10 Outdoor Activities For When Kids Are Bored
As winter ends and warm weather begins, so too begins the classic noise of summer: “Mom? Dad? We’re bored!”
Yes, now that it is finally nice enough to play outside all day long, kids may need some new ideas for what they should do with this new found freedom. Fortunately, when the temperatures rise (and the rain stops), you’ll already be armed with a list of various outdoor activities for when your kids need inspiration.
1. Backyard Water Fun – When it gets too hot outside, water can help cut the heat down to size. Squirt guns are an obvious, fun choice, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Anything that can hold water can be part of the game. Set up stations outside with water balloons, spray bottles, plastic cups/pitchers, and even a garden hose! Kids love it because it seems like they’re making a mess, and you can love it because that “mess” dries quickly.
2. Sculpture Maker – A classic game requiring multiple kids and no equipment. One child plays the “shopper” and is looking to find the perfect sculpture. All the other kids become sculptures by spinning around in place and then freezing in a pose. Once all the sculptures are frozen, the shopper taps each kid on the head, one at a time, to bring them to life. The sculpture then does a simple gesture/sound to show what it is a sculpture of (ex: “They crawled forward and roared! What a cool lion statue.”). The sculpture that the shopper picks now becomes the new shopper and everyone gets to become a new piece of living art!
3. Jug Catch – A competitive game of catch using milk jugs and bean bags. Cut the bottom off of a milk jug for each kid. All of the kids pair up with a partner, making two lines facing each other. The kids start three paces apart and have to toss their bean bag to their partner using only their jug. If their partner catches it in their jug, both kids take a step further apart. If a team misses, they are out. Repeat until one team is Jug Catch Champs!
4. Sardines! – Hide and seek with a fun new twist! In this version, only one kid is “it” and has to hide. All the other children have to cover their eyes and count to an agreed upon number. Then they split up and go looking for the kid who is hiding. When a player finds the kid who is “it”, they join them in their hiding spot. Eventually all the seekers but one are hiding in the same spot, like a package of sardines. When the last seeker finds the hiding spot, whoever found the hider first becomes “it” for the next round.
5. Picnic Time – Not all outdoor activities have to be a game. You can take something you were going to do anyway (i.e. have a family meal) and make it special for the outdoors. With a blanket, some premade sandwiches, and a thermos of lemonade, you can change a breakfast, lunch, or dinner into an outdoor expedition that takes advantage of the lovely weather!
6. Volcano – A messy experiment that isn’t just for the science fair! Build a mound of dirt/sand ten inches high. Then, dig a hole in the middle of the mound with a small shovel or spoon. Add two teaspoons of baking soda in the hole. Then slowly pour vinegar into the hole and watch your volcano erupt!
7. Giant Bubbles – Soap bubbles in the summer are fun, but giant bubbles are even better! Use two six-inch pieces of string to connect two straws, making a big, hollow square. (Be sure to leave enough room at the end of the straws to hold onto as handles.) Mix up some bubble solution by combining 1 part dish soap with 6 parts water in a shallow container. Now, dip your square into the solution and slowly lift it out. When air passes through the square, you’ll have a giant bubble before you know it!
8. Squirt Gun Art – Those squirt guns and spray bottles can be used for more than just soaking each other. Make your own liquid water colors by taking washable paint out of a kit and popping each color into a separate small container of hot water. When the paint dissolves and the water cools, you can load up anything that sprays water with liquid paint. Hang some pieces of paper in the back yard on an aisle or clothes line and have your kids experiment with different spray setting and color combinations. Instant refrigerator art!
9. Nature Hunt – Send the kids out into the neighborhood (or take a trip to the park/woods) and have them see what kind of wildlife they can spot. Using a camera or pencil and paper, have the record any animals or birds they come across. Later that day, help them look online for exactly what it is they saw. What kind of bird? What sort of squirrel? You can even keep a running list of all the different animals they found over the entire summer.
10. Chalk Mural Story – This game draws inspiration from the stories about drawing, like Harold and the Purple Crayon. Have your children draw themselves on a piece of paper or cardboard. Next set a destination for your “picture kids” to get to. Can your picture kids make it down the drive way? From the sidewalk to the back door of the house? To get there, they must use chalk to create their method of travel. (Ex: Draw a bride to get across cracks in the sidewalk. Or sketch a horse to ride.) The more creative the journey, the better!
Photo Credit: Luiz Farias
Originally Published 5/17/2016