Yaaay for warmer days and longer hours of sunshine. I’ve missed outdoor activities with the boys so much and in the past two weeks every day after work we try to fit in some “play time”.
Most of these can be done in a smaller outdoor area, so if you’re in a high rise with limited balcony space, worry not! You can still get creative.
Here are my favourite outdoor activities to do with kids:
- First and foremost, I just like to sit back and observe. Let their imaginations work. Get them outside and let them make their own fun. On their own accord they have been countless hours “building” forts, making houses behind trees, turned into imaginary chefs mixing up soup with leaves and their ultimate is to pretend they are gardeners. Whilst I’m a huge advocate of doing things with them, trust me, my absolute number one thing to do is just to let them do their own thing. It’s a magical thing to watch.
- Set up a “Mud Kitchen”- All kids, no matter what their gender love to spend hours mixing and creating. Give them a couple of old bowls and spoons with a jug of water and some soil and you’ll be amazed at the creations put in front of you to sample.
- Paint with Ice Lollies – a lot of my outdoor activities include paint, because to be honest, I much prefer the kids painting outdoors than in, in the interest of keeping my walls and floors paint free of course. This is super easy. Mix a little paint with water (you can also use food colouring and water) and pour into an ice container. Once the cubes are partially frozen add in your Popsicle sticks and take out when completely frozen. Yes it’s just paint, but it adds a completely different dimension and texture to painting.
- Paint with Nature – Spring time with all the flowers out is the perfect time to do this. Grab a few flowers, leaves and sticks and get the kids to paint with them. Observe the patterns they all make and which ones are easier to paint with.
- Pack up your lunch and take it outside. Most kids adore picnics, so instead of sitting inside to eat, grab a blanket and take it outdoors for a bit of an adventure
- Set up a mini Olympics – This really doesn’t have to take too much thought or effort. We have used things we have around the house. Examples include: drawing a target circle on the wall outside in chalk, get the kids to try and hit the targets with a ball or bean bag. Tying a hoola hoop onto a tree to create a ring to throw through. Place cones out and create a mini obstacle course to run and jump through.
- Build a Fairy House – Using popsicle sticks, sticks, matchboxes, moss, leaves, and small items from inside your home to build a fairy-sized house.
- Build a Bug Hotel – My husband hates this one but the boys love it. Find any interesting artifacts lying around. Old bricks, pipes, pots with holes and rolled up newspaper work really well. Layer with straw and leaves to create mulch and make a really interesting little “hotel” for bugs to make their home in!
- Go on a bug hunt – Look around said hotel ? Take a magnifying glass and create a list of possible bugs in your garden. Encourage the kids to look under pots and logs to try and find the bugs
- Create a scavenger hunt – I like hiding figurine animals around the garden for this one. You can use a magnifying glass or make a pair of binoculars out of toilet paper rolls. Hide your mini animals all around the garden and let the kids find them.
- Create a wash station – whatever it is, be it windows or bikes and cars. Get kids involved with a sponge and some soapy water and they are in their element. My boys love washing their bikes, or my windows and ultimately it always turns into a wet, messy affair. You are outside, so its OK ?
- Make some bird feeders – Out of pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed. The kids will love making their own feeders and will often keep checking to see if birds come to feed.
- Paint Stone Pebbles – My boys loved this ! Collect medium-sized stones and arrange them in the garden. Get your kids to paint the stones with acrylic paints of different colours. They can paint anything they like from shapes, to pets and insects. Mum can come in after and draw in any finer details.
- Create Giant Bubbles – Bubbles are one thing I despise doing inside. The sticky bubbles pip all over the tiled floors leaving a slippery, sticky mess. Outdoors is the perfect place to create bubbles to your hearts content. To make the giant bubbles add one cup of dishwashing soap to a litre of warm water. An extra two to three tablespoons of glycerine, (makes your super big bubbles). Pour your concoction into a flat, rimmed tray, like a sheet-cake pan, and dip in a large DIY wand, made by bending a wire hanger into a loop. Lift the wand slowly and walk backward to let loose a gigantic bubble. Experiment and try different mediums, a fly swat perhaps with large holes. The crazy store has a lot of possible options to use.
- Collect flowers and leaves and make a magic potion – Using food colours and petals let your kids mix away and create any “magic potion” they desire. I love the pretend aspect here.
- Sensory Trays – If you have been following my blog for a while you know I’m a HUGE fan of Sensory boxes. Why not make some foam soap, a slimy swamp or a sandbox sensory tray with cloud dough? The possibilities are endless and being outdoors or on a balcony means easy clean up!
- Go crazy with chalk – I must admit I LOVE chalk. It’s the one time my boys are allowed to draw all over the walls and floor. If we are outside of course. We love to colour in bricks and then find things around the garden to match the shade of brick, or just graffiti the driveway up. Whatever it is, it only takes a rain shower or sprinkler to wash away. Easy clean up!
- Create a Nature Weave – We have been meaning to try this for ages and it looks pretty simple! You will need to find 4 pretty straight twigs to bind together into a square shape. Take some string (or you could even use bits of palm leaf) and weave close together to form a weave. The kids can find flowers, leaves or any interesting objects in the garden to thread through the “dream catcher” or “Nature Weave”.
- Make a Water Wall – We have done this a number of ways and its so easy and very educational for little toddlers. The easy way would be to cut out scoops from the middle of plastic bottles. (I used 500 ml water bottles as well as 1l and 2l soda bottles. Attached them to the wall in a descending order, I just used tape as It was a makeshift one. Give your kids a scoop or jug to pour water into the top container and watch in amazement as the water flows through ! My dad then got involved and make the most awesome water wall out of PVC piping for the boys. If you have a good hardware store close by it shouldn’t be too hard. Place a tub underneath to collect all the water and let them play!
- Make Ice Fossils – One of our all time favourite activities. Take any small figurines you may have around the house; we have used “dinosaurs” for dino eggs as well as marine life. Put them into an empty water balloon, fill with water and tie. Freeze the balloons overnight and then cut off the balloon cover. Place out bottles with water, plastic syringes and chipping hammers and let the kids try to uncover their fossils in the ice !