back and play in the mud with my once 3 and 6 year old boys when I had the chance.” (OR) “Gee, I can remember all those memories I had with my boys! That was the sweetest season. I’m so glad I took the time for them.” I think you get the point.
Choose to play today!
Please check out my Pinterest page for more ideas…