Updated July 19, 2021
It’s no secret that children of all ages love summer vacations – the warm weather and variety bring adventure and imagination to their day. However, as a parent, it is common to worry that your child will not be challenged and faced with new learning opportunities while they are leaving school.
Rest assured, there are many ways kids can turn their educational and play time into outdoor learning – right from their backyard. Activities like backyard camping, gardening, and bird watching provide endless classroom moments while creating experiences in the great outdoors and outdoors. Whether you’re avoiding summer boredom or looking for new, unique ways to teach your kids, we’ve compiled a list of 8 ways to create the ultimate backyard retreat to keep your kids busy, entertained, and active this summer.
1) Turn your garden into a campsite
Backyard camping is an activity that the whole family can participate in. Let your children set up camp with a tent, pillow, blanket or sleeping bag. Keep the campsite equipped with flashlights, a picnic table, and camping chairs. Consider building one DIY fire pit with stone or bricks that will last all summer. This way, you can help your kids cook classic camp foods like hot dogs and s’mores without the need for a full-fledged outdoor kitchen.
Teach your family new skills and explore your yard with activities like bird watching, stargazing, and looking for bugs. You can also whip up a card game, board game, or lawn game for some competitive family fun together. Then end the night by the fire, tell stories and sing campfire songs while you toast marshmallows.
2) Build a tree house or a charming playhouse
A tree house is the perfect retreat for families with children of all ages. Before starting the project, make sure that the tree you choose has a strong foundation. Your children can learn math skills by designing and measuring walls, ladders, doors and windows. Once the tree house is complete and safe to enter, the whole family can help set up and decorate the interior.
The tree house not only offers children a place to get lost in their own books reading corner, playing with friends or strengthening motor skills through climbing and imaginative play – the memories a child will make of the tree house short vacation will no doubt linger in old age.
If building a tree house is impossible, stimulating your little one’s imagination by buying or building a garden playhouse they can call their own. Regardless of the style – from traditional playhouse to fortress – your kids and their friends are likely to spend hours pretending to create memories.
3) Plant an edible garden in your backyard hideaway
Do you have unused space in your yard that can be converted into a garden? Then there’s no better time than now to plant or try out an edible garden Lasagna gardening. This can be a place where the kids can not only have fun playing in the dirt, but also learn responsibility and be proud of something they have created. Choose a small plot of land for your children to plant fruits and vegetables, herbs, and perform tasks like watering and pruning. Consider starting your beginner garden with a few types of plants that are easier to care for, such as basil, carrots, and cucumbers.
4) Have a garden grill
Children love to help out with all kinds of adult tasks – one of which is cooking. Let your kids help prepare a salad, pick herbs and vegetables from your beginner’s garden, and put together side dishes like fries and dip. Just remember to keep an eye on the kids and keep them away from the grill. A barbecue in the garden is a great event to gather around the table to enjoy the food cooked together.
5) Have an outdoor movie night
Does your family like to watch films together? Make the movie night even better with an outdoor movie screen because let’s face it – nothing beats watching an outdoor movie while the sun is going down.
You and your kids can build a collapsible DIY outdoor movie screen with a few PVC pipes and a simple piece of white sheeting. Connect your laptop to a portable movie projector with speakers by using an extension cord plugged into a surge protected power strip.
Next, create a cozy seating area with blankets, floor pillows and hang fairy lights to create a cozy ambience. Plant pots and buckets can be used as drink coolers and snack stowers to pass around during the movie. Gather friends and family for a movie that everyone can enjoy. And don’t forget the popcorn!
6) Create a water park in the back yard
For younger kids, a water table, kiddy pool, and sprinklers are as good as any water park without having to drive or run into crowds. For older children, consider a larger inflatable or snap-in pool, which comes in a variety of sizes, depths, and styles. Some even come with pumps, filters, and covers that keep your water fresh and clean all season long. Typically, these more expensive features reduce maintenance and water consumption.
A backyard water park isn’t complete without a sandpit to provide a sensory lab for kids who love to dig, sift, and bury. For the much-needed shade from the sun, a parasol and seating – either in the form of sun loungers or a blanket on the meadow – offer adults and children a place to rest and relax. Keep snacks and drinks ready in a cool box with ice packs or, if electricity is available, in a mini fridge.
7) Learn about the wildlife that inhabits your backyard retreat
Feeding chirping birds and discovering animal tracks can be fun, educational, and therapeutic for people of all ages. Together, your family can build their own bird feeder or bird feeder to attract birds. Many children may not be able to tell the difference between a cardinal and a robin. So getting up close and personal with different species of birds can teach your children more about the wildlife in their hometown. Encourage the children to keep a journal and write and draw pictures of all the species of birds they see.
If you live in an area like the Pacific Northwest or Vancouver, BCWhere it is common to spot deer, ducks, rabbits, squirrels or owls in your yard, discovering animal tracks can be an exciting activity whether the animal is hopping, walking or flying. Or maybe you live in an area like Tampa, FL where you might even see an alligator wandering around. No matter how close your home is to wildlife, finding paw prints from a neighbor’s dog or cat is an opportunity for your children to tell the difference between these patterns.
8) Get active and use your outside space to play games
A common style of learning is hands-on or experiential learning – the act of doing, manipulating, and playing. And where better to practice this form of education than in your own backyard retreat?
There are several different activities and games that you can play outdoors to keep your kids busy:
- Create a rhyming scavenger hunt Practice problem solving and teamwork. Add a few rhymes for more fun while the kids hunt for their treasures.
- Game i spy to discover otherwise overlooked details in your garden and strengthen your memory.
- Prepare a treasure hunt to explore the back yard. Give in to their imagination and interests as you create the topic, write the clues, and don’t forget to find a tricky place to hide the treasure.
- Simon says to improve hearing, body awareness and motor skills.
- Exercise outdoors Practice hand-eye coordination. Basic sports equipment such as basketball hoops, volleyball nets, and soccer goals can be purchased from large physical stores or online retailers.
- Build an obstacle course stimulate reflection, problem solving and good exercise. There are tons of DIY options for creating an obstacle course, such as: B. with painter’s tape, sidewalk chalk, cardboard boxes, pool noodles. You can also incorporate hula hoops, water balloons and baskets.
- Play court games for family fun like boccia, badminton, beanbag throwing and more.
You can easily turn your outside space into a backyard retreat that will appeal to kids – and adults – of all ages. So spend more time in your Backyard oasis while you teach your kids new skills and cure summer boredom.