Ideas for Kids Outdoor Play

Bring the fun and learning outside! Ideas for creating kid-friendly outdoor play areas by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #childsplay #play #outdoorplay #summerfun #totschool

As my twins have gotten older, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep them engaged inside. They bore easily with the same toys, books and tickle or chase games, and I definitely let them watch too much television as it is. In order to break up the monotony of the day, we’ve started getting outside more. But again, the ball pit and plastic playhouse only holds their interest so long before it’s off to mindless running around straight for ant beds or dog poop! My husband and I have been on a mission to create a kid-friendly play area in our back yard. Here are some budget-wise ideas we’ve come up with:

1. Create an outdoor chalkboard. Chalk art is fun and mess-free for toddlers and kids of all ages. And let’s be honest, it’s pretty fun for adults too! There are so many great DIY tutorials out there for creating the perfect outdoor chalkboard. We have decided to build our own, create a frame for it and hang it on the brick wall in our covered patio area just off the back of our house. Hanging the chalkboard in our main entertaining area will create a focal centerpiece and give the children their own space in the “adult” area. (They’re going to end up there anyway, no matter how many fun, bright-colored toys are in the yard!) Great tutorial here from The Burke Family.
Bring the fun and learning outside! Ideas for creating kid-friendly outdoor play areas by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #childsplay #play #outdoorplay #summerfun #totschool
Photo from The Burke Family blog
2. Sandboxes.This is a classic for little kids. We have a little sand and water table that we have yet to use for its purpose. It currently holds various toys and balls and is used as an outdoor toy box. It’s probably too small for the twins because they don’t like to share. But a large sand box where they had their own corner would give them lots of room to dig, dump and make sand castles. I love this tutorial from Modern Parents Messy Kids for a sand box complete with door covers to keep out the elements, and the pets!

3. Natural play gardens. A great alternative to a sand box is a play garden. Fence off a little area, throw down some soil and let your little ones dig, plant and explore. I think an area like this should really be called an outdoor classroom! I can think of tons of Tot Schoolactivities chock full of sensory and imaginative play and lots of lessons on science and math. Every kid should be allowed to play in the mud! Great tutorial here from Imagination Tree

Bring the fun and learning outside! Ideas for creating kid-friendly outdoor play areas by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #childsplay #play #outdoorplay #summerfun #totschool
Photo from: Imagination Tree blog.

4. Play tent. Rainy days are always great for building forts and tents indoors, but I love the idea of creating a removable play tent for the outside. A canopy play tent that can be hung from a tree is sure to be enjoyed by toddlers and kids of all ages. My sweet twins love to play hide and seek with the curtains in our home, and having something like this outside that can’t be ripped out of the wall would be awesome! Great tutorial on how to make a hula hoop canopy here from The Craft Nest, and a video tutorial here on how to make a canopy using a craft loop from Learn to Grow.

What are some of your ideas for creating engaging play with your little ones outdoors?

*This post was originally published for Sew Crafty Angel.

You might also enjoy our post on Mess-Free Toddler Art.

Mess-free toddler art by Spit and Sparkles Blog. #totschool #art #toddlerart #craftsforkids

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  1. says

    I love these ideas! I just wish that we had a backyard; we’re city dwellers. Well…I think we’ll be taking over my father-in-law’s backyard this summer. 😉

  2. says

    I love these ideas…but I laughed a little at your comment that every kid should play in mud. Ive never seen Lynley and Corbin dirty, much less muddy! Lol. We love and miss yall!

  3. says

    I’m not sure we do any particular outdoor activities… we have the sidewalk chalk that they draw on the ground, they ride bikes (or try to) and run in the grass. These are some great ideas! Thanks for sharing with Countdown in Style!