Summertime means all the kids are out of school and restless for some fun! To avoid boredom driven mischief and lazy days in front of a screen, get them outside and active! It can definitely be a challenge to occupy kids of different ages at the same time, but there are lots of things that the little ones can do while your older children have fun too! Here are a few great activities to keep them all busy, as well as provide some beneficial exercise and nature-inspired learning!
1) Bean Bag Toss! Draw different throw lines for children of different ages! (You might even let toddlers walk up to the target and drop their bean bag into the hole!) Don’t have bean bags and a target? The kids can do an exciting craft and make a Bean Bag set themselves! It’s a whole lot of fun and better than having toys thrown around the house or at each other!
2) Water Play! With supplies as simple as a wide plastic bowl (or water table) and a collection of cups, older children can experiment and learn about volume and cause-and-effect, while younger kids develop fine motor skills and enjoy a cooling splash! Getting a small pool is always great for the little ones and a home-made slip and slide is a ton of fun for the bigger kids! Learn how to make one here.
3) Hopscotch! Older children can play according to traditional directions (toss a marker into the number squares in order, hopping to pick it up each time without stepping out); younger children can take a turn tossing a marker anywhere on the game, or just hopping from square to square.
4) Sand Play! No matter their skill level, children of all ages can play in the sand together! If your demo-minded toddler and architect big kid have different ideas about how to treat a sandcastle, try introducing play figures instead of building tools for a dino dig, moon landing or other imaginative play. Here are some fun sand molds Chipper likes to use. And don’t forget to wear some sunscreen! Buy your All-Natural, Paraben-Free Chipper sun stick here!
5)“I Spy” Nature Game! Each player uses a pair of binoculars (real or crafted out of toilet-paper rolls) to find something in the yard. With older children, you can play a guessing game or challenge them to spot smaller objects such as a bird’s nest. Younger children will enjoy just playing along or counting items in broader categories, such as trees or flowers. Scavenger Hunt activity: Make a list of things for your child to look for through his binoculars. These can be simple things like a bird or a tree, or more specific things for older children, such as certain types of plants or leaves and specific colors of animals. Check off the things as they are discovered!