Keeping a child safely entertained all day can be hard, especially on a fine day, when they want to be out and about.
If you’re facing this challenge, these five, simple activity ideas will be just what you need.
They’re easy to set up and will cost you nothing, provided you have a ball, some paper, and some washable, children’s chalks on hand.
What’s more, they’re suitable for any area of hard ground, big or small.
Give your child a few sticks of washable chalk – white or colored – and invite them to decorate a hard, outdoor surface, such as a doorstep, balcony floor, or plant pot.
Demonstrate how to draw pictures, patterns, or letter shapes, then help them get started on their own designs.
They may find further items suitable for decorating, too, such as a tree trunk, animal cage, or shed door perhaps.
An older child could take the activity further, perhaps drawing signs to hidden treasure, writing their full name in fancy lettering, or marking out squares for a game of hopscotch.
2. Obstacle courses
Help your son or daughter design an obstacle course in your outdoor space.
Depending on the area available, this could be a large-scale affair, suitable for running, jumping and rolling through, or a miniature course, suitable for a doll, toy animal, or handball to be steered through.
For the large-scale set-up, you’ll need sturdy items for stepping on, such as logs, bricks, mats, and hoops.
For the smaller-scale course, you could use a combination of building blocks, plastic pots, sturdy food packaging, and other adaptable household items.
Help your youngster to spread the selected props over the ground and to plan a route around them.
The full-sized course might entail stepping over, under, through, and around the pieces, or stepping from one to another without touching the ground.
With the mini-course, they might have to lead their toy or ball through tubes, down slides, and up and down steps to reach the finishing line.
A young child will relish the scope for make-believe in this game.
For this activity, you’ll need paper and crayons – preferably thick, wax ones.
Place the paper flat on the ground, or on some other rough surface outside, and show your child how to hold it in place with one hand while you shade over it with the other.
Explain that you have to press hard with the crayon to make the texture below show through.
They’ll love watching the underlying patterns and shapes appear, and finding new surfaces to rub, too.
Celebrate your young artist’s creativity by displaying their finished works around your home.
4. Ball-rolling games
You’ll need at least one ball for these activities, but any size will do.
Set goals or markers for your child to roll their ball towards, and move them further back each time they hit them, for further challenges.
If possible, supply light objects, such as empty yogurt pots or plastic skittles, for your budding bowler to try and knock over.
Rolling the ball, rather than throwing it, will ensure safety and control within a confined space of any size.
Older children will enjoy devising ways to sharpen up the challenge, such as rolling the ball with their weaker hand, rolling it backward, or passing it between their legs.
If you have a stick, bat, or racquet, this could be used to drag the ball along for more fun.
Keep your able bowler engaged by setting time challenges, or by changing the rules at every round.
Most children are fascinated by animals and insects, so help yours to watch for wildlife around your home.
Provide a container for collecting beetles, snails, and other creepy-crawlies, so they can examine them close at hand before returning them to their habitats.
A magnifying glass would enhance this activity, with support as needed.
Encourage your child to look upwards as well, to spot any birds or butterflies gliding by.
A young child will love to imitate their movements and sounds, while an older one may like to identify their findings online and read up about them.
Can they catch any creatures in a snapshot, video or sketch, to share with friends and family?
A little nature-watching can take your child far.
With these activity ideas up your sleeve, you’ll have plenty of outdoor fun to offer your child, any day, any time.
Why not join in yourself, and enrich the precious bond between you in the process?
With your involvement, they’ll stay engaged even longer, loving every minute out there with you.