7 Creative Arts Play Ideas for your Backyard

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For the foreseeable future, I’ll be focusing on easy activities you can do in your yard and neighborhood. A lot of articles about outdoor play (including my own) are nature or sports focused. But this week I want to switch it up and bring all the creative arts activities outside! I would argue that the outdoors are the best context for the necessary inspiration required for the arts anyway.

Here are 7 ways to incorporate the creative arts into your children’s outdoor play!

Make a band and hold a concert in the backyard.

My little guy loves playing his instruments while listening to music. His absolute favorite is when my husband and I join him and make our own band! Have your kids gather any musical instruments you have around the house.

If you don’t have many, a lot of things can be DIY’d. Try this microphone, or check out this list of 20 instruments that are super easy to create on your own! My son’s favorite “instrument” is actually a cardboard guitar that I made him on the fly, so don’t feel like they need to buy anything!

Then, create some sort of stage area outside to set up the instruments on. Or just set up some fun lights and create a banner with the band name. Play some songs for your kid’s to go along with or let them do their own thing. BTW, no actual musical talent is required for this one. Although I guess it would be nice for the neighbor’s sake 😀

Shoot a video.

Have your kids come up with a video concept. Then, gather any costumes or props needed. One child might want to actually do the filming or direct the others. Some might just want to act in it while you film them. Someone might want to be in charge of costumes or finding the props. Let your kids natural abilities and interests determine who fulfills each role and see what they come up with!

Set up an easel and paint or sketch outside.

Outside is my favorite place to paint and draw. There’s a ton of inspiration if you want to look at something and try to reproduce it. It’s also a great environment even if you’re just painting something from your own imagination. So have your kids grab an easel or sketchpad plus some paint, color pencils, etc. and head outside!

Outdoor creative arts ideas for kids: small boy painting on an easel in his backyard.

Perform a play.

Same concept as the video, except that your kids will perform it to a live audience! Unfortunately, audience potential is a bit limited right now due to social distancing measures. But I had fun as a kid putting on plays even when my mom was the only audience member!

For the play, focus on creating some sort of stage or set for the performance to take place on. That part is half the fun! If you can’t build something, something simple like just hanging a curtain can create the vibe.

Practice photography around the yard and neighborhood.

This is a great skill for kids to practice! Even if they have no aspiration to be a professional photographer some day, it’s great to know at least a few basics for taking pictures of your own family. And chances are that if you own a camera and your kids see you taking pictures, they’re probably eager to try it too!

My three-year old loves it when I set up our camera on the tripod. He carries it around and takes TONS of pictures of everything. He even captured one classic of me sitting on the toilet. And ya know what? I’m gonna keep it forever.

Outdoor Creative arts ideas for kids: Small boy with camera on tripod taking pictures in his backyard.
Sub-par photo because this guy obviously has my good camera 😀

If you have decently nice camera and aren’t super thrilled about letting your younger kids use it, this is a highly rated and affordable kid’s camera that I’m looking at getting for my own little guy. Then I won’t have to worry about him damaging our family camera, Not to mention that he would be absolutely thrilled to have one of his very own that actually works!

Plan out and build a structure.

Architecture is another great creative arts outlet for kids! At least, I know my little guy loves building things. And this one is super versatile because their are so many different kinds of materials you can utilize! Anything from cardboard boxes, logs, pvc pipes, etc. If they’re old enough, you may even feel comfortable enough to let them have a go at some of your scrap lumber.

Practice descriptive writing in different outdoor spots.

If your child’s propensity in the creative arts leans toward literature or writing, have them practice descriptive writing inspired by the great outdoors! Even if it’s just in the backyard, there’s so much to observe and write about. Here’s a free printable I made with some prompts to get them started:

There ya go! Hopefully this gives you ideas of some different outlets for your child’s (and maybe your own) creativity! And if your kids are some of those who recently found themselves unable to go to school, they may be particularly missing some of their creative arts classes. So get out there and make something, stay safe, and have fun 😀

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