Outside Fun

This is the second post in our summer series – if you missed the first one just scroll down and read about activities to save your sanity while on a long trip in the car or the plane.  Subscribe to this blog and you’ll automatically receive the latest posts as they come – leave us a message if you use any of these activities and thanks for passing this on to your friends and family! :o)



Target Practice

What You’ll Need: 16 or 32 oz. water or soda bottles, ping-pong balls, squirt gun or garden hose

How It Works: fill the bottles with liquid so they don’t fall over, place them on a table or other level surface and put a ping-pong ball in the top of each bottle.  Using a water gun or garden hose decide how many shots each child gets and how far back they need to stand. The object is to “shoot” the ping-pong balls off the tops of the bottles

Sponge Tag

What You’ll Need: Sponges and a bucket of water

How It Works: After dunking their sponge in the water each child runs to “hide”.  The referee calls out “get ready, get set – it’s time to get wet!”.  Everyone comes out from their hiding spots and they throw their sponge at another person – the trick is that they can only throw their sponge once.  whether it’s a hit or a miss, children have to return to the bucket and referee after each throw in order to refill their sponge and return to the game. The game ends when the referee blows their whistle or when one person is left with their sponge and they haven’t been hit by someone else.

                               If your kids don’t like the idea of being hit with wet sponges, choose a different target – whether it’s a chalk circle on the driveway, a tree in the yard or a particular window on the house – let the kids aim for these targets instead of aiming for each other.

Balloon Kites

What You’ll Need: Helium-filled balloons, string, ribbon, crepe paper, markers

How It Works: Flying kites can be very frustrating for younger children.  Whether you use a tank at home or purchase pre-filled balloons at a party store – the balloons act as kites that will fly with or without the wind!  Have fun by drawing faces on your balloons, attaching “tails” to the kites or any other ribbons or string to personalize each child’s kite.  Flying them is fun, but letting them go into the sky is even better!

Obstacle Course

What You’ll Need: Whatever is in your backyard, garage or house

How It Works: No matter how simple or complicated your course becomes, just make sure it stays fun and relaxed.  You can have one child at a time complete the course or have a sort of relay-race between teams.  We suggest SHOWING the kids how the course works – don’t just talk about it.  If you go through the course first everything will be clear to the kids and they like to giggle as you try to pass through the “smaller” sections of the course :o)

Capture The Color

What You’ll Need: A large plastic bucket, empty plastic eggs or balls in various colors

How It Works: One person is the gate-keeper – they stand in front of the bucket.  The gate-keeper closes their eyes and counts to 20.  While the gatekeeper is “blind” and counting, everyone else reaches into the bucket to get an egg and then steps back in all directions from the gatekeeper (keep your egg or ball hidden behind your back!).  When done counting the gatekeeper calls out a color. Everyone with that color egg or ball has to put their ball or egg back in the bucket.  The catch?  If the gatekeeper catches your egg before it lands in the bucket or tags you as you try to get your ball in the bucket – you are out! If you miss the bucket and your ball lands on the ground you have to find try again – but don’t get tagged or let the gatekeeper steal your color!

 Safari Search

What You’ll Need: plastic animals (preferably multiples of the same animal or animal grouping), yard or sand box

How It Works: Gather your random animals (snakes, frogs, birds, dinosaurs – whatever you can find) and take them outside.  Have your child stand on the other side of the yard or inside so they aren’t looking.  You hide the animals throughout the yard or in the sandbox.  When your child comes out tell them what they’re looking for by saying, “Today on our safari we’re going to find ________”. Fill in the blank with words like frogs, animals, birds, snakes…congratulate your child once they discover the animals.  Once all the animals are collected in a pile you can have your child hide them and you can seek them. (HINT: let your kids help you find them, ask them to be your safari guide….)

I hope your outside adventures are full of laughter, fun and lots of great memories.  Some of these activities are better with large groups and others are better one-on-one.  No matter which activities you choose, just remember to trust yourself and measure the joy of the activity with the pressure it will put on you and your child.  I always try things at least once.  I learn what does and doesn’t work and some activities I never do again, but the best part of parenting is the journey we take WITH our kids.  I hope you have a great time learning about your child’s style of play and you get to make lots of fun memories together even when the weather is hot.



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