The sun is shining, the birds and chirping and the smell of freshly cut grass radiates throughout your neighborhood. Your windows are open and the light breeze makes you crave being out in the sunshine. I don’t know about you, but my family is ready to log some serious hours playing in the great outdoors!
Here is a list of ten super fun outdoor essentials that will be sure to keep your kids busy and using their imaginations, all while soaking in some sunshine and fresh air.
Blowing bubbles is not only fun, but it has several really cool developmental benefits as well. Holding that small little bubble wand helps promote fine motor skills, watching the bubbles and trying to pop them promotes visual tracking skills/hand-eye coordination and blowing the bubbles helps promote oral motor skills. Not sold yet? Bubbles are CHEAP and are easily cleaned up if there is a spill. Miracle Bubbles are our favorite brand of bubbles!
Sidewalk chalk paint is like regular sidewalk chalk, but better! This liquid fun will surely keep your kiddo’s attention. Easy to make and fun for all ages. You can make your own if you’re feeling fancy or you can opt to buy it premade! Here is an awesome recipe for Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint and here is a link to Crayola Neon Washable Chalk Paint. Not ready to take the plunge into messy sidewalk chalk paint? A fun spin on regular sidewalk calk is to dip the chalk into water and then draw away…watch your colors become vibrant as they dry on the concrete!
No pool? No problem!!!! Invest in a cool sprinkler or splash pad for your yard. This keeps the kids entertained for hours on end. Pour yourself a cup of sweet tea and kick up your feet while you watch them have a blast! Two summers ago I ordered this splash mat from Kmart (I honestly didn’t even know Kmart was still in existence)…BEST $10 I have ever spent in my life. 😉 A great birthday gift or Easter basket item!
These little nifty gadgets provide hours of entertainment. Your little ones will have a blast collecting bugs and examining them with a magnifying glass. A great way to learn about the outside world and to promote the use of their senses. Well, most of their senses…let’s hope they aren’t tasting the critters. BLEH!
This has been one of the best gifts that my kiddos have ever received. It keeps them busy and bouncing all year long. Puncture resistant and wipeable…a mother’s best friend. This bounce house inflates in less than a minute and will become a family favorite. It’s a great way to expel some energy, encourage gross motor skills and will entertain your kiddos for hours.
I know we already covered bubbles, but bubble blowers deserve their own category when it comes to outside essentials. Bubble blowers are great for toddlers who love to chase bubbles and are especially great for parents who have no wind left to blow any more bubbles. HA! Bubble blowers come both in a machine-type form but also in a smaller hand-held form which is my absolute FAVORITE. Snap in the batteries, dip the bubble blower into the bubbles and pull the trigger baby. Easy as pie! These are great to buy after the season and to save for stocking stuffers or reward gifts! Last year I bought a bunch from the Target clearance aisle for under two dollars each!
Soccer Balls, Basketballs and Footballs, OH MY!
These are an outdoor essential for any and all families. Soccer balls, basketballs, footballs and rugby balls are staple outside items in my home. I don’t know if your kiddos like to throw things like mine do, but giving them the opportunity to throw a baseball or wiffle ball outside completely cuts down on the amount of time that I have to scold them for throwing things inside. Children need the opportunity to be able to throw, kick and hit (all in the right context and atmosphere, of course!). If you’re looking for something cheap and that will last just a season or two, Dollar Tree carries some decent playground balls. I love a bargain.
This ride-on toy comes with a little bit of a steep price tag, but they are OH.SO.FUN! No gears. No batteries. No pedals. Just sit on the car, wiggle your body and off you go! Consider this your warning Mama: If you try it, you will be addicted. The plasma car is fun for all ages and it’s a great work out.
The water table has so many possibilities for FUN. It can be used both indoor and outdoors, with a number of different types of materials inside! My kiddos love to fill it with water, suds and matchbox cars and have a “Car Wash.” Another fun idea is to fill it with shaving cream and washable paint and let the kids go to town mixing colors together. The sky is the limit, especially with Pinterest at your disposal.
Lots of parents cringe when someone says “Sand Box.” As parents we have to worry about not only the mess that sand makes, but also the maintenance of keeping unwanted creatures out of the play area…if you can get past all of that, sand boxes can provide hours of sensory and imaginary play for kids. My husband used the plans from this link to build a sandbox for our kiddos and it has been AWESOME. The cover keeps the neighborhood cats other pesky animals out of the sand. My kids dig for buried treasure, build sand castles and sometimes even bury each other. It’s a mess, but so worth the enjoyment that they get out of it.