- Family and Parenting
10 Fun Outdoor Activities For Kids!
Fun Outdoor Gifts and Activities For Kids!
Why Not Turn Off the TV and Video Games, And Encourage The Kids To Play Outside For A While?
Would a fun outdoor gift help get your kids motivated to play outside more?
Many kids today seem nearly glued to their X-Boxes, DSs, Playstations, Wiis, Gamecubes, TVs or other electronic devices. But what ever happened to good ol' outdoor fun?
The kids in our neighborhood are unlike many in that they play outside a great deal. One of their favorite places to play is the vacant lot beside our house. Below you will find 10 of their most favorite things to do on a vacant lot.
By the way, sure, none of these ideas listed here are new activities. But that's just the point. The outdoor games and activities we played as children were lots of fun! Don't you think?
Come take a stroll down memory lane, and maybe you'll even get inspired to have a "no electronics day" at your house every now and then... I've even leave a space on the page for you to share some of your favorite outside childhood games and activities!
#1. Watergun fun!
Outdoor Activities And Gifts For Kids
Watergun are great toys for hot days!
Spraying one another with a stream of water! What fun on a hot summer day!
Oh yeah! Especially on a hot day, playing with waterguns was a blast! A blast of cool water, that is! Turning the hose on someone who came running by as we were refilling our waterguns was fun too!
At my son's karate school, they have "water fight night" once a month during the warmer months. All the kids wear their swimsuits and run around the parking lot (from which cars have been restricted) shooting not only each other, but also their karate instructors! Now how fun is that?!
Playing with waterguns often goes on closer to home too. The neighborhood kids all love it!
#2. Remote Control Vehicles
Build A Dirt Track For Your Remote Control Vehicle
Remote Control Vehicles Can Be Lots Of Fun! - When my son was a little younger, a remote control was number one on his Christmas list every year!
I don't have a story from my childhood about this one, but I can tell you what my son and his friends have done. First they used rakes and other tools to create trails through the vacant lot. Then they created bumps and turns in the trail. See one of the bumps, a couple of feet below where he's currently working?
Preparing the trail for the RC.
Next the fun begins; driving their remote control cars over the track! Steering these as they travel quickly on a bumpy dirt track isn't as easy as one might think!
There are different trails branching off the main one, so there's a variety of ways to go. The main trail leads you, in a round about way, back to the start too, so you can keep on going for a while if you'd like!
My son has this remote control helicopter! It works great! You would think it'd break easy, but he's bumped it into all kinds of things (tables, floors, walls, ceilings, etc) and nothing's broken yet! He loves it!
#3. Climb a tree!
Fun Outdoor Activities
There was a beautiful dogwood tree in our backyard.
Wanna hear about the fun we had in it?
When I was growing up, we had a beautiful dogwood tree in our backyard. Hanging from it was a monkey swing. Remember those round swings that hung from a single rope?
That wasn't the best part of the tree though. The best part was the branches. My older brother and I used to climb up in them. It was so much fun! Being way up high like that, feeling the breeze upon our skin, gave us such a wonderful feeling of freedom, peace, and joy!
There was one place up in those dogwood branches that was great for sitting. Another place, where the branches criss crossed just right, even offered us a safe place to lie down. Yes, up high in the tree! It was awesome. We'd take a book up there, lie down in the branches, and just read, enjoying the birds singing all around.
We moved to a new house, and thus a new backyard, near the end of my third year of school, but I never forgot my love of climbing trees. I remember even as a young adult climbing a tree just to get back that old feeling!
Here's a photo of my son climbing a tree on the vacant lot beside us.
#4. Ball Games and Other Outdoor Games
Hide & Seek, Freeze Tag, Ball Games, and Other Outdoor games
Active Outdoor Games! - Hide and Seek, Ball Games, and More
Hide and Seek, Red Rover, Freeze Tag, Flashlight Tag, (and many other variations of tag!), King of the Mountain, kickball, etc!
Hide-n-seek was always a favorite of mine, inside or out! Places like our vacant lot, where there are lots of places to hide, make it even more fun!
Yes, he's in there. Do you see him?
What's your favorite outdoor children's game?
#5. Catch Fireflies..
and then let them go again.
Observing Lightning Bugs light up the dark!
Ah, the memories of warm, summer evenings!
Remember that? I know some people used a jar to catch fireflies, but my brother and i just cupped our hands together. It was quicker and easier and we didn't have to run back in the house to get a jar when we saw the fireflies appearing in the evening!
Remember how magical fireflies used to seem to us as children? They carried their own lights with them, and turned them on and off like flashlights!
How about you? What was your chosen method of catching lightning bugs as a child?
#6. Wanna dig a hole to China?
Building pretend foxholes or WW1 trenches, even trying to dig to China!
What is it with kids and digging holes?
My brother used to dig holes in the woods when I wasn't looking and then cover them with leaves. Next he'd tease me into chasing him, only he'd know where the holes were to leap over, and I wouldn't! Somehow I never recall falling into one though...
And yeah, seriously, I do recall trying to dig to China. Okay, I didn't really think I could dig that far, and I guess even if I could have dug straight through the center of the earth, I would have ended up somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean rather than China..but it was still a fun game to play! I guess kids just like to dig and explore the world around them!
Last year my son and I learned about the trenches of WWI as part of our homeschool program. My son was fascinated by all that he learned. Therefore I guess it's only natural that he and the neighborhood kids began to dig their own pretend trenches and foxholes to play in! (And yes they were truly grateful that they didn't have to LIVE in those trenches, but just play in them for an hour or so at a time! They do know that real war is not a game!)
Boy am I glad all this digging goes on on a vacant lot, and not in our own yard!
#7. Ride Bikes or Scooters!
Riding Bikes Has Long Been A Pleasure Of Childhood - Don't forget your helmet!
I recall when I was first learning how to ride a two wheeler. My parents had taken me over to the school on a weekend when no one was there so we could ride on the road without having to worry about cars. (That's the same way I learned how to drive a car, by the way!) I remember my dad running along behind me, holding on to the back of my bike. When he felt I was ready, he just let go..and off I went.
I bet many of you have a similar story to tell.
Sure, the neighborhood kids all love riding bikes in our cul-de-sac, but they also enjoy riding them on the vacant lot. I think they LIKE going bumpity bumpity over the rocks and tuffs of grass, and especially down the hill to the road below! After they'd built the track for their remote controls though, they often used it for riding bikes too!
#8. Use Your Imagination!
Use Your Imagination As You Play Outside
What did you like to pretend when you were a kid?
Did you take sticks and pebbles to build miniature doll houses and use twig people as the dolls? Did you draw on or cut a large cardboard box and turn it into a castle, clubhouse or a rocket to the moon?
Did you pretend you were royalty? Or a bad guy or a cop? Or maybe you role played being a settler on the prairie? Perhaps you were Lewis Or Clark, exploring the west? Or the Vikings or the Pilgrims making journeys across the ocean? Maybe you were Leonardo da Vinci in your imagination? Or a doctor or veterinarian?
When you're using your imagination, the sky's the limit!
Tell us your story!
What did you like to pretend when you were a kid?
#9. Explore Nature and Collect Things
Explore the wonders of nature!
Even keep a written record of them, if you'd like!
Have you ever studied ants as they crawled across the ground? What happens when one ant meets another? Have you noticed how they often stop to greet one another? Where are they going and where have they come from? How can they carry such large pieces of food?
What about Rolypolys and Granddaddy Long-Legs? Remember looking for either of them when you were a kid? I do. Rolypolys, anyway. I wasn't as fond of Granddaddy Long Legs! I had friends who used to search for them though!
Did you collect rocks, leaves, feathers, seeds, or anything else you found out in nature? My son has quite a few nature collections, including everything from feathers to rocks to bones!
Why not suggest your kids grab a notebook and pencil and record some of their findings and discoveries? It could be a notebook just for nature observations and drawings!
Or maybe they'd like to start a new nature collection?
#10. Run, Jump, Or Create an Obstacle Course!
Vacant Lots Usually Allow Plenty Of Room For Being Active!
So run and jump all you want!
You might even want to use old boxes, tires, planks of wood, logs, etc, to create an obstacle course to jump over and climb through!
More Outdoor Fun Gifts
Sleds, Ladderball, Horseshoes, Boochie Ball, Badminton, VolleyBall, and Baseball!
Outdoor Games For The Family! - Bring the whole family outside for some fun!
Boochie is a favorite game in our family! We especially love taking it to the beach!
Another family introduced us to ladderball a few years ago. We enjoyed it so much, we bought a set of our own! Ladderball can be played with two people, or with two teams of people. Take turns throwing this rope with balls on each end onto the ladder that is placed near the opposing team. Try to get the rope to stay on the ladder. Different points are awarded based on which rung of the ladder (if any) the rope lands on.
My kids are well beyond the age for T-ball now, but they sure did love it when they were small!
What Was Your Favorite Childhood Game To Play? Come on and tell us about it! We'd love to hear!
There's a guestbook below for your questions and comments!