Boredom busters for outside play

by Lindsey Ralston

It’s that time of year when schoolchildren and many homeschooling parents are taking it a little easier. When I was younger, I remember counting down the days until school would be out and summer break would begin. How could I ever get bored during summer break? Well, it happens, and today I’m going to share five of the best boredom busters to get your children playing outside this summer. 

Become Van Gogh with water

My children love to paint. In their homeschool room, they have watercolors, tempera paints, brushes of all sizes and mounds of paper. However, summer gives us the opportunity to do something a little different and bring a little spice to our activities. 

Painting with water is just the spice we all need! All you have to do is give each kid a bucket of water and a large paint brush. (The kind of paint brush you would use to paint walls in your house.) Then tell them the sky is the limit. They can use the driveway, a wooden privacy fence or even a concrete patio as their canvas to “paint.” The best part is that as soon as it dries, they have a blank canvas again! Trust me, they will have fun with this for a LONG time.

Balloon volleyball

I am amazed at how just by giving children a balloon or two, they can have fun for such a long time! Have you ever tried balloon volleyball? You don’t even need a net for this one. Just use sidewalk chalk to draw a line dividing one side of the “court” from the other. You could even lay sticks across the grass in your backyard if you are using your driveway. A minimum of two children can play with one on each side. The game is simple. Don’t let the balloon drop on your side of the court! (Please ensure playing with balloons is age appropriate for children.)

Scavenger hunt

This activity is fun for any season! My children love going outside and “hunting” for everything on the list I give them. I love seeing how different their “treasures” are from each other. One time, my kids were each hunting for a big stick. My daughter came back with a rather large twig, and my son came back with a fallen tree limb! 

This activity is fun to do in your backyard, on a nature walk or even at the park. You can find a fun scavenger hunt list on my blog (

Soda can bowling

This activity is pretty straight forward and TONS of fun. All you need is 10 empty soda cans and any kind of ball. If you don’t drink soda (yay!), you can use empty water bottles! Just set the cans up like bowling pins and start rolling! 

For younger children, you can use sidewalk chalk to draw circles so they know where to set up the “pins” after they knock them down. 

BONUS: On those days when it’s 110 percent humidity outside (you know it will happen!), there is an inside version! Use toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes as your pins. We like to use our long foyer as a bowling lane. We set them up at the end of the foyer then take turns rolling a soft, inflated ball. My kids find it just as fun to set up the “pins” as they do knocking them over. 

Bring back hopscotch

Did you play hopscotch when you were little? I did! And it’s a lot of fun! When we were building our house, I actually drew a hopscotch pattern in the wet concrete outside but you can also draw it with chalk. A quick Google search will show you the pattern if you don’t remember. Children hop on one foot and they have to skip a square each time. Start with skipping the first square. Mark it with a bean bag or a small rock. The goal is to hop on one foot down and back while jumping over the marked square. Small children can hop on two feet. 

I hope these ideas will put a little pep in your step! Happy summer everyone!