Five Fun Outdoor Activities For Kids Of All Ages
I’m wishing, hoping and dreaming that this beautiful weather we’re having lasts all the way into August. But then I remember that we live in the UK and this week of glorious sunshine is probably going to be the sum total of our entire Summer. However in the spirit of eternal optimism we thought we’d share our favourite activities for getting busy in the garden that don’t cost the price of a small house.
Where better to start than with keeping cool. I confess there is a teeny part of myself (ok HUGE) that is a bit excited about getting in on the water action with Hector this Summer now that he’s running about rather than crawling. We’ve already invested in the ELC sprinkler which has been worth every single penny. Simple to use, all you need to do is to screw the end into your garden hose and away you go. Currently Hector just dips his head in the water that spurts out and laughs but I’m sure it won’t be long before he grasps the concept of running in and out.
As well as having the sprinkler merrily chugging along I also add a few bubbles into the mix knowing that Hector is mesmerised by them ever since he first saw them when he was three months old at his baby sensory classes. My bubble machine of choice is Freddie which pretty much every one I know owns too. ELC also make a fantastic bubble mix to make life easier.
Alternatively I love this fun octopus sprinkler. Once attached to the garden hose, the foamy arms swing and sway every which way to create a crazy geyser in your garden. Kiddos will love trying to dodge the streams of water.
Lastly for the bigger ones it’s all about the waterslide. This 5.5 meter version looks like the business to me complete with a soft inflatable drench pool at the bottom to catch and splash you. There are speed ramps to help ‘launch’ kids with flat gardens and attachments so that a hose can be attached to the water slide so that jets of water shoot into the air along the sides to stop dry patches occurring. It does state however that the product is definitely not for adults. Just saying…
If there’s one activity that is both fun and productive then surely gardening has got to be it. I’ve included Hector in pretty much every stage of growing our own veggies and flowers this year, from watering the plants, digging in the soil and sowing seeds.
Granted there are some areas that he’s probably more hindrance than help but it’s important to me that he’s involved and that he learns about fresh food and where it comes from. Hopefully as he grows older it will become second nature to him and he might even want a small patch of the garden that he can call his own and look after by himself.
Why not give them a sense of ownership this summer with their own set of gardening tools. This Gruffulo themed kit from Not On The High Street is very cute and comes with three tools, gloves and a bag to store them all in. You could also get them growing using this Little Pals growing kit which contains everything they need to grow tomatoes. Plus there’s a cute little hedgehog on the top too! Accessorise with some wellies and you’re good to go!
Hector adores painting and colouring especially in places where he knows he’s not allowed to do this (back of the TV anyone??) so I’m taking advantage of this dry spell to let him draw on the patio with some pavement chalks which easily come off with the garden hose or a spot of rain. Older children could use them to map out a game of hopscotch or perhaps consider painting one wall of the shed or another vertical surface with chalkboard paint to allow them to indulge their arty side.
If you’re happy for things to get a little messier why not try watergun painting. Pin up a large piece of paper somewhere outside – Ikea have paper on a roll which you can tear off to the desired length – and fill up cheap water guns such as these with ready made paint that you have watered down slightly. You can then get the kids to make creative pictures using the water guns whilst having fun too…of course there’s always the chance that they start painting each other so it’s worth putting them in old clothes for this activity.
If you don’t want your sun terrace to get covered in paint then ball painting might be the answer instead. You’ll need a large cardboard box placed on its end in an upright position, some paper and some old balls. Pin up some paper inside the box, pour some paint in some trays and you’re ready to go. Get the kids to dip the balls in the paint and throw them at the paper taped up in the box. This is an activity probably best reserved for older children and perhaps on some grass for damage limitation.
Lastly for wee ones, bubble pictures are always the winner. Do you remember these? I’m hoping to make some with Hector later this week in the shape of creepy crawlies that we’ve been spying in the garden.
Is it me or have the days of the good old fashioned Sports Day breathed their last? As Hector isn’t school age for a little while yet I have no first hand experience of the modern day version but it seems to me that Sports Days aren’t what they were…No winners for example, no photos of kids proudly clutching their first place ribbons allowed or even the age old Dads’ Race. This makes me sad if it really is the case.
Instead why not keep kids entertained by hosting your own family sports day in the back garden or even in the park with a giant picnic. Great Little Trading Co have a pretty comprehensive set which includes everything you need for a sporty party keeping old and young alike active in the garden. There are four plastic eggs and spoons, four coloured bean bags, four numbered racing sacks, two velcro ankle straps and a start and finish line. So you can egg and spoon, three-legged and sack race to your heart’s content.
Why not get them to practice their throwing skills too with this Hoopla set from John Lewis if races aren’t your little’s thing. This particular version includes a wooden target range with five hoops.
There’s eight years between me and my youngest sister and one of the things she loved most when she was small was when I created treasure hunts for her to follow. Hector is a bit young for the complexities of such a challenge at the moment but I’ve created a simplified version for him where I ask him to find me various things around the garden such as a flower or a leaf or a stone. It keeps him active and sparks off the detective in him which I love watching plus it encourages him to find his independence too (albeit within close watching distance!)
Granted you could always make your own treasure hunts for older kids using rolled up clues dyed with old teabags for the authentic factor which my teenage self used to do….or you could head over to NOTHS to have a gander at these amazing mermaid and dinosaur themed hunts. It doesn’t stop there either, there are superhero missions and ladybird adventures too; it makes me want to be small again!
If you’re not super keen on rewarding their success with sweet treats then consider making ice eggs instead. Simply fill a small balloon with water and add in a small toy or two such as a squidgy dinosaur or dinky car and freeze until solid. Remove the balloon once set and then conjure them up at the end of the hunt as their prize. They’ll have fun trying to remove the toy and the ice egg will keep them cool too.
So have any of you got any ideas for fun outdoor activities that we could pinch? Do any of you remember doing any of the above from your own childhoods? I have fond memories of the garden sprinkler which my sisters and I would set up using two of them to make a water tunnel that we would run through shrieking our heads off. Those were the days….