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37 Outdoor Play Ideas for Kids

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As parents, we often worry about how much time our children spend indoors and glued to screens. We want to encourage them to get outside, explore, and engage in physical activity. Outdoor play is not only fun, but it also has numerous benefits for children’s physical, mental, and emotional development.

However, coming up with new and exciting outdoor play ideas can sometimes be a challenge. That’s why we have put together a list of creative and engaging outdoor play ideas specifically tailored for primary-aged children.

If you are looking for outdoor play ideas for your primary aged kids then this post is for you. We all know that being outside is good for us but it can be really fun too.

You don’t need a garden to do all these activities either. They can be done on a country walk or part of a day out in one of Hampshire’s country parks.

If you are looking for outside places to visit then make sure you have a look at:

The Ultimate List of Walks in Hampshire That Are Child Friendly – These are the best walks for families in Hampshire.

The Full List of Country Parks in Hampshire – We love a country park and Hampshire has so many to explore.

Things to do in Hampshire Guide

Wondering what to do today? Then our guide for ALL things Hampshire is for you!

If you are looking for things to do in Hampshire with kids then this guide is for you. We have over 200+ ideas that you can use to keep your whole family amused while exploring everything Hampshire has to offer!

Find out more about our Things to do in Hampshire Guide here.

This is an up to date spreadsheet, in activity order, that you can use when you have no clue what to do. We’ve included everything from country parks, to splash pools, lakes, castles, days out, playgrounds and walks. You get lifetime access to this spreadsheet, so any updates we do, you get them, all included in the price! 

The benefits of outdoor play for primary aged kids

Outdoor play offers a plethora of benefits for primary-aged kids. Firstly, it promotes physical fitness and helps children develop motor skills, coordination, and strength. Engaging in various outdoor activities, such as running, climbing, and jumping, boosts their physical health and well-being.

Moreover, outdoor play fosters creativity and imagination. Being exposed to nature stimulates a child’s senses and encourages them to think outside the box. They can build forts, create obstacle courses, or invent their games, enhancing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Outdoor play also promotes social skills and builds friendships. Children interact with each other, learn to take turns, negotiate and resolve conflicts. Being in an open environment allows them to practice communication and teamwork, crucial skills for their personal and academic lives.

Overall, outdoor play is crucial for primary-aged kids as it promotes their physical, cognitive, and social development. So, let your kids explore and have fun outside!

37 fun and educational outdoor play ideas

Looking for some fun and educational activities to keep your primary-aged kids entertained outdoors? Here are 37 ideas that will not only keep them active but also stimulate their learning and development.

Outdoor Toys

Purple bouncy castle

If you prefer to stay at home and have a garden then one of these outdoor toys might be fun for your little one:

1. Bouncy castles

There’s loads of different bouncy castles that are perfect for small kids. If you like the idea of a castle then this Jump-o-lene Castle Bouncer* is great, or how about a round bouncy castle like Greenfields Jump-O-Lene Kids Bouncy Castle*.

2. Paddling pools

Great for the summer months to keep the whole family amused. We love the Bestway 54006 Family Rectangular Inflatable Pool*, which is great for larger kids or the Ucradle Paddling Pool Baby Inflatable Pool* for smaller kids.

3. Climbing frames

Design an obstacle course in your backyard using items like hula hoops, cones, and jumping ropes. This activity will improve your kids’ coordination, balance, and gross motor skills while adding an element of fun and competition.

For smaller kids then this Plum Climbing Pyramid Wooden Play Centre* is great to keep them active and for older kids try WICKEY Wooden Climbing Frame Smart Action Blue* which is great for smaller gardens too.

4. Role play

If you’d prefer role play outdoor toys then have a look at this Kids Brown/Silver Wooden Play Kitchen* that’s great for smaller kids.

5. Sand pits

Sand pits are great for all primary aged kids. This Liberty House Toys Children’s Sand Pit with Seating and Cover is great for role play too. If you are short of space then why not try this deAO 40 Pieces Sand and Water Outdoor Activity Table*.

Outside Play Ideas

Chalk noughts and crosses on a pavement

6. Drawing with outside chalk

We love drawing on the pavements. We do snakes and ladders, draw roads and play games with the chalks. We use these Be Creative AL510 Chalk for Children Tub of 20 Giant Assorted Colours*.

7. Catch butterflies

Regardless of if you are out and about or at home in the garden, then A Day In Our Shoes has a great step by step guide on how to catch a Butterfly without hurting it. This is a great way for kids to examine bugs in their garden.

8. Make fairy nature wings

Megan Zeni has a great idea for making homemade nature fairy wings. They are a great way for kids to get to know what is growing around them while making something beautiful.

9. Build a bug hotel

Megan Zeni talks you through how to build your very own bug hotel in your garden and what kind of insects might move in.

10. Build a Nature Fairy House Building Activity

Glitter On A Dime talks through how to build a nature fairy house. You can build it with whatever you find in the garden or on your nature walk.

11. Bug spotting

Bug spotting is great for all ages. Carrots Are Orange talks through the importance of bug spotting and the fun it is for kids.

12. Grow your own vegetables

Carrots Are Orange explains why it’s great for kids to grow their own vegetables and why it’s so much fun for all involved.

13. Build an Elves House

Building an elf house in the garden is great for imagination play. Grab what you have or go for a walk and pick up sticks and leaves on your walk. Red Ted Art shows you how to build the elves house.

14. Suncream painting

Team Cartwright talks through how to make a suncream painting. This is a great outdoor activity for all ages that can inspire the imagination. Use your leftover suncream for this year to complete this easy to do craft.

15. Natural clay art

Hands On Teaching Ideas talks through this easy outdoor craft. All you need is natural clay and some sticks or leaves. Anything that is from the natural world. The kids can then paint the clay outside too.

16. Make flower soup

Take science experiments outdoors by conducting simple experiments that showcase natural phenomena. For example, you can create a DIY volcano erupting with baking soda and vinegar or explore the concept of buoyancy by making boats out of various materials. This hands-on approach will make learning science enjoyable and memorable for your kids.

Making flower soup is a fun way to get the kids to pick up leaves and flower heads from the garden floor. Taming Little Monsters talks through how to make this work from smaller kids and how much fun it can be!

17. Hammering flower art

Taming Little Monsters explains how hammering flowers work and why it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the outside with smaller kids.

18. Natural noughts and crosses

Growing Family talks through how to make a natural game of noughts and crosses by grabbing whatever you have around you in your garden. It steps up the classic game to a whole new level.

19. Twig – wrapped flowers pots

Growing Family shows how easy it is to make a natural flower pot from just what’s in your garden. It would make a great gift for the Grandparents too.

20. Nature scavenger hunt

Barley and Birch gives you a free printable nature scavenger hunt that you can use out and about or in your own garden. It’s a great way to teach the kids about nature.

21. Leaf activity sheet

This is a great craft activity for the whole family. Print off Barley and Birch’s printable and find out what kind of leaves you have in your garden.

22. Play dough fairy forest

Grab some play dough and whatever leaves, sticks or pinecones you can find from your garden. Barley and Birch shows you how to make your own natural fairy forest.

23. Make mud cakes

Mud cakes are great fun for smaller kids to explore the dirt around them. The Gingerbread House talks through what you need to make the perfect mud cake.

24. Make a garden journal

Follow Frugal Coupon Living on how to make a nature journal. Grab a pad and paper and whatever nature you can find in your garden. Stick it into the book and have fun labelling what you find.

25. Make a gelatine flower suncatcher

This is a great outside craft for older kids. Thimble and Twig talks you through how to make a successful flower suncatcher like no other.

26. Make a Hapa Zome

Make a natural craft that is also great as a gift for Grandparents. Thimble and Twig talks you through how to successfully make a Hapa Zome with the whole family.

27. Paint leaves to make butterflies

Involve your kids in the process of planting and maintaining a garden. Let them choose their favorite fruits, vegetables, or flowers and teach them about the importance of caring for living things. This activity will not only teach them about nature and responsibility but also provide them with a sense of accomplishment when they see their plants grow.

Painting leaves has never been so fun! Thimble and Twig has come up with 7 easy leaf crafts that are great to help kids explore the outdoor world.

28. Make stick letters

Making Hello Wonderful’s natural stick letters not only helps your kids explore the outside world but also helps them to form letters. These can be made with sticks and any kind of yarn.

29. Make a germination science experiment

This is not only a science experience but a great way for older kids to explore the outside. The Educators Spin On It talks you through, step by step how this experiment works.

30. Herb painting

Use what you have to make art. Grab the paint and walk around your garden and pick up whatever you have. The Educators Spin On It shows you the amazing pictures that nature can make.

31. Campfire nature craft

This is art with nature! Box of Ideas shows you how to make your own fake campfire with what you have in the garden.

32. Make a DIY catapult

This catapult by Go Science Kids is a great way to show younger kids cause and effect. They can grab what you have in the garden like twigs and acorns and see how far each one moves through the air.

33. Garden Sensory Bin

This is a great preschool activity by Blessed Beyond a Doubt. It incorporates the natural world with sensory play.

34. Texture Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of items for your kids to find in nature, such as different types of leaves, rocks, or bird feathers. This activity will help them become more observant, learn about different textures and patterns, and foster a love for the natural world.

Edventures talks through how to make a sensory scavenger hunt for smaller kids. It’s all about touching and feeling their way through nature.

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35. Make your own paintbrushes

Set up an art station in your backyard with easels, paint, brushes, and a variety of art materials. Encourage your kids to create their masterpieces inspired by the beauty of nature. This activity will enhance their creativity, fine motor skills, and appreciation for art.

Apple Green Cottage shows you how to use nature as a paintbrush. It’s a great way for kids to explore the outdoor world.

36. Build a stick raft

Kids Craft Room shows you how to make a stick raft. This is great for older kids as they can make it themselves then amend the raft to make sure it floats.

37. Rainbow windsock

Kids Craft Room shows you how to make a rainbow windsock which is great for smaller kids. It shows kids the direction of the wind and how the natural world works.

Remember, outdoor play is not only about having fun but also about providing valuable learning experiences for your children. So, go ahead and try these ideas to create lasting memories while promoting their physical, cognitive, and social development.

Safety considerations for outdoor play

When it comes to outdoor play, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

Supervision: Ensure that your primary-aged children are always supervised while playing outside. While they may be more independent at this age, it’s important to have a watchful eye to prevent accidents and intervene if necessary.

Age-appropriate equipment: Make sure that the outdoor play equipment, such as swings, slides, and climbing structures, are suitable for your child’s age and developmental stage. Check for any sharp edges or loose parts that could pose a safety hazard.

Protective gear: Encourage your children to wear protective gear such as helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads when engaging in activities such as biking, rollerblading, or skateboarding. This will help prevent injuries in case of falls or collisions.

Sun protection: Apply sunscreen with a high SPF to protect their skin from harmful UV rays. Additionally, provide them with hats and sunglasses to shield their eyes and face.

Hydration and snacks: Remind your children to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly during outdoor play. Pack healthy snacks like fruits and granola bars to keep their energy levels up.

By following these safety considerations, you can ensure that your primary-aged kids have a fun and safe outdoor play experience.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do at home then head over to the Staying at Home section where you’ll find loads of creative ideas for things to do at home. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on things to do when you are at home; Staying In Ideas With Kids, Kids Craft Ideas and Rainy Days At Home.

Here are 37 outdoor play ideas for kids that are perfect regardless of if you have a garden or not. Explore the outside world with out things to do ideas by Laura at Things to do in Hampshire with kids.

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