It’s finally warm here, so I’m thinking of ideas for my DC. We have a small yard with a small patio. While I’d like to send the DC to the park, we just had an offender move into the neighborhood. There goes that idea! I do plan on taking them frequently, but I don’t want to spend hours there! What else can we do and what are your DC spending time on outside?
We do have quite a few things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, basketball hoop, sand/water table…and my older ones are starting to figure out the stilts we picked up at Goodwill! I’d love a few more ideas or this will be a long summer!
honestly, my kids stomp around with sticks and they each have little garden shovels that they dig in the dirt with. I dont entertain them outside, I let nature do that. I let them be and they find stuff to engage them.
Im in Florida so it is already hitting the 90’s here, we spent a lot of time looking for caterpillars and keeping an eye on chrysalis and chasing butterflies right when it warmed up.
My girls usually “play” whatever they are reading in books. So, when they read The Secret Garden they are orphans. When they read Little House they are pioneer girls. When we were studying Rome they were slaves. My 11 year just set up a trading post of stuff she found in the yard (rocks, sticks, etc). I usually encourage/pick books during the summer for them that will inspire.
Does your yard have as many dandelions as mine does? Pick the stems, pull off the heads, peel the stems on both sides into little pieces, drop them in water (they will curl up) and then make things out of them.
I once made a zipline from a tree for my barbies.
Mark off a square yard and send them bughunting.
Gather lots of sticks and have them make outdoor houses for dolls (teepees, huts, etc.)
Have an outdoor olympics.
Find a local teen to take the kids to the park sometimes–he or she can keep an eye out for the children.
We have a trampoline that is getting lots of use now that the weather is warming up. If you have a place for one, it’s a great investment. Also, my dc are learning to jump/skip rope. Similar to JennyMN’s dc, they were inspired to skip rope because we are reading The Secret Garden. Riding bikes up and down the street is another favorite activity. Thankfully, we live on a street of grandparents, so I never question my kids’ safety. Plus I can see all the way to the end of the street from my kitchen window.
For a project, we planted seeds and are anxiously watching them grow. It is the kids’ job to water and take care of them. In between our neighbors’ homes, our kids have found a little nook to play in. It’s totally secluded and shaded with ivy, rocks, and leaves. They have claimed it as their own “clubhouse”. It’s pretty cute! They have even used the rocks to set up office spaces for themselves, complete with rock computers and mouse pads!
Sidewalk chalk, playing in the water sprinkler, having a lemonade stand, going to the swimming pool, splash pad at our park, pogo stick, and just playing with rocks and sticks and bugs are normal summer activities here. Plus, we live where it gets very hot, so most summer afternoons are spent either swimming or indoors reading, playing board games, or doing craft projects.
My dc dig in the dirt/take Legos, army guys, dinosaurs out to play either on the pavement or grass (like they’re in the jungle)/play catch/climb the only tree we have/shoot hoops/eat ice cream/look for bugs/play in the water/jump rope. Can’t think of anything else right now. Today I may have them sketch a flower or something, just for fun.
Oh, and my dc love to go for walks or bike rides. I may do that today too or teach them to play Kick the Can.
We still have snow… :(
In our weekly co-op at the park, we have been learning survival skills from a great book called Camp Out. My kids have learned how to make shelters out of tarps and rope, build a tepee, and stuff like that. This is the kind of stuff they now play in our backyard. They set up campsites and pretend they are trying to survive in the wilderness. An added benefit is that once they found out they could make stuff with tarps, rope, sticks, and duct tape, they started trying to come up with their own things to build. If you get that book, you could teach them some simple knots, buy some tarps and duct tape, and let them go to own with it. I have a pinterest board that has a lot of survival-y type stuff that we used in our co-op this year. Maybe something I’ve pinned would spark some ideas for you. It’s under “Lively Institute” and the board is called something like REACH Survival.
Yah my kids entertain themselves as well–they love to care for toads or bugs they find. We keep a toad in a galvanized tub that they fill with dirt, plants, rocks and give the toad bugs to eat. They “play” with bugs lol buy storing them in plastic open containers with dirt. THey love to dig in the dirt (YIKES). They use what they find in nature or they take out play cars, animals etc to play on the sidewalk or in the yard. Climb trees. Kick balls around. And so on. I take them to different parks in our area–we have tons–and they like to nature walk on the bike trails. One park has a little bridget with a creek that they float sticks in and watch them almost go to the lake. lol Look at their flower gardens. We take our dog for walks down to the park and play. Or the neighborhood kids come over from time to time and run around with them.
My girls are the same way–they play what we’ve seen on a video or read in a book–Lone Ranger, knights/queens/kings, Little House prairie days etc.
Our girls also play-act whatever they are reading about, and use whatever they find outside to entertain themselves with. Their biggest passion is building fairy houses. We have an entire village between our house and the neighbor’s house :) Nature walks each week seem to yield yet a few more treasures they have to add to add to their fairy houses… and it just goes from there. The neighbors often comment how pretty it all looks :) For what it’s worth, the lawn looks ridiculous with the holes the girls and puppies have dug, but the bases of all the trees are lovely! haha!
Mine have built a fort so far. Last year all the rage was fairie houses, but this year they went bigger!
Love the fairy house idea!!
This summer, dh is planning to involve the kids in a big clubhouse building project. We have some 2x4s in very good shape from tearing out some walls in our still-under-construction master bedroom, and he’s been piling them up and saving them for a clubhouse which will go in the back yard. I hope it’s finished before the end of the summer–but dh has to finish our bedroom first! Wife’s orders!
My kids (5 and 3) love collecting “treasures” when we do nature walks. I got them little buckets at home depot and they carry them around to play with their treasures. DD3 likes to pretend hers are food. Sometimes she has a party in her “home” and sometimes she has a store where she “sells” stuff. They both like to get sticks to “fight bad guys” and sometimes pretend to be superheroes. DS has started climbing trees some. I’d say mostly they play with their treasures though.
I wanted to add – be careful of bubbles the new ones that are colored are cancer causing. We like to go to the beach, pool, meet friends at the park is a whole new world vs. just going ourselves. Local zoos (we have a free one), walking paths, and gardening
Oh and might I mention we do some more focused training. Being outside we work on listening/obedience (red light green light or simon says), we do more PE type activities (sharing/taking turns) and we do more 1-on-1 (either me and a child or a older and a younger – learning to do what someone else wants and putting ourselves 2nd). Just some other things that popped into my head.
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