Why a Guide to Backyard Fun?
Can’t kids just go outside and play? Short answer, YES. Play is ultimately about creativity and really engaging the mind through imagination and exploration. That said, there are a lot of really fun backyard toys and activities that can really foster this type of good old-fashioned, unplugged play. This guide to backyard fun will walk you through a few stations that your kids will LOVE to play in outside, and will also highlight a few toys that will make it onto your must-buy list. They are all kid (and mom) approved.
Simple Setups for Backyard Fun
Water Play Center
Water play is wonderful sensory play, it provides opportunity for fine and gross motor practice through scooping and dumping, and is a great way to beat the heat! My number one recommendation for outdoor water play is a water table. This can be a bin on a table, or one of those fun, plastic ones with buckets, slides and gears that you can buy all over the internet or in toy stores. They can also house other outdoor sensory play activities aside from water. Ours transforms into a construction zone and fossil dig in the fall with gravel replacing the water. You can also make soap foam, colored water, or slime to play with in your water table! The possibilities really are endless.
A sprinkler is also up there on the list. Sprinklers really encourage physical activity. This Hydro Swirl Spinning Sprinkler sprays really far making running through the sprinklers a great summer activity. Water balloons are also a fun way to play with water outside. The only problem is, there isn’t a parent in the world who actually wants to fill up the dreaded things. Have you guys heard of Bunch O Balloons? The water balloon game changer? They are THE BEST. My kids go nuts over these things, and I have to admit I kind of do too. Watch below and you will see what I mean.
We like to switch up our uses for the water balloons. They are great for target practice and can also be used to talk about sight words. As an alternative to the water balloon, you can try out the Hurricane Reusable Water Balls. They act like a water balloon, but, get this, they’re reusable!
Bring the beach to your backyard with a fun sandbox. Another great vessel for outdoor sensory play, sand also promotes so many excellent skills such as dumping, scooping, building, etc. A great set of sand tools, like the Basket of Beach Essentials will be a great start for your sandbox. We got one for my oldest on his first birthday and that thing has definitely gotten it’s fair share of use!
A dinosaur world in the dirt, a fairy garden in the stones and plants, or a fossil dig in the mud. By giving some play areas really fun names like these, and providing them with the space to explore and really make the area their own, you will be fostering TONS of imaginative play (and will buy yourself a lot of uninterrupted, unplugged time).
This might not top everyone’s ‘Guide to Backyard Fun’ but it definitely makes mine. I’m all about the sensory play if you haven’t noticed…and squishing a bit in your hand or between your toes, you will understand why it makes such a great base for sensory play. I like to think of it as nature’s play dough. Throw a few old pots and pans and spoons and forks into a pile of mud and ask your child to bake you a cake. You
might won’t regret it.
Backyard games will keep the siblings playing together, and are also awesome for hosting a backyard play date. Check out some life-sized versions of indoor games on my ‘Outdoor Fun’ Pinterest board.
Horseshoes, croquet, tee ball, basketball…you name it. Have you heard of the game Wet Head? It’s a ‘must-play’ in our family. I somehow seem to always lose and get soaked…but it’s just good family fun for any age.
Did we cover it all?
What would you add do our ultimate guide to backyard fun? I am always looking for ways to keep my kids unplugged and outside during the summer and would LOVE to hear some of your family favorites!