Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Recipe for Inexpensive and Easy Outdoor Fun

Now that we have a little grass right outside our door, I have been looking for ideas of things to do that are easy and don't cost a lot of money. Here are some of the things we've tried and loved.

a hula hoop ($3)
bean bags (varies - you can make your own with scraps and beans/rice)
bubbles ($1)
sidewalk chalk ($1-2)
rope (varies - you can find jump ropes around $1)
ball ($1 and up)
container/bucket (anything from around the house = free)

Circle Walk
You don't have to go far when you go for a walk with your child--just walk in a circle in your backyard or at the park. To prevent dizziness, reverse the direction you're walking every now and then. Try the following actions as you walk together:
*Swing your arms forward and back.
*Stretch your arms overhead and walk on tiptoe
*Squat and walk like a duck
*Roll your head from shoulder to shoulder
*Rotate your arms like a windmill
*Walk fast then slow down; speed up and slow down.

Snake in the Grass
(4 rubber snakes...or beanbags)
Have your child stand on the far side of the yard and close his eyes. Hide the snakes in the grass in different places around the yard. When you yell, "Snake in the grass!" your child must run and find the snakes. Collect them and find them again.

Recruit another person to hold one end of a rope while you hold the other. Hold the rope at a height so your child can walk under it without touching it. Continue lowing the rope each time he attempts to pass under it. Eventually he'll have to inch under it on his back or tummy.
variation: start with the rope on the ground and raise it each time your child jumps over it.

Rope games
*Lay a long rope in a pattern on your grass. Try a zigzag pattern, circle, square or other shape. have your child walk along the rope.
*Lay the rope in a closed shape like a circle or square. Have your child think of how many ways he can move in and out of the shape. Try stepping in and out, jumping, somersaulting, etc.
*Lay the rope in a straight line and ask your child to think of how many ways he can go over it: walk across it, hop over it (on one or two feet), jump across it, crawl across it, and so on.

Frog Jump
(chalk or several hula hoops or rope)
Draw circles on the pavement with chalk. Or on the ground, lay hula hoops. Space the circles so your child can jump easily from one to the next. Have your child stand inside one of the circles and prepare to jump to another "pond". Encourage her to bend her knees, swing her arms, and jump, landing on both feet at the same time.

Jump the River
(chalk, ropes)
Use chalk to draw two long parallel lines apart on the pavement to make a "river" Draw a few rivers several feet part from one another. (You can use ropes to make the rivers on a grassy area). Have your child stand on one side of the first river. Show her how to jump across the river, swinging your arms forward as you jump and landing on both feet on the other side. You could also pretend to swim, row, etc across.

Beanbag Throw
(bean bag, container)
*Have your child throw a beanbag as high as he can.
*Have your child toss a beanbag in the air and catch it.
*Throw a beanbag in the air and have your child try to catch it.
*Throw a beanbag in the air and have your child try to catch it in a container.

On the pavement, show your child how to bounce a ball. Have them hold the ball with both hands at waist level, then have them release the ball, let it bounce, and catch it. Remember to keep your eye on the ball...variation: Play some music and practice bouncing the ball to the beat.

Beanbag Hike
(Hula Hoop, beanbags)
Place a hula hoop on the ground. have your child stand several feet from the circle and face away from it. Tell him to bend at the waist and throw a bean bag between his legs and into the circle. if you like, award points for each throw. You could also have them face the hula hoop and just see how many he can throw into it.

Rock Walk
(Bucket, rocks, hula hoop)
Go on a walk with your child. Bring along a bucket and have him collect interesting-looking rocks (or pine cones or sticks, etc) as you walk. At home, empty the bucket and place it at your child's feet. hand your child a rock and have him try to drop it into the bucket from the level of his chest. If you like, partly fill the bucket with water first.
*Place the bucket several fee away and have your child gently toss the rocks into it.
*Place a Hula hoop on the floor and have your child try to toss the rocks into it.

(chalk, beanbag)
Draw a large rectangle on the pavement. In the center of the rectangle, draw an alligator. Around the alligator, draw a number of squares; for a toddler start with 4 squares, then add more as your child's ability increases. Number each square, or draw a number of objects to represent the numeral or color each square a different color. Have your child stand outside the rectangle and toss a beanbag into the squares in numerical order or by specified color. His beanbag can't land on the alligator. If it lands on the alligator, your child must start again from the first square.

Enjoy these activities. For more ideas, check out The Wiggle and Giggle Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. It has some great ideas.


The Littlefields said...

What cute ideas, I am for sure going to do these. We need to get together sometime now that you guys are in Utah!

Josh and Shalae said...

Those ideas are great! Thanks. I'm always looking for fun things to do outside with my kids.

Hayley and Dave said...

We are going to try out some of those for sure!