By Nate Armstrong
Fun Outdoor Activities
A swimming pool, of course, is a great way to keep cool in the summer while keeping the kids occupied. But if you don’t have a pool, another way to keep cool and active is to connect a three-arm sprinkler toy to your garden hose or sprinkler system. Your kids will love the chance to run around the yard and play in the water.
Water Balloon Tosses
A water balloon toss is another fun and inexpensive outdoor activity and can be played a couple different ways, depending on how many people you have:
If there are an odd number of children, the kids can stand in a circle:
- 1. Have the kids stand in a circle, with two feet between each person.
- 2. Begin play by having one kid toss the water balloon to the person on their right.
- 3. The children continue tossing the water balloon to one another in a clockwise direction.
- 4. When a player drops or pops the water balloon, he/she is eliminated and the rest of the players must spread out another foot to compensate for the missing person. This is done each time a player is eliminated.
- 5. Continue to play and eliminate players until only one person is left. He/she is the winner and gets to toss the balloon first in the next round.
If there are an even number of children, the kids can play in pairs:
- 1. Divide all players into groups of two and give each pair a water balloon.
- 2. Line the players up in two lines, with partners facing each other, and have each person take a big step backwards.
- 3. Each player holding the water balloon gently tosses it to his/her partner. If their partner catches it, they each take another big step backwards. If the balloon breaks, the pair is eliminated.
- 4. Continue to play and until one pair is left.
You can map out a backyard scavenger hunt that can be played individually or in teams. Make a list of items for them to find and give each person or team a copy of the list, and let the scavenging begin. Include items that can easily be found in your backyard, such as a leaf, pine cone, flower, rock, and twig, as well as outdoor items that you can place around the yard, such as a water gun, a Frisbee, a pair of goggles, and a splash ball. Whoever returns with all the items first is the scavenger hunt champion.
A creative activity that can be done indoors or outdoors is to create “drawn-like-me” posters. You’ll need a large flat surface like your patio or driveway. You’ll also need a large roll of poster-size paper that you can purchase at craft stores or teacher supply stores. Have each child lay down on a piece of the poster paper, and then trace their outline with a pencil. Then let the kids take over and decorate their outlines with markers, crayons, sequins, and yarn for hair. They can make their drawings look like them or pirates, princesses, astronauts, or whatever they come up with.
Evening Activity: S’mores and a Story
After a long day of sun, fun, and games, settle down for the evening around an outdoor fireplace or firepit. (Make sure children are under adult supervision at all times.) Set up a s’mores station with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate bars. You can even get creative with the ingredients, such as using chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers, and fruit slices or chocolate peanut butter cups instead of the chocolate bars. As they sit around the fire, let the kids create a collaborative story: Have them go around in a circle, letting each person contribute a sentence at a time. It allows each child to participate and can lead to some very entertaining stories! If they’d rather watch a movie, they may not need to head indoors after all: They can watch their favorite movie on an outdoor TV or inflatable screen.
About the Author: This guest post was written by Nate Armstrong of Sprinkler Juice.
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