Outdoor play for children is so important for all ages (read here to find out why), and in this mini series of posts I will run through some varying outdoor play ideas for different age groups of children. This post is all about children between preschool and teenager age. This age group is such fun as you are starting to loosen the reins a little, and give them some freedom and independence. When we are out, I often set boundaries that are within my hearing range, but then let them go off. They have a lot more fun as they think they are “unsupervised and free”, but they are in fact very safe and being looked out for. However, they enjoy this feeling. These outdoor play ideas have been successful for us because we have kept them simple and not had high expectations for the trip into the great outdoors 🙂 I hope you enjoy trying them.
Outdoor Play For Children
- Have a water fight: Admittedly this one is probably more fun in the warmer months, but give them a few bowls and buckets and they will be amused for hours!
- Make a dam: My three love experimenting diverting the flow of water into the sea, but also trying it in streams and rivers as well. Just watch your water safety and take your construction away afterwards! This is not only a summer activity, mine have done it in the depths of a Swedish winter with their wellie boots and waterproofs on too.
- Build a fort: This is a little more intricate than a den and can be a place they can head back to again and again, so maybe somewhere very close to home. They will invent their own games to play in it once they have built it. Mine also love making these indoors, but they are more temporary structures then!
- Make coloured nature ice blocks and let the creativity flow outdoors in winter.
- Find a local forest school and attend a session. Lots hold sessions on weekends or in the school holidays. If this isn’t convenient, you could get together with a group of like minded families and form your own nature club with all the children.
- Make a bug hotel/mini beast house. This is great for getting children to think about the wildlife around them and use their imagination to build one. Oversee and let them have a go with some tools (mine used hammers, saws, and drills to make this one)
- Play frisbee. A great outdoor game, fun at any time of the year.
- Catch a fish in a net. Some have more patience than others at this. Our little lady has endless amounts when it comes to this, our mini men less, but they keep on coming back to try again.
- Go wild berry picking. Make sure you know what you are picking though!! We pick wild strawberries, wild raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and sloe berries.
- Go Tracking. This we find a lot easier in winter in the snow, but you can look carefully for muddy tracks too.
- Go wave jumping….any time of the year is good as long as your clothing and footwear are right!
- Play in the sand dunes. This you need to be careful with and I always set boundary limits for my three and ask them to stick together, and NOT play hide and seek (they can’t hear you calling and it is quite easy to lose them!) But there is otherwise plenty of fun and imaginative games to be had in sand dunes.
I hope you have enjoyed these outdoor play for children ideas and have found some inspiration from them. Don’t forget to check out the other three age groups as well, in case you fancy trying something from there, adapted to suit the age of your child. 🙂 Let me know how you get on in the comments.