Top 10 Backyard Activities for Summer Fun
What can we do outside without a playground? Here are some low cost, low-prep options for outdoor play without playground equipment.
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1. Scavenger hunt
Give each child or team a list of objects to find. Your list might include: green leaf, brown twig, flat rock, pine cone, clothespin, sandal, toy shovel. Pictures of the items may be included for young children.
2. Sand play/water play
Fill a small wading pool or large container with play sand purchased at a local hardware store. Add toy cars, funnels, plastic rakes, shovels, measuring spoons. Cover the container when not in use.
Fill another plastic tub with water for water play.
You can also make a mud play area with a simple setup like this mud pie kitchen from Tinkerlab.
Use store-bought or homemade solutions with a variety of wands.
This DIY bubble station from Crafty Mama in ME will ensure a steady supply of homemade bubble solution!
Pack a picnic basket with crackers and cheese, finger sandwiches, thermos or drink boxes, along with a checkered tablecloth.
Spread a blanket under a tree or lounge in the hammock with picture books about nature. Here are some we like:
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
In My Backyard by John DeVries
Bunny's Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown
The Water Hole by Graeme Base
6. Nature Walk
Go exploring with binoculars and magnifiers.
Dress up in costumes; carry banners or wave flags made by the children; ride on tricycles or pull wagons.
8. Obstacle course
Identify natural props for going under, over and around: under the tree branch, around the lilac bush, over the big rock!
You can also build a backyard obstacle course with man-made props like these bloggers did.
- Go through this obstacle course from Frugal Fun for Boys like an American Ninja warrior.
- Hoola hoops and water balloons are just part of the fun in this obstacle course from Pre-K Pages.
- Start with a colorful tunnel in this rainbow obstacle course from Sunny Day Family.
9. Relay races
Establish a start line and a finish line, allowing lots of room between them for the races. Include gross motor options such as wheelbarrow races, walking backwards, hopping on one foot.
Provide skipping ropes, hoops, and sports balls, along with a ring toss game.
Place large toy dump trucks and other vehicles in an area with pea gravel or loose earth for digging.
This follow-the-pine cone trail is a fun game for toddlers and older kids too!
These are a few of our favorite backyard activities.
What can you add to the list?
Be sure to pack sunscreen, bug spray and other essentials when heading outdoors. Keep hydrated (drink water), wear a hat and protective clothing, and seek out shade, or stay indoors, during the hottest part of the day.