What are the benefits of outdoor play?
We spoke to Dr. Helen Hartley, Medical Director at Bupa UK, for her insights into the benefits of outdoor play. Here are her insights, alongside some other great ways that outdoor activities can help families learn and keep active:
“Whether exercise is part of your normal routine for your family, or it requires a bit more encouragement, getting active together can be a great way to inspire and motivate you to hit your weekly physical activity targets – and have lots of fun! Any physical activity you do is better than none but finding something you enjoy together as a family can make the exercise even more prevalent.”
Improves Long-Term Health
“From age five, it’s recommended that all children are active for at least one hour each day. ‘Active’ means moving around, so you feel warmer and your breathing rate quickens.
Along with helping you manage your weight, regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing several health conditions – all while boosting your mental health.”
Opens Your Mind
“There are plenty of outdoor activities your family can try, such as trampolining, cycling, outdoor games tournaments, playground sessions, or even roller skating. So give them a go to see what lands best with your family!”
Develops Soft Skills
Many experts believe that outdoor play contributes to developing children’s soft skills. These include learning through play, socializing, independence and creativity.
Creates a Desire to be Active
Naturally, being one with nature has its perks, but it also leads to a full washing machine! Don’t let this deter you from allowing your children to express themselves. Instead, it will create a better sense of risk assessment and desire for activity within them over time. They will thank you for these great family outdoor activities and washing efforts down the line!
These fun outdoor family activities will keep you entertained this summer. But, what’s better, being outside, leads to a better night’s sleep inside, too. So, parents, we assure you you’ll have your downtime later in the day!
So, what better time to go outside alongside nature’s natural treasures again? Here are the fun family outdoor activities we’ve gathered for you to try at home this summer.
Outdoor Family Activities
Tin Foil River
Tree Bark Rubbing
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Water Pistol Shootout
Children love water pistols, and so do adults. So what are you waiting for?
Set up a Stage
Create a platform and host your X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent outside!
Build a Climbing Wall
Install climbing handles on your fence, and let the little ones bring out their wild side!
Create a Firepit
It isn’t Love Island, but get some logs and stones to make your outdoor villa!
Relax in a Hot Tub
One for the family, especially the parents, at the end of a day of play!
Design some Night Lamps
Go full Lunar New Year, or set up some tealights and fairy lights across the garden for a true summer night’s ambiance!
Host a Back Garden Camp Night
Be one with nature and experience the great outdoors at its most mysterious hour!
It’s the season, and who doesn’t love a good BBQ?
A more quaint approach to a BBQ, but a picnic is still an easy lunchtime activity!
Find your Chi
From sunbathing to meditating, it’s amazing how relaxing you can make your garden with a bit of imagination!
Crown the Family Olympian!
Let your child’s imagination run free as they host their Olympics in the back garden! See them pick the country they want to represent and show off their skills as they compete with friends and family.
Do you have a Swingball in your back garden? Then this is your time to hold a tournament. Get into teams and battle it out to finally settle who’s the best in the family!
Have your little ones create their mini routine and perform it to the judges (that’s you)! Be sure to have lots of sweets on hand to award all performers for their creativity!
Make Your Compost
Cut out the bottom of a dustbin, collect garden waste or old fruit and vegetables, and watch it turn to compost. Gross? Maybe. A great educational yet fun project for your little ones to enjoy? Absolutely!
Create a Fairy Door
Find an old piece of wood in the garden and get the coloring pencils and glitter out! Draw designs on paper before sticking them onto your fairy door. We recommend a tree for the best chance of attracting a fairy!
If you have fruit trees and bushes lying around the garden, make the most of it and bake a delicious family dessert for tea!
Make a Mud Kitchen
Gather some sticks and shrubs alongside the mud, and let your children present their masterpieces!
Promote creativity, and you can design some interesting summer wear at a super low cost!
Plant some Produce
Always wanted to grow some produce outside? Now’s your calling. Get the children to help, too!
Who doesn’t love a bit of play dough?
Set Up a Burger Van
Let your child prepare a delicious lunch or dinner from the comfort of their back garden!
Set Up a Lemonade Stand
Time to quench your thirst after that meal!
Build a Box Fort
Building a box fort is a childhood favorite and something children nationwide should experience!
Keep the balloon off the floor! The first person to let the balloon fall loses!
Create a Family Gratitude Tree
Creating a gratitude tree is one way to help your family reflect on all you have. Get your child to invite their friends so you can teach them to spread gratitude, too!
Role-Playing with Dolls
Allowing your children to play with dolls is a great way to promote affection, responsibility, and character development!
Now’s the time to get the inflatable pool out or create your makeshift pool outside for a truly refreshing start to the day!
Outdoor Obstacle Course
Let your child’s inner explorer run loose with a homemade obstacle course. Perfect timing, eh?
Build a Cubby House/Playhouse
Come up with a makeshift house for your young ones, and you’ll have all the space you need in the day!
Buy your young one a pretend lawnmower and a watering can for gardening, and watch them whizz around the grass for hours!
Fun with Bubbles
Who doesn’t love a bit of bubble-blowing? This timeless classic doesn’t get old, whether with a wand and mix or a bubble maker.
Collect flowers and leaves in a scrapbook this summer, and use them for crafts or your collection all year round!
Stone Paving Chalkboard
The possibilities are endless, from snakes and ladders to scribbling on the floor.
Egg and Spoon Race
A sports day classic, why not bring competitiveness to your back garden?
Make a Stickman
Using sticks and glue, you can bring a new family member to the garden this summer (make sure the dog doesn’t get near)!
Hula hoops are one of a child’s most versatile items when playing. Swing it around your hips, neck, and arms, and use it to its full potential!
Similar to Simon Says, but simpler. It only requires a “river” and a “bank” and is fun for the whole family!
Another childhood classic. Pick something out in the garden and only say the word’s first letter. The first person not to have their word guessed wins!
Hide and Seek
You’ll be amazed at the spaces children will find and fit into playing this at home!
Paint Some Rocks
Paint some rocks and pass on your creations to your neighbors and family!
The British classic. “Simon,” says something, and you do it!
Bounce like a frog and get your children moving!
Set up for Summer Sports
Cricket, tennis, badminton, and more. Set up a makeshift court outside!
All you need here is some grass and a rope, which can be enough for hours of fun!
Make a Family Games Night
Play a different game every night and keep a leaderboard. The athlete with the most 1st place finishes wins a prize!
Bring out your inner scientist!
Get creative mixing liquids and cupboard supplies and see what your children can come up with!
Host a boogie as a family, or have your child invite friends to throw shapes!
Unknown to many, this could be your newfound family passion. Use a GPS to find hidden treasures across our beautiful countryside!
Create a Homemade Art Exhibition
Set up with a couple of old bedsheets and let your children express their inner Picasso!
Create Bespoke Art for Their Rooms
You can buy spray paint and a giant canvas, then let them loose in the garden to develop their design.
Superheroes, and teddy bears, don’t matter. Play housewarming with your home’s newest guests!
Outdoor Race Circuit
Lewis Hamilton, who? It was a bit of effort, sure, but a memorable experience, I’m certain!
Learn an Instrument
If you can bear the noise, this could be the gateway to the next big soloist in your family!
Fancy Dress Movie Marathon
Get your child’s friends around and set up a Disney or superhero-themed extravaganza (weather permitting)!
Draw around your child using chalk on a pen on some wallpaper, and begin teaching the different body parts to them early!
If you have a paddling pool, fill it with blankets and cushions, it makes the perfect cozy setting to curl up and look at the night sky. Can you name the constellations?
Create a Mini Garden
Make use of all the items nature throws your way. It can be a good way to tidy the garden, too!
Family fun doesn’t get much simpler with just a hoop and some chalk as markers. Whoever makes a shot from the furthest marker wins!
Build a Nature Wand
The perfect way to bring nature and play together! Plus, who doesn’t want to work their magic?
Create a Wildlife Feeder
Birdseed in a birdhouse is a surefire way to attract our winged friends to visit your humble abode!
Ever wondered how our winged friends live? Wonder no more!
Create a Nature Mandala
Make the most of beautiful mother nature with this great garden activity!
Do Some Gardening
Get the children involved in some good old-fashioned garden work!
Create a Bee Hotel
Bees are crucial to our livelihood and the world around us. So why not give something back in return for this activity?
Create a Veg Garden
Playtime can be fun AND nutritious at the same time!