Trampolines, treehouses and other elaborate outdoor toys are all well and good, but you don’t need to fill your backyard with over-the-top playthings to give your kids a fun summer at home. Here are some of our favorite free outdoor activities to do with your little ones this summer!
DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint
What’s more fun than drawing on the pavement with chalk? Painting it with easy homemade chalk paint! Mix cornstarch and water together into a thick liquid (think of the texture of liquid paint), then divide it into the cups of a muffin tin. Use food coloring to tint your “paint” — and be generous with the color, since it will dry much lighter than it appears when wet.
How many times has Busy Toddler saved our sanity? Her bubble foam sensory activity isn’t just easy to throw together using things you already have sitting around the house — it’s also really, really fun. Pro tip: If you have a water table, try filling it up with rainbow foam instead!
Do you have an ice cube tray and food coloring? You have the ingredients for a fun, frosty way to make art. (If you don’t have popsicle sticks, try using toothpicks, baby spoons, or cut-up straws to put handles on your frozen paints.)
If you’re entertaining a crowd, you need a great group game to beat the heat. We love this scaled-down version of the classic summer camp bucket brigade relay, played using cups or sponges in place of buckets.
If your little ones have been taking cars, animals or other toys on outdoor adventures through the dirt, this is a great way to keep them entertained and clean things up at the same time. Fill a couple of totes or large bowls with water and put out some liquid soap, sponges and other kid-friendly cleaning tools. Setting up a pretend car wash or toy animal salon can make getting things clean as fun as getting them dirty!