17. Throw Some Pies ?
What’s great about getting the family outdoors for little adventures is that making a mess is a non-issue. That frees up all kinds of imaginative fun, like this favorite: Draw a jumbo-sized archery target on one or more poster boards and hang it up in your driveway. Fill aluminum pie tins with whipped cream and see who can get closest to a bull’s-eye. Don’t be surprised when the pie throwing becomes a free-for-all! Simply hose down everything — and everyone — when you’re done.
Print a jumbo-sized archery target for plenty of pie-throwing.
18. Host a Parade! ?
Round up the neighbors and plan a local bike parade! (This can be a great way to kick off an annual block party, by the way.) The morning of the parade, bust out the crafting supplies so kids can deck out their rides: ribbons, construction paper, colored tape, balloons, whatever you can think of. The kids can decide on a theme for the parade, or decide to let everyone do their own thing with their individual wheels. Designate a parade route (which can be throughout the yard or even the neighborhood assuming you’ll have some chaperones) and set the kids off! ?
Capture and keep memories from your homemade parade with our simple scrapbook.
19. Get Cookin’ ?
Playing kitchen is another popular kid pastime that’s somehow even more enticing when taken outside. Help your little chef by gathering old kitchen supplies, like bowls, spoons, and whisks. Turn an old bench or table into a “stovetop” by gluing on black plastic plates for the “burners.” Use red paint to make the “coils” and attach plastic caps for the “knobs.” Don’t forget a nice, big smock (perhaps for both of you!). With just some water and dirt, your kids will spend hours making, um, culinary confections. Be sure to take adorable pictures for posterity. Dirt never smelled so good!
Make your favorite mud pie recipe.
20. Dig for Treasure ?
Let your kids’ inner pirate loose with this can’t-fail afternoon adventure. And what do pirates love most? Treasure, of course! Choose the “booty” that should be searched for and print out a to-find list. (If you’re ambitious, create a bona fide treasure map!) Hide the loot around the yard and see who can fill his bucket the fastest.
Use items from your backyard to make your very own treasure map!
?Turn to this game when you have several neighborhood kids at your home, and everyone is starting to say the B word—bored! Begin by choosing a “curator” and instructing him to stand at the opposite end of the yard. When the curator turns his back to the “statues,” they have to dash across the yard and try to tap him. When the curator senses that they’re getting close, he turns around and all the players must freeze. He then takes his time examining the statues, walking around each one. If he catches someone moving, that player goes back to the starting line. If the curator doesn’t turn around in time and gets tapped, he becomes a statue and the tapper wins the round and becomes the next curator.
Keep the fun going by drawing the champion's winning pose.
22. Make Lawn Art ?
This project is a clever way to repurpose old bedding. Lay down a sheet on your lawn and secure the edges with dowels or duct tape. Set out brushes and disposable bowls of fabric paint, then let your kids paint their huge canvas to their hearts’ content. If you have a group painting together, each child can claim a section of the sheet to draw whatever he or she wants, or the kids can choose an overall picture to work on together. Doing this outside keeps unpleasant paint odors from lingering in the house— and you’ll have a cute new picnic or beach blanket for summers to come!
Practice your blanket design with our helpful grid.
23. Host a Gallery
Night ?What better for a warm summer evening than an art show? Pick up disposable cameras and hand them out to your participants (if the kids are old enough, they can use your point-and-shoot or your smartphone). Let your shutterbugs venture out and snap some shots of the backyard. If you have a bit more time, you can also organize a “field trip” to a park or beach. Once everyone returns, print out the photos or drop them off for processing. If you’re working with a crowd, let the children curate their top five picks to showcase. When it’s show time, string some twine between two trees (or use a clothesline if you have one). Hang up the photos with paper clips or clothespins, and invite all the families for the big opening. Complete the fancy feel by serving sparkling cider with cheese and crackers.
Present your photos the right way with our scrapbook templates.
24. Set Up a Lemonade Stand ?
First, have the kids make signs advertising the stand and post them around the neighborhood with your help. Next, set up your stand (a foldout table works just fine) and let the kids have fun decorating it with balloons and streamers. Don’t forget to make a sign that includes the price! For traditional lemonade, mix the juice of 4 lemons with 1 cup of sugar and 6 cups of water. Want to expand the offerings? Whip up a patch with a small amount of cranberry juice added to make the concoction pretty in pink. With either recipe, frozen watermelon cubes are a fun alternative to ice cubes and add a sweet, unexpected aroma sure to attract repeat customers.
Don't forget to add your name to this printable lemonade sign.
25. Snap to It! ?
End a happy day at the beach with a round of Crabby Soccer. It’ll especially tickle any younger children who’ve met a real live crustacean that day! Kids have to be pretty nimble to use their hands and feet to scuttle belly-up across the ground. Once they get the hang of pretending they’re crabs, divide them into two teams and toss in a beach ball. Tell the kids they can only use their feet to maneuver it toward the goals. Hands aren't allowed in this game, except to fetch a ball that sails out of bounds.
Color in the champions crab trophy.
Photo Credit: Gretchen Easten