It’s Time to Go Outside and Play!

It’s the time of year when we like to get our kids outside to play and enjoy the nice weather. The American Academy of Pediatrics says free and unstructured play is healthy and essential. My boys love playing outside and using their imaginations, but also love it when I have different activities planned to get them started. We live in California so we have a lot of outside time. It helps me to keep a list of activities and reference that list when I’m looking for ways to get active and have fun. 

Here are some of my family’s favorite outdoor activities…

1. Sidewalk chalk


Get out the sidewalk chalk and get creative. Ask your children to draw their favorite animals, practice their numbers or write their names. I recently drew a hopscotch board on our back patio with chalk and it entertained the kiddos for almost an hour! If you are really creative, draw a pretend city or landscape to encourage pretend play. 

2. Go on a bug hunt

My boys and I love to go on walks around the neighborhood, but sometimes they lose interest so we’ve started going on bug hunts. The last time we went out we counted the number of role poly bugs we saw (we ended up only seeing 5 of them on our mile walk). Depending on where you live you could look for worms or other kinds of insects. 
3. Scooter or bike ride
When we moved to California a year ago, one of our first purchases for the boys were scooters. While out on a stroller ride with the boys, we noticed most of the neighborhood kids had scooters and were having a blast while also getting some exercise. We bought these Micro Mini Scooters and they were perfect for the boys. They were 1 and 3 when we bought them and both picked it up super fast. They still ask to go on scooter rides nearly every night. P.S. Don’t forget a helmet!
4. Backyard picnic
One of the many perks of living in California is the fact that we have nice weather year round and not many bugs (although this can be a negative for our bug walks)! 🙂 My boys love it when we switch things up, put a blanket down in the backyard and enjoy dinner outside. We sit and talk about things we see in the yard and after we’re finished with dinner we start exploring. I love seeing things through their eyes….they have the best explanations for things sometimes!
5. Find a new park
We don’t have a playset in our backyard so we love exploring new parks. When we’re itching to get out of the house on the weekends, we pack up a picnic and hit the park. I’ll be sharing another idea for parks with some photos of the boys in a future blog post. 
6. Hit the beach
Pack up the sand toys and hit the beach. Some of our beaches also have playgrounds for the kiddos so we usually pack a snack and spend some time doing both. 
7. Water table or kiddie pool
We have had this Little Tikes water table for a few years now and although we’ve misplaced most of the accessories during our multiple moves, the boys still love it when I get it out for them to play with. We grab toys from the bath tub or add bubbles to the water to make it interesting every time. If you live in an area where it gets super hot in the summer, purchase a small kiddie pool or a splash play mat for some pool play time. This way you’ll stay cool but still get in some outdoor play time.
8. Wash the cars or bikes
My little guys love helping me clean. During the warmer summer months, put them in their swimsuits and let them help you wash the car. I also let them wash their bikes and scooters at the same time. P.S. I sure hope their interest in cleaning sticks as they get older! 🙂

Don’t forget to engage your children and ask them about their experiences after they’re finished playing! Some of the best conversations I have with my boys are after they come inside from playing or when we talk about their day each night before bed. 

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