17 Fun Outdoor Play Ideas That Your Kids Will Love

Outdoor pretend kitchen

Summer is fast approaching and the kids need to be entertained! While a little time in front of a computer or TV screen is okay, encouraging kids to play outdoors has lots of benefits. According to a study done last year, outdoor play is important because “it promotes cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well being, offering the necessary conditions for children to thrive and learn.”

Getting your kids to play outdoors can take more effort, so we’ve listed a few fun ideas for outdoor play below.

Fun Outdoor Play Ideas

1. Bucket and Rope Pulley

Bucket and Rope Pulley
Bucket and Rope Pulley from Happy Hooligans

Your kids will love this outdoor activity. Bucket and Rope Pulley from Happy Hooligans involves only 2 things; a bucket and a rope and that’s it! It may look basic but this encourages your children to use their imagination, play creatively, and take calculated risks. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, for hours of open ended play.

2. Build a Mudpie Station

Mudpie Station
Mudpie Station from My Small Potatoes

Who knew digging and scooping dirt could be so enjoyable? Building a Mudpie Station is super fun and it won’t cost you anything. You’re going to need a lot of dirt, some tubs and bowls, pebbles and twigs that you can easily find in your own backyard.

3. Sponge Ball Water Fight

Sponge Ball Water Fight
Sponge Ball Water Fight from Create Craft Love

Outdoor play can be heaps of fun with some water and colourful sponges. Children will have a blast getting wet with Sponge Ball Water Fight. And on a hot day, it can be a very enjoyable activity for the whole family.

4. Classic Tin Can Stilts

Classic Tin Can Stilts
Classic Tin Can Stilts from Juggling Act Mama

Tin Can Stilts is a classic game that’s simple to make and uses materials that you probably have around the house. Your children can take the stilts for a spin around the neighbourhood or do obstacle courses on stilts with their friends. They can also take turns and see who can walk fastest while on stilts. I’d suggest that they stay on the grass for that one, though!

5. Pool Noodle, Soccer Ball Kid’s Croquet

Pool Noodle, Soccer Ball Kid's Croquet
Pool Noodle, Soccer Ball Kid’s Croquet from Down Home Inspiration

Keep your children busy during summer with this Pool Noodle, Soccer Ball Kid’s Croquet. This activity is relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to make and will keep your children occupied for hours at a time.

6. Shark Run Game

Shark Run
Shark Run from FSPDT

This game from Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails is a fun gross motor activity that’s easy to set up. ‘Shark Run’ is great for encouraging your children to work on improving their core strength and use their imagination.

7. Olympic Rings Ball Toss

Olympic Rings Ball Toss
Olympic Rings Ball Toss from I Can Teach My Child

This outdoor play activity from I Can Teach My Child combines learning with fun. It helps develop gross motor skills and colour recognition. It’s a perfect game for toddlers to learn different colours as well as enjoy the challenge of tossing the balls to shoot them in the ring.

8. Rainbow Bubble Snakes

Rainbow Bubble Snakes
Rainbow Bubble Snakes from Housing a Forest

How cool is this? Rainbow Bubble Snakes are easy to make from stuff you’ll probably have lying around at home. Your children will have a blast blowing bubble snakes out of tin cans and watch the snakes get longer as they blow more air.

9. Giant Paper Aeroplanes

Giant Paper Airplanes
Giant Paper Aeroplanes from Fire Flies and Mudpies

We love paper aeroplanes! Who doesn’t? Put a twist on the classic paper aeroplanes by making giant sized ones. These Giant Paper Aeroplanes look like heaps of fun. Encourage kids to launch the planes in an open space like the park or in your backyard rather than the lounge room!

10. Build A Rain Gutter River For Running Water Play

Rain Gutter River For Running Water Play
Rain Gutter River For Running Water from Frugal Fun 4 Boys

Children love water play and it can keep them busy for hours. Building a Rain Gutter River is easy to do and simple to set up. Your children will have a great time pouring water down the river or watch their toys float down the ‘river’.

11. DIY Water Wall

DIY Water Wall
DIY Water Wall from Tinker Lab

Another fun water play activity is this DIY Water Wall. It’s inexpensive to set up, and children can keep coming back to it during summer. You can also have your children help you build the water wall as a family activity.

12. Making A Play Garden

Making a Play Garden
Making a Play Garden from The Imagination Tree

Play Garden is a wonderful outdoor activity that encourages sensory play. It’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. They’ll enjoy digging up the soil, getting muddy and planting seeds and flowers.

 13. Rainbow Bubbles (Outdoor Art and Water Play)

Rainbow Bubbles (Outdoor Art and Water Play)
Rainbow Bubbles from Gift of Curiosity

A water play idea from Gift of Curiosity is a great sensory game. Rainbow Bubbles encourages creativity and imagination. Only a few materials are needed to make this activity, all of which can be found around your house so it shouldn’t cost you anything.

14. Outdoor Kitchen – Pretend Play For Kids

Outdoor Pretend Kitchen
Outdoor Kitchen from The Little Years

This role play game is quick and easy to prepare. You can get the materials from your own kitchen, using stuff like flour, sprinkles, spoons, scoops, bowls, and etc. The outdoor kitchen idea is a great one for outside so that little ones can expend their creative energy without getting the house messy!

15. DIY Sand Box and Gravel Pit

DIY Sand Box and Gravel Pit
DIY Sand Box and Gravel Pit from The Imagination Tree

Here’s another outdoor sensory game that’s perfect for your toddlers and preschoolers – DIY Sand Box and Gravel Pit. Great for building sandcastles and landscapes of all sorts.

16. Outdoor Alphabet Match For Toddlers

Outdoor Alphabet Match For Toddlers
Outdoor Alphabet Match For Toddlers from I can teach my child

This one is good for toddlers to help them recognise letters. It’s another learning through play activity that will be a big hit with your children. You’ve got to love activities that encourage learning while having fun!

17. Colour Hop For Toddlers

Colour Hop for Toddlers
Colour Hop for Toddlers from I can teach my child

This activity is super easy, you will only need one thing, coloured chalks! Great for teaching your toddlers to recognise and match colours. This game will keep them playing and hopping for hours.

Have you got ideas for other fun outdoor activities? Leave your comments down below.

 

Main Image credit: The Little Years
Other image credits: Happy Hooligans, My Small Potatoes, Create Craft Love, Juggling Act Mama, Down Home Inspiration, FSPDT, I Can Teach My Child, Housing a Forest, Fire Flies and Mudpies, Frugal Fun 4 Boys, Tinker Lab, The Imagination Tree, Gift of Curiosity, and The Little Years

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Baby Development Skills: Creativity

Play helps children develop their creativity and imaginative skills, such as role play. Creative play provides opportunities for children to try out new ideas, as well as new ways of thinking and problem solving.

How can you encourage your child’s creativity and imagination?

Ensure that your children are involved in activities where they are actively engaged. TV is a passive activity, drawing or building blocks is active.

Reading books with children will help them to visualize places and things they have never seen before.

Ask your child lots of questions about what they can see in the pictures, “What do you think the cow is doing?” “Where is the frog going?” “What is going to happen next?”

Encourage your child to think about the world around them. Ask them questions about what they can see from the car window, or as you are walking in the park.

Ensure that your child has lots of materials they can create with – pencils, crayons, paper, scissors and glue, paints, playdough.

Encourage your child to make up stories about their toys. “What is teddy doing?”

Let your child play with household objects and allow them to pretend to do things that you do – mix the cake in the bowl, or pour tea into the cup.

Provide plenty of opportunities for your child to learn and explore their environment, and to talk about what they think is going on, and watch their imaginations flourish!

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