Go Outside! Top 10 Backyard Activities



By Rebecca Lemar

Not long ago, I proclaimed in my annual summer manifesto that my children deserve a sensational summer rich with summer fun.
My own roadblock usually comes when I don’t have a scheduled activity. Here I am pushing boredom onto my children to discover their own passions, and I avoid open ended time myself!! So last week, I under-scheduled, opened Nancy Blakey’s GO OUTSIDE! book and here are some of the inspirations we’ve been doing in our own back yard.
IMG_47421.) Paint with your feet – Pour paint onto paper plates, cut up a paper bag into large squares and make stepping stones of the paint plates and, paper squares. At the end have a wash basin and towel. My kids walked through their little maze and painted with their toes and heels and loved it. Warning: plates can be slippery!!IMG_4817

2.) Ooobleck – this is guaranteed fun every time and perfect to do outdoors because it doesn’t matter how messy it gets. Bring out the bowls and spoons and whisks!  You will need 1 box cornstarch (1 lb), 1 ½ cups cold water, food coloring optional, large plastic dish or big bowl. Mix the ingredients together in the bowl then SQUEEZE, it can’t seem to decide to be a liquid or a solid!

IMG_48203.) Cinderella–Do your kids love to re-enact stories too? My children love when I am the evil stepmother and make them scrub the outside children’s table with soapy water and a dollar store scrub brush. I let them use a little bottle of soap and a bowl of water and they will scrub to their hearts content… because they really want to go to the ball!

4.) Pitch and Bat–NEED: Clothesline or rope, tennis or whiffle ball, heavy string, and a plastic bat. Thread a length of the heavy string through the whiffle ball (or tie around the tennis ball and wrap in duct tape), and tie it to a clothesline or rope. Kids can then bat at the ball. It is great eye hand coordination for all! We had oodles of fun with this one.

5.) Paint your body–My children went crazy with this! You can buy face/body paint
at major craft stores or use a can of shaving cream sprayed into bowls and colored with a bit of food coloring.

6.) Spray bottle wars– A spray bottle is such a novelty to children. They can squirt each other, water plants, spray the fence, spray bugs, spray their hair.

7.) Candle Quench – NEED: squirt gun, candle, lighter, clay. Set the candle firmly in a piece of clay or in a candlestick holder  on a table or rail. Have the player stand a good distance away (how far will depend on the abilities of the players!) Light the candle and have the player extinguish the flame with the water from the squirt gun. Count the number of squirts it takes. The winner has the lowest number of squirts.

8.) Finger paint with chocolate pudding– Tape a piece of butcher paper shiny side up onto a table outdoors. Make up a batch of chocolate pudding, place in a small bowl and watch the fun.

9.) Swimming pool noodle rounds–Cut a noodle with a serrated kitchen knife into rounds for several summer fun projects: bathtub toys, stacking counters, wading pool toys, or string them for a great eye-hand challenge.IMG_5553-768x1024

10.) Slip-n-Slide– Make a slip-n-slide with a large tarp. Lay the tarp out where there are no stationary objects to run into. Turn on the sprinkler to wet it down and get your suit on! This is great fun to do with kids.

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