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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19 Creative Indoor Play Ideas For Toddlers and Preschoolers

It’s raining and cold again outside. You don’t want to go to the park or an indoor play centre, but how do you keep your toddler engaged and entertained? Well, you’ve come to the right place!  We’ve collected 19 creative play ideas for toddlers and older children. They’re easy to set up, and will keep little ones entertained for hours!

indoor play activities toddlers and preschoolers

19 Indoor Play Ideas for Kids

Painting Pasta to Thread

 

Painting Pasta to Thread
Painting Pasta to Thread

Got some tubular pasta in the kitchen? You can turn them into a fun activity for the kids. All you need for this pasta painting activity are watercolour paints, any tubular pasta, and brushes. Simply let your kids paint the pasta in different patterns, dry, thread, and you have yourself a DIY accessory.

Sticky Window Colour Sorting Activity

play ideas for kids- colour sorting activity
Sticky Window Colour Sorting Activity

For this activity, you will need contact paper (sticky side up) and some coloured paper or tissue. This window colour sorting activity is a great way to introduce your kids to colours. Plus, matching and sorting the colours can provide hours of learning and fun.

Colour Toss

Colour Toss
Colour Toss

Ball games are always a big hit with children! This colour toss ball game is great for indoor play and helps develop your child’s gross motor skills and colour recognition. It will be fun to see who can shoot more balls in the basket and who gets to match all the colours right.

Alphabet Bingo Game

Alphabet Bingo Game
Alphabet Bingo Game

This activity can help kids learn their letters while having fun. Besides that, it’s a game that can amuse not just the children but the whole family. Alphabet Bingo Game is great for family night, or during cold weather.

Marshmallow and Toothpick Building Challenge

play ideas for kids - marshmallow toothpick building challenge

Marshmallow and Toothpick Building Challenge is an awesome game that inspires creativity and encourages your children to develop their focus. You will need only two materials for this activity, marshmallows and toothpicks. And that’s it!

Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers

Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers
Moving Colour Targets Game for Toddlers

Here’s a creative way to upcycle cardboard boxes and cups. Create a moving colour targets game for your children. As well as upcycling, it’s a fun target activity that can help your children practice their motor skills and improve their aim.

DIY Baby Toy Slot Box

DIY Baby Toy Slot Box
DIY Baby Toy Slot Box

Do you have unused shoe boxes around the house? You can turn them into a toy. Recycle your shoe boxes at home by making a DIY Baby Toy Slot Box for your children. It’s simple and easy to make and it’s perfect for your toddlers or preschoolers.

DIY Colour Sorting Toy

play ideas for kids - colour sorting activity

DIY Colour Sorting Toy is fun indoor activity that helps your child develop their fine motor skills. This indoor activity is great for preschoolers and toddlers. They’ll love pulling the velcro squares off, dropping them in the container, dumping them out, and sorting the blocks based on colour.

Baby Ball Drop

Baby Ball Drop
Baby Ball Drop

Keep your one year old busy with this simple indoor activity. The Baby Ball Drop involves only 2 items; an empty wipes container and coloured balls. Hand them over to your baby and then watch their hand-eye coordination improve.

Sticker Sorting Activity

Sticker Sorting Activity
Sticker Sorting Activity

If you need a quick and easy activity for your toddlers, this Sticker Sorting Activity is perfect. It’s an engaging activity that teaches colour recognition and helps enhance motor skills. Plus, this activity will keep your child entertained for ages.

Colour Sorting Cups

Colour Sorting Cups
Colour Sorting Cups

Another sorting activity that incorporates learning through fun is this colour sorting cups activity. It’s a great game, inexpensive, and easy to set up. Perfect for helping to teach toddlers to recognise colours.

Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity

Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity
Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play Activity

Grab your children’s favourite stuffed animals and set up a grooming station for them in one part of the house.  Pet Grooming Salon Pretend Play encourages creativity and imagination. Additionally it is a great activity to keep your kids busy for hours (and let’s face it, isn’t that the whole point?).

Colour Skee Ball Game

play ideas for kids - colour skee ball game
Colour Skee Ball Game

The Colour Skee Ball Game is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. Setting up this game is quick and easy.  The items you’ll need for this fun activity are; baskets, boxes, and coloured balls. Your children will love the challenge of throwing the balls and trying to get them into the baskets.

Window Art

Window Art
Window Art

This window art activity will give your children a new surface to play with. This activity came from Adventures And Play and it’s an engaging way to encourage your child’s creativity and imagination.

Rainbow Rice

play ideas for kids - rainbow rice
Rainbow Rice

This Rainbow Rice activity will be a huge hit with your children. The colourful rice is super fun to make and very pretty to look at. Your children will love mixing the different colours and it will keep them busy for quite a long time. Vacuuming it all up might keep you busy for a while, too, so make sure to pop a tablecloth or something underneath for easy collection.

Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculpture

Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculptures
Styrofoam and Bamboo Skewers Sculptures

Instead of throwing away that styrofoam that came in with your package, why not use it to build sculptures? Promote creativity and imagination by letting your children make sculptures out of styrofoam and bamboo skewers.

Cereal Box Puzzles

Cereal Box Puzzles
Cereal Box Puzzles

Another fun indoor activity that makes use of things at home that you would usually throw in the garbage. Recycling can creative, too, with Cereal Box Puzzles. Reuse your cereal boxes, cut them up into different shapes and put some tape at the back and they’re ready.

Homemade Button Snake

Homemade Button Snake
Homemade Button Snake

Making a homemade button snake is an inexpensive activity for fine motor skills development. This activity needs a few basic materials and it teaches your children how to do up buttons.

Masking Tape Speedway

Masking Tape Speedway
Masking Tape Speedway

If you have boys who love race cars, then this masking tape speedway activity could be right up their alley! Give your children some masking tape and get their creativity working by creating tracks for their cars and toys. Encourages imagination and creative thinking.

Want to see more fun indoor play ideas for kids? See our blog on 11 Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers.

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Main image credit: BigStock