Monday, October 5, 2009

The Outside Jar

In my mind, there isn't much that is better for a kid than spending as much time as possible playing outside.
I remember hours spent out in our back yard when I was a little girl!

For some reason or another, my boys have gotten off to a slow start when it comes to outdoor playtime. If Dale has his friends to play with, he is off without complaint, and for a whole afternoon or evening - or both! But at home with just he and Alan, that is a different story, and a vague, "go outside and play" from me is often met with whining. Either that or he comes traipsing back in a few minutes later because there is "nothing to do."

Yeah, right.... there is plenty to do! So I decided they might need a little help.

Which brings us to ... The Outside Jar.

With a little help brainstorming, I came up with a list of around 15 thing to do outside, cut them into strips, and put them into our fancy little jar.

Now, when the day is pretty and the boys need some directed outside time, they love drawing out an activity suggestion. If it is more complex, we brainstorm together about what they might need, and pack a bag or box together before they set out.

This has definitely helped me get them outside to play, and has helped them enjoy it more! My hope is that they will begin to have favorites from the jar they play without me (or the jar) suggesting them, and then start coming up with their own ideas more often.

At the very least, the Outside Jar has been a jump-start to more imaginative play that has totally changed how my boys look at outside time. Now they get excited when I send them out to play!

Some of the activities in our Outside Jar:
Play in the Sandbox

Go on a daytime camp-out (one of their favorites so far)
Draw with sidewalk chalk
Blow Bubbles
Hunt for Treasure
Play Rescue
Play Store
Pretend you are on a wagon train
Go sailing to discover new land
Fly airplanes
Play dinosaurs

Do you have any suggestions to add to our jar?


Shanna said...

Oh, I'm loving this idea!

hmmm...ideas to add:

Nature journaling.
Wildflower Walk (take pictures or draw them to identify later).
Build a fort/clubhouse.
Play Four Square or Hopscotch(use chalk).
Do a job for mom and get paid! (Maybe 50 cents to pull weeds out of landscaping, or a quarter to sweep the porch, or a dollar to rake the leaves).

Thanks for the idea!

Queen Diva said...

This kinda goes under Treasure Hunt, but you could actually list a few things for the boys to find, like a scavenger hunt. Just some "in season" nature items, and maybe an unexpected find that you've placed somewhere, like pennies, or a toy car or something. Great idea, Amy!

Anonymous said...

We recently moved into town, where the "yard" is not so play friendly, The Outside Jar might be perfect for giving them some ideas in their more confined play area.


Natalie said...

One of my favorite things to do when I was little was "cook". My sister and I would make some great looking salad and mud that is fun! Another great memory leaves me wondering why I never broke a bone (sure was fun though) We would take our wagon and turn it into a car using lawn chairs and blankets. Then push each other from behind while we used the handle to steer. Two square (we didnt have enough for four), detective, obstacle course (for remote control cars or bikes) are all fun things too.

Betsy said...

Take a card table and an old bedspread or a sheet and make a tent. Kids like a close cozy playhouse. If you want to get really fancy, give them a small rug or something for a floor. This will also work inside for colder weather.

Michelle said...

We don't have an outside jar, because the girls loooove to play outside. However, I am seriously considering an inside jar for this winter. Great ideas!

My kids like to do the following things that aren't on the list...
* put on their own olympics (has to do with their love of gymnastics)
* play school (with recess, centers, and all)
* jump on the trampoline
* play golf (they have play clubs and whiffle golf balls)
* play baseball, kickball, soccer
* chase the dog/each other

Your ideas are awesome, and have totally inspired me to make a jar for inside. Thanks!

*Mirage* said...

What a wonderful idea!