TeacherLists Blog

Outdoor Fun with No Equipment


Remember the days when nothing was needed to play and have fun except your imagination, your siblings or friends, and whatever else you could find? Those days don’t have to be lost or forgotten.

Playing outdoors improves the health of a child—mentally and physically. It has benefits beyond the physical activity it provides, improving sleep, social skills, and their mood. Plus, it offers a break from devices, improves attention span, and above all, heightens creativity and imagination.

It is also good for adults, especially parents. Afterall, we said those days don’t have to be lost or forgotten. Now instead of your siblings or friends, you can enjoy these activities with your own children.

Relive your childhood with these 10 outdoor activities:

1. Play classic games.
Remember these? I Spy, Duck Duck Goose, Mother May I, Cops and Robbers, Hide ‘N Seek, Seek the Hider, Red Light Green Light, Sardines, Sharks and Minnows, and Simon Says are just a few of the many easy and fun classics. Teach your child how to play the game and join in the excitement with them. Are you feeling nostalgic yet?

2. Have a scavenger hunt.
The opportunities with this are endless. Send children on a scavenger hunt to find whatever it is you challenge them to find—4 flowers, 5 leaves, 3 sticks, or all the rocks out of the yard (bonus!)

3. Play in the dirt.
Say no more! What kid doesn’t like playing in the mud, and with permission no less. If it hasn’t rained recently, add some water to the dirt in your yard! Help your child make mud pies, mud sculptures, or even paint with the mud.

4. Make birdfeeders.
Don’t just make any birdfeeder; make one from nature. Encourage your child to find whatever materials they want and get creative. Their birdhouse may be from sticks or stones—but hopefully not bones (no pun intended!)

5. Make a fairy house.
Let your child embellish your garden (or any outdoor space!) by building a house for a fairy. Encourage them to get as big and as creative as they wish! Collect supplies from the yard like twigs, rocks, moss, grass, etc. to adorn the structure. Don’t forget to check it daily to see if a fairy has moved in!

6. Look for shapes in the clouds.
This never gets old. Lay down and start naming the objects in the clouds together. Take it up a notch by pointing to the same cloud and guessing what the other person sees in its shape.

7. Find different stars and constellations.
When it gets dark and the sky is clear, head out and find as many constellations or different stars as you can. Watch for shooting stars, and don’t forget to make a wish when you see one. This could even turn into a campout under the stars!

8. Catch fireflies.
Who doesn’t love to catch fireflies? See how many fireflies your little one can catch, and see if you still have your bug-catching skills. Gather them into a jar or a cup to watch them glow, but be sure to release them before heading inside.

9. Find the outdoor alphabet.
Going from A to Z, have your child find objects outdoors that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Try it with them; it is more challenging and exciting than you might think!

10. Climb a tree.
Another timeless outdoor activity! Encourage your child to climb a tree. Take a walk through the woods and find different trees to try to climb. Climb together and hang out for a while, enjoying nothing but one another and nature.

11. Wish on a leaf.

Take a leaf, hold it close, silently think about your wish, and release it to the wind! Wishes can be as silly or serious as you’d like them to be, but be sure to encourage your child to dream big! If you’re able, you could also send your wish leaf down a rushing river– whatever sends them out into the world, carrying your wish with them.

12. Build an obstacle course.

Taking what you already have at home, like hula hoops, jump ropes, pails, etc., you can create your own obstacle course, and rearrange them to increase difficulty for hours of fun!

Originally posted 2022

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