This year’s pandemic has put a damper on most families’ adventurous travel plans. With the ever changing peaks and valleys of the number of Coronavirus cases, it’s hard to know when it’s completely safe to leave the security of your home. And for parents of restless children, that uncertainty can prove troublesome. If your kids are itching to explore and you’re running short on ideas, why not transform your backyard into a wonderland of excitement? Here are three simple ways to create a backyard adventure for your kids.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, school-aged children need 60 minutes of physical activity every day. What better way to get your kids moving than to build an obstacle course in your backyard? While adult obstacle courses (like the Spartan Stadion) typically prioritize intense physical challenges over enjoyment, with a DIY kids course, you can keep fun at the forefront. With a little creativity and a few household items, your children can have their own personal fitness challenge that is safe and entertaining. Here are a few activity ideas:
- Hoops: Gather a couple of hula hoops for an obstacle that will get your kids jumping. You can lay your hoops flat on the ground and instruct your children to hop from one to the next. Or, for more of a challenge, stand your hoops up vertically, and see if your little ones can jump through them.
- Crawl Underneath: You can use a cluster of balloons, a tunnel of pool noodles, or a wall of streamers to create an army-crawl obstacle. This colorful challenge is guaranteed to burn a lot of energy and result in tons of laughter. Make sure to stage this activity in a grassy or padded area section of your backyard to prevent unintended cuts and bruises.
- Water Play: Make a splash with the water hose, Super Soakers, a kiddie pool, or even plain old buckets of water. There is an endless list of water activities that you can incorporate into your obstacle course. If you need some ideas to help you get started, check these out.
For activity instructions and pictures, visit these websites from obstacle course pros:
If you’re looking for an adventure that provides both physical and mental exercise for your children, a scavenger hunt may be exactly what they need. This timeless activity is adaptable enough to work for all skill levels and ages. For younger children, you can print out a clue sheet that includes pictures of easy-to-find items. For older kids, you can increase the difficulty by setting a time limit for the hunt, making it a competition, or requiring participants to search for hidden items. You can also make it more challenging by including scrambled letters or riddles that must be solved to uncover each clue. Your backyard scavenger hunt can focus on a list of random items, but themed explorations are even more fun. Here are some exciting ideas:
- Insect scavenger hunts
- Color scavenger hunts
- Movement-based scavenger hunt
- Flashlight scavenger hunt
- Plant scavenger hunt
For enrichment, ask your kids to draw, photograph, or take a video of each item they find.
For a classic backyard adventure, look no further than an overnight campout. You’ll get the best of both worlds by enjoying the great outdoors with all the comforts of home nearby. Pull out the sleeping bags, or aim for comfort by bringing a small air mattress outside. Pack a picnic-style dinner, or use the flame from your grill to roast hotdogs and marshmallows. Keep the kids busy with a movie projected on an outdoor screen, or bring a tablet outside to listen to spooky audiobooks. To conclude the night with a memorable moment, use a stargazing app to identify the night sky’s constellations. With all the fun in store, a backyard campout will prove that you don’t need to leave home to have a blast.
COVID-19 and outdoor adventures don’t have to be mutually exclusive terms. You and your children can have fun outside without endangering your health. Stay safe with these three simple tips to create the backyard adventures of every kid’s dreams.