Did the kids paint the cat blue again? Time to get them out of the house – and save your sanity – with these entertaining activities that won’t break the bank
1. Play backyard bowling
Set up 10 empty cereal boxes or soft drink cans in a standard ten-pin bowling formation on your lawn or the grass at your local oval (one row of four, one row of three, one row of two, and just one pin in the last row to form a triangle). Each player stands behind a stick placed at least two metres away from the “pins” and rolls a small ball towards them to try to knock them down – one pin is one point. The winner is the player who has knocked down the most pins at the end of a pre-determined number of rounds.
2. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
Make a list of 10 objects that can be easily found outdoors in your area, such as a feather, a yellow leaf, a gumnut, a purple rock, a wishbone-shaped stick and a red flower. Give each kid a basket and ask them to collect all the objects. The child who finds all the objects first wins. You can modify the game for younger children by reading the list out loud and helping them find each object.
3. Splash on a sprinkler mat
You’ll find a range of plastic sprinkler mats online or at major stores for $10 to $50. Simply hook it up to your hose and watch the kids squeal with glee as the water sprays up towards the sky through little holes in the plastic. Babies can sit on the mat and splash in the water, while older kids can run through it or set up a plastic slide to land in it. Hours of fun are guaranteed without the muss or fuss of a pool that needs to be filled up and emptied every time.
4. Create a leaf scrapbook
Ask your kids to collect leaves of all different shapes, colours and sizes. Give them each a small scrapbook, a glue stick and some crayons, and ask them to stick their leaves in the scrapbook. They can then colour around them or write their observations about each leaf. If you have a smartphone handy, you can even Google the names of the trees and plants their leaves came from and have them write the names down in their books.
5. Plant some veggies
What better way to help your children connect with nature than to get them to plant their own food? Buy a few packets of seeds, such as carrots, snow peas and tomatoes, as well as some small pots and soil. Have each child plant their seeds and care for them over the coming weeks. This is a wonderful ongoing project that can have a very satisfying result when the kids get to eat the fruits (or veg!) of their labour. For an added crafty twist, get them to paint the names of the vegetables they’ll be growing on their pots first.
What other outdoor activities do you get your kids to do to have a little peace and quiet in the house?
Image credit: bahlerbrothers.com