Even though apps like Pokémon Go are getting people back outside, it’s still not disconnecting them from their screens. Yeah, they’re catching Pokémon in real-time and are involving their friends in the hunt, but is it challenging their dexterity and helping them to express their creativity? I’m going to argue on the side of not.
I’m not trying to bash app-based activities here; I get that they’re fun. I just think we need to start bringing back activities that don’t require you look at a screen, especially in the spring and summer when we should be having fun outside!
1. The Parachuter
As a parent, you know that kids LOVE throwing things. Whether they’re throwing water balloons at each other or skipping rocks at the lake, they’re having fun. When you can’t go to the lake house for the weekend and the kids have burst their last balloon, you can make a great new toy using stuff you have sitting in the junk drawer: pipe cleaners and coffee filters.
Thanks to this tutorial from STLMotherhood, the jumper is incredibly easy to make and only take a couple of minutes to assemble for hours of fun.
2. Feeding the Birds
Find a craft for the kids that they’re all going to like can be tough to maneuver. You want to make sure they’re all having fun. What’s more fun than building a cute little bird house for the birds that live in the trees surrounding your home? Using recycled materials from around the house (such as an orange juice carton or water bottle) and non-toxic paints you can pick up from your local A.C. Moore, you can build an upcycled birdhouse complete with cotton balls and string for a warm and cozy birdhouse. And don’t forget the birdseed! You can make the simple birdseed ornaments shown above with our tutorial.
3. Play a Game of Balloon Tennis
One of my favorite games from childhood was keeping the balloon from touching the ground. You can make it more competitive by turning it into a game of balloon tennis. Using a paper plate, mixing paint stick and some hot glue, you have a tennis racket. Blow up a balloon, and you’re ready for play out in the yard. Game, Set, Match!
4. The Bubble Pet Snake
Kids love bubbles. Blowing bubbles is right up there with having a water balloon fight. DIY crafter Debbie of One Little Project shows us how to blow a bubble snake that long outlasts the single bubble those sad little plastic wands produce. All you need for this project is a water bottle, sock, some dish soap (dish soap is best because it’s more pliable) and a little water. Dip the sock-covered bottle into the water and blow: You’ll have your own bubble snake friend!
5. Go on an Archeological Dig
If you want to have the kids take part in a craft that is both fun AND educational, try out At Home’s “Dinosaur Eggs” archaeological dig craft. Before you send the children out with their archeological tools and site map, tell them about the dinosaurs and how archeologists today around the world go out on digs in search of dinosaur fossils and other treasures. Do you have a child who is more into discovering Egyptian relics? You can bury the “Egyptian amulets” and beaded jewelry the same way as you do the dinosaur toys by just following At Home’s tutorial, also make sure to check out this electric ride on toys for the garden during the summer.
There are A TON of craft ideas out there on the internet to experiment with, including varied iterations of the ideas listed above. The point of these outdoor crafting projects is about you and your children enjoying quality time with you and each other. So go out and have some fun!