“Mom, I’m bored. Will you play with me?” You hear it daily. I’m going to give you a few options for beating the boredom at little or no cost to you. Most of the games here your child can play with items that he or she already owns, or you have lying around the house! How fun for them and you too!
Most parents want to get their kids outside and away from the TV as much as possible. Some days that can’t happen but on the days it can we have some ideas for you to make the most of your outside time.
It’s almost fall, and here in California, we are looking forward to some cooler weather! We can finally have more outdoor fun instead of keeping it between eight and ten in the morning or only after seven at night (insert eye roll and sweat marks here).
Most kids would stay outside ALL day if you could let them. Unfortunately, it’s just too hot for them to be out for a long time.
Games to Play Outside
It’s great to give them a mix of things to do based on what they like and don’t like. Always consider adding in one of the active options because keeping our kids active is a great way to encourage a healthy weight and strong respiratory fitness.
1. Summertime Car Wash or “Bike Wash”
Do your kids like to help mom and dad wash their cars? Allow them to help you during your Sunday car wash session. Even if they have a bike or a power wheels car, have them set up a car washing station right next to yours.
They will have fun with this and learn to keep their possessions clean. Add a little bonus for the kids by having a water fight at the end!
They are going to be soaked already from “washing” their bike, so you might as well make some fun memories.
Ah yes, the old faithful of outdoor fun! We played hopscotch as kids and our parents played as kids. Now you get to be the one to draw those little blocks numbered 1-10 for your kid to hop along.
Children from many cultures and countries have been playing variations of this game since the 1600’s. This shows that it’s a game that is great enough to stand the test of time.
The best part of hopscotch is that it teaches coordination. By hopping on one or two feet can help your little ones with learning to count.
If your kids are a bit older and you want to give them a little extra challenge, create a larger court to include numbers up to 20 – or when in Rome do as the Romans do and build your squares 100 feet long (seems crazy to think about how long that would take!)
3. Outdoor Kiddie Olympics
Your kids have their strengths, and they have their weaknesses. Build them (or grab some cardboard to set it up) a mini kiddie Olympics stage. You and your significant other, friends, or neighborhood parents can be the judges and invite your kid’s friends to participate.
The Olympics will keep them active while inciting teamwork and sportsmanship. Not everyone gets to win every time, but we always support and congratulate the winner. If your kids are playing alone, you can use a stopwatch (your phone has one) and time them through each event.
I guarantee they will want to go again and again because they want to beat their time.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a child that wasn’t a fan of art projects. Even if you don’t have a ton of craft supplies, try making collages out of old magazines or newspapers! All you need is some glue or tape and a little paper.
Even if you don’t have a single blank page in one of your child’s coloring books, simply Google “coloring pages for kids” and hundreds of ideas will come up!
We can paint inside, but do you know what’s more fun than painting at the table trying NOT to get paint all over the place? Painting outside where they are free to imagine and create and make a mess.
One of the most fun ways to take full advantage of painting outside is to hang up a clothesline and pin a white sheet to it. I would suggest using one you already have or go to goodwill and purchase a cheap one. Then, pour washable finger paint onto different paper plates, and let your kids throw it on the sheet!
Even handprints or whatever their little hearts tell them to draw on the sheet will help to create their masterpiece. Make sure to have the hose ready to rinse them down or have a bath ready for when they’re done!
6. Nature Collage
This one is a little less “game” and more artistic, but is just as fun for the kids. You could turn it into a game by assigning something you want them to collect or just let them pick things that catch their eye. This part is totally up to you!
Give your kids time to gather items found in your yard including leaves, tree bark, and different types of flowers. Anything they can find in the yard is fair game.
Provide them with paper and glue (depending on their age you may want to put the glue on the paper for them), and let them display their findings for you!
7. Scavenger Hunt
These are SO fun, and kids love them. You can create a hunt in any way you want or let your child choose. Are they a princess and needs to find the basket and apple before they can save Snow White? Are they a superhero and to save the world they have to find a mask, a cape, and sword?
The coolest thing about a scavenger hunt is that the possibilities are endless and you can always hide things that you have around your house. You can make it easy for little kids or a little more challenging for the older ones!
8. Treasure Map
This is similar to your scavenger hunt, but it is specific to the little pirates in your life. X marks the spot. What kind of treasure will your child find? Treasure maps are so much fun for kids!
Counting their steps before moving from one location on the map to the next on their adventure will reinforce what they’re learning in school.
Then they get to DIG for their treasure! It can get a little dirty, but it’s a lot of fun!
Enjoying the Day With Your Little One
Whether your kid is ready to run or explore a world they’ve created in their minds, we are sure you will be able to find a great way to enjoy a day outside with your little one.