As parents we know outdoor play is important. We see article after article suggesting that less outdoor play is doing more harm than good to kids. But life is busy. Schedules are tight. And half the time kids say, “But I don’t wanna go outside!” Then how can we provide more unstructured, outdoor play time for kids?
First make it part of your daily routine. Wherever you can fit time in, make time for outdoor play. Then add a little novelty by changing up your outdoor play space. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Simply moving things around, rotating existing toys, or adding a new and easy DIY project can spark renewed interest in outdoor play. Below are some of our favorite summer DIY projects that are sure to add some extra backyard fun.
In her first preschool Lovey and her best buddy would spend nearly every recess time play on the seesaw. This would be such a fun addition to a backyard play space. Classy Clutter shares an easy seesaw tutorial that shows you how to make your own for under $30.
Add a balance beam to your backyard. Kids can practice moving in all sorts of ways forward and backyard. The balance beam can also be incorporated into fun summer obstacle courses.
This outdoor easel tutorial shows you how to build your own easel. It’s great for painting outdoors, messy projects, window markers, and even as a scoreboard for backyard games.
Keep cool and encourage little engineers to explore force and motion with a water wall. Happy Hooligans has all the details for making your own water wall with repurposed materials.
Don’t forget to add some music. Fun at Home with Kids shares how they made an outdoor sound wall using items from their local Goodwill store.
Get some shade by creating your own hideouts. These hula hoop sheet tents are a perfect place to snuggle up and read or have a snack. And they’ll probably encourage a lot of pretend play as well.
Of course this is only a handful of the many many possibilities for encouraging more outdoor play. For more ideas visit our outdoor play Pinterest board. And check out one of my favorite boards about kids’ outdoor play spaces from Ann of My Nearest and Dearest.