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Outdoor Activities for School-Age Children
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Getting Active: Fun Sports and Outdoor Activities for School-Age Children

For a youngster, playing games in the snow during the winter can create some pretty amazing memories, while playing games in the sun during the summer can be some of the most enjoyable. Whether it’s hot or cold, kids will be sure to play outside at our Potomac child care center.

Want to get your school-aged child outside doing more during the year? Here are some of the best outdoor activities our after school program in Potomac, MD, has found to help get your child outside and active no matter the season!

Elbow Tag

Pair up the kids, leaving one to be “It” and the other to be the first to be chased. Have each pair of people in a group link arms, and then have all the pairs form a big circle with 10 feet between each pair. “It” runs after the other “not joined by the elbow” child in the circle, just like in a classic game of tag.

If the child being chased needs a break, they can run to a pair of other kids and link arms with one of them. The child in the pair who was NOT linked to the child being chased is now “It’s” new target and must run away quickly to avoid being caught by “It.”

Outdoor Activities for School-Age Children

Board Games

Hangman is much more engaging when played in the dirt than when it is written down, and tic-tac-toe may be scratched into the dirt. You may always use sidewalk chalk for any of these activities, including those on different surfaces.

Create a checkerboard on the sidewalk using stones and acorns as the pieces, then play a game with your friends. Or you could just lay a blanket on the grass and play classic board games like Monopoly or Candy Land in a new setting.

Monkey in the Middle

Two or more players must pass a ball to each other while a player in the middle tries to get it. The game could be thought of as the opposite of dodgeball. Instead of trying to hit people in the middle with the ball, players try to keep the ball away from them.

The basic way to play is to draw a circle about 10 feet in diameter on the ground. One person stands in the middle, and the rest stand outside the circle. The player outside the circle must then throw the ball through the circle to another player outside the circle. The goal is to keep the person who is “it” from getting to the ball.

This keeps going until the person who is “it” catches the ball or gets it back if he or she fails to do so. The person who threw the ball last becomes it and moves to the middle, replacing the person who threw it first.

Sidewalk Chalk

We have learned through offering child care in Potomac, MD, that kids of any age can benefit from playing with some sidewalk chalk. We always have some floating around our center for the school age children to use. We also strongly encourage you to keep some at home for your kids. Provide children with various drawing challenges and playground activities that may be drawn with chalk to pique their interest in playing outside.

Obstacle Course

All you need is a piece of chalk and a clear mind. For kids in school, write out a list of large muscle moves in order, like you would for hopscotch. For example: jump like a bunny three times, hold a tree pose on one side, walk on your hands and feet, jump on your left foot, hold one foot up, jump on the right foot, spin twice, jump up, and try to touch the sky four times.

Winter Art

Start by putting colored water into ice cube trays. The water should freeze. When you’re done, take your colored cubes outside and use them to make shapes in the snow. Spray painting snow is another fun thing to do. Just put water in a spray bottle. Then, put in some food coloring and shake it up to mix. You can also draw pictures in the snow with washable art paint and paintbrushes.

Outdoor Activities for School-Age Children

Snow Ice Cream

You can make your own ice cream with just four simple items and a lot of snow. Mix one cup of the milk you like best, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, one-third cup of white sugar, and a pinch of salt. Put about eight cups of clean snow in the bowl outside. For a splash of color, don’t forget the sprinkles! Clean snow can also be used to make easy snow cones by putting some snow in a cup and adding flavoring syrup.

Ice Bowling

First, make an ice bowling ball, fill a balloon with water, and let it freeze overnight. Want to make the ball more colorful? Add food coloring to the water before putting the water in the balloon. Fill water bottles with colored water to make bowling pins. You can freeze the bottles if you have room in the freezer, but you don’t have to. Once you’re ready, put the pins in your “bowling alley” in any way you want. If the bowling alley is set up on concrete, wet it so the balls will roll better.

Outdoor Activities for School-Age Children, Rock painting

Rock Painting

You can easily buy rocks for this project or take the kids on a small hike around town to search for the best rocks to paint. Once the rocks are painted, you can have the kids display them at home or in your garden, or they can leave them around town for people to find while exploring.

Final Thoughts

Outdoor activities and sports are an excellent way to get your school-aged child involved in learning activities. While attending school during the day, children don’t get as much time to be outdoors, so fun outdoor activities are a must for school age programs in Potomac, MD, and at home. Offering a variety of fun outdoor activities and sports gives kids a chance to be kids; it gives them the freedom to explore and use their imaginations in ways they can’t during school.

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