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10 Easy and Fun Outdoor Play Ideas for Kids

10 Easy and Fun Outdoor Play Ideas for Kids


It's no secret that outdoor play is good for the mind, body, and soul of a child. Studies show that kids need nature, they need unstructured time, and they need to play in order to learn and grow. What better time of year to get outside and play than summertime when kids schedules are typically wide open? Outdoor playtime expands kids imaginations, stimulates their senses, and frees their little spirits.


Do you recall as a kid getting bored in the summertime and coming up with a summer bucket list? Boredom can truly be a gift, as it can serve as a catalyst for self-discovery and creativity. With that said, kids can use a nudge in the right direction at times to spark their imaginations. Once ignited, it seems kids can play in their magical pretend worlds for hours.


For those moments when kids can use a little direction (ahem, away from the screens) or when summer boredom inevitably kicks in, we’ve come up with a list of ideas to use as a starting point for creative outdoor play.



1. Nature scavenger hunt

Keep the guidelines simple, for example:

·       something red

·       something tiny

·       something that moves

·       something bigger than your hand

·       something that bends

·       something beautiful


2. Go on a bug hunt


Kids naturally love science and nature. Provide a plastic container with a lid that you can cut breathing holes in, and see how easy it is for your little one to create a natural habitat out of grass, leaves and dirt for their roly poly friends.


3. Rock painting


Send your kids on a rock collecting expedition. Next set them up with some washable tempura paint and some paintbrushes, and see how they turn their rocks into beautiful works of art.

4. Melt crayons in the sun


Go through your art supplies and collect all the crayons that are broken into bits and pieces. All you need besides bits of broken crayons is a cookie cutter to use as a mold, a plate, and aluminum foil. Find full set of instructions here.


5. Set up a slip n' slide or sprinkler fun


This one is pretty basic and straightforward, but worth noting. Invite friends to join in the fun and slice up a watermelon to share.


6. Make a nature collage


Send your little one foraging for summer blooms and leaves to create a nature collage. We love this inspiration from MerMag, but the creative possibilities are endless on this one. 



7. Science fun, DIY bottle rocket


Do you have an aspiring scientist at home? This DIY Mentos bottle rocket is a sure hit with kids. And it's an outdoor activity because, well, it can get real messy. 

8. Paint like Jackson Pollack


Pull out an old white sheet, some paints and paintbrushes, and let your little artist paint like Jackson Pollack — outside of course. This splatter paint project is extremely fun (and fair warning, can be extremely messy too.) Find full set of instructions here.


9. Old school games

Teach your kids your favorite childhood games of the past. Some ideas to get you started:

·       Hop skotch

·       Duck duck goose

·       Kickball

·       Dodge ball

·       Backyard hide-and-seek

·       Red rover

·       Freeze tag


10. Have a backyard campout

Admittedly, this one takes a bit more effort to execute. But what a special way to either kick off summer or conclude summer break! Set up a tent in the backyard, tell scary stories at nightfall, and don't forget the flashlights and mallows. 



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