Summer is upon us and it’s time to shift focus to keeping kids busy for the next three months. With reliably nicer weather settling in, we can shift all that playing and learning to outdoor spaces. If you’re looking for a little more than turning on the sprinkler and tossing popsicles out the back door, here are 11 backyard activities to keep your little ones outside and engaged this summer.

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      1. Fill up the kiddie pool and play Sink or Float? Challenge younger kiddos to gather household items and make predictions about whether they will float or not. Wanna blow their minds? Test out a watermelon!
      2. Paint story stones to inspire new tales or simply decorate your garden. These rocks are so versatile. They’ll be used for tic-tac-toe, pretend food, and so much more!painted story stones
      3. Explore colors and chemistry with this salt and ice experiment. If your kids are like mine, they will keep mixing and squirting and playing long after the experiment is over.
      4. Grow Something! Mammoth sunflowers are a crowd favorite in our house, but even just a single bean seed in a bag will spark interest and conversation.
      5. Head out on your balcony and take the egg drop challenge! You’ll be amazed at the ideas your kids have for protecting their egg.
      6. Take a walk around your neighborhood or collect items in your backyard to make nature mandalas. These beautiful works of art are a great way to introduce ideas about color, shapes, and patterns to little learners.
      7. Dig through your recycling bin and create something new like a milk carton bird feeder or tin can wind chimes.
      8. Board games aren’t just for rainy days. Ditch the board and make a giant game of Chutes and Ladders with sidewalk chalk. Or try making one of these other chalk games.
      9. Raise Monarchs or other butterflies. It’s a real-life version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that will capture your kids’ minds and hearts as they observe the life cycle up close.
      10. Try a new kind of stay-cation and have a backyard campout with the whole family. Use your story stones to tell not-so-scary stories around the campfire. Don’t forget the s’mores!
        backyard camping
      11. Make giant bubbles with a homemade solution. DIY bubble wands and see who can make the biggest bubbles. Bonus: built-in hand-washing!

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