10 Fun and Frugal Outdoor Activities for Children

*Finally, we are getting some warmer weather and no rain (at least here in NJ!) In honor of the nice weather I am republishing this popular post in case you want or need some ideas for outside activities.*

Fun and Frugal Outdoor Activities

(Image is in Public Domain)

Spring is underway and summer will be here before you know it. Everyone is heading outdoors and soon school (homeschool and traditional) will be coming to a close. With school’s end, the question becomes, “What do we do?” Here are some of Andrew’s favorite outdoor activities that keep him occupied and happy for long stretches. The best part? All these props can be bought for a buck at the dollar store or less in some clearance racks!

1. Sidewalk chalk. Andrew doesn’t like to draw or color – on paper. Give him a piece of chalk and he can draw and color and create games and have all sorts of fun on our driveway. šŸ™‚

2. Hula hoop. Remember these as a child or am I dating myself! Andrew struggles keeping the hoop up which makes him determined to work on it until he gets it mastered!

3. Bubbles. Need I say more? Who doesn’t love a good bucket of bubbles on a warm clear day? Additionally, bubbles aren’t only cheap, but also so easy and fun to make!

4. Hose. You can either hook up one of those Slip ‘N Slide things or sprinkler for some wet fun on a hot day. Or do double duty and have your child (children) help you wash your car or whatever you need cleaning. LOL!

5. Balloons. Water balloons are fun, of course. But so are regular balloons. Andrew has quite an imagination and he finds all sorts of uses for them..

6. Old-fashioned Tag. Most kids love tag. It’s not only fun but good exercise, too. If you can, try to get in a game for yourself and get in some exercise for yourself too. šŸ˜‰

7. Ball. Baseball, basketball, tennis ball or any kind of ball in the hand of a kid is a good thing!

8. Marbles. I played marbles as a kid in NYC. We’d play in the park or dead-end streets. It’s a lot of fun and I’m working on teaching my son and his friends. To learn how to play, go here or here.

9. Obstacle course. This is another super-fun activity for kids that will get them some exercise. It’s so easy to set up a course where they race to jump, climb crawl around, over and under things.

10. Camping. I’m not talking about out in the back-woods, “real” camping (although that’s a great idea too). I’m talking about a tent in the backyard kind of camping. šŸ™‚ A picnic, cards, reading or anything in the tent seems to make it all the more special.

What are your favorite outdoor frugal activities for kids? Do share!

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WFMW – Mom, I’m bored! Edition

works for me Wednesday

This week on Works For Me Wednesday, we are encouraged to offer tips and ideas for keeping our kids occupied and happy during the summer. I can’t wait to read what others have to say; but, in the meantime, here’s a few of the things I am going to do:

In my situation, IĀ  home-school and also work from home; so, for me, except for the heat, there won’t be a huge difference in what I do – with some exceptions, of course! In my experience, a balance between structured time and free time works best; as does a lot of flexibility!

1. Modified Homeschooling. Andrew is learning to read and loves doing “math.” I don’t want to lose that momentum, so I plan to continue homeschooling at least three days a week. What I will probably do is alternate reading one day and math the next. I’ve also been tapping America: The Story of Us and a few shows on the Discovery Channel for him to watch once in a while.

If you don’t home-school, it might be a good idea to set apart some time each day for the children to read or practice their math skills. If I’m not mistaken, some schools now send kids home with work to do over the summer. If so, schedule time each day for them to work on it so they aren’t trying to do it all right before school starts.

2. Day trips. Obviously, the summer is the time to get outside! You can do something as simple as a day or afternoon at the park or something as extravagant as a trip to an amusement park or zoo. Day trips don’t have to be expensive either. You can often find coupons or deals online and even free ideas, like here.

3. Crafts: I plan to spend time several times a week on crafts/activities. You can find lots of craft ideas online, but I love the book “365 Ways to a Smarter Preschooler.” Andrew has a lot of fun doing the activities in this book and can stay engaged for a long while, once he’s set up. This is were I got the peanut butter play dough recipe from, that Andrew just loves!

4. Quiet Time. I am a big proponent of quiet time. Even if your child doesn’t nap, it’s a good idea to implement a rest period. Heat and humidity can wear on everyone’s nerves, and when the kids get cranky, it can wear down the best of moms!

The best time for naps would be in the early afternoon when the sun is at its most strong. It would be a good idea to do the outdoor activities earlier in the morning or later in the day. Of course, do what works best for you!

5. Don’t forget free time! Part of the fun of summer is the freedom to NOT be scheduled, so don’t forget to plan time just to “be”! Summer is the time to lay in the grass and watch the clouds go by, get an ice cream cone and catch some fireflies. In a word, take time to just enjoy your family, let kids be kids and HAVE FUN!