Preschool Outdoor Activities Where It's Okay to Get Messy - Intentional By Grace

Preschool Outdoor Activities: Where It’s Okay to Get Messy

Preschool Outdoor Activities Where It's Okay to Get Messy - Intentional By Grace
Gooey. glunky, greasy, gloppy. These words usually make kids grin with glee while mothers fret, thinking anxiously of the new pillows they just bought for the couch. These words have the habit of tracking their way through the house, leaving an unforgettable mark on everything a mother values. On the other hand, these child-friendly adjectives also make a wonderful mark on a kid’s childhood.

This doesn’t mean a mother has to set aside her treasured home decor for the sake of childhood discovery. My motto is: Take it outside! The beauty of this season is they can.

3 Preschool Outdoor Activities

The outdoors is an ideal place to stimulate all of your child’s senses. You actually don’t need any of these activities to do so. Just send him outdoors, barefoot, running through the grass, picking up rocks, listening to the birds, smelling the flowers or newly cut lawn, nibbling on a cherry tomato from the garden and simply observing this big, wide world of nature. This alone is a fun, educational activity.

But, little ones may tire of living so wild and free, so we mothers, occasionally step in to provide educational entertainment :-)! In the midst of imaginative play, I do love interjecting a few structured activities. What I like about these simple recommendations below is that they’re “open-ended.”

This means there is minimal structure which operates more like a suggestion to the child. We provide the materials and what they do and concoct is up to them! Less is more! Provide the basics and let their creativity soar!

“Modern psychological research has determined that flashcards, drills and worksheets are not effective ways of teaching young children. …Instead, he learns by doing and by using his five senses” (The Everything Toddler Activities Book: Games And Projects That Entertain And Educate).

For all these activities, I used a water table. If you don’t have one, you can put a storage bin of sorts on the ground or on a short table.

Water Play

Does your little one like to help you hand wash dishes? The water gets everywhere and the bubbles end up spilling over the sink onto the cabinets below. But they are wild about the texture of bubbles.

Did you know that “splashing and dipping in water is a stress reliever for both children and adults” (The Everything Toddler Activities Book: Games And Projects That Entertain And Educate).

So mom, you might want to go outside and get your hands wet too!

 Preschool Outdoor Activities: Bubbles

We moved our water table onto the lawn for this activity. I squirted dish soap in the water table and used the hose to do the rest. It didn’t take long and  the kids were covered with bubbles!

Gather these simple water play gadgets:

Beans & More Beans

At the end of this activity, I have to admit, beans were everywhere. They made it into toy trucks, the grass, even shoes. Joseph (age 3) himself made it into the water table. He wanted to dig his feet in those beans!

Preschool Outdoor Activities: Beans

Preschool Outdoors Activities: Fill Trucks with Beans

I recommend putting a tarp underneath the water table for easier clean-up. Fill the water table with beans. We hid toy animals in the beans for a fun, added discovery. You can use similar gadgets as you did for water play with the beans.

Preschool Outdoor Activities: Hide Toy Animals in Beans

Moon Sand

Moon sand is a colorful medium children love to explore. Without the addition of water, moon sand acts like wet beach sand and will mold to form all sorts of creative shapes. It never dries out. Use it inside or out.

For a larger, exploratory activity like this, I recommend investing in one or two 5 pound bags of moon sand.

Preschool Outdoor Activities: Moon Sand

Preschool Outdoor Activities: Moon Sand

This time we used measuring cups, bowls, and drinking cups for molds. I even threw in a few cookie cutters.

These are simple outdoor activities that provide educational, sensory experiences for the young child. Gather things from around the house. Let them make a mess. Enjoy the sunshine and have fun!

This post is linked to Time Warp Wife, Teach Me Tuesdays, and Works for Me Wednesdays

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  1. When Maddie comes to visit, she likes to give “B” a bath. B is her lovey blankie with a bunny head. I fill bowl with warm water and a bar of lavender soap and she lovingly washes and wrings B until it’s time for her rinse. Soap out and fresh water. We live in AZ so she does this activity outside and B drys in the sun and smells so wonderful afterwards. Maddie hated it when we used to try to get B into the washing machine. this solves the problem, gives a water activity that’s real life and sensorial.

    1. What a genius idea! We only get our lovey “washing” on accident the bird bath. Maybe I should just take some soap out next time. 😛

    1. I’m just discovering the beans that spilled into the grass are sprouting after a recent rain. Oh well. There’s a science lesson ready to happen!

  2. I would love to know where you purchased the yellow plastic mixer shown in one of your pictures full of beans. I have a little guy in love with construction trucks and digging and he would super love that truck.

    Thanks for any information.

    God Bless,

    1. That was a garage sale find from about 7 years back. I just looked on Amazon for you but there was nothing that size. Perhaps they don’t make them anymore. Bummer! Sorry I can’t be of more help!