Spring is officially here and Summer is right around the corner. With the warmer weather, I can’t wait to send my kids outside to play, to soak up a little (but not too much) sun, explore, and just enjoy being kids. While thinking about activities to really take advantage of our backyard, I have come across so many simple arts-and-crafts type activities that are sure to keep my kids busy and happy to be outside for hours on end. Here are some of my favorites that I know your kids will love!
How to make giant bubbles:
Making bubbles is no real challenge, you basically need just water and dish soap. To make giant bubbles and get them to last you just need to add in a little cornstarch and baking soda.
Here is the recipe I found:
- 12 cups water
- 1 cup dish soap
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons glycerin (optional)
Place the ingredients in a clean bowl or bucket and stir gently. Try not to create bubbles while mixing. Let sit for an hour before using.
You can simply use a hula hoop (you will need a plastic pool filled with the bubble solution for the hula hoop to fit), or a toy tennis racket with the netting cut out for the bubble wand. You can also make your own using two straws and a cotton string. Just thread the string through the straws and tie off in a loop. Dip your wand in the solution and then gently pull the straws apart (your wand will look like a rectangle) and slowly walk backwards to see your giant bubbles appear!
Make your own washable chalk paint:
If your kids love to paint, then this is the perfect outdoor activity.
What you will need:
- Cheap paint brushes
- Plastic paint trays or buckets
- Washable chalk
- A grater (not one that you plan to use for food, check out your local dollar store for an extra one)
Grate a piece of chalk into your paint bucket. Add ½ cup water for every stick of chalk that you use to get the right consistency. Let your children paint away!
Giant ice cube excavation:
If you have plastic figurines like dinosaurs, farm animals, or sea creatures, try freezing them into a giant ice cube. Just make sure anything you use won’t be ruined by being in water. All you need is to fill a large bowl or tub with water, place the figurines inside, and freeze. You can freeze multiple layers to really scatter the toys inside the ice cube, and even add food coloring to make it extra special. Once frozen, take outside and have your child use tools (preferably plastic to avoid injury) and spray bottles to try to free his toys from the ice. It’s a great way for them to explore and cool down in one. I tried this last summer with my boys and our neighbors and it was a favorite activity. They kept asking to do it for days afterwards!
Homemade Body Paint:
Have your kids help to make this body paint recipe for double the fun!
You will need:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 4 cups water
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Place all of the above ingredients in a medium pot and mix. Put pot on the stove and stir over medium to medium-high heat. Continue to stir as the mixture thickens to your desired consistency. This will likely happen right before it starts to boil and will look like smooth pudding. Allow the paint to cool and divide it between different bowls or containers. Add 3-5 drops of food coloring to each bowl and mix. Now you are ready to go outside and paint! I would recommend wearing swimsuits or old clothing so that the food coloring does not dye any nice piece of clothing. When you are done just rinse it off.
Nature Collage or Mural:
After a few hours of exploring most kids will have collected all kinds of treasures. One way to make their treasures even more special is to turn them into works of art. All you need is some paper and glue and you can turn their leaves, nuts, seeds, flowers, rocks, sticks, etc. into a masterpiece worthy of hanging on the fridge.
Whether you use one of these ideas or not, I hope that you and your kids are able to get out and enjoy the outdoors this Spring and Summer!