5 Great Outdoor Activities that Encourage us to Play with Our Kids

When we were still living in South Africa, I bought a life-saving book, written by Dawn Isaac, titled “101 Things For Kids To Do Outside“. Not only did this book offer us ideas for hours of fun and constructive activities, it also saved my life (read sanity) during those LONG holidays.

Now we’re in the twilight of our first Michigan Winter – worlds apart from where we were a year ago! And I must confess that I cannot wait for the snow to melt and the newness of Spring to arrive… So we can again get down and do some of the “101 things for kids to do outside“. There are so many great ideas in this book, but I’ve decided to share my 5 favorite ones with you:

1. A “Potion” Lab

A Potion Lab

This is such an exciting playtime activity. Set up a table in your garden, with a waterproof tablecloth. You will need many containers of different shapes and sizes. A funnel, jugs, tweezers, anything that might be found (and is safe) in a science lab. As Dawn writes… “After all dragon’s blood and giant’s snot call for some very careful handling”.

Next is food coloring mixed with water, and for a fizzy experience add some bicarbonate of soda before splashing in a little vinegar. She also suggests a few more exciting ingredients, such as glitter, poster paint, flour, rice and vegetable oil, (give these some creative names ie: unicorn tears, etc.).

The possibilities are endless 🙂

2. Rustle up a Bird Feast

Bird Feast

I love this idea for Spring and Summer. One sure way to get the birds into your garden!

You will need cut-off branches, large plant pot, bricks or stones, soil or sand, garden wire, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn, apples, orange halves, lard (rendered fat), flour, oats, and birdseed.

If you don’t have a large tree to hang your creations from, you can build your own tree using the plant pot, sand, cut off branches and bricks. Use unsalted and unbuttered popcorn and thread onto the garden wire to make “nibble rings”. You can also thread apple slices onto the garden wire for a fruity treat. Slice up the oranges into rings, make a mixture out of the lard, flour, oats, and birdseed fill the rings and thread onto the wire (exact proportions in the book).

You can hang these from your made tree or from a tree in your garden. Colorful and pretty!

3. Setting Up Camp

Setting Up Camp

I cannot wait to get camping! Our kids are finally at the age where they can appreciate what it’s all about! I think making the frame is the most difficult, but once it is done you can throw over any blanket and decorate to your own desire. You can lay a blanket down on the floor inside, pack a picnic and whala!

4. Create a Paving Stone Gallery

Paving Art

I’ve been doing this with my kids since they could hold a piece of chalk! I think people would see our driveway as a collection of beautiful artworks! The possibilities here are endless. You could use chalk, powder paint, homemade paint, and brushes. Let the creative juices flow! The best part about this activity is that you can hose it down when done… I choose to let the artwork linger!

5. Last but not least “Start a mini vegetable garden”


This is just gorgeous! Nothing like planting seeds, letting our children watch them grow and then EAT the Produce!! You can prettify or separate the garden by adding seashells or stones. You can use an old bucket, wheelbarrow, wooden crate or baby bath! The kids just love getting dirty!


I just HAVE to add one more favorite! This is for my youngest son! He is OBSESSED with wildlife, especially lions!

6. Building a mini Rockery!

Rock Garden

Collect some rocks, stones, and green vegetation… then build a little rockery structure in the corner of your garden. Bring out some animals and there you have it! You can change this to a fairy garden, etc!


I hope you enjoyed this post, I, for one, am feeling really positive about Spring! If you have any new ideas please comment below!

There is nothing more therapeutic than getting outdoors, with the sun on your skin! It is definitely a must when you are a mama! Once the kids are into their activities and you have spent some one on one time with them, you can sit and watch them play with a cuppa tea or a glass of wine!  Your choice, your delight!

Dawn has activities for every season, she has written a second book “101 Things For Kids To Do On a Rainy Day”

Some rules:

  1. Always ask an adult
  2. Never eat what you make…

All photo’s and ideas credited to Dawn Isaac, Will Heap (Photography), and the book: “101 Things For Kids To Do Outside”. #LOVE  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1770857117/.

Please visit Dawn’s website  http://www.dawn-isaac.com/

ps – I write this as I stare out at the falling snow. Spring cannot come soon enough!

Featured on Mum Muddling Through #coolmumclub

13 thoughts on “5 Great Outdoor Activities that Encourage us to Play with Our Kids

  1. Hey you just reminded me that we were bought that book for Christmas…although we are just waiting for our British springtime to arrive to start using it! Looks awesome fun…
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

  2. Great ideas! I love Spring and finally being able to get outside. On your list, I particularly like planting seeds together and the bird feast too. Sounds like an awesome book #whatevertheweather

  3. We also have this book! I’ve written about my favourite ideas. Looking forward to trying out the solar oven in the summer, and you’ve reminded me about making camp in the garden. We also made a pond over the Easter holidays. We’re also looking forward to more sun on the skin now that spring is finally here x #whatevertheweather

  4. What a fantastic book, I love the ideas your mentioned. Easy to achieve and hours of fun to be had! thanks for sharing. #WhateverTheWeather

  5. I love, love, love these ideas!! Particularly the last one. We’re definitely going to be trying out all of them. They really do make you want to get outside and play with your children. It’s so important for their development too. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather x

  6. I looove all your ideas here! The mini rockery is so sweet ad I have plans for something similar with a car/train track for my boys! The potions looks amazing too, trying to build a little mud kitchen for my two and this would be fantastic to do in their little cooking/potion area. Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

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