Creating Outdoor Adventures at Home

9 min read

The backyard is a kid’s safe haven and never more so than right now. With restrictions in place for real-world adventures, create the outdoor adventures at home. The kids will be too busy having fun to be worried about what might be happening outside of their yard perimeter.

1. Treasure Hunt

What you’ll need:

  • Various household items
  • Great hiding spots
  • Paper + Pencils
  • Clues (if you’re struggling for inspiration, Google has loads of ideas!)

Hide various items around your yard and home.

Create clues that will direct the kids to the various items and to confirm that they have found an item, they need to write down what they found and where.

The child to finish first with all the right answers wins.

You can make this a challenge for all ages simply by changing how difficult you make the clues. So for the older kids, make it a little more cryptic than you would for the younger ones and see how they exercise their minds.

Treasure Hunt at Home

Photo credit: LoveToKnow

2. Fossil Dig

What you’ll need:

  • Dinosaur bones kit / Dinosaur toys
  • OR Dried pasta, Paper, Glue
  • Rice
  • Flour
  • Bucket

If you don’t have any dinosaur bones or toys in the kit you can create your own dinosaur ‘footprints’ using the dried pasta and gluing to the paper (or other surface).

Bury the ‘fossils’ in a sandpit or an area of garden you don’t mind the kids digging up. Alternatively you can pop them into a bucket with rice and flour.

Send the kids away to dig up and clean up their findings.

For the older kids, get them to guess what dinosaurs the fossils belong to.

Fossil Digging

Photo credit: Sensiforous

3. Statue & Tourist

What you’ll need:

  • Torch

This is a great one for those early winter nights. One player is the “tourist” wondering around an amazing statue garden. The tourist has the torch while all the other players must stay as still as a statue: they are allowed to move when the light is off, but as soon as the tourist turns the torch on they must stay still. When the torch is on the statue, the tourist tries to make the statue giggle or wiggle. If they do, they join the tourist’s team and go tour for the next statue.

4. Teddy Zipwire

What you’ll need:

  • String
  • Carabiners (or similar)
  • Teddies or Water Balloons
  • Stop watch

Start by helping the kids create a zip wire course around the yard using the string.

Get some more string and loop it around the teddy’s waist to hang it on the zip wire. Once teddy is secure, time each participant to see who can get their teddy through the zip wire course the fastest without any hiccups along the way.

For a fun summer alternative, try using water balloons instead of a teddy for an added challenge. Fill the balloons up with water and tie the string around the top of the balloon.

Teddy Zipwire

Photo credit: Science Sparks

5. Shadow puppets

What you’ll need:

  • Character outlines (a Google search provides plenty of options)
  • Pens
  • Glue
  • Stiff paper or card
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Lollipop sticks (or similar)
  • Pale coloured bed sheet
  • Bright torch or lamp

Decide on a story you want to tell – it might be a well-known fairy tale or similar.

Print out your character outlines and either trace around them or stick them to the stiff card and cut around them.

Attach the lollipop sticks to the pack of the card to work as a handle.

Hang up your sheet on the inside of your Springfree Trampoline, stretching it tight with a light positioned behind the sheet (if you don’t have a Springfree Trampoline, find a suitable spot to hang your sheet so you can shine a light from behind).

Have your audience sit in front of the sheet, make the surrounding space as dark as possible. The puppeteers will need to place themselves between the light and the sheet being careful not to block the light with their body.

After the show, test your audience to see if they were able to guess the story.

Shadow Puppet

Photo credit: Springfree Trampoline

6. Squirt Gun Soccer

What you'll need:

  • Squirt guns
  • Beach balls
  • Cones

Your littlies will love this watery version of soccer – trading kicks for squirts and traditional soccer balls for beach balls.

To start, break the party group into two teams, and arm each player with a fully loaded squirt gun. They’ll use the water stream to move the ball around the field as they try to score (or block) a goal. Set up sports cones at either end of the field so they know where to aim, and then it’s time to play.

7. Make and Play Giant Pick-Up Sticks

What you’ll need:

  • Various yard sticks
  • Spray paint (or other suitable paint)

We all know the pickup sticks of our youth with the little chopstick sized sticks but why not go big.

Get the kids to help you gather suitable sticks from the yard, spray paint them the various colours of pick up sticks and let the challenge begin!  

Pick up Sticks

Photo credit: Shelley Massey

8. Bandana Tag

What you'll need:

  • Bandanas
  • Energy

Transform the typical game of tag into a free-for-all. The twist? They’re all “it.” To play, hand out bandanas to all the players to tuck in along their waistline. Then let the great chase begin! Players tag each other by snagging bandanas, while simultaneously guarding their own until one player is left standing.

Bandana Tag

Photo credit: Jari Schroderus via Flickr

9. Obstacle Courses

There are so many variations of obstacle courses that you can set up for your little ones.

Whether you want to make it educational, physical or just time consuming, there are options aplenty.

Some ideas include:

A. The Sport Billy Obstacle Course

Set up various stations where your little sports star needs to complete various sports drills. This might involve:

  • Dribbling the ball for 1 minute.
  • Shooting a ball into a bucket 3 x in a row.
  • Hitting a tennis ball against a wall for 1 minute.
  • Putting a golf ball into a cup

 

B. Bike/Trike Course

Sports cones and sidewalk chalk are the basics you need to set up a simple tricycle obstacle course. Think turnarounds and crazy eight loops when you set out cones to serve as the framework for the course. Then draw chalk arrows (and other helpful suggestions) to keep them on track. Once you’ve mapped out the basics, it’s time to get creative. Use what you’ve got to put in a few tame ramps, a cardboard box tunnel or two, and maybe even a sprinkler to ride under so little participants can cool off as they work through the challenging course. Run it as a relay between sibs if you’ve got multiple kids to entertain.

Trike Obstacle Course

Photo credit: Kids Activities Blog

C. The ABCs Obstacle Course

Using chairs, trees, balls and any other props, write the ABCs on out on paper (one letter per piece) and place them in order in the various locations on your selected props. They need to recite their ABCs in order, in order to proceed to the next step.

ABCs can be changed out to counting or maths equations, so they have to guess the answer to the equation in order to move on or you can create harder challenges depending on your children’s ages.

D. Ninja Fun

Set up a ninja course with oversized moving boxes, play tunnels and other objects that the kids can quickly duck behind or into. Have one child as the ‘master ninja’ who stands at one end of the yard, while the other ninja’s start on the opposite end. When you say go, the master ninja needs to turn their back to the other ninja’s as they stealthily make their way toward the master. When you say stop, the ninjas duck behind whatever’s closest in the hopes the master ninja won’t spy them. If the master does, they’re out. But if the ninjas have got the skill, and can reach the master first, they become the master!

E. Tape Course      

Don’t have a lovely big backyard? Utilise your patio area instead with a roll of painter’s tape. Use the tape to map out balance beams, squares to jump in, squiggly rivers to be crossed and so on. Then leave it to your little adventurers to travel safely around, over, between and through all the obstacles being laid out for them.

Tape Course

Photo credit: Allison Sutcliffe

 

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