Get Outside

Our goal at One Great Backyard, through regular blog posts, is to inspire great ideas for play and learning outside. We hope that you will spend any amount of time outside every single day with your family. 

This page can serve as a quick reference for additional outdoor activities you can enjoy simply and inexpensively almost any time.  This list will be every growing.  If you have other ideas you would like to contribute to this page, please leave a comment or contact us so that we can link appropriately to you.  

  1.  Make bird feeders from cheerios and yarn.  The birds can use the leftover yarn to build their nests.
  2. Go on an animal nature hike:  Walk through your neighborhood or backyard and take pictures of any animals you see.  Look for birds in the sky, ants on the ground, and bugs in the flowers. 
  3. Go for a hike at a state or national park nearby.
  4. Do a science experiment in your backyard.
  5. Walk outside in the rain.  Watch animals different behavior throughout the rain and directly after the rain.
  6. Build a weather station with a thermometer, some pinwheels, and a homemade rain gauge.
  7. Make art and music outside using supplies you have on hand.
  8. Plant a garden in your backyard or in a collection of containers.
  9. Ready "Where's My Teddy?" by Jez Alborough then enjoy a teddy bear picnic and other educational activities
  10. Fly a kite. 
  11. Fold paper airplanes and find the best place to throw them.
  12. Have a foot race.  Add some obstacles or hurdles to jump over.
  13. Exercise outside. Run, ride bikes, or do yoga.
  14. Host a mud pie restaurant.
  15. Climb a tree.  Take a picture from the top and see if anyone can identify where the picture was taken from. 
  16. Build a sculpture with natural elements.
  17. Pick wild herbs to cook with. 
  18. Search for bugs and birds using a magnifying glass and binoculars. 
  19. Find nature while living in the city.
  20. Go outside after dark and look up at the stars.  See if you can identify any constellations or see a shooting star.
  21. Make suncatchers out of melted plastic beads or sharpie markers on wax paper. 
  22. Go creek wading.  Watch animals in the creek bed and on the ground directly outside of the creek.  Build a tower with a few smooth river rocks. 
  23. Walk around your neighborhood and pray for the people you see.
  24. Play with waterfill a bowl with water.  Add some bubbles, ice, food coloring, cups, and funnels. 
  25. Set up cones to serve as a soccer goal.  Have a free shot competition or a small scale scrimmage.
  26. Make sidewalk paint to decorate the fence, the driveway, or another outside canvas you can find. 
  27. Start a collection of found items - smooth stones, discarded trinkets, beautiful flowers.
  28. Play a game of HORSE.
  29. Paint rocks with acrylic paints.  Use the rocks as game pieces for checkers or tic-tac-toe.
  30. Play catch or roll a ball back and forth.
  31. Have a hula hoop contest.  Who can keep it going the longest?
  32. Blow bubbles.  Add a few drops of food coloring to the bubble solution to make bubble paint.
  33. Play an old school backyard game: hide and seek, spud, kick the can, Simon says, mother may I
  34. Lay in the grass and watch the clouds.  Make up stories about characters you imagine in the clouds.
  35. Paint with water.  Grab a few paint brushes and a bucket of water to paint the driveway or a fence.
  36.  Camp in the backyard.  Pitch a tent or build one by hanging a sheet over a clothes line.  Roast s'mores or cook them in the microwave.
  37. Keep a nature journal.  Draw pictures of things you observe in nature.  Press flowers and keep them in your journal.  Create crayon rubbings of leaves you collect. 
  38. Play in the sandbox. Dig, build, discover, pan for gold!
  39. Make an ant or worm farm with a two-liter soda bottle, some dirt, and fresh compost.
  40. Sing, play, and jump in the rain.  Don't forget your rain boots and umbrella.
  41. Create sun art.  Arrange artifacts from nature on a black sheet of construction paper in a sunny location.  Check back in a few hours to see what the sun has painted. 
  42. Attend an outdoor worship service.
  43. Cook dinner outside.  
  44. Make a whistle from a blade of grass.
  45. Read a book in a hammock.

When you play outside, especially with children, please remember to play safely. For example, choose activities that are safe considering the age and developmental abilities of those involved.  Don't touch plants and animals in nature that cannot be identified as safe.  Children should always be supervised by an adult while playing outside.  Children should play in an area that is far from cars traveling on the road.  Also, sun protection should be used while playing outside during the day.