10 Outdoor Activities To Try With Your Kids
Summer is in full swing and the weather should be prime for outdoor activities for the next few months! This means it is the perfect time to head outside and enjoy the season with your kiddos. Here are ten fun and interactive outdoor activities that will be exciting for everyone involved:
Most kids grow up believing that bugs are scary and/or gross. However, bug hunting aims to help decrease this irrational fear of bugs by teaching kids that most bugs are harmless and encourages a child’s curiosity in them through a fun competition! Bug hunting is really simple and only requires a magnifying glass, a notebook and pen, and a place to find bugs in (park, backyard and garden).
To hunt for bugs with your child, you’ll want to find a good place in which bugs are plentiful. A backyard garden or a local park is always a safe bet. Once you’re in the “field,” you will need to tell your children how the game works and what is expected of them. Make sure you tell them that the goal is to find bugs and not touch them. This will help avoid any potential stings or bites. The goal of the game is to be the child that observes the most bugs. You will want to make sure your bug hunting crew is all looking in the same area so that you’re the one flipping over obstacles like logs and stones and you can keep everyone safe during the hunt.
For each bug that a child finds, have the kids scribble down some details about it in their notebook including: what it looked like, how many legs did it have, what color it was, where they found it, what it was doing, and what it may eat. Have them sketch out the bug as well and take a picture of the bug if you have a smartphone available so you can identify it later.
Safety note: Don’t have your kids approach insects like bees, wasps, spiders, and non-insect critters (like snakes) without guidance and use common sense precautions to avoid them. These creatures can be observed from a distance but it is best not to get too close!
Plant a mini-garden
Show your kids how plants grow by making a mini-garden with them! Let them go to the store with you to pick out a container (we suggest one with drainage holes at the bottom so that the container won’t turn into a swamp). From there, you will want to make sure that you have some potting soil so you can plant real plants in the container. Then comes the fun part… picking the plants! You’ll want to give your child a plant that is easy to take care of, so we recommend either grass, leafy greens, or snap peas. After you get what you need from the store, head home and put the seeds in the container. Have your child add some fencing made out of twigs they collect from your yard or the local park as well as some pebbles for décor. Make sure your child waters the plant accordingly based on the seeding packets directions. Then, voila! They have their own mini-garden.
Fort-building is an activity that kids love to do and one that you can get involved with as well. Ask your child what they would (within reason) like their fort to look like and brainstorm ideas with them on how to make it happen. This will create a fun bonding experience as you both work together to make a blueprint for the fort and then build it together. Here are some ideas we thought looked pretty cool:
Create Your Own Lemonade Stand
This activity is an oldie but still a goody and can help spark the entrepreneurial side in your child! Lemonade stands are a great way to teach your kids about financial concepts in an easy to understand and interactive way. This article from an upcycling blog outlines several ways in which you can make the stand yourself: https://www.littleloveliesbyallison.com/diy-lemonade-stand-ideas/. You can also just put out a table in your front yard and make a cute sign!
After you get the lemonade stand itself figured out, here’s where your kids come into play. Ask them what type of lemonade they would like to sell (fresh squeezed or lemonade packets mixed with water). From there, determine what supplies you might need from the store. Take your kids to the store with you and have them pick out the ingredients. Set a goal for how many cups of lemonade you would like to sell and help guide them through how much supplies they will need to make that possible. Following your store trip, show them the grocery bill and have them help you figure out how much each cup of lemonade should cost. Then, wait for a hot sunny day. When a that day arrives, it’s time to get to work! Have your children mix the ingredients together for the lemonade and be there to supervise them to make sure they can ask for help if they need something cut or if they hit a bump in the road. Finally, bring the lemonade out to your stand and have your children start trying to make some sales! Remind them not to get discouraged if they don’t end up selling as many as they had liked and explain to them the different things they did well and the things they could improve on for the next time.
Safety note: Always make sure there is a parent or guardian actively watching the kids while they are selling lemonade.
Heading out for a pool day? There are tons of games you can play with your child in the pool! Ranging from well-known games like Marco Polo to Sharks & Minnows to the lesser known games of noodle jousting and duck push, here are some games that every kid will love:
Crayon melting is a fun and underrated summer activity to do on a hot day! Here’s what you will need: some broken crayons (variety of colors), aluminum foil, cookie cutters, a paper plate and a very hot sunny spot. Get the rest of the instructions to this activity off this blog: https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2009/07/melting-crayons.html. What a creative and fun way to enjoy the heat!
Backyard Obstacle Course
Allow your kids to burn off some energy by running through this easy dollar store obstacle course you can set up in your backyard! Check out how to make it on this post from the Marie Antoinette blog: https://themariaantoinette.com/2019/04/04/diy-dollar-store-backyard-obstacle-course/.
Squirt Gun Painting
Get artsy with your kids when you load up your water guns with liquid watercolors and fire away at the easel! All you will need for this fun activity is some squirt guns, liquid watercolors, an easel (plastic or wooden), watercolor paper, easel clips, paper towels, and some rocks.
To do squirt gun painting, you will want to place the easel in the yard and then clip two sheets of watercolor paper to both sides. Then, put some of the liquid watercolor paint in your squirt guns and then begin squirting the paper! When you are done, put the paintings on the grass to dry and use a rock to weigh the paper down.
Paint Kindness Rocks and Spread Them Outdoors
Brighten up your neighborhood or local park by painting some kindness rocks with your kids! Simply follow the directions on our past “Hobby Hunting” Family-Friendly Rock Painting activity but add some kind words to your designs and then place them throughout your local neighborhood. Here are some links for inspiration:
Disc golf is a fun and inexpensive way to have fun on either a beautiful summer day or a nice fall afternoon! All you need is a Frisbee. And the best part? The parks are free to go to! Here are some places in Cincinnati and Dayton you can check out: https://wandercincinnati.com/2019/08/25/disc-golf-courses-in-cincinnati/ or https://www.daytoncvb.com/blog/post/disc-golf-courses-in-dayton-oh/.