Summer’s arrived at last! Looking or creative ideas to keep your kids physically and mentally active (and off the computer) during their summer break? Check out these summertime fun backyard activities that are sure to get the body and imagination of just about any rug rat moving…without requiring a lot of parental supervision. Even the most outdoor-evasive kid is sure to enjoy at least one of these activities.
1. Go camping in your backyard.
Break out the tent, sleeping bags, and flashlights and let your kids spend the night in the backyard. They can tell ghost stories, make shadow shapes with flashlights, and roast marshmallows for s’mores. See #s 2 and 3 below for other fun night-time activities.
2. Go night bowling.
Make bowling pins that glow in the dark by placing glow sticks into 10 bottles of water. Any type of ball can be used as the bowling ball.
3. Catch fireflies.
Grab some old mayonnaise or mason jars, poke air holes into the lids, and have a firefly catching contest. Just remind the kids to let the little bioluminescent fellas go after an hour or two.
4. Build a secret hideout.
Encourage your kids to find the perfect place under the canopy of a large bush, shrub, or leafy tree with low branches to create a secret hideout in the backyard. An old tarp or blanket can be thrown over the branches to create a roof. Collect yard scraps to use as the camouflage. Get creative! (Just remind the kids to be mindful of bird nests or other critter dwellings.)
5. Go on a bug-hunting expedition.
Prepare a shoe box or glass jar with lid (poke some air holes in it), give them a magnifying glass, and have your kids go on a bug-hunting expedition. They can use the box/jar as the observation deck for each bug they find. Encourage them to make and compare notes on the differences/similarities between the various species. Remind them to treat the bugs gently, be mindful of the ones that bite/sting, and to let the critters go as soon as they have had a good look.
6. Build a fairy house.
Using sticks, leaves, flowers, feathers, or any other natural building material that can be found in the backyard, along with some nontoxic glue, have the kids design and build tiny dwellings for the backyard fairies. Build an entire fairy city at the base of a tree or in its branches.
7. Plant a garden.
Designate a little plot of land in the backyard for the kids to plant their very own garden. Let them select the seed packets from the local plant nursery or grocery store and then prepare the soil and do the planting themselves. Turn the garden over to them as their very own responsibility to weed, water, and harvest throughout the summer.
8. Build a sprinkler.
Using a two- liter soda bottle, poke holes into it and attach to a garden hose with a male-to- male adapter. Hang it from or toss it over a tree branch. Adjust the sprinkler flow by adjusting the water stream.
9. Have a water balloon fight.
Fill up a bunch of balloons with water, and let the kids have at it. Water balloon fights are a great way for kids to expend all that pent-up energy. Just don’t be an old wet blanket if they peg YOU with a few of those water balloons.
10. Go on a scavenger hunt.
Make a list of random objects that can be found outside, and have the kids go on a scavenger hunt. Once they have collected everything on the list, take them to get ice cream! NHR