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Good, old-fashioned outdoor diversions for young kids

Here are my ten favourite outdoor diversions for young kids.

In my opinion, the best diversions are those that require very few supplies and only a little preparation but are fun, challenging and will keep kids occupied for long enough to make a cup of tea and drink at least half of it!

1. Water painting

Half fill a bucket with water and give your little one a paintbrush or paint roller. Encourage them to paint the house, the pavers, the fence etc. This activity is lots of fun in warm weather!

2. Mud pies plus

Water + dirt = messy fun. Add gravel, leaves and sand to the mix for texture. Introduce old plastic containers and stirring sticks and you have your own outdoor kitchen!

3. Chalk drawing

Get some chalk and find a good surface to draw on. Draw a hopscotch, trace around different objects... or people.

4. Snake jumping

Jump over the garden hose snake! If you've got enough people, have two of them wobble the hose while it's still on the ground. Introduce degrees of difficulty.

5. Obstacle course

Use what's in your backyard to make an obstacle course. Jump over the hose, run to the outdoor setting and crawl under the table, turn around three times and walk backwards to the gum tree, give the tree a hug and hop to the back fence!

6. Raking

Rake a huge pile of leaves to jump into! Don't underestimate the appeal of this simple activity!

7. Digging a garden

Arm child with a garden trowel and let them dig their own miniature garden bed. Make a border with rocks or bricks and plant some seeds.

Stone throwing

Collect stones and have the kids try to throw them into the wheelbarrow. Introduce variations and degrees of difficulty.

9. Rope walking

Drape a long length of rope on the ground and have the kids walk on the rope and follow the path.

Rolling race

A rolling race is great fun for large groups of kids, especially if you have a  sloping yard. Check course carefully for dog poo before you start (I speak from experience!).

Got your own ideas?

Email me with your favourites and I'll add them to the list. Include your name so that I can credit you, and if you have a blog or website let me know and I'll link back to you.

From: memorablegatherings.blogspot.com

"Hot Potato" 

Make a big circle with chalk. Get a toddler-sized ball, put in the center of the circle. The child who is 'it' is in the middle of the circle and pushes the ball with his or her feet, trying to get it out of the circle. Kids stand around the outside of the circle and try to stop the ball with their feet.  Once the ball is out, another “it” is chosen.  The ball is called the 'hot potato' and the kids are trying to keep it in the 'oven'. If you have less kids you can make the circle smaller or use a plain straight line.

“Mouse House” and/or “Fairy Rings”

Build a "mouse house" from stuff in your yard without breaking or removing plant material from a living plant. A mouse house is about the size of a toddler's fist.  A real fairy ring, also known as fairy circle, elf circle or pixie ring, is a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms. In our version you build a magical Fairy Ring made up of stones, seashells, pinecones, plant material that is already separated from the living host. Tell stories about fairies and/or mice who could be coming to these newly created "hot-spots" tonight.

“Find your Family”

Pick known animals, such as cat, dog, mouse, bird, etc. In secret, give each child an animal, being sure to give each animal more than twice so that every child will have a family. When you announce “go”, kids imitate their animal to try to find their animal family. Kids act like the animal: walk, make sounds and behave like the animal. No talking. When all families are found, start another round.

“Sprinkler Dance”

Just as it sounds- kids dancing in the sprinkler! You can make it more fun by randomly turning the sprinkler on and off to surprise the kids.

“Whistle with the Grass”

Pick a piece of fat grass that is clean and free of pesticides. Pull the blade of grass and place it between both of your thumbs holding it tightly together at the top and bottom. The curve of your thumbs leaves an opening for your lips - blow hard through the opening.

“Blanket Fort”

Place a couple lawn chairs apart. Get an old blanket, sheet or tablecloth and put it over chairs. Tie or use clips on corners to hold out sides of fort. Add toys, books, make a sign about who is allowed in the fort.

From: Diane

"Hose limbo"

You spray a strong stream of water as straight as you can, and the kids - in bathing suits of course - do their best to limbo under the stream as you move it lower and lower. Can't remember where I saw the idea, but I predict it's a winner. The kids probably won't mind losing at this game, either!


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