That’s right. I said it. Those three dreaded words : END OF SUMMER. Right when we all just got used to our dull skin becoming exposed to the sun a tad more then usual, and just when kids with sweaty sun screened brows became the norm again. Alas, she is almost over. That precious summer.
I have achieved one major goal this summer: utilizing our backyard for multiple kid activities. Yes, I know, there are splash pads and parks, zoos and drive in movies. I won’t lie though, sometimes it is glorious to throw the kids out back and just let them go.
Here is a short but sweet list of backyard ideas, in no particular order, on the chance you are on the hunt for a few new activities for the kiddos. Mind you, I thrive on the ‘low cost to no cost’ idea, with the goal to use items I already have laying around the house and garage. Some of these we have completed, some are still on my list to check off, because let’s be honest, we all lose our creative juices pretty much daily. Ok, I do at least.
Dig Fossils & Search For Gold: If I would have known the popularity of this activity I would not have waited until June to try it. A dear friend and her family came to visit from Michigan, and to my surprise, her hubby had taken up the hobby of gold mining (yes. gold mining). He sparked this interest in all of the kids that I had never seen before. Gold? For real. This was true life. We used one of our water tables, kid shovels, bags of rocks and dirt, and wire sifters. Let the kids go wild. Encourage them to wash off the rocks, sift through the dirt, and hunt for different shapes, textures, and colors of the rocks. I had no idea how much gold (sarcastic) and how many dinosaurs existed in my backyard!
Spray Chalk Paint: I have made liquid chalk paint before, utilizing a muffin tin to hold each individual color, while letting the girls paint away with paint brushes. SPRAY chalk paint, however – seems to be even more up their alley. Who doesn’t love spray bottles. Give them paper, leaves, grass, concrete, wooden fences. Whatever mediums are in your backyard. The glory of it? It will wash right off!
Science Class: Check out this link at Growing A Jeweled Rose for a SLEW of ideas to engage your kids (of almost all ages) into creative, brain-boggling, backyard science experiments. Many use simple household items you may have laying around, and others involve a quick trip to the grocery or dollar store to stock up on supplies.
Homemade Water Park: My very personal favorite. There is literally no rhyme or reason to this activity. We have a homemade water park at least 2-3 times a week (insert ‘sanity for mom’) in our backyard. I fill up anything that can be filled with water (old baby pools, half blown up larger pools, water balloons, water tables, buckets, etc) and I put on the old school 1985 sprinkler. They have a blast! I love this because it is a non-structured activity that breeds creativity, and quite frankly, exhausts them! We typically start our water park early in the day and end with a picnic lunch outside.
Scavenger Hunt BINGO: I found this link and I love it! You can print your own FREE nature bingo cards, or you can simply have a scavenger hunt without. My girls love when I give them a (verbal) list of items to find in the yard, and in a certain amount of time to do so. They are in a race with themselves! Print this bingo card and have a family game night in your yard.
Mobile Mud Kitchen: LOVE this idea. It can actually go hand in hand with my fossil and gold digging. Take that old beat up wheelbarrow, or go grab one at Big Lots, and get your mobile mud kitchen up and running. My kiddos love to play kitchen and restaurant, you bet this is on our bucket list to complete ASAP!
No Sew Tee Pee: I do not sew. I don’t own anything that involves sewing. Unless sewing counts as a hot glue gun and velcro. THIS my friends is my dream project. My dream hideaway for my kiddos, and it has been on my to do list for pretty much two years. I believe I can accomplish this. Throw it together with some waterproof fabric and what a perfect little backyard hideaway. Okay… so who is going to be the first to make one and share photos with me?
Shaving Cream Slip and Slide: I may or may not have just hit up dollar tree for some $1 Barbasol the other day. This looks amazing. With or without a slide one can definitely admit that kids sliding around in shaving cream is just as fun for the mamas. Make sure you are not in a ‘everything needs to be spick and span’ day before you get yourself ankle deep in this activity. I plan to use an old slip and slide, or a large trash bag cut to the size of a square or rectangle as our slippery surface on the grass. The kid in me wants to do this, like, now!
DIY Kids Garden: This is something we checked off of our bucket list in early June, but you can plant your kids garden whenever. Spring, Summer, Fall, you could make this into a year around activity. Let your littles help pick out some plants relative to each season, and have them be responsible for the care and watering (well, with your help of course). My girlies painted some rocks and pieces of wood to decorate their garden with, and they have made it their own ever since. Cheap, easy, fun.
JUST LET THEM GO: Yes, Just let them go wild in the yard. Clothing optional, snacks a must, and a guaranteed iced coffee for mama while she watches them freely play. Here is a list of some great outdoor activities that cover multiple interests, budgets and backgrounds!
What is your backyard ‘go to’ activity for your kids? Please share!
Dear Summer, please don’t take these moments with you, let them last through the winter.