Encourage your children to explore, construct, create, or simply rest in nature. There are many simple ways to add fun to your backyard and stimulate outdoor enjoyment for kids of all ages!
Backyards may be wonderful places for outdoor activities, fresh air, and creative play. Occasionally, though, children require assistance developing new ways to keep the area entertaining. Following are thirteen suggestions for encouraging children to spend more time playing, relaxing, and interacting outdoors.
Utilize a Summer Stage
With no-sew theater curtains, inspire imaginative play. Just six yards of red burlap, a clothesline, and curtain rings are required.
- The fabric was divided into two 3-yard-long sections.
- Then, fold one end of each piece of burlap approximately 12 inches down and clip the curtain rings to the folded edge, evenly spaced apart (we used seven rings per curtain).
- Finally, thread the rings onto your line and set up your line between two trees.
Clips make it simple to install and remove curtains.
Utilize Stump Steps
Create this balance obstacle with a route of varying-height chopped logs. You can call a local tree trimmer to see if they can provide scraps, or you can chop them yourself between 2 and 10 inches tall. Separate the stumps sufficiently so that children must carefully plan each step as they traverse the trail.
Explore the Local Area
Your children may love navigating the neighborhood with bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, skateboards, and hoverboards. Wheels make exploring much more enjoyable.
Or, try a neighborhood scavenger hunt; make a list of items the children must find and send them on their way. Depending on your comfort level and the age of your children, you may limit this to the block or the garden.
Create a Rock Spot
Little constructors will enjoy a gravel playground for their construction machines and trucks. We used five 50-pound sacks of pea gravel for a 4-by-5-foot hole and surrounded the play area with larger stones and wood. Add little wood planks for ramps, as well as trimmed branches and twigs for children to construct with.
Hang an Outdoor Easel
This huge blackboard will be a hit with children (and you’ll be glad to keep the chalk dust outside!). You can produce outdoor chalkboard paint that will withstand the elements better than store-bought paint:
- Mix two teaspoons of unsanded tile grout with every cup of flat exterior latex enamel paint.
- In a container, stir 1 cup at a time to achieve good blending.
- Apply two coats of paint to a large piece of plywood.
- After it has cured, hang the completed drawing station at child height using a heavy-duty picture hanging hardware.
Tip: Prepare the chalkboard by softly touching the surface with the long side of a piece of chalk and erasing it.
Use a Silly Spinner
This non-traditional swing allows children to twist and sway from a high tree branch. Our handcrafted spinner was built from:
- A set of bicycle grips.
- 11-inch-long wooden dowel measuring 7/8 inches in diameter.
- A durable nylon climbing rope purchased from a sports goods store.
If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, you may purchase a twist swing with a similar effect.
Your child should be able to reach the spinner with their arms extended.
Compete on a Boat Racing Track
Kids may race homemade boats down these tracks built from cut-in-half large-hole pool noodles. To make:
- Draw a straight line along the length of the noodle using a marker and a yardstick. At either end, locate the midway point by wrapping a measuring tape around the diameter of the noodle.
- A second straight line is drawn along the opposite side of the noodle. Then, using a utility knife, divide the noodles in half.
- To make sailboats: Remove 1 inch from one end of the pool noodle. Cut the ring in half with scissors and snip it into boat shapes. Flatten the boat bottoms with a saw. Construct the sails using duct tape and toothpicks.
Tip: Create a longer track by attaching noodles with duct tape.
Make a Hanging Hideaway
You can make an outdoor parlor suitable for tea parties, secret club meetings, and games of hide-and-seek with a few simple supplies. Repurpose an existing canopy from a bedroom or suspend a few sheets from a tree. Even a whole room may be constructed using cardboard boxes.
Involve your children in planning and building; this is a fantastic approach to stimulate their creativity. Your children will enjoy their new secret hideaway and the sense of satisfaction that comes with building it themselves.
Sandboxes are excellent, but a pile of dirt that can be readily transformed into mud or shaped into clay may be even better. In this free-play realm, children can design a Mars landscape, command an army mission, or operate toy earth-moving vehicles.
Dedicate a portion of the garden as the children’s domain, or do like FamilyFun contributor Kimberly Stoney does annually: Let the children play in the pile of screened topsoil or loam for two weeks prior to raking it into the grass.
Add some rocks to the terrain to create mountains and highways. Bagged stones are available in the landscaping section of home improvement stores.
Construct tunnels and bridges.
Create a natural playground for vehicles and trucks out of gravel and dirt. Encourage children to use what they find, such as rocks, twigs, and wood scraps. Then, they drive their vehicles along the roads, bridges, and tunnels.
For truck tunnels, bury lengths of PVC pipe (ours are 3 inches in diameter).
Dig a Mini-Pond
You do not need a pool or lake to enjoy water-based activities outside. Try a miniature pond where your children can float boats or make mud pies.
A huge plant saucer filled with water and buried in the ground forms a delightful play pond.
Prepare Some Fun
Transform an old cabinet, shelf, or bookcase into an outdoor play kitchen where children can create mud pies, clover parfaits, and other natural treats. Examine charity stores, garage sales, and your kitchen junk drawer for inexpensive cups, bowls, pots and pans, cutlery, measuring cups, and spoons, among other culinary essentials.
When choosing stuff, let your imagination rule: Muffin tins can be used to create gorgeous, leaf-topped mini-cakes, while plastic drinking cups with intricate designs entice mud-slurry mixtures. Don’t forget to fill a large basin with water for mixing mud and rinsing tools on-site, so you won’t need a hose.
A recycled flour sifter provides dry dirt with a fluffy, uniform texture.
Create a Toad Habitat (Fairies Are Welcome)
This tiny house was formerly a pretty birdhouse and is now surrounded by a fence from a craft store. Here’s how to make a little piece of real estate that children can call their own; it would also make a great vacation house for a toad.
- Start with plants and mosses that flourish in containers in your region; a local nursery can provide recommendations.
- Then, fill the container with potting soil.
- Place the plants and moss in the soil from largest to smallest, and then add the plastic toys and hardware store items. Be cautious not to overwater your dwelling.
Create paths and a patio with gravel and mosaic tile from a hardware shop.
Meaningful articles you might like: Encourage Your Children To Engage in Imaginative Play, The Value of Play For Parents, The Power of Playtime