We are always trying to come up with interesting outdoor activities for kids. As we all know, getting outside with the kids is essential. Its good for the whole family and provides important time together . If you live in the UK unfortunately the sun doesn’t shine very much and we often have to battle with the rain and wind, as I write now our fence is being threatened by the winds. Regardless of the weather we need to keep the kids entertained and try and make sure they are not glued to a device all weekend. So here at Harry Was 8 we have racked our brains to try and come up with the ultimate weekend non cliche list of brilliant outdoor activities for kids. Remember playing in the mud is good for you! Most you will have come across before, however we have tried to add our own twist to the list. So in no particular order !
Outdoor Activity Number 1: Make a Film!
I have to confess this is probably my number 1 favourite outdoor activity to do with Harry because you can combine it with any of the other outdoor activities mentioned below. The world has changed and now we can record memories with the push of a button on our phones. Our son is now 12 and my one regret is that we didn’t record more of what we did, when he was much younger. When we watch back the things we got up to, memories come flooding back, things we would have forgotten that to the world mean nothing but to us mean everything. I promise you what seems unimportant now, in years to come when you watch your child running around with some random toys with voices in the background it will bring a big smile to your faces.
What makes this activity great fun is that you can empower your child to make the film. No skill is needed to push that record button. We have found when Harry is in control he really takes ownership of the day and when we get back home, watching what we got up to is fun for all. A point to think about is how will you organise all your films, we set up a Facebook page that only we can see. We call them names such as ‘family18’ or ‘family20’ and we alos back up on a hard drive, to keep those memories safe!
Activity 2: Go on a Worm Hunt!
One of the reasons we developed our worm range of mud kitchens was to encourage children to explore the great outdoors and all the incredible creatures that live in our gardens and beyond. We have gone on a worm hunt on many occasions and believe me this works if your child is anywhere between the ages of 1 and 18. We try and make our worm hunts fun and educational and you can read some wormy facts before you go on your worm hunt! so you will need the following equipment from the list below.
- Cardboard box with some carefully placed soil
- Newspaper to place on top of the soil
- A garden hand trowel
- Warm water
- Magnifying glass
- Camera (phone camera ideal)
- Warm clothes
- Paper and a drawing set
- Access to the internet
Once you have got all the equipment together, make up your cardboard box with some soil, put some newspaper on the top (this will be the worms temporary home) now you are ready for the worm hunt! Once you have found a worm place it gently on the newspaper in the cardboard box and then take a picture. Make sure you examine the worm with the magnifying glass.
Once the worm hunt is finished, you can now go inside and by using the internet try and find out what type of worm you have discovered. Then draw a picture!
Activity 3: Go on a Bug Hunt!
Not for the screamish, but this is a fascinating activity. This activity follows exactly the same outline as the worm hunt. Go through the steps , just make sure the bugs are allowed to go home at the end of the activity!
Activity 4: Go on a Treasure Hunt (with prizes)
We seem to have lots of ‘hunts’ in the title! A few years one New Years day a friend organised a treasure hunt. He planned the route and the day before had gone out hiding various ‘treats’ along the route. On the day, each child was given their own list of clues and off they went on the treasure hunt. For it to work some preparation is required but watching the children trying to work out the clues was great fun!
Activity 5: What Herb is this!
We love activities like this, its not one that will keep you going all day, but never the less is brilliant for encouraging touch, smell, taste and getting children to start thinking about what goes into their food. When we have done this we have simply got a range of herbs from the allotment/supermarket.
- A mixture of herb plants
- A blindfold
- Drawing book/colours
- Soap and water
Go buy or get the herbs. Line them up in the kitchen. Blindfold whoever is playing. Have some fun trying to navigate them to the herbs. Allow your child to rip off the herbs, touch and smell them. Ask them to describe what the herbs feel, smell like. Take the blindfolds off , go through the herbs , discuss the findings. Go to the internet and research what food the herbs are usually found in. Draw some lovely herb related pictures!.
Activity 6: Music Time!
Children love to make noise, this activity encourages them to make lots of it and sometimes not the most musical but still fun and engaging. To make this work will depend on the age of your child. What we normally do is get the child to choose a song, listen to it as a group and try and work out what sounds we have to make from vocal, guitar to drums. We then need to go outside and try to find our instruments. Once the instruments have been found (with the possible help of a few saucepan lids) its time to perform the song. Don’t forget to make a video and stream (play) if afterwards. Cover up those ears!!!
Activity 7: Role Play
Most kids love to perform, encouraging kids to use their imaginations in play is really important. We were recently at a karaoke party, give folks a hairbrush and a wig and off they go!. You can do this inside or outside. All you need is to decide what you are going to be . Again depending on the age of your children you could be Kings or Queens, make some crowns, find some sticks for swords or pretend horses and off you go riding round your kingdom. There is no limit to the fun you can have. Another way of approaching role play is to have a fabulous draw full of second hand /old clothes/resources that from time to time you can take out and create fun characters !
Activity 8: Toasting Marshmallows
We are fortunate to live near the beach. We often gather some twigs and old newspaper and head off to the beach armed with matches and marshmallows. This is a lovely activity to do at the end of the day. On many occasions we have sat around a small fire eating marshmallows, chatting about the day and watching the world go by !!!
The best outside activities for kids are the ones we all do together. They don’t have to cost any money, we just have to be intentional ! Remember, don’t forget to take your phone and press record, believe me you will treasure those memories in years to come!
What are your favourite outside activities to do with your children? We will keep adding to the list when a new idea comes to us!