Fun indoor and outdoor games for little ones

December 10, 2018

Summer is here and whether you love bunkering down or soaking up the sunshine outside, we have pulled together a list of simple activities you can do with your little one — in and out of doors. Add these to your bag of tricks and you’ll not only have fun, you’ll also create opportunities for your child to learn language and build on their literacy and other important skills. Don’t forget to add lots of talking and conversation to your play time.


Indoor obstacle course

Set up some cushions, sheets and other household items and challenge your child to an indoor obstacle course. A simple google image or pinterest search will throw up 1001 ideas to try.

Scavenger hunt

Make a list of household items and tick them off together as your child locates them.

Muffin tray sorting

Using a muffin tray, test your child’s sorting skills. You can sort anything into a range of categories like:

  • pom poms, buttons or crayons by colour
  • uncooked pasta by shape
  • natural items (pebbles, shells, leaves, sticks) by type

Air play

What is air? Allow your child to feel and see what it can do with an empty squeezy sauce bottle and some light feathers or tissues. See what else you can find together that will float.

Make some play dough

You can buy some ready made or make your own as a learning activity. Mix a cup of salt, 2 cups of plain flour and 3 teaspoons of cream of tartar. With little helpers well clear, add 2 cups of  boiling water, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and allow to cool until just warm. Knead on a floured board and add a few drops of food colouring of choice. Then it’s play time!

Add some magnetic letters to the activity and use them to cut out the play dough. See if you can spell some simple words or your child’s name.

Once you’re done, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Wax crayon etchings

Colour in a wax paper plate with a generous amount of wax crayon. Then, using a wooden skewer stick (snap off the pointy end) draw a picture or write some letters.

Cardboard box city

If your recycling bin is overflowing after Christmas, why not get some enjoyment out of the cardboard boxes before the big bin truck arrives? Make tunnels, cubby houses, stages for puppet shows, robot costumes – even a your own car or rocket ship.

Coloured ice cubes

Put some food colouring in your ice cube trays before they freeze. Pull them them out frozen and watch them melt and mix on a plate.


Paint the fence

With a tub filled with water and few paint brushes, this is a great mess-free play activity that everyone can join in on. Paint your name or artwork onto the fence, the back steps or any outdoor surface. When you’re done, cool down with a splashing game using the left over water.

Go on a bug hunt

See how many different critters you can spot in your backyard or local park. Set yourself a target, write them down and illustrate your list as you find them. Borrow a book on insects from your local library and learn more about your discoveries.

Set up a backyard toy wash

Gather some plastic toys or plastic kitchenware and set up a washing station outside. You’ll just need a bucket, ordinary detergent and some scrubbing brushes or sponges.

Reading picnic

Take some books and snacks outside and share a book or three under a tree.

More outdoor play ideas

For more ideas on having fun outside, see our Fire up your child’s creativity in nature article and extend the learning with some of these books. Look for them at your local library.