Showing posts sorted by relevance for query outdoor play. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query outdoor play. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query outdoor play. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query outdoor play. Sort by date Show all posts

What are the Benefits of Outdoor Play?

Playing Outside Improves Mood


This post was sponsored by Landscape Structures as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Have you noticed a change in your children when they're playing outside? Sure, they may complain that they're tired or that it's too hot or even that they're bored. However, outdoor play benefits kids in many ways. Once children have built the coping and social skills needed to interact in an outside play environment, the benefits of outdoor play far outweigh their complaints! What are the benefits to outdoor play? Keep reading to learn some tips on how to keep your kids happy outdoors.


What are the Benefits of Outdoor Play?
What are the benefits of outdoor play?


Be Prepared. 

When you take your kids to an outdoor play space or local park, be sure to be prepared. Bring a cooler with bottles of water for hydration, cool, healthy snacks like carrots and cucumbers, and go ahead and throw in a treat for when they've depleted all of their energy. 

You may also want to bring a change of clothes, a non-toxic bug repellent, a blanket for resting, hats or sunglasses to shade them from the sun, and a first aid kit. Whatever you can do to insure the happiness of your children and counteract any excuses they may have for not wanting to play, only increases your chances for success.

If you're forgetful and always seem to forget the essentials, keep a park preparedness kit in your car. We never leave the house without folding chairs, a vinyl table cloth, and an umbrella packed in the trunk. If you leave a mini cooler in the trunk, it's always waiting there to be filled. You can simply stop at any convenience or grocery store along the way.


Benefits of Playing Outside


Best Places for Outdoor Play

No matter where you choose to incorporate outdoor play, it's beneficial to your child. Simply being outdoors in the sunshine can boost your child's immune system because the sun gives us vitamin D which is essential to health and happiness. Dr. Clare McCarthy shares some benefits of outdoor play over at Harvard Health. Even if you have a tiny yard, be sure to create a space for your child to get in some daily outdoor play. If they like to color or finger paint, set up a table for crafting outdoors.


Water is the most fun element of sensory play.

A well designed play structure will keep your kids busy for an hour or two. You may not be familiar with the brand name Landscape Structures, but I'll bet you've seen one or two. These playground structures aren't just for swinging and sliding, they're set up with all kinds of ways to get kids moving and to encourage sensory play.





When you give children the freedom to play and discover on their own, they build self-confidence to explore more things on their own. They want to see what else they can discover without mom or dad. So, sit back and relax while the kids explore the outdoor environment and find new ways to have fun.


Hello, over there! This megaphone encourages interaction with others.


Landscape Structures playgrounds are designed to welcome children of all ages and abilities. This play equipment has all kinds of sensory elements and play activities that encourage kids to work together making it easier for them to socialize with others. These playgrounds also encourage exercise, but don't worry, your kids will have so much fun playing on the equipment they won't even know they're exercising!


Sneaky playground equipment encourages exercise.

Sensory play aids in the learning process. Children who play outdoors have more access to sensory elements as the five senses are involved in nearly every aspect of outdoor play. They hear other children laughing, birds chirping, and bugs buzzing. They feel the wind on their face and the grass on their feet. They can even taste the outdoors when berry picking or licking their salty lips.


Practicing on the bars builds upper body strength and self-confidence. 

These poles encourage learning to balance.

What will you do when it's raining? Rain is the best sensory activity! Grab an umbrella and some rain boots and slosh through some puddles with your kiddos! Reach up to the sky and savor the raindrops as they splash on your face. Show your children that rain is fun, don't discourage it. Rain even smells good! These days, most parks use rubber mulch. If storms do force you to stay inside for awhile, don't worry about the playground being wet. Be a good parent and take the first trip down the slide to dry it off for those finicky little ones.

Encourage social interaction with other kids, but don't force it. Kids are smart, they know what you're trying to do. If they're moody, they'll fight you every step of the way. Also, simply knowing that you want them to interact with other kids can make the feel self-conscious. They may feel too shy to talk to another child when they know that you're anxious for it to happen. Pretend to keep busy reading a book or returning a text. Don't get too caught up though, those little eyes are always watching you. Sometimes, they want you to watch them and know that you're proud of them. Always be ready with a thumb's up!

A simple way to encourage socialization is to point out a favorite character on another child's clothing. "Hey, look he's wearing a dinosaur shirt. Don't you love it!" Your child may not respond, that's okay. Don't push them. You've given them something to talk about. You've made a connection with another child. Sit back and watch what happens. Socializing may start out awkward. If you have a backward child, trying to force it will certainly backfire. Learn to be happy with a nod or a smile. The rest will come with time.


Playing Outside Improves Mood
Outdoor play improves mood.


Some benefits of outdoor play.
Sleepy kids!


As an exhausted parent, one of the best benefits of getting in a lot of outdoor play time with the kids is that you'll get to enjoy some down time when the kids take naps. Even if they are past nap taking, they'll probably stay quiet for the car ride home! Be careful not to let little ones get too over tired. Often, an over tied preschooler will have trouble sleeping through the night. They need just enough exertion for a good night's sleep. And no one wants an over tired toddler...


Recommended:

More Ways to Play from Kids Creative Chaos

Rainy Day Boredom Busters

Learn more about Landscape Structures Playgrounds

Follow Landscape Structures on Facebook.

Keep up with our fun activities and travels on Instagram.




8 Autumn Outdoor Play Ideas

8 Fall Play Ideas

As the weather cools and we move toward winter, it is tempting to stay inside on the warm, comfy couch. It is important to stay active in the cooler months. Sure, you can go to an indoor facility like a bounce park, bowling alley, or indoor swimming, but fresh air and sunshine are just as important in autumn and winter months. There are plenty of ways to play outdoors. We're sharing a few ways that we get out and play with these 8 Autumn Outdoor Play Ideas for families. Enjoy!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin  “This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.”






10 Fall Play Date Ideas

Keep Busy with Fun, Fall Play Date Ideas

It is fall, y'all. Fall is our favorite season of the year. No matter the season, we make time to get outside and play every day. Are you stuck inside? Bored? Get out and try some of these Fall Play Date Ideas. Enjoy!

Fall Play Date Ideas
Fall play date ideas don't have to be fancy... Just play!
The Voice of Play is an education and advocacy initiative of the non-profit membership association, IPEMA, formed to educate and promote the benefits of children’s free outdoor play and playgrounds. They encourage the scientifically proven physical, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of play.

Outdoor play is free! Once a week, we visit a different local park and have unstructured play dates with a local homeschool group.

We are fortunate in that we have been able to live our dream life on a beautifully wooded, five-acre property. Everyday, we go for a walk, visit the fish and ducks on our pond, take a paddle boat ride, check out the creatures of the creek, and just play in the yard.

The best part about fall, of course, is the changing leaves. What fun to scoop some up and let them flow through the air! Rake up a pile and jump. It is simple. It is sensory. And, it couldn't be more fun if it cost money.

We wanted to share some pictures of how we play at home. For more fall play date ideas, keep scrolling down.

Fall leaf play.
Little ones enjoy the sensory aspect of leaves. They crunch, they crumble, and crack.

She made the leaves disappear!
What happens when you put a leaf on a slide? Play = Preschool Science.
Go on a hike to collect leaves for a science project.
Hide and seek is always a hit.
Climbing trees is cool too.
Monkey see. Monkey do.
I dub the Sir Fall.
Raking leaves is good exercise.

Leaves = Happy Kid.
We need to build a tree house.



*This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play. All words and opinions are my own.  #YearRoundPlay 




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How to Grow a Living Playscape: Willow Playhouse Cave for Kids

How to Grow a Living Playhouse for Kids from Willow Tree Branches: Plan for Earth Day


Building an outdoor playscape is just one of many fun garden projects you can do with your kids in the summer. We experimented by making a living playhouse from a willow tree. If you aren't sure how to get started on an outdoor design project, visit our post on diy outdoor design templates.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Outdoor play space living breathing organic play house structure garden


How to Make a Living Play Space


We shopped for various styles of playhouses, but they were very expensive. After a storm, tree branches covered the yard, so we gathered several willow branches and stuck them in the ground. Then, we cut a few skinny branches off the tree and wrapped them around the bigger branches forming a loose connection. Click here to see examples of  living willow tree play spaces from dengarden.com.

Miracle Grow gave our living willow playscape a boost. The kids generously watered the base of the branches. You don't need to have a green thumb to grow a Willow tree. Take a stem cutting or cut off a branch and stick it in soil. That's all you need to grow your own organic playhouse.

This is an easy project that keeps on giving year after year. 
Our little gardeners anxiously awaited for Spring in hopes their playhouse had survived the winter. To make sure your trees are well maintained, check with a tree care service and garden maintenance expert.

Our living willow playhouse ended up looking more like a cave than house. The kids crawled inside letting their imaginations run wild. In the spring, it was incredible to watch the miracle of rebirth. In the winter, our little play house looked like a pile of sticks, but a few months later it was well on it's way to becoming the centerpiece in our secret garden. It's the perfect place for sensory outdoor play. 









How to Get your Kids Excited About Nature at a Young Age

How do you Get Kids to Enjoy Nature?


There’s no refuting that encouraging our kids to get out in nature and engage in outdoor play will result in your family reaping a myriad of benefits, spanning from improved physical and emotional health to providing your children with a ton of fun opportunities for both learning and family bonding. But we also know how difficult it can be to get your kids genuinely excited about outdoor time in this age of screens, screens, and more screens. So, how can you get kids to enjoy nature? Here are a few quick tips!


This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links.

How do you Get Kids to Enjoy Nature?


NATURE APPRECIATION TIPS


1. Plan regular outings

Hands down, the best way to get your kids excited about being out in nature is to make sure that you take regular family trips to beautiful places. Make full use of your local hiking trails on weekends, and set some time aside every week to go on a nice, long (and maybe even educational) bushwalk! If you’ve got younger kids with you, be sure to come equipped with a sturdy Joolz stroller, or another kind of stroller that you’re certain can handle off-road terrain if you plan to stray from the beaten path. 

2. Watch nature documentaries

It’s safe to say that young children have very few opportunities to engage with the wonders of the wider world, especially if your family has no upcoming travel plans. But you don’t need to go to Africa to see the lions of the Serengeti or to the Arctic Circle to see polar bears! If you have an allocated family movie night, be sure to flick on some David Attenborough and other nature documentaries every now and then to keep your kids in absolute awe of the natural world. Not only this, but documentaries can also be a great tool when it comes to teaching your kids about the effects of climate change and the importance of decreasing your household’s carbon footprint. Putting these complex issues into real-world contexts can really help your kids develop and maintain healthy living habits.



how to get kids outside in nature


3. Grow your own garden

Speaking of healthy living habits, did you know that even the pickiest kids are more likely to eat veggies that they’ve grown themselves? And that not only is gardening a natural stress reliever, but it’s also been proven to boost our immune systems and strengthen our fine motor skills? Both suburban and city-dwelling families alike, are jumping on the gardening bandwagon and using any free outdoor space to cultivate their own little veggie patches. And you don’t need to go all-out here to reap the benefits either! Even families living in apartment buildings can utilise balcony space to nurture their own herbs and potted produce like tomato plants. If you’re uncertain of where to start, here are five low-maintenance plants that will be sure to get your kids excited about flexing their green thumbs for years to come.

4. Play some outdoor games

Some of our strongest memories from childhood are made during outdoor play, whether we’re bouncing on a trampoline in the backyard or swinging from the monkey bars of our nearest playground. For this reason alone, it’s highly recommended that you take any and all opportunities to play some outdoor games with your kids and to encourage your kids to play sports and other outdoor activities with their peers. Even younger kids can join in on the fun with some inclusive activities like a sandcastle-building competition, and older kids will have a whale of a time with age-old classics like ‘Tag’ and ‘Capture the Flag.’


Finally, it’s a good rule of thumb to always have a small debrief with your little ones after any outdoor activity, just so you can gauge what interests them and what you can do to nurture those interests. If you listen well, you’ll be sure to have some very avid little hikers, bikers, and gardeners on your hands who will only find more ways to keep themselves learning and developing new skills as they grow up!



Recommended:


Outdoor Games with a Twist from Adventures Kids Creative Chaos


Nature Games


Nature Based Circle Time Activity







What She's Wearing Wednesday: Pirate Princess Costume: Searching for Toy Treasure

Mayhem Loves to Engage in Pirate Pretend Play

Homemade DIY Princess Pirate Costume? She's a whiz when you need to know how to make a costume from nothing. She threw on her beloved Pink Cowboy Boots , made a pink eye patch (think pipe-cleaner and foamies), and pulled a pink peasant shirt from the costume trunk. 
DIY Homemade: What She's Wearing Wednesday Pirate Princess Costume
Easy DIY Pirate Princess Costume.
Mommy added a vest and skirt from past years Halloween costumes and hoped to add a Princess crown. The girly crown was quickly vetoed, and we settled for a red bandanna headdress, homemade cardboard sword, pirate flag, and a shovel for treasure digging.


Pirate Princess for Outdoor Play
Pirate Princess for outdoor play.


She searched high and low for the perfect digging spot, collected "golden" leaves for treasure, and then staked her claim by positioning her pirate flag on the big red "X" on her trusty treasure map. 


It was hard work, but she knew it was worth it. You see, her treasure map described the treasure as this Princess Chest for Girls.




The Treasure chest closes up and makes a great carry along for car trips or quick visits to Grandma's house. Mayhem especially likes the animal figures included in the set. Tesco direct offers all kinds of great gift ideas for toys for girls and boys as wells as gifts for the entire family. 


Mayhem is busy digging up many more toys for her wishlist and letter to Santa on the Tesco toy page. We hope you enjoy all of her coming adventures in fun and fashion. In the meantime, dig into your own life, and go create some fun, family memories with an impromptu session of dress up and creative play.


Recommended Reading:

Things to Make at Home

Play Out: How to develop your outside space for learning and play

Simplicity Pattern Pirate Costume

What are Good Outdoor Games to Play?

10 Great Outdoor Games for Kids


The days of simple parties where balloons, music, and a cake with candles were enough are long gone. In 2019, fun birthday ideas are at a whole new level. You need these 10 great outdoor games for kids to get moving and enjoy their special day.
Kim and Kanye set the bar high with a "kidchella" themed party, featuring bouncy houses, a Ferris wheel, and several music stages. While you won't have the same budget as the Kardashians, take inspiration from their intuitive ideas and create a party with good outdoor games to play.
If you're arranging a summer party for your kid's birthday bash, what outdoor games can you play? Read on for the 411 on which outside games your kids will actually love!

This post contain Amazon Affiliate Links.


What are Good Outdoor Games to Play?


Outdoor Games Kids Will Love


We all know the math. Kids + Birthday parties = Chaos!
Instead of expecting kids to sit around, drink tea, and chat like adults, prepare some cool games that will burn all their pent-up party energy. We've chosen 10 outdoor games that will have your guests giggling from beginning to end. Are you ready? Let's get this party started!

1. Hop Your Way to Victory
Try a traditional sack-race to get the kids moving. Give each child a good quality burlap bag or king-size pillowcase. Line them up in a grassy area and have them hop their way to victory down a marked path.
To mix it up a little, decorate the plain sacks. Make it more challenging and make the marked path curvy. Even if you just do it the old-fashioned way, it'll get a lot of laughs on the way, Scout's honor!


2. Make Your Birthday Party Pop
Balloon stomping is one of the best group games for parties. What's a party without balloons popping?
Before the party starts, prepare by blowing up at least one balloon per guest and a few extras just in case. Tie a long string or ribbon around the end of the balloon so that it is long enough to tie around the children's ankles.
When the party gets started, tie a balloon around the ankle of each child. The aim of the game is to pop everyone else's balloon while protecting your own. The last kid with an intact balloon wins.

3. Jump to It
Let the kids blow off a little steam before you sit down to open presents. One of the best outdoor games for kids, is an outdoor bouncy house. Hiring a bouncy house is an exciting treat for the kids! It really is fun for all ages (even big kids!)
From bouncy houses and inflatable water slides to blow-up climbing walls and bouncy bungee runs, knowing which one to choose boggles the mind. Do your research to find out more about the options and you'll find the perfect match for your big outdoor birthday bash.

4. Treasure Hunt
Treasure hunts have been around a long time, but they're still one of the most interesting outside games for kids to play. Adapt the hunt depending on the ages of the guests and the style of the party. Be sure to offer prizes and other birthday party favors for the winning team.
For instance, create a list of items in nature they have to find in a certain time limit. Give each guest some magnifying glasses, binoculars, and a treasure bag for their adventure. They can search for various bugs, pinecones, daisies, leaves, and more on a nature scavenger hunt or you can hide items throughout the yard and give them a list of riddles to solve to find the next treasure. As an alternative, hide pieces of treasure and candy for the kids to find. Give them a bucket and send them on their scavenger hunt,

5. Cool Pool Party
Fun birthday ideas for the summer usually involve water. Wet and wild games give kids the chance to get soaked and cool off. A pool prize search is one of the most fun outside games for a kid's party.
Use an inflatable pool filled with water. Hide weighted treasures at the bottom of the pool. Then, fill the rest of the pool with floating toys and balls, so that it's hard to see what's at the bottom. Give the kids a time limit and tell them to find the treasures at the bottom of the pool.
If kids are a bit older and it seems too easy, try blindfolding them. Their teammates can shout out directions to help them find the treasure.

6. Use Your Noodle
One of the cheapest outside games for kids is Pool Noodle Croquet. It's budget-friendly but takes a little bit of time to set up.
Create several pool noodle arches in your back yard and stake them into the ground. Give each child a pool noodle and an inflated beach ball. The idea is to be the first to get the ball through the course of arches.

7. Make a Splash
Another variation of a classic game is water balloon baseball. It's one of the easiest outdoor games for kids and parents because it's so easy to set up.
All you need is a baseball bat and some pre-filled water balloons. Make sure the guests are ready to get soaked!

8. A Tasty Mess
Fun birthday ideas have got to include cakes and treats, right? So why not turn your dessert into a game? When played outside, this donut game is lots of fun.
Tie dangling donuts from a high place, such as a tree or doorway. Then have a donut eating race, without using hands. Chocolate donuts make the most mess, so be ready with a cleanup team when the game is over.

9. Water Shoot
Here's another outdoor water game for you. Divide the party into two teams. For each team, string a plastic sand pails onto one end of a clothesline.
The concept of this game is for each team to work together to move their bucket along the clothesline, using only the spray water guns. Of course, if you don't have enough squirt guns for the party, you could fill up plastic bottles instead. Be sure the squirt guns are powerful enough to make the pails move!

10. An In-Tents Party
Another awesome outside party activity is camping. If camping somewhere remote is too much of a task, just set up a camp ground in your backyard.

Set up tents and a supervised fire-pit. Play some camping-themed games during the day. And when it gets dark, roast some s'mores on the campfire and tell scary stories.

Keep Calm and Party On!
We hoe you like this list of outdoor games with a twist for parties. Pick one, two, or as many outside games as you want, to make your birthday bash super fun!
What if it turns out to be a rainy day and you can't have fun in the sun? For some more games inspiration, both inside and out, check out the "Games" section of our blog.


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Summer Messy Play Activities for Preschoolers

Fun In The Sun - 6 Tips For Creating A Mud Kitchen For Your Kids


Kids love mud! And as dirty as they may get, it’s time to advocate messy play so they can learn new skills the fun way. The fastest and easiest way to encourage your kids to get outdoors is to build them a mud kitchen.They'll be tripping over each other to get outside

Building your own mud kitchen is a creative, cost-effective way of enabling messy play for your kids while saving money on an expensive play kitchen

You can build your mud kitchen in your own way, and in the end, your kids will have the perfect environment in which to get their hands dirty anytime.


This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.


Summer Messy Play Activities for Preschoolers

Photo: Jelleke Vanooteghem/Unsplash


Six tips to create your own mud kitchen


  1. Use What You’ve Got

Poke around your garage and see what you can recycle to save money on your mud kitchen. You can use wood, recycled pallets, and old timber for the construction. Old cookware and bakeware, utensils, and decorations can also be used to finish out the kitchen,

Remember, the idea is to ignite your child’s imagination, so your DIY mud kitchen doesn’t need to resemble a brand-new toy kitchen set. 


  1. Stove Tops Add to The Fun

While it’s great to leave some things up to the imagination, it’s a good idea to make your play kitchen resemble a real kitchen by creating a stove top. You can paint the burners on a piece of timber or wood, and you can even add broken or thrifted appliances to your outdoor kitchen to enhance its appearance. You can also use good, old cardboard to create a play stove.


  1. Bake Mud Cakes

The fun part of having a mud kitchen is that your kids get to play with mud and get as dirty as they want. All you need to make mud cakes is some sand or soil and water. You can use old cookware and bake ware to contain them and shape them like cakes and cupcakes.

Parents can get involved by showing kids how to create funky-shaped cookies with cookie cutters and molds or add colored pasta to the mud for added texture. This kind of sensory play is an important part of childhood development, but above all, it’s a whole lot of fun.


Pistachio Pudding Play Dough


  1. Set the Table

A mud kitchen is a fun way to teach your child table manners. Guide your preschoolers through setting a table and laying out the dishes. Show them the way to arrange cutlery and allow your children to bring some garden leaves to create napkins for a rustic table setting.


  1. Add a Sink

Since you’ve introduced messy play to your preschoolers with colored pasta and mud cakes, it’s a good idea to take care of the cleanup. The most logical way to do this is to add a sink to your mud kitchen! To create your sink, use a silver or grey bucket and fill it with water or a big flower put with the bottom plugged works nicely too.

Add a hose in the bucket so that there’s an accessible faucet. This is a great way to teach children how to clean up after themselves. Add some dish washing liquid and a sponge so you can wash all the cookware the kids used before bringing it back into the house!


How to Make your own Dish Washing Soap


  1. Dress For The Occasion

Every chef needs a chef’s hat and apron, so make sure to get these for your child. They will love it! Plus, the apron will offer some protection from mud splatter while playing. Rubber boots are a good idea too. Preschool age kids and toddlers love to wear galoshes!


How to Make your own Chef Hat

 

Have fun with your kiddos and their mud kitchen. You may want to wear some rubber boots yourself! Encourage your children to enjoy free and imaginative play, and you can bet they’ll learn tons of kitchen tricks in the process. Pretend play is the best way to learn!


Recommended Reading:

Pretend Play and Play Date Ideas from Adventures of Kids Creative Chaos

Fun Books about Galoshes from Amazon