Our top 10 ideas for backyard play

Child playing in backyard

Unstructured outdoor play is the best for children in the early years.  

If you have a back yard at your home, take your child outside for as much of the day as weather permits. If you don’t, follow social distancing recommendations while enjoying some outdoor time.  

Why not try some of the following activities while soaking up all the benefits of outdoor play?  

  • Half-fill a large basin/bucket with water and add an old paintbrush. Encourage your child to make patterns on the concrete with the water. Add bubbles for some messy fun!
  • Make a mud kitchen, using old pots and pans or utensils that you no longer use in the kitchen. Encourage children to play and get messy. 
  • Provide your child with pavement chalks and explore and create some street art for your back yard. Or make your own chalk puffy paint with our recipe here. 
  • Blow and chase bubbles together using a dishwashing liquid and water mix, experiment together to get the right mix, and items with a bubble-blowing hole. Design and make a bubble blower out of some straws or wire or pegs. 
  • Play games together such as ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’
  • Go on a listening walk, listen for the sounds and guess what these are.
  • Search for caterpillars and butterflies, along with any other bugs you can find. You could use your phone to research the names of these with your child and even set up a ‘bug hotel’ in your garden to encourage bugs to come and visit. 
  • Create a fairy garden or a gnome garden, inspiring imagination and creativity (look at Pinterest for ideas). 
  • Make your own obstacle course using simple items that are available, such as hula hoops, play tunnels and stepping stones. Set up different stations and make it a challenge for the whole family!
  • Start your own vegetable garden together, taking inspiration from the vegetable gardens at some of our own centres, and making sure to take regular care of the plants together. Children love anything that can be picked from the garden and used in meals, such as herbs, tomatoes and strawberries!