#UnpluggedPlay – Outdoor Activity Ideas Your Kids Will Love
You’ve seen the data. You’ve set the screen time limits. But getting your kids to turn it off and do something – anything! – else isn’t always easy. It’s likely going to take a little engagement on your part – so clear those calendars and get ready for an afternoon of #UnpluggedPlay for all! The experts at Educational Insights are here to help, with 10 awesome ideas for outdoor #UnpluggedPlay activities that will have your kids turning off their tablets and racing for the backdoor. Give them a go today!
1. Invisible Basketball (Or Football or Soccer…) – You don’t need a hoop – or even a ball! – to tip off this terrific, imaginative play session! Just face off, arms up, and let the games begin, exercising both your body and your mind.
2. Build a Backyard Obstacle Course – Transform your yard into an obstacle course, American Ninja Warrior style! You can go big by building everything from a balance beam, rock wall, and rope walk – together! – or you can use what you’ve got lying around. A hula hoop makes a great bean bag toss target and a 2×4 is the perfect balance challenge. Use your creativity – setting up is half the fun! And definitely don’t forget your timer.
3. Make Pet Rocks – Hard and fast friends, pet rocks are a great way to spend some time at #UnpluggedPlay. Simply collect some specimens, paint them to look like the members of your family, aliens, farm animals, pets – whatever!, let them dry, and voila! Dig them a home in the dirt, collect pine needles for a mattress, build them a backyard see saw with a branch – the possibilities for pretend play are endless.
4. Take a Listening Walk – Turn traditional scavenger hunts upside down with a listening walk! List 10 things you might hear in your neighborhood on a sheet of paper and set off to “hear” them, using your best listening skills. From an airplane overhead to a lawnmower, birds chirping, or dogs barking, you’ll be honing attention and focus while having fun.
5. Get Dirty – Giving your kids the go ahead to play in the mud will make their day. Simply supply a bucket or hose, find an unused dirt patch in your yard (or dump some dirt on the grass), and watch them go wild. Adding water a little at a time teaches the scientific concepts of density and resistance. Watching mud pies dry introduces the power of heat and the magical concept of evaporation. And, from baked goods to entire villages, mud play easily slides into imaginative play. Now that’s worth the mess!
6. Go Buggy – Nothing says “unplugged” like an afternoon of bug collecting! Surprise your kiddo with kid-cool tools, like the GeoSafari® Jr. BugWatch™ set, to capture and study the critters in your yard. A hands-on introduction to the incredible world of insects could spark a lifelong love of life science!
7. Blow it Up (With Bubbles) – From bouncing bubbles to colorful Kool-Aid bubbles, bubbles have come a long way, baby! Mixing your own bubble solution is a great first chemistry lesson and what could be more fun than blowing bubbles! Try string, straws, and berry baskets as bubble wands – then build your own, big and small. Test different solutions and study which ones make the biggest, longest lasting, most colorful, or most catchable bubbles. You could even capture your data in a chart…
8. Create a Monster Truck Track – Use parts you’ve got lying around your garage to set up a temporary monster truck track in your yard. From ramps and straightaways to curves and mud pools, you’ll also be giving your kids a glimpse into Newton’s Laws of Motion. Supplement your course with sidewalk chalk spectators for an added, creative, twist.
9. Speaking of Sidewalk Chalk – Even older kids can get into artistic expression with sidewalk chalk! Trace their bodies and have them color a crazy outfit. Create your house, street, or town. Go wild with a graffiti-like design. Trace the shadows of plants or trees projected on your driveway. With a little encouragement, sidewalk chalk can turn into hours of unplugged, creative play.
10. Make – and Fly – a Kite – Take advantage of the gusty fall weather to make and fly your own kite! It’s easy and all it takes is a piece of printer paper, a bamboo skewer (or a pencil!), and some string. Plus, you’ll be providing a crystal clear demonstration of the concept of lift.