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Experts now recommend up to three hours of daily outdoor play for children. Keep them happy and healthy with these fun outdoor activities that kids will love.
Need some help to entice your tribe out the door? Look no further than these fun outdoor play activities that kids will love – and the best part? You don’t need to travel beyond your backyard.
Being outside goes hand-in-hand with running and jumping. Most kids love to let loose and have fun, enjoying the freedom of fresh air and open space. This is the prime time to encourage physical activities that can boost their gross motor skills. Anything that stimulates their balance, flexibility and physical abilities is a winner and, while swings sets, cubby houses and outdoor play equipment do the trick, you can also think outside the box. For this reason, we love this Step-a-Trails kit for kids aged 3 and up. Set up a circuit of plastic platforms and help your little ones balance their way around.
Another favourite is the Joey Jumper, which helps improve hand-eye coordination and gets them working up a sweat. Try creating your own carnival-style games with mini bean bags – toss them into a bucket, have a scavenger hunt, or play ‘hot potato’. Get them to come up with some great obstacle courses, or just enjoy a simple game of soccer. One of the easiest things you can do is a running race. Up the ante and set some timed challenges using a smart watch or egg timer.
Being outdoors isn’t all hula hoops, star jumps and slam dunks. There’s a lot to be said for outdoor crafting sessions where you’ve got space to tackle those big and messy projects. Start with sidewalk chalk and encourage free drawing and design. Practise writing numbers and letters, or play tic-tac-toe (noughts-and-crosses). Set up an easel outside and give painting a go – cleaning up is a breeze when you can use the hose. Life hack: you can even hang their wet masterpieces on the clothesline to dry.
Sand play is another one that’s best left to the backyard, for obvious reasons. Mould shapes and create castles, or design a stunt course for mini toy cars. All kids love slime – it’s a part of their DNA. But for parents, it’s sticky and icky, and works best in an outdoor setting; a kit comes with everything you need.
And don’t forget bubbles and water play for cheap and easy outdoor fun! Children love to blow bubbles and pop them but you can engage older kids with a kit like this one by Horrible Science.
Calling all mini David Attenboroughs! Make the most of your surroundings with outdoor activity ideas that engage with nature. Everything is an educational opportunity, so leave no stone unturned, literally. Little ones are naturally fascinated by bugs, so embark on an insect hunt with a magnifying glass and a sketchbook to draw your discoveries.
If you want to get serious, consider the Fandex My First Giant Bug Viewer Set. It has a 5x zoom and lets kids get up close and personal with creepy crawlies. When you’re done with bugs, move on to birds, with the Little Learner Wooden Bird Feeder. The feeder comes assembled: you can paint and decorate it, ready to welcome some new feathered friends.
Instil an early interest in plants and trees and you’ll have a green thumb on your hands. Collect samples of leaves and flowers in glass jars so you can study them. If you can, another fun outdoor activity is to start a herb garden or a vegie patch, or grow some flowers and encourage the kids outdoors to tend to their plants. A spray bottle is a handy tool for this!
STEM is the latest buzzword for all children’s activities but it’s not as tricky as it sounds. In a nutshell, the experts say we should foster a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and build up kids’ skills and abilities for the future. The Galt Glider Planes kit is a winner for kids aged 5 and above. It has everything you need to make, decorate and fly four foam planes – all while teaching them about aerodynamics and gravity and developing an interest in STEM concepts.
Older kids will adore a VEX Zip Flyer Construction Kit, which can shoot propellers 9 metres into the air. Construction and engineering are a big part of STEM education and you can tap into that with building games and mini challenges. Other fun outdoor play activities that kids will love include wooden blocks – awesome for stacking and making towers – and cardboard boxes that can be converted into makeshift cubbies. For kids who want to experiment and explore like mini scientists, a junior microscope, binoculars, telescope and weighing scale can all be used in the backyard with ease.