play all day

Unlike crafts, which tend to be directed activites with a general goal in mind (i.e. to create a drawing, etc.), play includes directed activities like games as well as completely unscripted and undirected activities. Most kids don’t need a reason or method to play; it comes naturally to them. Sometimes, however, we like to spruce it up, give them some materials, and let them wander. Games, explorations, adventures, discoveries, and many ways to keep playing….

P indicates a printable download or PDF.
F indicates a personal favorite.

  1. Shape scavenger hunt with printable (The Mother Huddle)
  2. Nap-time photo shoot (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  3. Make bug slime spaghetti (The Imagination Tree)
  4. Play with paper pulp (Happy Little Messes)
  5. Play with sticks (Picklebums)
  6. A scavenger hunt and make (The Mother Huddle)
  7. Make mud pies (Let the Children Play)
  8. Outdoor tea party (Go Explore Nature)
  9. Play on a masking tape track (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  10. Shell collages (Counting coconuts)
  11. Communal weaving project in the great outdoors (Let the Children Play)
  12. Become a superhero (Mossy)
  13. Make grasses into nests (Caro and Co.)
  14. Paper airplane competitions (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  15. Team-building fun with a stretch band (Quirky Mama)
  16. Make a toad abode (Crafty Gardener)
  17. Make a mini mudbrick house (imagine childhood)
  18. Natural Lincoln logs (Full Circle)
  19. Wall ball (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  20. Ice castles (imagine childhood)
  21. Park explorer play kits (Teach Mama)
  22. Swim in a large mud puddle (The Green Gate)
  23. Oonch neech, a game played in Pakistan (Games Kids Play)
  24. Flour play (Playful Learners)
  25. Sink or float (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  26. Create fairy gardens and shelters (Let the Children Play)
  27. Make magic soup (Go Explore Nature)
  28. Pretend play: You are on a train (Our Story)
  29. Grinding stone, a Malaysian game (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  30. Texture walk (The Magnifying Glass)
  31. Duck duck goose (Games Kids Play)
  32. Roll down hills and see which position is fastest (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  33. Marshmallow and toothpick construction (Playopedia)
  34. Make a fairy or gnome house (Your Wild Child)
  35. Create your own dance studio and play dance (Nurture Store)
  36. Shapescotch (A Mom With A Lesson Plan)
  37. Letter scavenger hunt at a playground (I Can Teach My Child)
  38. Stick stacks (imagine childhood)
  39. Play squirrelly seek outside (National Wildlife Federation)
  40. Bark rubbing (Playful Learners)
  41. Photography walk (Boredom Busting Mommy)
  42. Do some yoga together (Nurture Store)
  43. Paint the fence (A Teacher At Heart)
  44. Tuffet bouncing (Toddler Approved)
  45. Dance and creative movement for preschoolers (Childhood 101)
  46. Learn to graph with M&M’s (Quirky Momma)
  47. Homemade fish tank (Playing By the Book)
  48. Chalk and puddle play (Mama Pea Pod)
  49. Role play a deserted island (Playful Learners)
  50. Sailing a stick raft (Make and Takes)
  51. Koolaid play dough (Factory Direct Craft Blog)
  52. Math games using a deck of cards (Pep Nonprofit)
  53. Egg carton place value game (Third Grade Thinkers)
  54. Make it rain in a jar (I Can Teach My Child)
  55. Make a butterfly garden (Sun Hats and Wellie Boots)
  56. Dip net for water bugs (Little Eco Footprints)
  57. Sand dough (I Can Teach My Child)
  58. Natural outdoor play space (Little Eco Footprints)
  59. Moon sand (Factory Direct Craft Blog)
  60. Q-tip pictures (Puttiprapancha)
  61. Grocery store games (Let’s Explore)*
  62. Explore nature in new ways including rainbows (Simple Kids)
  63. Build a twig tower (Woodland Trust Nature Detectives)*
  64. Play with tree blocks (Counting Coconuts)
  65. Poetry baskets (Counting Coconuts)
  66. Homemade threading beads (Mini Eco)
  67. The science of bubbles and baby pools (My Oatmeal Kisses)
  68. Land art (Land Art for Kids)
  69. Nature’s alphabet (Playopedia)
  70. Nature sorting car game (Little Eco Footprints)
  71. Slither the snake make and play *
  72. Play with pegs (Nurture Store)
  73. Quilted color match game for tots (Frugal Family Fun Blog)
  74. Hopping turtle race (The Toymaker)*
  75. Beetle dice game (Adventures with Kids)
  76. Singing sack (Under 5s)
  77. Peekaboo prickle *
  78. Easy lexicon game (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  79. Bingo (A Magical Childhood)
  80. Pool noodle beads game (Totally Tots)
  81. Mini-beast themed bingo (Early Learning HQ) P
  82. Creative hula hoop games (Impress Your Kids)
  83. Countingo bingo (Early Learning HQ) P
  84. An inviting bug garden (Strong Start)
  85. Create a world for bugs (Go Explore Nature)
  86. Go fish (Meet the Dubiens) P
  87. Water wall (Playopedia)
  88. Beach ball games for preschoolers (Body Smart Blog)
  89. Tape city on the wall (Puttiprancha)
  90. Shadow stories (Playopedia)
  91. 13 games to play with light (Science At Home)
  92. Making toys fly (Gratefully Growing in Grace)
  93. Baby play tunnel fun (The Imagination Tree)
  94. Water play nature hunt (Teach Preschool)
  95. Rope trail (Creative Star Learning)
  96. Noodle hockey (Training Happy Hearts)
  97. Move like an animal (House of Baby Piranha)
  98. Backyard obstacle course (Imagination Soup)
  99. Story stones (Little Eco Footprints)
  100. Make balloon people (Curly Birds)
  101. Five indoor play ideas for bad weather (The Grass Stain Guru)
  102. Play indoor games outside with natural objects (National Wildlife Federation)
  103. 13 things to do with rocks (Science At Home)
  104. Outdoor scavenger hunt with stickers (Curly Birds) P
  105. Fizzy sidewalk paint (Kids Activities Blog)
  106. Become a phenologist (Lake Country Journal)
  107. Make mini sandcastles (See Jane Blog)
  108. Waterfall water wall (Playing By the Book)
  109. Host your own Just So Festival (Nurture Store) F
  110. Observe homemade eclipses (Fun Science Gallery)
  111. Garden rock pool (Nurture Store)
  112. Recycled container garden (Red Ted Art’s Blog)
  113. Family tent from sheets and PVC pipes (Kids Activities Blog)
  114. Banging wall (Soulemama) F
  115. Outdoor education guide (alina’s adventures in homemaking) P
  116. Build a branch and twig teepee (Silly Eagle Books)
  117. Tree stump play (Childhood 101)
  118. Ring toss game (Playbased Learning)
  119. Mixing potions (Let the Children Play)
  120. Bocce (Real Simple)
  121. Ring-taw marbles (British Library)
  122. Water pinata (Family Fun)
  123. Book corner imaginary play (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  124. Pulley play (Artful Parent)
  125. Vegetable animals (Christine Mosler)
  126. Bubble wrap dancing (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  127. Tap dancing for pennies (Real Simple)
  128. Letterboxing with kids (alina’s adventures in homemaking) P
  129. Mini wood playhouses (Paris Bourke)
  130. Squirrel nut hunt activity (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  131. Outdoor music wall (Filth Wizardry)
  132. Balloon ping pong (The Weekend Homemaker)
  133. Play kick-the-can (Pixies Did It)
  134. Hunt for fairy homes (alina’s adventures in homemaking) P
  135. Play a game of conkers (British Library)
  136. Use a lamp post for Maypole dancing (British Library)
  137. Play five stones (British Library)
  138. Nest-building (British Library)
  139. Make shadow animals (Catherine Willis)
  140. Whittling with boys and girls (Acorn Pies)
  141. Weave on chicken wire (Fairy Dust Teaching)
  142. Squirrel nut hunt (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  143. Make and play with a kids futuristic construction set (Michele Mademe)
  144. A Mindful of Art booklet filled with games to play while looking at art (Awesome Artists) P
  145. Play around with animals and habitats (Mommy Labs)
  146. Rainy day dance party with free tunes (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  147. Mini tents (Ambrosia Girl)
  148. Pinecone story starters (alina’s adventures)
  149. Car ramps (Ambrosia Girl)
  150. List of treasure and other hunts (alina’s adventures in homemaking)
  151. Messy outdoor art (Clementine Boulder)
  152. Shadow puppet animals (Catherine Willis) P
  153. Eco-dyeing with outdoor materials (Cobbled Together)
  154. Travel agent pretend play (Mommy Labs)
  155. Recycle race (Puffin) P
  156. The Adventures of a Cardboard Box to inspire them (Kickcan and Conkers)
  157. Knight games (Family Fun)
  158. Make bubbles and a bubble wand (Classic Play)
  159. Doodle on wooden blocks (lilla a)
  160. Newspaper play structures (Frugal Family Fun Blog)
  161. Land art (Mommy Labs)
  162. Play with weeds (alina’s adventures)
  163. Explore old games like “conkers” (Playtimes: A century of children’s games)
  164. Find Tuscaloosa letterboxes (AtlasQuest)
  165. Go fly fishing (Redington)
  166. Pretend play post office (Nurture Store)
  167. Collect moss to make green Indian dye (alina’s adventures)
  168. Make a boat from Jenga blocks (Steampunk Galore)
  169. Make and play a mancala-type game from Ethiopia (Citizen World Citizen)
  170. Play with colored shadows (Play At Home Mom)
  171. Go on a toy animal hunt (Kids Activities Blog)
  172. Play under an easy outdoor tent (Earth chick)
  173. Go on an alphabet city hunt (The Best Children’s Books)
  174. Play the Oregon trail file folder game (File Folder Fun) P
  175. Play at a tapestry table (Kleas)
  176. Make a DIY thread spool fishing pole and go yard fishing (Made By Joel)
  177. Pretend to tan some hides
  178. Play a turkey game (Kids Creative Chaos)
  179. Set up some outdoor chalk challenges to start the day (Nurture Store)
  180. Letter toss (Playdough to Plato)
  181. Play Adopt-An-Insect Bingo (Science Spot) P
  182. Tin can outdoor fun and games (See Jane Blog)
  183. 8 ideas for simple play (Mummyology)
  184. Kitchen puzzles (Growing Play)
  185. 40 ways to play with wooden blocks (Hands On As We Grow)
  186. Play with wind and leaves (The Educators Spin On It)
  187. Or just play in the leaves (3 Dinosaurs)
  188. Make a giant indoor spider web (Craft, Interrupted)
  189. Feather play (Mum Central)
  190. Ribbon rings (An Everyday Story)
  191. Play Don’t Eat Pete (Sparkle Power!)
  192. Take a trip to the zoo with a zoo passport (We Wilsons)
  193. Draw a sidewalk quilt (flax & twine) F
  194. Create modern homes with popsicle sticks (A Few of My Favorites)
  195. Make the best backyard ball game ever (See Jane Blog) F
  196. Holiday donkey parade skit P
  197. Make a child potholder loom F
  198. Make the most of a rainy day with a weather coloring zine (We Wilsons) P + F

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