Don’t let staying home keep you from being outside. Active play is the best exercise for young children. There are so many ways to learn and play in your very own backyard too. Also, our bodies need the sun for vitamin D to help strengthen our immune systems—so grab your family and head outside for a little fun.
Backyard Learning: READ A BOOK
Books can be read anywhere at any time—making them perfect for outdoor learning. Reading a book takes us on adventures, entertains us, and teaches us new things. Grab a book and head outside. Sit under a tree or on a quilt. Take turns reading to each other. Share your favorite story with someone in your family. Truly the best way to read is when you’re comfortable—but surely even more unique in an outdoor space.
Backyard Learning: PLAY WITH CHALK
Playing with sidewalk chalk is the perfect way to strengthen fine motor and gross motor skills. Draw a rainbow and practice your color words. Write your name or sight words. Play a game of hopscotch. Hopscotch helps with number recognition, balance, and coordination. Use your imagination for hours of fun. Also, chalk can be fun for kids of all ages. It can be fun for adults too. So it’s hard to go wrong with chalk!
Backyard Learning: PLANT SEEDS
Simulate your senses by experiencing nature. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy. Dig in the dirt, plant flowers, pull weeds, water the grass. How does the dirt feel in your hands? What does the grass smell like? How long do you think your seed will take to grow? Remember that seeds need water and sunlight. Consider creating a Growing Journal and illustrate your plant each day.
Cloud gazing was my favorite as a child. As I grew older, I learned the different types of clouds and how we can predict the weather by learning more about the clouds. Grab a blanket, go out and lay under the clouds. See what shapes you can find. Do any clouds look like people or animals? Pick a cloud, describe it and use your imagination to create a story.
FLY A KITE
Let’s go fly a kite! Flying a kite involves physical coordination and body movement but did you know that you use science too? Flying a kite requires similar physics of having a plane take off. Research to find out how gravity, force and wind all play a factor in flying a kite.
Let’s go on a nature walk! So often, we step foot in our backyards, but we don’t take the time to really look at what is growing or living around us. Take time to smell the flowers, look for butterflies and ladybugs. Maybe even pick up pine cones for future crafts if you have them in your area. Research the life cycles on what you find and teach the basics of natural elements. Physical activity in an outdoor environment is fun for younger children and truly great for general child development.
You can also head to your local park, let kids play in an outdoor play area and perhaps you can teach them new outdoor games too. Whether it's a nature walk or hanging at a park, they can never be too young to instill a love for outdoor time.
Backyard Learning: PAINT ROCKS
Painting rocks is not only fun, it’s a great stress reliever. Walk around your backyard and find a bunch of rocks, small, big, flat, and bumpy. Strengthen your hand eye coordination as you paint different pictures on your rocks. They make great garden decorations. Walk the neighborhood and leave a rock for a neighbor too. Get creative. The possibilities are endless.
Other Outdoor Play Ideas
Do you have an outdoor table where you might be able to play board games? Or you could set up a bird feeder with a little help from your children. This can be a great opportunity to learn about birds that come and visit. You can also get a hula hoop and have fun with your little ones too. You could even set up or plan a nature scavenger hunt!
See how easy it can be to reduce screen time and create fun childhood experiences outdoors? Active kids will also have a better chance at having more optimal physical health. The benefits are truly endless.
Backyard Learning and Outside Play Conclusion
There is a big, beautiful world outside your doors, and you don’t have to go far to experience it. There are so many fun outdoor play ideas and benefits of outdoor play. The best way is to step into your backyard or spend time outside elsewhere. Exercise, enjoying nature, and learning about the world around us are all great experiences that happen when we step outside and play. Next time you need fresh air but also want a learning experience with your kiddo, just step outside! What are you waiting for?
As you can see, there are tons of ways to find creative play and learning opportunities outside. Children of all ages can benefit from spending time outdoors. What are some of your favorite outdoor activities? Is there a classic outdoor game you loved as a kid? Let me know in the comments below!
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