Activity Ideas for Outdoor Play

Susie McGee
outdoor activities

Outdoor activities for kids are fun. They also help promote movement and good health. What kid doesn't love the outdoors? It's even more fun when there is someone to share all of those adventures with. Here are a number of ideas for outdoor play, organized by age group.

Tots and Toddlers Outdoors

If your kid is still a wee little one, there are plenty of activities for you to share. Of course, you'll want to keep a close eye on your child as she plays outdoors. There may be dangerous areas, such as pools, ponds, etc., and your baby could come in contact with poisonous plants. That said, there are lots of fun things to do with toddlers.

  • Take a walk around the yard with your child, and point out the different flower, trees, birds, butterflies, etc. You're enriching your child's vocabulary as well as enjoying the outdoors!
  • What toddler doesn't love sand! This Little Tykes Sand and Water Table makes a great outdoor activity. Look for it, along with the Little Tykes Construction Sandbox at Walmart. You don't have to spend a fortune for your little one to enjoy sand, though. A portable sandbox can be made using a large, plastic storage bin, or create a wooden sandbox with scraps of wood. Cover with a large tarp or old shower curtain.
  • If it's summer, then playing in a splash pool is a great way to spend an afternoon with your tot.
  • How about a game of "Ring Around the Rosie"? Babies love this game, and once you "all fall down", you and your child can lay on your backs and look at the clouds!

Outdoor Activities for Kids

Once your kids become more independent, their interests will branch out into all sorts of activities. Some kids love chasing bugs, while others would rather plant a little garden. Organized neighborhood games are always fun, but don't forget to encourage your kid to use his imagination!

  • Go fly a kite! If the weather will cooperate, get that kite up in the sky! If you want to make your own, check out these instructions!
  • Scavenger hunts are always fun. You can create your own on the computer or by hand with items listed such as a birds' feathers, flat stones, pinecones, red leaves, etc. You get the idea. Then send the kids out to hunt!
  • Why not have a water balloon fight, or play water tag using squirt guns?
  • Hold your own summer Olympics. Set up an obstacle course in your yard, using boxes, hula hoops, basketball goals, etc.
  • What about playing fun yard games, such as volleyball, badminton, kick ball, softball, croquet, and bocce?
  • Ride a bike, or take a hike! These are fun and simple activities that the whole family can enjoy! Be sure to wear your bike helmets when riding!
  • Who says you have to travel somewhere to camp out? You can have a great backyard campout! Set up your tent, start a small fire, roast marshmallows, make s'mores, star gaze, catch lightening bugs, and tell ghost stories!

Preteen and Teen Outdoor Fun

Just because your kid has suddenly become more interested in members of the opposite sex, cell phones, and video games doesn't mean that you and he can't enjoy the outdoors!

  • Teens love pool parties, so if you have a pool or access to one, go ahead and let your kid invite some friends for a big splash! Be sure to bring along some refreshments!
  • Tennis, baseball, and softball are still popular, but have you ever tried Freestyle Frisbee or Frisbee golf?
  • Kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting are exciting and fun outdoor activities for kids.
  • Know anyone who owns a horse? What a great way to spend the afternoon!
  • ATV riding-Use caution here, though. Don't purchase or use vehicles that are too large for your child's size.
  • Geocaching is a new kind of high-tech scavenger hunt, and people of all ages are joining this new craze! You'll need to purchase a portable global positioning system (GPS) to get started. You can purchase these at sporting goods stores, such as Dicks Sporting Goods; electronic stores, such as Sharper Image, and you can sometimes find good deals on eBay

Safety Tips for Outdoor Activities

As always, keep safety in mind when you and your child are enjoying the outdoors.

  • Supervise younger children at all times.
  • Use bike helmets when riding.
  • Never leave children unsupervised around bodies of water.
  • Be sure you monitor any campfires, and have plenty of water on hand to prevent the fire from getting out of control.
  • Keep bug spray handy.
  • Reapply sunscreen often.
  • Watch out for poisonous plants, such as poison ivy and poison oak.

Head Outside and Get Moving

With so many great ideas, there's no reason not to outdoors and enjoy some activities with your family. You and your children are sure to be happier and healthier as a result!

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Activity Ideas for Outdoor Play