7 Outdoor Activities for Kids that Encourage a lot of Creativity (and a Little Mess)

Wednesday Jul 28th, 2021



The only thing kids love more than being outside is being outside and getting messy! With school over and the kids at home, beat mid-week boredom with these messy, must-do outside activities perfect for keeping kids busy on summer days. Doing these activities outside makes cleanup easy and lets your kids release their creative energy. Plus you probably already have most of the things you’ll need in your cupboards. So get the hose ready and add these seven messy activities to your to-do list this summer! 

Image via @inspiremyplay

DIY nature brushes with backyard finds

Making the paint brushes will be just as fun as the actual painting with this two-part activity. Start by asking kids to pick out leaves, twigs, flowers, or grasses from your garden, backyard or local park. Attach each item to a twig with an elastic band to create a one-of-a-kind (and disposable for easy cleanup) paintbrush. Next, set up some paper, dip the nature brushes into paint, and watch kids discover the different shapes and patterns each unique brush creates.  

Image via @this_sonny_day

Colourful taste-safe paints

You probably already have everything you need to do this messy DIY kids will love. Simply mix plain yogurt and different food colourings in a muffin tin to create a safe and non-toxic painting station. Make it even messier and more fun by letting kids mix their own paint colours and discovering what different colour combos they can come up with. Ensure cleanup is easy by setting up paper outside and hosing down the mess when kids have completed their creations. Also be sure to let your kids know they can’t eat all paint, just this stuff!

Image via 7daysofplay.com

A fizzy rainbow science experiment

All you need is baking soda, water, vinegar, food colouring, and an ice cube tray to create this colourful science experiment kids will be wowed by. After freezing ice cubes made from baking soda, water, and food colouring, lay them out on a tray or wide pan outside on the grass or a table. Using an eye dropper, ask kids to drip vinegar onto the ice cubes and get ready for a fizzy display of colours. Younger kids will be impressed by a swirl of colours and older kids can start to learn about the chemical reaction taking place right in front of their eyes. 

Image via kidactivitieswithalexa.com

Quick DIY glitter playdough

If your kid loves glitter but you don’t love the cleanup (who can blame you?), do this playdough glitter DIY outside to make the inevitable glitter spill no big deal. Start by creating your own playdough with pantry basics like flour, water, and salt (this part requires some microwaving and cooling time) before handing it over to kids to add the finishing touches. 

When you’re ready to set up outside, be sure you put a tarp, blanket, or easy-to-clean surface on the ground. Keeping the glitter out of your home is great, but you also want to keep it out of the homes of the little critters running around! With that in place, set kids up with different colours and textures of glitter to work into the playdough to create a colourful and custom glitter bomb that beats your average playdough. 

Image via @funathomeclub

Easy-to-make chalk paint

Sidewalk chalk is fun but sidewalk paint is even better. All you need is cornstarch, water, and food colouring to create sidewalk paint that’s kid-safe and easy to clean up. Older kids will love mixing and creating their own custom paint colours, too. When mixed and ready to go, kids can apply the chalk paint with a brush or sponge to sidewalks or driveways. Leave the sidewalk art on display for the neighbourhood or rinse it away with the hose. 

Image via Capturing_Parenthood on Instagram

A spray bottle painting party

Spray bottle painting is the ultimate summertime boredom buster for kids toddler-aged and up. Use liquid watercolours or watered down non-toxic paint to create a colourful, sprayable paint you can fill a spray bottle with. Set up an easel or stick a large piece of paper to a tree with a thumb tack to create an outdoor art studio where anything goes. Kids will love the mess-factor and you might actually be impressed by the fridge-worthy art results.

Image via growingajeweledrose.com

Exploding paint bags

The mess factor is 10 out of 10 with this outdoor activity kids of all ages will be thrilled by. With some simple science and basic household items like vinegar and baking soda, you can create a colourful science experience kids will be amazed by. All you need to do is fill a resealable plastic storage bag bag (large or small) with some vinegar, baking soda, and crushed chalk or food colouring then seal the bag tightly once outside. The vinegar and baking soda will react, causing the bag to expand, burst and create a colour explosion on your driveway. 

Art projects for kids are fun, but they can be messy. By doing these activities outside, kids will be impressed by the mess and you’ll love being able to just hose everything down.

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