Whether you’re a parent or teacher, these fun outdoor activities will give you creative ideas to liven up the time your kids spend outside.
Fun Outdoor Activities:
Detach your garden hose from its spout and drain any water that is inside. Next use duct tape to attach a funnel to each end. You now have a primitive telephone that will carry the sound of your children’s voices. Encourage them to talk and listen to each other as they bend and stretch the hose around the corner of buildings or other obstacles.
Print out several different shaped patterns from our printable patterns and stencils area in shapes like hearts, circles, stars, crescents, and so on. Cut the shape, trace it onto a piece of cardboard, and then cut out the shape in the cardboard to create a stencil. Take these out into your yard, lay a stencil down, and spray paint the shapes into the grass in assorted colors. (It works best if the grass is short and freshly cut. The lawn will remain dazzled like this for a couple of weeks as the grass grows. Cut it again, and it will be as good as new.) If you’re looking for something less permanent, you can sprinkle flower over the shape instead of spray paint. Just wet the grass with water from a spray bottle first to make it stick. Once your lawn looks like something from the movies, play the following games:
- Run races across the lawn without stepping on a shape.
- Time children as they race to find and touch each particular shape.
- Play shape hopping games from one shape to the next.
- Create a version of tag with certain shapes as safe bases.
- Play a game to toss bean bags or balls at the different shapes.
Set out some type of target on the playground or in your backyard. A plastic stake that you can move around, an overturned plastic kitchen bowl, or a milk jug filled with water work best. Place the marker wherever you’d like, and then pick a starting point somewhere away from the marker.
Next gather some Frisbees. You can play the game with one and have kids share, but having several will move the game along. The goal is to have kids hit the target with as few throws as possible. So the first player takes their turn, then goes to where the Frisbee lands. Standing from that spot, they’ll take their second turn to try and hit the target, and so on. If you’re sharing a Frisbee, have them stand like a statue on that spot until their turn comes around again.
After all the kids have played the first “hole,” move the target and pick a new starting point, then play again for as many rounds as you’d like. Have kids write and keep their own score, adding it up at the end to work on math skills.
This game is tag with a twist, involving deception and team coordination. The goal is to get a special item (something small, whatever you have on hand) across a gauntlet of other players to the other side of the playing field.
First, divide the group up into two teams: One to play the cops and the other to play the smugglers. Send the cops to one side of the playing area, the smugglers to the other. Next, give the smugglers the small object–something that can be easily concealed in a closed hand. A button or coin works well. Smugglers then huddle and pick one kid to start with the loot, while the others pretend they have it. (p. break) While the cops count to ten, the smugglers scatter. Then the cops try to tag the smugglers to find the loot. When a smuggler is tagged, she has to freeze and open her hand. If she doesn’t have the loot, she gets to go free. Smugglers try to keep the cops guessing by passing the loot among their teammates. The game is over when either the smuggler with the loot reaches the cop’s ‘base’ as destination; or is tagged by a cop. Then the kids switch roles and play again.
Shot-put (All Ages)
Tape or tie a string around a tennis ball, whiffle ball, or other soft ball. Make 2 or 3 such contraptions. Take them outside, and have kids practice shot putting the ball, holding it by the other end of the string, spinning around, and then launching it in a certain direction.
Can Pyramid Carnival Game (Large Motor)
Bring in a couple dozen aluminum soda cans or empty Gatorade bottles. (They have to be bottles with the larger, flat lid.) Set up a table in your outdoor area, and have kids stack the cans up into a pyramid. Then have them stand back 10-20 feet, and throw bean bags at the structures, trying to knock them all down in 3 tries. For added difficulty, fill the Gatorade bottles with water and stack them, which will make them harder to knock down.
Thought Bubbles (Language)
Have kids look through old magazines and cut out pictures of people or animals. Then give them a white piece of paper, and have them draw “thought bubbles” like those you see in comic books to put above the characters. Then write a caption in each thought bubble. You can have them make single scene sheets or have them put together an entire story based on the different pictures they find. Have younger kids dictate their captions to you and write them in for them.