Cancelled events, sports and school have left kids (and parents) at a loss of how to spend their time. There’s only so much tv and social media you can handle in a week, right? Luckily, though, the backyard is open for fun! Not only can you get much-needed vitamin D from the sun, you also can get exercise and fresh air. The trick is how to get kids outside and enjoying themselves without it feeling forced. We’ve compiled a selection of outdoor play items to get you started.
Give it a Sporting Chance
Remember the backyard games you used to play as a kid? We bet those were some good memories, right? (Even when you squabbled with your sibling over the exact rules.) It’s time to continue the tradition with nostalgic games you know and love, but some with updates and enhancements. The whole family will revel in a competitive game of croquet, horseshoes or cornhole. And, remember lawn darts? Yeah, well, they’ve been modified so they’re safer, and some even glow in the dark! A badminton set or disc golf target lets you practice swings and throws to outplay the opposing team. When you all participate, you’ll be surprised how much kids will enjoy playing these un-plugged games.
|Franklin Sports Archery Set||Franklin Sports 6-Player Croquet Set|
Buy that Extra Vacation Home
Ok, so not exactly a real vacation spot, but you can pretend with one of these playhouse tents. Pop up one of these beauties on the lawn and watch imagination ignite in your kids. From safari to castle, there’s an adventure waiting to be played out in one of these fabric structures. Teepee-shaped ones are extra cozy for camping, napping or reading too. Add some pillows, blankets or sleeping bags, and the kids might even want to sleep outside for the night (if the weather is right). These little havens also provide some shaded area from the sun when it’s too hot for little ones’ skin. Or, if you’re truly ambitious and want something more substantial to be a semi-permanent fixture in the yard, then build or put-together a wooden playhouse. Now, that’ll be an adventure to involve many hands.
|Hey Play Play Tent||Pacific Play Tents Club House Tent|
Cool Off with Water in Many Forms
With warmer weather on the way, now is the time to prepare for how to stay cool. Water is an easy and fun way to provide a distraction from the sun. If you are one of the lucky ones to already own a pool, then you are off to a great start. Stock up on new pool floats—there’s so many cute designs—octopus, sloth, avocado and corgi to name a few. Water toys and sprinklers give you sprays of water in unexpected ways. Running from the water is almost as much fun as getting wet. There are many games and accessories as well to enhance the fun. And, of course, a simple but proven way to become drenched is to fill water balloons and start a backyard battle. Good luck! (Tip: don’t forget to have plenty of beach towels on hand.)
|Poolmaster All Pro Water Basketball Game||BigMouth Giant 6-ft. Dinosaur Yard Sprinkler|
Run, Hide, Aim and Fire
There’s something so freeing about just running uninhibited through the yard. But, if you have a mission to find and blast your opponent with a toy blaster gun, then exploring the outdoors becomes a more strategic game of hide and seek. Nerf blasters or water guns are perfect for exposing your friend or foe out of their hiding spot. This is a great way to release some pent-up energy you may have from being cooped up at home for so many days. Plot out a path and get moving—someone’s on your tail!
|Nerf Rival Prometheus Mxviii-20k||Toy Story 4 Laser Tag Blasters|
Hopefully, you and your family can find some time to relax and enjoy each other’s company in the safety of your own backyard with help from some of these games and ideas as starters. Show us how you’re playing outdoors with your kids by tagging #AllAtJCP. Then follow us on Twitter and Instagram to see if you are featured.