Living in the South, we have more hot days than cool ones, so our summer seems to last for a loooong time. In the official summer months, it can get super hot and almost unbearable – but the kids still want to play outside! So here’s my hit list of our most favorite outdoor activities that cost a little but are a lot of fun! Sprinkler Play
We wouldn’t have grass here in New Orleans if we didn’t use the sprinkler at LEAST once a week. A simple sprinkler can be tons of fun for little ones – jumping through the water, filling up cups by “catching” the water, trying to run away from the water before it touches you. For under $10 in initial cost, you can have some cool summer fun AND greener grass while you’re at it.
It’s always fun to draw with sidewalk chalk, and you can get a pretty good amount at discount and dollar stores for next to nothing. I love to let my kiddos freely draw whatever they want, but I also like to give them little challenges, such as drawing your name, copying letters, drawing a picture…things that challenge their minds while they’re out of school!
This can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. Maybe you hunt for three things that start with the letter R. Or maybe you hunt for opposites (big and little, wet and dry, crunchy and soft). Any way you slice it, a scavenger hunt gets the kiddos searching for things they may not have noticed. I’m a big fan of paying attention to the world around us!
Leaf Rubbing Art
Leaf (and plant) rubbing is an activity that is fun year-round, depending on the leaves available at the time. In the summer, most leaves are still on the trees and bushes, whereas in the fall, they have fallen and are crunchy. Either way, this makes a really great picture in any season. All you need is a piece of paper and some crayons with the paper removed. Lay a leaf on a hard surface, like the ground or a table, and lay a piece of paper over the leaf. Using your crayon, rub it from side to side, gently pressing down on the paper, until you see the shape of the leaf coming out on the paper. You can make a fun garland with these leaf rubbings as well!
Water Squirter Tag
Head over to the Dollar store to find some small water guns, water squirters, or water balloons. Then, put a big bucket of water in a central spot. The person who is “it” will chase down the others, spraying them with water to cause them to get “out.” It’s really fun to watch my kids jump out of the way and giggle uncontrollably when a small stream of water gets close to their body!
This is the activity to do when your children are out of breath from playing and need a little rest and snack. We put a blanket down on the grass or driveway and have our snack while looking up into the sky and trying to make shapes out of the clouds. I remember playing this game as a child, and I’m enjoying playing it now with my children. It’s a classic!
Bubbles and Bubble Painting
Blowing bubbles is always a fun kid activity, but let’s take it step further and actually paint with bubbles! I purchased a multiple packs of individual bubble solutions. Then, add a few drops of food coloring to each bottle to make sure you have one of each color – one tube of blue, one tube of yellow, etc. Then, lay out a large piece of paper and blow bubbles onto the paper to pop. It creates a beautiful abstract piece of art, made by your kiddos!
Bean Bag Toss
Bean bags can easily be made using items around your house. Take a sandwich/ snack size plastic bag, and fill it with dry beans or rice. Then wrap the little baggie in plastic wrap – tightly! Then toss those homemade baggies around the yard to each other. OR create a game by using paper plates with numbers on each. Whoever scores the most points, wins!
A simple balloon can provide tons of entertainment for kids! Play “volleyball” by gently passing the ball back and forth with your hands. Or for even more silly fun, try to blow the balloon in the air and keep it off the ground. Just make sure you have a few backup balloons – grass can be a little prickly.
A simple picnic in the backyard is super fun and easy for kiddos to help out with. All you need is a nice big blanket (or a few towels put together), some snacks, and a cold drink. Let your kids help pack the refreshments to get them invested in the activities. This also takes up even more of the “I’m Bored!” times – even better!
Do you have any fun activities you do with your kiddos outdoors in the summer? Comment below and let me know!