Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Connect with Your Kids- 10 Simple Tips for Outdoor Play

Series of ways to connect with your kids

Spending time together outdoors is a wonderful way to connect with your kids. This week, Valerie from Inner Child Fun and I got together to bring you 10 simple tips to help you do just that. We hope that these ideas inspire you to get outside and start making long lasting memories with your children. And we hope that you thoroughly enjoy yourselves while doing it!

10 simple tips to connect with your kids through outdoor play

1. Put Together a Nature Pack - Take a backpack, and together with your child, fill it with items from around the house to create a go-to nature pack. You may want to make one for each member of the family. Some items to include: water bottle, sunscreen, bug repellent, small jar & tweezers (for specimens), compass, sketch pad & colored pencils, first-aid kit. The next time your family is ready for a quick hike, you will already have everything packed!

2. Play The Classics - You don't need a lot of expensive playground equipment or even a big backyard. You can have a lot of fun together as a family by playing some simple classic games like "Red Light, Green Light" and "Simon Says." 

3. Make the Most of Good Weather - This can mean postponing household chores until the evening, but it's well worth it to take advantage of beautiful weather and spend some time with your child outdoors.

4. Have Some Rainy Day Fun Too - The weather doesn't have to be perfect to spend a bit of time outdoors. Minutes after a rainstorm is perfect for puddle-jumping -- even more fun when Mom and Dad join in too!

5. Don't Stop at Sundown - You can even take advantage of the evenings you're all together. Give everyone flashlights and head out after dark. This fun little twist will surely create lasting, special memories with your children. 

Having a breakfast picnic is a great way to connect!

6. Picnic Breakfasts - Take your breakfast outdoors, and enjoy a picnic breakfast together before the kids leave for school. This works well for those days that reach high temperatures by the afternoon. A picnic breakfast doesn't have to be complicated -- some healthy cereal, bowls, spoons, and a thermos of milk will work nicely. Plus, coffee tastes better when sipped while sitting on a picnic blanket. True story.

7. Build A Fort - For a memorable time, try building a fort or making a secret hideaway as a family. It doesn't have to be big or fancy. Get creative with your materials and have fun. Spend some time hiding out when it's all put together. You can have secret family meetings, read books, or even eat dinner in there. 

8. Bring the Indoors Outside - Do you have a favorite indoor activity? Whether it's board games or coloring, you can bring most indoor activities outside for a bit of change and fresh air.

9. Nature Photography Hikes - Nature hikes are always fun (and great exercise too), but give your child an old camera, or an inexpensive disposable camera to try and it becomes an even greater experience! Your little shutterbug may surprise you with some unique photos. Later, on a rainy day, turn the photos into a scrapbook together.

10. Learn Together - Learning something as a family is a wonderful way to connect. Check out a book on nature and take a look around your backyard or local park. How many birds can you identify? What kind of tree is that? Find the answers together.

Favorite Outdoor Activities:

Chase colorful bubbles to make art

1. Colorful Bubbles Art - This is a simple and fun art activity that your kids are sure to love. Take turns blowing colorful bubbles as other family members chase them with pieces of paper. The bubbles leave behind pops of color when you catch them. 

Outdoor color matching activity with paint sample cards

2. Outdoor Color Match - Put paint chip cards of different colors on a binder ring, and punch a large hole in each shade. Go outside and try to match all the colors!

Kick Croquet with pool noodles for a fun game

3. Kick Croquet  - Cut old pool noodles in half, and use garden stakes to keep them in place for a fun game of kick croquet!

Climbing trees is a great way to connect

4. Climb A Tree - Spend an afternoon climbing trees. Cheer for your little climbers from the ground, or surprise them by joining in on the fun!

Build a bird feeder from recyclables.

5. Build a Bird Feeder from Recyclables - Did you know bird feeders can be made from just about any recyclable? Building bird feeders is a simple and easy activity to enjoy with your child, and foster a love of nature. Here are some examples to get you started.

What are some of your favorite ways to connect with your kids outside?


  1. Great tips! We are totally having breakfast out on the front porch tomorrow. We are on a major walking route to school, so it could be a hoot to see all of the kids and animals go by as we have our bagels. I also love the kick croquet idea. Perfect for toddlers!

  2. Dear Joyce,

    My dad always used to say "Make hay while the sun shines", but it always revolved around working. I'm glad to see that the same phrase can be applied to play!


  3. Great ideas! I love the kickball crochet, and all of the after dark ideas. Also, I couldn't agree more.... coffee really does taste better being sipped on a picnic blanket.

  4. HI I love your ideas will definately start them. Picnics outside and putting a torch on is great idead. I had a good time with my kids last summer making paints from natural materials by grinding dirt, crushing blackberry etc they loved it Tracey

  5. these are great! how about snuggling up on that picnic blanket with a book?

  6. What a great post! We are such outdoorsy people, but sometimes it just gets too hot. Having a morning picnic is the best idea I've heard in a long time. Thank you!

  7. I'm so glad, Charise! Thank you for reading!

    I hope your breakfast picnic went well, Becky! It's been awhile since we've had one. I was so thankful for Valerie to bring it to my attention again. We need to have one again soon as well!

    I can't tell you how tickled I am that you commented, Mark! Hehe. Thank you!

    Thank you, Growing A Jeweled Rose :)

    Hi Tracey! Making paint from natural materials truly sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to connect with your family.. and with nature! We need to do that! Thank you for sharing :)

    That's a great idea, Pammy Pam! We had a big readathon on a picnic blanket last year, but it's been awhile since we've taken reading outdoors. I think that will be on my to do list for today :)

    A breakfast picnic is a great way to beat the heat, Cindy. I hope you have fun! I know my little boy gets a kick out of the novelty of a breakfast picnic. He loves all picnics :)

  8. What a great list! I love the outdoor color match with the paint swatches!!

  9. this is a great list! we've been eating dinner on the porch almost every night as of late. i love the idea of making a fort! or even building a playhouse!

  10. The colorful bubble art activity is a very good suggestion. My kids will try this on weekend. I'm sure they will enjoy it.

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  11. Love these ideas! I'm doing a Daily Outdoor Challenge this summer inspite of our intense desert heat and I'm always looking for fresh inspiration!


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