Summer Fun: 5 Outdoor Activities for Children
Summer days are ideal for enjoying nature with our children. No matter what they say, our kids enjoy running, jumping, and simply enjoying being outside just like we did when we were their age. And with that in mind, we want to suggest 5 outdoor activities for children.
But before we do, we can’t fail to mention L.S. Vygotsky, a world leader in child psychology. According to Vygotsky, through play, children develop higher functions of understanding, attention, and memory. What’s more, playing with other children broadens their sociocultural capacities.
“Play is a changing reality and, therefore, a driving force behind a child’s mental development.”
– L.S.Vygotsky –
Outdoor activities for children
Painting pebbles and stones
When you go out for a walk, whether on the beach or by a river, pick up any flat pebbles and stones that you can find. These are perfect for decorating later at home. But be careful not to put too many in your bag, because you’ll have to carry them the rest of the way.
To decorate the stones you pick up during your walk, just follow the steps below:
- Clean the surface of your stones.
- Use a permanent marker to make the outlines of your drawing.
- Paint each detail of your drawing with acrylic paint for porous surfaces.
If you’re going to do this craft with small children, you can paint your stones with crayons. The result won’t be permanent, but you can use the same stones on more than one occasion.
Capture the flag
This fun outdoor activity for children is ideal for kids between 6 and 12 years old. It usually lasts about a half hour per game and is very interesting, as it encourages both teamwork and concentration. And the best part is that all you need are two pieces of fabric and a pair of sticks you find out in nature.
- First, form two teams with the same number of members, if possible. Each team should have its own flag.
- Teams should separate from one another enough to hide their own flag without the other team seeing. Of course, the hiding spot needs to be accessible for the opposing team.
- Then, teams must protect their own flags while attempting to capture the other team’s flag.
- Whichever team successfully captures the other team’s flag first wins.
Our next choice of outdoor activities for children requires no equipment – all you need is a large space. Jambacale is a variation of the traditional hide-and-seek game that you can play at the park or during a day in the country. Just make sure there are plenty of places to hide.
- Whoever is “it” should close his or her eyes, shout “jambacale” (jamba-cah-lay) and count to 10 while the other players hide.
- After counting to 10 and without moving from the same spot, this player will look around to see if he or she can see any other players without moving from the same spot.
- If not, he or she shouts “jambacale” once and again and then counts to 9 while all of the players look for new hiding spots.
If he or she still doesn’t spot any other players, then the process will repeat, counting up to 8, and so on, until reaching 5. If by that point, he or she still hasn’t found any other players, then it’s back to 10.
Find another one
This game requires a little more preparation on your part. Before the game begins, you must mark off an area on the ground and place 10 different objects that you’ve found. For example, sticks, pinecones, stones, etc., and cover them up with a handkerchief so your children can’t see them.
You can reveal the hidden objects for 30 seconds before covering them back up again. The idea is for your little ones to find as many of the same objects, based on memory. If several children are going to play, you can divide them into teams to make the game even more exciting.
Blindfolded obstacle course
For this game, you can leave the preparation up to your kids. They’ll need to gather sticks or stones in order to outline a zigzag path, which will serve as their obstacle course.
Then, your kids should cover their eyes and make their way through the path by following your verbal instructions. Whoever manages to get to the finish line the fastest and steps on the least amount of obstacles wins. Once again, if you have several kids, then you can divide them into teams.
A reflection regarding outdoor activities for children
In one of her latest interviews, Doctor Jane Goodall told a story about when she was 4 years old. She and her mom were on a farm that belonged to some friends, and Jane disappeared for several hours. When they finally called the police, they found Jane safe and sound… and thrilled.
Most parents would probably have scolded Jane for wandering off. However, her mother made sure she was okay and then listened to Jane’s passionate account of all that she’d done while she was missing. Her mother’s reaction encouraged her to continue playing and discovering more about nature.
“I was learning from being in nature, which is the best way to learn, but also from books.”
– J. Goodall –