It’s Summer – Let’s Play Outside!
Well, that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Floortime, but all the same, who wants to be indoors in the summer?
Here is a list of activities I think might engage my children. My list doesn’t look much different than a list of activities for typical young children, but the difference is in the purpose. We won’t just “do” each activity – our goal will be to use these activities as springboards for play and interaction. If the kids aren’t interested, we’ll model so they’re more comfortable and likely to join in next time, but also watch to see what does intrigue them. We’re playing with a goal – to build our children’s social, language, and problem-solving skills – outdoors!
- fly a kite
- put up a tent – bring out the books and toys
- inflate the bouncer
- water balloons
- turn on the sprinkler
- stick a ball in one leg of a pair of nylons – stand against a wall and swing it back and forth to bounce it. Make it interactive by standing together and taking turns.
- use pool noodles to bat balloons or beach balls around
- make a scavenger hunt – using pictures or words as clues
- blow bubbles
- turn the kiddie pool into a sensory tub – add bubbles or turn it into a ball pit
- show them how a telescope or binoculars work
- collect and sort rocks
- have a water fight – with or without water guns
- sidewalk chalk
- beanbag toss – outside
- obstacle course
- catch bugs
- feed ducks (birdseed is best)
- find cheap outdoor toys at the Dollar store
- talk about shapes in clouds
- make letters and shapes out of licorice strings (then eat them)
- watch the clouds
- play with flashlights and shadow puppets
- have a picnic
- make and sail paper boats
- bring toys to the playground – favorite stuffies or dolls can go down the slide too!
- go for walks and name/describe everything we see (e.g. “I Spy”)
- pack up shovels and pails and find a really big sandbox
- paint daisies (and rocks, and whatever else needs painting)
- make a slip ‘n slide out of a plastic tablecloth and a can of shaving cream
- make paper fans
- stack paper cups to shoot down with a water pistol
- paint with water (on surfaces that change color)
- make mud pies
- try a sound safari: instructions here
- walk in the rain
- ride bikes (or tractors with pedals, depending on preference)
- practice Hide and Seek, Tag, Follow the Leader, Ring Around the Rosie, London Bridge, Duck Duck Goose, Simon Says and Red Light/Green Light
- go berry picking
- Pretend to be super heroes, airplanes, zoo animals, galloping horses, trains…together!
- visit a flea market or farmer’s market, talk about what’s for sale (maybe buy lots of fruits and veggies and see if they will eat them!)
- pick a bouquet
- go paddleboating
- throw rocks in a river or pond
- have a wiener and marshmallow roast
- climb a tree (even just a little ways up)
- play with yo-yos
- read books about summer
- take pictures and make books of our outings
Well, that should keep us busy!
Any more ideas? We’d love to hear them.
The National Wildlife Federation has created a website of great things to do outside with your kids: click here.
If you like Pinterest, I’m also collecting ideas here.