PLAY: 12 ideas for backyard fun and games

17 December 2018
Reading time3 mins

These summer days are the perfect time to set up some backyard fun! 

We’ve put together a list of play ideas that will most certainly keep your kids occupied and happy.

Scavenger Hunt

A nature scavenger hunt in the backyard is the perfect way for kids to build gross motor skills and learn about nature during a fun sensory experience. Use one of these free printable scavenger hunts to set your kids moving and discovering.


Gardening is a great way to build your children’s love of nature and teach them about how food is grown. Try planting micro herbs as they tend to grow quicker or perhaps planting new plants in creative containers like boots, jeans, shoes or old dump trucks. This article on kids in the garden will give you plenty more ideas on gardening with your kids.

Pool noodle racetrack

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Pool noodles are so versatile! Simply cut the pool noodle in half and you have an awesome racetrack for matchbox cars!

Image Credit: Ramblings from Utopia

Trampoline chalk drawing

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If you have a trampoline, give your kids some chalk and have them create a masterpiece! Just like drawing with chalk on concrete, it will wash off with a bit of rain.

Image Credit: Trampoline Games

Dinosaur hunt

You can buy a packet of dinosaurs pretty cheap at places like Kmart these days. All you have to do is hide the dinosaurs around the yard and have your kids find them! Some of them might be tricky to find because they’re camouflaged!

Obstacle Course

Get creative with this one and use whatever ‘obstacles’ you can find in the backyard to make this obstacle course loads of fun. You could use old tyres, hula hoops, balance boards and even wool which you can wrap between two trees to form a spider’s web they have to climb through!

Bean bag toss

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Grab a bucket or two, some baskets from the two dollar shop, an old tyre, a piece of cardboard with a large hole cut out of it and have your kids play bean bag toss. Bean bags are pretty easy to make, all you need to do is sew two squares of material (such as corduroy) together, leave a hole, add some dried lentils and then sew the bag up. For detailed instructions check out this article. Alternatively, if you’re not a confident sewer, try using small snaplock backs or small drawstring bags that you can find at Spotlight.

Image Credit: Dollar Store Mum

Make bird feeders

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There’s nothing better than attracting wildlife to your backyard and making a bird feeder is so easy. This article Make Your Own Birdfeeder will show you how.

Backyard camp out

Do you remember doing this as a kid and how cool it felt that you had your own ‘place’ to chill out in, that was yours, if only for a day? Perfect if you’ve got a small tent or you could improvise with sheets or blankets over the branch of a tree.

Rock art

Send your kids hunting for rocks and have them turn them into whatever they like using just a little bit of paint and lots of creativity! They can even paint the rocks for the next activity on the list – naughts and crosses.

Naughts and crosses

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Have your kids paint naughts and crosses onto rocks (or cute little bugs like these ones) and then they can enjoying ‘naughts and crosses’ for as long as they like!

Image credit: Chicken Scratch NY

Night bowling

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This is obviously a game that needs to be played at night for effect, but we just had to include it. All you need are some old plastic bottles and glow sticks!

Image credit: Growing a Jewelled Rose

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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