Monday, April 25, 2016

6 Outdoor Play Ideas for Kids

Whether it is rainy or sunny, we love to be outside. My kids crave open spaces and the ability to run, splash, jump, or climb. 

Unstructured, active play makes everyone in our house happier and helps expand our creativity! Today I'm going to share six of our favorite outdoor play ideas that help us have fun wherever we are. 

This post is sponsored by Capri Sun Organic.

On the weekends we are involved in a lot of structured activities like baseball and birthday parties. When we can break away from obligations you will almost always find us hiking in the hills together as a family, exploring new parks and trails, or just running around in our backyard. 

While we explore new areas my kids are often drawn to the same favorite outdoor activities again and again. Here are six simple activities that my kids love to do when we are outdoors.

1. Build rock towers

Rocks are just too cool to avoid. My kids love to find small and big rocks and stack them on top of each other, throw them into rivers, collect them in their pockets, or just walk holding onto one or two. Building rock towers requires some skill as the kids try and balance them and layer them without them falling. Hunting for neat rock formations is another favorite activity too! 

2. Paint with water

We love to grab a paint brush and a water bottle and paint a masterpiece anywhere! We love to paint fences, sidewalks, the driveway, and even dirt trails while hiking. There is something amazing about watching water mix with different surfaces to make them darker and lighter. Watching the surfaces as they dry (especially when it is really hot outside), is also really interesting.

3. Go on a hunt (color or bug)

One of our favorite hiking activities is to go hunting. Whenever our kids are tired of walking we choose something to hunt for and undoubtedly their attitudes change and the tiredness evaporates. We will often do color hunts where we'll start with red and then move to orange and then yellow... and all the way through the rainbow. Our goal is to hunt to find an object for each color of the rainbow. We also love to go on bug hunts and search for ants, beetles, ladybugs, etc. We created a simple bug hunt printable and a color bingo hunt printable a few years ago to make our hunts extra fun. 

4. Do stick races down a waterfall

Collecting sticks is something we do almost daily. We love to take our bundle of sticks to the waterfall at our neighborhood park and race them. It is fun to watch the currents and try and predict which sticks will be the fastest/slowest and why.

5. Draw pictures in the dirt (or the sand)

I find that the best activities that build the most creativity, use the least materials. Sticks, straws, and fingers make for the perfect tools to draw with in the sand or dirt. Writing names, drawing pictures, and making all sorts of prints in the sand and dirt can keep kids busy creating for a long time! Some of my best memories are tied to relaxing days exploring the sand or the dirt.

6. Hunt for the longest stick

Hiking can be tedious, especially for the three and under crowd that has littler legs. My 3-year-old loves to hunt for long sticks to use as walking sticks. Once he finds the perfect stick he holds onto it until he finds a longer one. My older kids are big stick hunters too! Having a stick just makes all outdoor activities a little bit more fun. Sticks can even be used for dramatic play. I love watching kids find sticks and I love seeing where their imaginations take them!

On our outdoor play adventures we love to carry along quick snacks and drinks. Some of our favorite items to bring along or have out at our house include granola bars, cheese sticks, dried fruit, and Capri Sun juice drinks. We are super excited about the new CAPRI SUN Organic available in stores now! 

I like that CAPRI SUN Organic contain no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and are sweetened only with fruit juice. My kids love the familiar taste and look of the Capri Sun brand and I like that there is no added sugar. It's a win-win!  

CAPRI SUN Organic is available in a variety of flavors (fruit punch, tropical punch, apple, grape) at retailers nationwide for $4.29 per 10 pack of 6-oz. pouches. They are so easy to pop in my bag when I head out on an adventure with the kids and when I pull them out I am always greeted with smiles! 

Do you have any favorite active indoor or outdoor play ideas that your kids return to again and again?

What snacks or drinks do you like to carry along with you or have out and ready to keep kids happy?

We share some our favorite outdoor play ideas over on our Summer/Outdoor Activities Pinterest board. Come stop by and let us know which ones are your favorites.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Capri Sun Organic. All opinions are mine. 

1 comment:

  1. Stick racing! Reminds me of Winnie the Pooh.

    Thanks for the great list of simple games. It's possible to have fun without anything more than nature!


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