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Five Fun Ways to Play Outside with Your Kids

Five Fun Ways to Play Outside with Your Kids

In our tech-savvy world, screens often take over our free time. But guess what? The outdoors is calling, and it's time to answer!

Stepping outside with your kids isn't just about ditching the gadgets; it's about diving into a world of fun that helps them grow in all sorts of amazing ways. Outdoor play boosts physical health, sparks creativity, hones social skills, and lets them discover the wonders of nature.

Don’t stress about planning every detail. The outdoors is like a giant playground just waiting to be explored. You don’t need a script to have a blast! Here are five super fun, easy ways to turn any day into an outdoor adventure with your kids:

1. Water Play

Nothing says summer fun like splashing around in the water. It's not just about cooling off; water play is a fantastic sensory experience that can be both exhilarating and calming.

Set up a small inflatable pool, run through sprinklers, or have a water balloon fight. Water play can also be on a smaller scale utilizing a plastic tub, water table, squirt bottles, sponges and a bucket, or even a cup of water and a paint brush. If you are looking for an easy and versatile activity for summer time, you can’t go wrong with water play!

To add a fun twist, consider introducing durable Safari Ltd. figures, Glo Pals, and other water toys. Adding in open-ended toys like figurines can up engagement, ignite additional ways to play, and inspire imaginative scenarios and learning. For instance, adding sea life toys opens the door to learning about marine life and water-based ecosystems, turning playtime into an impromptu biology lesson!

  • Sprinkler Fun: Set up a sprinkler and let the kids run through it, making up games as they go. 
  • Water Balloon Toss: Fill balloons with water and play toss, trying not to let them burst.
  • Splash Pool: Use a small inflatable pool for splashing, floating toys, and water games.
  • Boat Races: Use toy boats or make simple boats from nature items or recyclables and race them in a stream, large puddle, pool, or water play set. Make it even more fun by adding toy figurines as boat passengers!
  • Water Painting: Give kids paintbrushes and a bucket of water to paint sidewalks, fences, or rocks.
  • Slip 'N Slide: Lay out a slip 'n slide for kids to glide on a hot day.
  • Water Obstacle Course: Create an obstacle course with water elements like sprinklers, buckets, and water guns.
  • Ice Excavation: Freeze small toys in blocks of ice and let kids use tools and warm water to excavate them.

 

 2. Sand/Dirt Play

Playing in the sand or dirt might be messy play, but it's invigorating and incredibly beneficial for kids. 

It encourages open-ended play, creativity, fine motor skills, and even has physical and mental health benefits; according to many studies, certain microbes found in dirt can help strengthen the immune system! Encourage your children to dig, build, and sculpt. Beyond being an amazing sensory experience, sand and dirt can provide a backdrop for small world play with toy vehicles, dolls, and figurines to inspire imaginative adventures.

  • Buried Treasure: Hide small toys or coins in the sand for a treasure hunt.
  • Dirt Volcanoes: Make volcanoes from dirt and use baking soda and vinegar for an eruption.
  • Sand Sculptures and sandcastles: Use molds and tools to create detailed sand sculptures beyond simple castles.
  • Mud Kitchen: Set up a pretend kitchen with sturdy play dishes, old pots, pans, and utensils for making mud pies.
  • Dinosaur Dig: Bury toy dinosaurs or toy bones in a sandbox and let kids dig them up like paleontologists.
  • Dirt Track Racing: Create dirt tracks for toy cars or marbles and have races. You can even add rubber roads to the dirt area. 
  • Gardening: Give kids their own garden tools, and plot or garden bin to dig, plant, and water. To up the fun, add toy figurines to create animal habitats or fairy gardens

Discover more outdoor toys HERE.

3. Nature Play

Exploring nature is about letting kids be curious, whether it's a creek, a hiking trail, beach, or your own backyard. Encourage them to look under rocks, listen for birds, and observe the flora and soak in the wonders of the world around them. Nature play is a chance to teach respect for the environment while fostering a sense of awe and appreciation for the life all around us.

Equip them with exploration tools like a magnifying glass, bug jar, binoculars, and a nature journal to take a closer look at the insects and plants they find.

  • Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of natural items to find, like pine cones, acorns, or specific leaves.
  • Bug Safari: Equip kids with magnifying glasses and jars to find and observe insects.
  • Nature Art: Collect items like twigs, leaves, and stones to create collages or sculptures.
  • Tree Climbing: Find safe trees and let kids climb and explore them.
  • Nature Journaling: Provide notebooks for kids to sketch and write about their nature discoveries.
  • Leaf Pile Jumping: Rake leaves into big piles and let kids jump and play in them.
  • Nature Trails: Go for a walk on a nature trail and observe different plants and animals. Take along a nature kit, backyard exploring setor observation tools
  • Cloud Watching: Lie on the grass and look up at the clouds, imagining different shapes and stories.

Check out our Nature Enthusiasts Collection HERE for inspiration. 

4. Risky & Adventurous Play

 

Risky and adventurous play—like climbing trees, scaling playground equipment, exploring the woods, rolling down hills, balancing, riding bikes, and sledding—can be a bit nerve-wracking for parents, but it's crucial for kids' growth. These activities teach kids to assess and manage risks, build confidence, and boost motor skills. Always keep an eye on them to ensure safety, but try to resist jumping in unless absolutely necessary. Let them embrace the adventure!

  • Tree Climbing: Find sturdy trees for kids to climb and explore safely.
  • Ride On Toys: Provide kids with ride on toys like scooters, bikes, and trikes to learn balance and feel the exhilaration of going fast. 
  • Play Structures: Take your kids to a park with challenging play structures, a trampoline park, or rock climbing centers, or install child-friendly climbers or playsets in the backyard for thrilling play.
  • Fort Building: Gather materials like sticks, leaves, and blankets to build outdoor forts.
  • Balancing: Provide objects to test balance like balance boards, pogo toys, stepping stones, or set up a slackline or balance beam close to the ground for balancing fun. Kids also enjoy balancing on rocks or logs.
  • Obstacle Courses: Find local courses or set up a challenging DIY obstacle course with ropes, hoola hoops, cones, logs, and balance beams.
  • Creek Exploration: Supervise as kids explore a shallow creek, hopping on rocks and splashing.
  • Rope Swings: Find or set up a sturdy rope swing over a safe landing area like water or soft ground.

*Disclaimer Note:

Engaging in risky and adventurous play, such as climbing, balancing, and exploring, can benefit children's development. However, this type of play can lead to injury, always remember that supervision and safety is paramount.

Safety Tips:

  1. Supervision: Always closely supervise risky activities.
  2. Safety Gear: Use helmets, knee pads, and other protective equipment.
  3. Safe Environment: Ensure the play area is free from hazards.
  4. Know Limits: Encourage children to play within their comfort zones.
  5. First Aid: Keep a first aid kit on hand.

Parental Responsibility: By allowing your children to engage in activities such as the ones above, you accept responsibility for their safety. The ideas in this blog are for informational purposes and the author and publisher assume no liability for injuries or damages. Each child is unique, so consider their individual abilities. Participation in these activities are at your own risk. Prioritize safety to ensure a fun and beneficial experience for your children.

 5. Outdoor Games and Sports

Sports and outdoor games teach teamwork, patience, and perseverance. From classic games like tag or hide and seek to organized sports such as soccer or basketball, playing together is a great way to bond and learn valuable life skills. Introduce different sports through informal play with various types of sports equipment, play frisbee, or organize a small kick ball game with friends.

  • Jump Ropes and Hoola Hoops: Provide jump ropes or hoola hoops and let you kids play around with different ways to use them.
  • Simon Says: Play a game of Simon Says with active and silly commands.
  • Capture the Flag: Divide into teams and play a classic game of strategy and speed.
  • Hide and Seek: Take turns hiding and seeking in a large outdoor area.
  • Tag Variations: Try different versions of tag, like freeze tag or flashlight tag.
  • Hopscotch or Chalk Obstacle Course: Draw a hopscotch grid or obstacle course (spin 3 times, follow the zig zag line, etc) with chalk on a sidewalk or driveway.
  • Relay Races: Set up a series of relay races with different challenges or partner three-legged races or sack races.
  • Classic Fun: Find a basketball hoop or hang a mini portable hoop outside for a game of HORSE, play volleyball or badminton, toss a frisbee, organize a kickball/baseball game, or play a game of catch with a football or baseball.

Try out a variety of ways to get your kids interested in active play outside; check out our Active Toys collection HERE for more inspiration to get your kids moving. 

Getting outside to play with your kids is about more than just burning off energy. It's an opportunity to connect, learn, and grow together. Whether you choose water play, messy play, nature exploration, adventurous outings, or sports, the key is to have fun and make memories.

It’s fun to take your toys outside; incorporating toys into outdoor play can often get reluctant kiddos out of the house and enjoying new outdoor activities, making playtime both enjoyable and enriching.

Remember, the goal of outdoor play isn't to fill every minute with structured activities; it's to inspire your children to see the world around them with curiosity and wonder. By exploring these five fun ways to play outside, you're not just keeping your kids entertained; you're giving them the tools to thrive.

Read more about outdoor play HERE or HERE.

 

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