8 Creative Ways To Make Your Kids Spend More Time Outdoors

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Woot woot—we’re on our way to warmer temps and plenty of outdoor time in the days and months ahead. And thankfully your littles will take their activities to your yard or outdoor space, which means way less mess for you to clean. Looking for fun ideas to keep them busy? Here are ones to get their creative juices flowing and your chance to keep them in the fresh air—and away from the screens.

featured image via @woodlandnj

Psst! We love seeing your stay-at-home New Jersey adventures. Be sure to tag your photos with #NJMOM and @njmom for a chance to be featured in our round-up next week.

Here are 8 ways your kids can have creative fun outdoors

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Hop scotch pavers are complete! I purposely spread them out a little so that they’re perfect for practicing balance and coordination. We also used them with acorn cups from the yard for number and color identification. Check out my stories for a full view of the pavers and B-man calling me out. 🖤 🖤 🖤 #preschoolactivities #stayhome #invitationtoplay #raisingadventurers #motherhoodinspired #playbasedlearning #kidsactivities #playathome #playoutside #playislearning #letthemplay #ohheymama #honestmotherhood #raisingcreativekids #motherhood #preschool #playtolearn #momshelpingmoms #aspiretoinspire #learningthroughplay #njmom #nymom #momlife #playmatters #playideas #creativemamas #motorskills #finemotorskills #finemotorskillsplay #earlylearning

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Hop-on, hop-off 

Want to make learning fun while working on some fine-motor skills for littles? Try paver hopscotch. The brick helps with balance and coordination. Once they’re dry, set up the old-fashioned hopscotch board that they can balance on, or turn it into a number and letter game, using acorn shells, pine cones, or rocks to throw onto a paver and then recite the color and number that your littles land on. 

Make shadow art

This one needs plenty of sunshine—pick an object with a shape that’s good to trace (magnetic tiles are easy to follow) and tape a piece of paper to a table or floor outdoors and make sure the sun is behind the object. The have your little trace along the edges of the shadow and then color the shapes.

Send happy thoughts

Want to spread socially distant cheer while your littles practice writing? Have your child write notes of friendship or encouragement, and then take a walk around the neighborhood to deliver them. Leave a letter in a mailbox, at the front door, or even put a stamp on it and send it—sharing the love will put a smile on someone’s face and make your kids feel good about doing a good deed.   

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This up-cycled bird feeder is not only beautiful — but would make a great spring family project! 🐦 ☀️ 🌳 What you will need: . 🐦(1) clear 2-liter plastic bottle 🐦tissue paper in a variety of colors — bonus if it is recycled from a gift! 🐦Mod Podge — or glue mixed with water 🐦paint brush or sponge 🐦stick 🐦scissors 🐦glue/hot glue 🐦twine/string . What to do: Step 1: Remove the label from the 2-liter plastic bottle. Cut the top part of the bottle off using scissors. Step 2: Cut the front part off of the 2-liter bottle and round the top edges. Step 3: Cut several small pieces of tissue paper to roughly 1″ x 1″. Apply Mod Podge to the inside of the bottle and put strips of tissue paper onto the wet Mod Podge areas. Go over the tissue paper with a layer of Mod Podge. Let it dry. You may want to use a clear coat of spray paint or glue on top to seal it. Step 4: Cut a hole in the bottom, not far from lip using the scissors and insert the dowel rod. This is a little perch for your birds. Use hot glue to secure the stick in place. Step 5: Cut two holes at the top of the bottle / bird feeder. Lace the string. Put some bird seed into the feeder and hang in a branch or a small nail. Let's see your homemade up-cycled bird houses or feeders in the comments! 👇 (Craft & photo from Artzy Creations blog. You can find full photo instructions of what to do there! Find the link in our profile.)

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Turn a bottle into a birdfeeder

This DIY bird feeder makes it easy for your kids to watch birds and learn more about them. Recycle a plastic bottle by cutting away the one side of it and making holes to hang it from a tree. Have the kids decorate it by coloring or gluing on colorful tissue paper to attract birds. Check out how to do this one above, fill it with bird food, hang from a branch, and have the kids keep track of the different birds they see. 

Explore with ice

This one works when the temps are mild and cloudy—fill an ice tray with tiny objects and water, put it in the freezer, and put some tubs outside, and have your kids chisel their way through the ice to uncover the goodies. You can also drop a few colors of food dye in it to make a more colorful creation as it melts.  

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“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen . . A portrait of Vi enjoying her bubbles and just being happy. . . Today we are coming together from around the world during this uneasy time to help spread a little positivity, love and encouragement. #portraits_for_positivity! 🌎🧡 . . #mom_hub #magicofchildhood #childhoodunplugged#njmom #candidchildhood #my_magical_moments #ClickinMoms#childrenseemagic#the_camera_clique #p52clicks #njphotographer #reflectionshot #nothingisordinary#runwildmychild#infinity_children#letthemexplore#cameramama#mytinymoments#momtogs#lookslikefilmkids#shared_joy #createandinspirehub #kidsofthelens#clickmagazine#clickthrough52#cameramama #talesofthemoment#loveourbigkids#LadyViVi

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Make homemade bubbles

Who doesn’t love bubbles? But if you can’t deal with going to the store to pick them up these days, DIY them for a fun family project. You just need dish soap, water, sugar, and bubble wands and it’s easy enough for your kids to do too—follow the recipe here.

DIY a track outside and your kids will be off to the races via Engineer Mommy

Zoom around a racetrack

Grab some chalk and create your 3-D racetrack out of bricks, pavers, sheets of cardboard, or just draw it on the driveway or sidewalk. Your kids can decide the turns in the road and add a rest stop, parking lot, or the perfect pitstop. And to add to the racing fun, have your kids put Lego people or stuffed animals on the sidelines to “cheer” them on as they race around the track.

Go on a rock treasure hunt

The whole fam can get in on this unplugged trend—painting rocks for a treasure hunt. First, collect flat surface rocks to paint from your yard, gather brushes and acrylic paints (they adhere better for rocks), and start decorating with your favorite character, animal, or sayings. After they dry, hide them around your yard for the kids to find or put them together to display in a colorful rock garden.

 


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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.

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