Free Outdoor Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers to Do in the Backyard
Free Outdoor Activities for Kids
Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
I was sitting outside, watching my son play in the yard, when it dawned on me: he wasn’t playing with his toys or going on his slide. He was pointing out clouds, bringing me flowers and finding bugs. What a wonderful way to spend an outdoor afternoon, and it didn’t require any store bought items to do so!
Here is a list of fun, "natural," and free outdoor activities you can do with your child in your own backyard:
Cloud Watching—Any Age
Most people have the tendency to look down no matter what they are doing. If they only took the time to look up on a beautiful day! My son and I did just that. We watched the clouds roll by, and identified any shapes or forms we saw in them. It was fun to witness the vast horizons of his imagination, and what an awesome way to relieve stress for me.
Required: a nice patch of grass and a bit of imagination
Kids Playing Outside
What did you like to do when you were outside as a kid?
I Spy with My Little Eyes... Great Game for Toddlers!
I Spy—Any Age
When you are outside, there are so many things to view and notice. A simple game of I Spy can open your eyes to even more that is seen by another’s perspective. I played this with my son on our nice spring day. “I spy with my little eye something that is red”, I called out. He went running through the yard, identifying all things red and kept going until he found the item. Then it was my turn. “I spy something that is green, Mama!” he giggled. Of course, he picks green, the color of all of the trees, grass, bushes, quite a few toys…
Required: knowledge of colors and a bit of patience
Rock Collecting and Digging in the Dirt: Fun for Toddlers or Preschoolers!
Rock Collecting—Ages 2 and Up
This isn’t an actual collection, per se. It’s more of gathering all sorts of rocks, making a pile and then sorting them out. I set a timer (on my cell phone), and we run about collecting as many different rocks as we can find. When the timer is up, we count the rocks to see who has the most. We also take the time to note the different shapes, colors and sizes, although my son always seems to like the red stones in our landscaping…For older children, actually identifying the types of rocks could be fun as well. That may require a trip to the library for an education on rock, but that's for a different day.
Required: rocks, counting skills, possible trip to the library
Water Painting—Ages 1 and Up
This is a fun activity to do on a patio or sidewalk. You simply dip an old paintbrush (my husband is also an artist, so we have those around), a small broom, or an old sock into a small container of water and paint a picture. It’s fun to watch it fade away and paint another picture, again and again. You can play a game of tic-tac-toe with this idea; play it fast, before the game fades away!
Required: water, small container, old sock or paint brush, imagination
Make Your Own Bird Feeder!
- How to Make a Simple Bird Feeder with a Recycled Mil...
Make a simple bird feeder from a milk container! Step-by-step instructions in a video included. Great craft for kids!
Bird/Plant/Tree/Bug Identifying—Ages 2 and Up
Ok, so I put these all in the same category since they basically consist of the same concept: find a bird/plant/tree/bug, and name what kind it is. This depends on the area in which you live and it too may require some background knowledge or some crafty names you and your children come up with on your own. My son and I come up with our own names, which makes it all the more entertaining, since he’s a silly little toddler.
If you're going to try bird watching, why not make your own bird feeder? The bird feeder will attract wild birds that are common to your area. It's a fun and easy project for your children to help with too! When the birds arrive, take pictures and name the ones you see.
Required: eyes, big imaginations or knowledge of birds/plants/trees/bugs
Excellent Resource for Identifying Birds!
Climb a Tree! (Adult Supervision Required)
Any Other Ideas for Outside Fun?
Is there a ‘natural’ or free game/activity that you play with your children? Please share in the comments below! Thanks for reading.