Once the weather cools down, it’s a great time to start thinking about ways to entertain and engage kids outside. Here are a few activities to try with young kids outdoors!
Give your kids a blank sketch journal and crayons or colored pencils and have them “journal” what they see. Since most preschools are not ready to write yet, this type of journaling should be a picture journal. Once they’re finished, ask them to describe what they drew. Nature journaling is an excellent activity to do over time because not only can you observe how a child’s fine motor and representation skills develop, but it gives children a chance to observe nature and changes.
Kids love playing with parachutes, and there are many games teachers can play with a group of children and a parachute. For example, you can bounce balls, sing songs, play color or name games, etc.
Ice Cube Painting
Ice cube painting requires some preparation, but it’s one kid’s love! Mix liquid watercolors with water and freeze in an ice cube tray. Kids can paint on the sidewalk or large pieces of paper. Talk with the children as they paint about what happens to the ice and the colors as they warm and mix.
Sun art is both art and science, and it only requires brief periods outside, so it’s great when the weather is still warm. Using dark construction paper of any color and paper cutouts, have the children arrange a few cutouts on the paper. Teachers can use tape to affix the cutouts to the paper. Place or hang the papers outside in the sun and leave them for several days. After a few days, remove the cutouts and show the children how the paper exposed to the sun faded.
Color Scavenger Hunt
Outside is a great place to hunt for shapes and colors. You can pre-place colored items around the play area, or if you’re in a space that naturally has a lot of colors, you can just use the space. Name a color and have the children search for objects of the same color and bring them back to you. It’s exercise and cognitive development at the same time!
Using colorful chalk, write the numerals 1-5 or 1-10 on the sidewalk or play area and circle each number. Provide the children with counting cubes and have them place the number of cubes inside the circle that match the number written. If you don’t have counting cubes, you can use any small manipulative, cars, blocks, magnets, etc.
Playing with bubbles is the quintessential outdoor activity with little kids. Kids love chasing bubbles and could do it forever, it seems! If you don’t want to be blowing bubbles constantly, invest in a bubble machine to do the work. Popping and chasing bubbles gives kids exercise and works on their hand-eye coordination.