I recently started a new chore schedule with punch cards and time earned goes toward our one-day-per-week video game time. However, life is not all about video games. I would like to show my kids all about nature and the joy of being outside, since all they ever seem to want to do is play video games no matter how much I restrict it. So I started looking up fun outdoor activities that the kids can do, or that we can all do together. Some are simple, and some require a little more preparation. This is a list of what I found to be something my family would do:
- Have a water fight using water balloons, water guns, spray bottles, or sponge balls!
- Go to a Farmer’s Market. Let the kids pick out some fresh fruits and vegetables and go home and make something with them (or just eat them as is!).
- Each kid take a jar and hung for bugs, caterpillars, toads or frogs. Just be sure to release them later!
- Dig in the dirt — play in the mud! Use old dishes and utensils to make mud pies and get creative!
- Make your own treasure hunt. Make a map (burn the edges to make it look like an old pirate map) and show how to get to the “treasure”. This is fun for older kids to make for younger kids!
- Have a family picnic in the yard or at a park.
- Have a campout in the backyard and sleep outside in a tent. Use the grill (or a firepit) to make smores, and tell ghost stories with a flashlight.
- Have a watermelon speed spitting contest.
- Jump in puddles after the rain.
- Make a time capsule as a family. Put things in it that are happening right now and then open it next summer and see how things have changed.
- Work in the garden together. OR let each child have a container garden they can take care of themselves.
- Go to all the parks within a 10 mile radius and choose which one is your favorite. Make a “Park Passport” and check each park off as you visit it.
- Outdoor, night-time bowling. Use water-filled soda bottles with glow sticks inside for the pins, and a soccer ball or basketball for the bowling ball.
- Play Drip-Drip-Splash (Duck-Duck-Goose with water!)
- Sidewalk chalk – just drawing…. or games! (Pictionary, tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, etc)
- Make a “Dirt City”. Find a patch or dirt or sand in the yard and build mountains and rivers and streets and then use matchbox cars, dinosaur toys, and other plastic toys to play for hours. Or just dig in the dirt. That’s fun too.
- Sandbox play (yes, even for those in apartments!)
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt
- Play in a homemade Kid Wash
- Have an outdoor read-a-thon.
- Go on an “Alphabet tour”. Bring a camera(s) and a notebook. Head into town and walk around. Beginning with the letter a, find something that starts with that letter (i.e. Adams Street). Take a picture of that item and
write it down in your notebook. Continue with each letter and when you are done, each child has a personal and creative alphabet memory book.
- Using an old sheet, make art on the lawn. Use paint or markers and make a mural.
- Have a car wash – for the bicycles too!
- Go for a hike or a bike ride.
- Film a movie created by the kids! Have them create it from story to characters to script. Let tohem act it out and record it with a camcorder or cell phone. If you’re tech-saavy, you can even edit with cool credits and captions. Sit down and watch it with the kids once its finished… with popcorn!
- And this last one is fairly elaborate, but you can go as crazy or modest with it as you like: Host a neighborhood movie party!
All of these ideas came from google web searches, which turned up the following wonderful sites: