5 Fun and Free Things to do with Your Kids in the Backyard
With the fast pace of life, and endless access to technology, it can be hard to find the time to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life, like nature.
Many of us will remember childhoods spent outside climbing trees, playing in the mud and discovering insects and ants in the garden. But these days many children spend far more time indoors and on the internet than outside in nature.
Research shows that time spent outdoors boosts early childhood development. It can also be great family fun and doesn’t need to cost the earth. So why not take some time out in your backyard this weekend with these five fun and free activities.
- Tree climbing
When did you last climb a tree? This is the ultimate in free fun in the backyard. Pick a good sturdy tree, ideally with low branches that are easy to access.
While activities like tree climbing can seem a bit risky, they are extremely important for children’s development. Activities like this can help children learn how to take responsibility for themselves, how to assess risk, develop independence, build resilience and persistence.
- Build small and large stick structures
Take a look around your garden and you’re sure to find plenty of sticks, twigs and leaves. These are perfect for building things and creating art. You can start small and work up to a much bigger structure like a hut. You can also incorporate natural fibres like wool and twine into your masterpiece.
The added benefit is that these activities help develop cognitive abilities, problem solving skills, and creativity.
- Start a veggie or herb garden
You don’t need a big backyard to start your own herb garden or veggie patch. Start small with a few potted herbs, or go large and dedicate an area to a proper garden bed for a selection of herbs and veggies. When the food is ready to harvest, collect your bounty together and incorporate it into your next meal.
Gardening is a wonderful way to teach children about plants, ecosystems, sustainability and healthy eating. They will love eating the food they helped to grow!
- Go on a bug and nature safari
Grab a magnifying glass and see how many bugs you can find together. Investigate the textures on trees, leaves, grass and sticks. Get up close and discover the different textures, sizes, and shapes of the bugs in your garden or local park. You could even create a diary to track your discoveries. Finish off your safari with a picnic under a shady tree.
- Mud play
Mud play is the perfect activity to try all year round. Children are fascinated by mud, and while it may not be your favourite activity, they will love jumping around in the mud and making mud pies.
Mud play has many proven benefits, including increased brain activity, reduced asthma and allergy symptoms, boosted creativity, reduced anxiety and increased happiness. All of this free fun just requires a corner of the garden and a hose.
Remember there is no bad weather, only bad clothing choices!
C&K is a not-for-profit organisation that has been offering rich and varied learning experiences for Queensland children since 1907. At C&K, children are encouraged to engage with nature and be involved in play that promotes a lifelong love of learning.
Come and see why children don’t just like C&K, they love it! C&K services will be opening their doors during our Open Week celebration from the 3 – 8 September, inviting you and your child to come in and meet our educators. See how we nurture happy and healthy minds, hearts and bodies so every child can achieve their full potential. Visit our website to find an event near you.