If your childhood memories are anything like mine, they included pretty much daily instruction to “go outside and play.” The things we did out there built independent thinking skills, taught us to entertain ourselves, kept us physically active, and also kept us from driving our mothers Absolutely and Completely Insane. (<—I’m particularly into this part.) We also developed attention spans, learned to observe things, and found out that the world wouldn’t end if we got a couple enormous, bloody scrapes on our knees. We found out that rolling in fresh cut grass will make you itch. (Total sidebar: I remember when people used to “burn off” zoysia lawns. It must be illegal here now, because every zoysia lawn I see looks like total crap, and I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone outside with a mop and a bucket watching their lawn be on fire.)
Which brings us to the question of the day. What to do outside when you do not have any neighbors who are conveniently entertaining you by setting their yards on fire.
Top 10 Outdoor Play Ideas
- Play Jump Rope & Sang Rhymes (see also handclap games.)
- Make Daisy Chains
- Find a four leaf clover. (That attention to detail will come in handy when your kid gets a highly coveted job as a TSA screener.)
- Spot (and avoid) poison ivy (and if you accidentally touch it, clean up with RUBBING ALCOHOL right away. Soap does NOT break down the oil, but hot water opens your pores and spreads the oil.)
- Burn Things with a Magnifying Glass (does this need an explanation?)
- Eat Frozen Grapes (Seriously, they are like little tiny popsicles. Only no ruining your favorite shirt with red popsicle juice.)
- Play Hopscotch: If it was good enough for the Roman army, it’s good enough my kid. (Why not use pavers to make a semi-permanent hopscotch in a grassy area, if you don’t have a patio or other paved area?)
- Sprinkler Play/water gun fights. Add a few water balloons for extra awesome.
- Roll down a grassy hill (we particularly enjoyed doing this on our Big Wheels.)
- Build a fort with sticks.
What’s in your top 10? Catching fireflies? Wading in the creek? Tire swing? Reverse engineering the bow and arrow? Do tell, inquiring minds want to know.