If you’re a parent, then you know that having kids requires a great amount of energy and imagination. You want them to always have the best experience they can have, and for that you need the knowledge to make it happen.
This applies even to playtime! It’s very important to make sure that everything our kids do enables their development, both cognitive and physical. Through play, there are amazing ways to explore your child’s skills and abilities. It’s also a great way to explore their personalities because playing is also about self-exploration.
The best part is you get to have an active role in these experiences and you’re building a stronger bond as a consequence. There’s nothing quite like creating fond childhood memories. That’s why I bring you the top 11 outdoor activities and game you can play with your 4 – 5 year olds and make sure they have an enriching time.
This is one of the many variations of tag that’s really fun! It’s very simple, one person is assigned “it” and that means he has the power to freeze other players by touching them. Other players can unfreeze their friends as well! To do it they have to crawl in between its legs.
Sometimes this version of tag incorporates a safe spot or a home base, the last player to reach it will be “it” for the next round. This is a great way to have your kids moving around in your backyard and working on their gross motor skills. It’s also a great cooperative game since they would have to help their friends along the way.
Red Light, Green Light
This is one of those old-school games to play outside that never really get old because they’re just so much fun! This is how it works: You have to pick one player to be the stoplight. The rest of the players have to form a row about 15 or 20 feet away from the stoplight.
The point of the game is that the “stoplight” has to turn their back to the rest of the children, and then it has to fulfill his duty and yell out “green light” when it wants the other players to move freely, and “red light” to make them stop. Every time the stoplight yells “red light”, it has to turn around quickly; if any of the players are still moving, they’re out!
The stoplight wins if it gets all of the players out, and the players win if they touch it first. This helps your children develop their body coordination and their listening skills.
You probably played this a lot when you were a child, so it’s time to pass it along. You have to organize the children in a circle and then, in your role as moderator, you’ll have to sing a song or play some music. You have to explain to the kids that while the music is playing, they have to throw the ball or the “hot potato” around.
They have to focus on letting go of the ball really quickly as if it was burning because if the music stops and they’re still holding the ball, they’re out! This goes on until there is only one player. Trust me; they’ll want to play this over and over again.
This activity helps your children work on their agility, their fine motor skills as they have to use their hands quickly and also their hand-eye coordination!
Sharks and Minnows
Here I bring you another fun variation of tag! This can be played in a pool if you happen to have one, but it can work just as well on dry land. For your children to play, they don’t need any equipment whatsoever. You could take them to the park to make it a bit more interesting, but they can play in the backyard.
One of the kids gets to be the shark and the rest of them are the minnows. The minnows have to form a line facing the shark, while you set a finish base behind the shark. On the count of three, all of the minnows have to scatter and get as fast as they can to the finishing line! If they’re tagged, they become a shark and they’ll have to hunt their former minnow fellows. The game ends when there are no minnows left and then they can play again!
Water Gun Target
It’s time to give some action to those water guns that your kids have lying around. This is a very simple activity and it’s particularly fun and refreshing on a hot day. All you need to do is get some empty cans or water bottles and set up a target practice.
You can get creative with the way you arrange the targets and you can even make it a challenge. You can start by having them in a row, and then you can have them placed at different distances, or maybe even make a pyramid. Just move a table to the middle of your backyard or any other thing you can use as support and place the targets.
Hand your children their water guns and buckets of water so they can recharge and watch them have some fun! You can allow the younger ones to stand closer to the targets while the older ones have a bit of a challenge, just make sure that you adjust the game to their skill levels. This activity is a great way to make them practice their fine motor skills and their coordination.
Paper Towel Art
This is yet another great way to enjoy a sunny day outside and it doesn’t take much preparation. All you need is paper towels, colored water for which you can use food coloring and eye droppers so they can use as art supplies. This is great to develop their fine motor skills because they have to pinch the dropper to fill it up and then release it to make their painting.
Set the paper towels canvas on the grass, the driveway or your sidewalk and just let them create whatever they want. If it’s a windy day, make sure that the paper towels won’t fly away so your kids can work comfortably. You can also help them learn their colors and practice their creative skills by using primary colors and allowing them to make different combinations to see what comes up!
To add a sensory element, you can have them use sponges instead of droppers! Admittedly, it will be a little messy, but they’ll have so much fun.
Just another fun way to explore your children’s creativity and imagination! All you need to do is place some large sheets of paper outside so they can use as a canvas. I would actually glue them to cardboard. Then, hand them a bucket and make them look for a bit of dirt. Add water until you form a thick enough mud paint they can use and just hand them their paint brushes!
They’ll have so much fun playing around with their mud paint. I encourage you to let them use their hands and fingers if they prefer them! There will be giggles for days! This is a great sensory activity as they play around with different textures and it’s also a good way to have them develop their fine motor skills through the use of their hands!
Flower Counting Race
This is yet another way to enjoy a beautiful day outside! All you’ll need is some chalk and flowers. Give your kids the chalk and have then draw lines all the way down the sidewalk or the driveway, then finish it off by making a grid. Create columns for each of your children.
The rules are simple: each child has to race to fill up their grids with flowers or leaves that they can easily find around. You have to assign a number of flowers or leaves to the grids, so they’ll have to count. Make sure you adapt the number to the child’s knowledge. This is a great opportunity to have them practice the numbers, especially those that have proven to be a bit difficult for them to memorize.
If they can easily count to X number, add at least 2 so you challenge them a bit! Or you can make it sequential by instructing them to place 1 flower on the first grid, 2 on the second, and so on. They’ll have so much fun and they’ll be practically doing their homework without noticing.
This is another great counting activity to get your kids both having fun and learning! To make the counting maze you’ll need chalk and your sidewalk or driveway. Draw a maze and put numbers on each grid, the limit of numbers will depend on the children’s skills.
Write down the numbers adjacent to one another and then fill the blank spaces with random numbers. Make it tricky, but not confusing. Mark the starting (1) and finishing (the limit, let’s say 10) point of the maze with an arrow. Now just allow your kids to get lost in the maze and find their way out. Have them say the numbers out loud!
They’ll have so much fun and they’ll work not only on their counting skills, but also on their concentration as it will take them some thinking to get through the maze.
Texture Scavenger Hunt
This is one of those wonderful scavenger hunts that don’t need that much preparation. You don’t have to think of clues or anything, you can leave it all to nature. You’ll just need some baskets or buckets for your kids to collect the treasures!
Hand them a container and start exploring your backyard! The goal is to find different textures, as many as they can! The great thing about this is that textures are really just open to interpretation, so each time your kids find a new one, they’ll have to explain and describe what the texture is like for them. This is a great way to practice language skills and cognition.
If you want to make it more fun, you can extend the search area and take a walk around the neighborhood while they look for texture treasures!
Pin the Tail
This is one of those traditional games that we must teach our children because they’re just so much fun! Take a large piece of paper and draw any animal that your children might like, just leave out the tail. Get your kids to help you draw and color the animal so they’re part of the process. Mark an X where the tail should be and then make a tail that suits your animal. You can make it out of strands of wool or you can draw it on cardboard and cut it out.
Then all you’ll need is a blindfold and a pen if you have several players so you can mark where each of them pinned the tail. Take them outside and blindfold them when it’s their turn, spin them three times and then let them pin the tail. Give them directions if the stray too far from the drawing. Before you blindfold them, make them really look at the picture. This game is a great exercise for their memory and also hand-eye coordination!
And there you have it! Any activity on this list will not only make your kids have crazy amounts of fun, it will also help them practice their knowledge and strengthen their skills. This is crucial for a sound development! But it’s also crucial to laugh and enjoy life! That’s the whole point of these outdoor activities, so get out there and try them out.