When the weather turns warm and the days start to get longer it’s time for the kids to ditch the video game controllers and get outside to play. And while tree houses are fun and forts are great, you don’t have to have a big expensive play structure for them to have a good time… you just need a little creativity!
You can create your own Fun Zone with different stations by using some of the following ideas.
- Bean bag toss: For this game you need a variety of different sized buckets or containers. Take 5 buckets and line them up with the bigger bucket closer to the front and the smallest bucket the farthest away. Create a throw line using a broom handle. The kids get 5 bean bags to try to toss into the buckets. Using tape or an erasable marker, write the points on each bucket. Give the first bucket 5 points and the last one 25.
- Bubble station: Make a bunch of bubble juice using water and dish washing liquid. Provide empty paper towel rolls, old bubble wands and other bubble toys to use in the bubble juice and let the kids make tons of bubbles.
- Slip and slide: Have an area where the kids can get wet. If you have room in your yard, a slip and slide area can be a lot of fun, just make sure to turn off the water when no one is using it so that you aren’t wasting water and running up your water bill. If there isn’t enough room for that you can supply homemade water squirters by using empty ketchup and syrup bottles filled with water. The kids will have a blast squirting each other.
- Hula hoops: Place several hula hoops in this area. If there are several kids playing you can have a contest to see who can hula hoop the longest or with the most hula hoops without dropping one. If there is only one child they can time how long they can hula hoop and work on breaking their own record.
- Drink station: It’s very important to keep kids hydrated when they are playing outside so a fun station to have would be a drink station. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. The easiest would be to have a cooler filled with ice and have some juice drinks in there. Another option would be to have a water jug filled with ice and water and provide cups. Another way would be to have different flavored drink packets and bottles of water so that everyone could make their own flavored drink.
- Chalk area: Kids love to play with sidewalk chalk and it’s an inexpensive way for them to use their creativity to draw and play. Provide a bucket of chalk and let the kids have some creative fun writing their name or drawing pictures. By necessity this area needs to be on cement or another hard surface. A driveway or sidewalk work best.
- Dance floor: Bring out the portable music player and play some music for the kids. Putting out some cardboard on the grass will give the kids a dance floor where they can show their moves to their friends. Another fun dancing game would be freeze dancing. Play some music and have the kids dance around and when you shut the music off everyone has to freeze. If anyone moves they are out.
- Fun photos: Shoot pictures of the kids wearing funny props. Grab a box and fill it with some easy dress up items, such as a cowboy hat, feather boa, tiara, wand, and some big sunglasses. The kids will really enjoy being silly and you will get some fun pictures for the scrapbook.
- Craft table: Now that the kids have run around and might be a little tired it might be a good idea to have a crafting zone where they can color some pictures or make their own puppets using lunch sacks, colors and bits of paper and glue. These are fun ways for the kids to get creative and they can have something to take home at the end of the day if they are visiting or to play with later when they go inside.
- Snack shack: After burning all of that energy the kids are going to be starving. By creating a “snack shack” the kids can not only eat a snack, but they can play restaurant at the same time. Provide some inexpensive printouts that look like order forms, a pencil and some fake money from an old game. Let the kids order from whatever choices you have put out there and then they can pay for it with their fake money. Great snack ideas are pretzel sticks in a little baggie, crackers, grapes in a bag or baby carrots.
When it comes to creating outdoor fun, the more creative you can be the better. Look around your house and see what games you can create out of what you have on hand. You may be surprised at the Fun Zone stations you can come up with.
This has been a guest submission by Paul Taylor with Babysittingjobs.com.
Original image source: Cracker Jack Theatre