Sixteen Fun Outdoor Activities to do at Home with Children
by Christina Francine
There is nothing like outdoor fun and children especially enjoy playing there. They have a lot of room, fresh air, and don’t have to worry about knocking something over on a coffee table. Here are sixteen ideas to get everyone started, but of course the best is when children are free to use their imagination. Invention is tied to imagination and the world needs more inventors to solve world problems.
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1. Run barefoot in the grass. Make sure the area is free of painful items that might hurt little feet.
2. Play “Freeze-Tag.” This is an oldy but goody. One person is the freezer and the others try not to let the freezer touch them. If someone is touched by the freezer, they freeze where they are and stay that way until someone else touches them. They are then free again. This works best when boundaries are set and there is a set time. For example, everyone needs to stay in the backyard and the action lasts for say three minutes. The person who hasn’t been frozen when time is up, gets to be the freezer. If more than one person is left unfrozen, then the person who was the freezer is it again. Feel free to arrange the rules to what suits everyone but establish them BEFORE playing, otherwise disagreements will arise.
3. Collect bugs and look them up on the Internet to learn what they are. The person to find the least common, or the most different type, wins.
4. Lie on the ground, deck, or sit in a large chair and make pictures from the clouds using your imagination.
5. Play “Red-light, Green-light.” One person is it and they stand a distance from everyone else who is lined up waiting to begin. As soon as the person who is it says, “Green Light,” everyone goes as fast as they can toward the person who is it. The person who is it doesn’t want anyone to reach them, so they quickly say “Red Light” after at least two seconds. The person who reaches the person who is it first then becomes “it.” Again, rearrange the rules to suit the players, but establish them BEFORE the game begins.
6. Build a fort using sticks, branches, and other around the yard material that is okay for children to use. This activity especially builds imagination and many children enjoy seeing what they can create freely. Other material from around the yard can be used too. Make sure the items are okay with Mom and Dad first though.
7. Children plant their own garden or a few plants in a pot they are responsible for. This activity encourages and rewards responsibility.
8. Draw pictures with chalk on the sidewalk or drive-way. The next rain or the hose washes it all away easily. Hopscotch and tic-tac-toe are some of kids’ favorites games with chalk.
9. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Find and collect “treasures.”
10. Using flowers and sticks, play tic-tac-toe in the grass.
11. Make your own obstacle course.
12. Team jump rope.
13. Water bottle bowling. Use a light-weight ball such as a rubber kick ball or a plastic one.
14. Kick the can races. Use an old can without sharp edges, or use an old water bottle. Establish a finish line using a rope, or something visible and safe. Participants begin at the starting line and when someone says, “Go,” they kick a can on the lawn toward the finish line. The first person’s can to cross the finish line is the winner. A variation is to kick the can around an obstacle course until reaching the finish line.
15. Follow the leader and do what they do. This is often called “Simon says.”
16. Singing concert. Each child has a turn singing a song. Create some kind of mini stage. The singing can even be record it on a phone to be replayed later, or sent to relatives and friends.