Creative Play


Tents are fun to build, hide in, read a book, or play in with a friend.

Card Table Tent
Drape a blanket over a card table or picnic table.  Spread a sleeping bag on the ground for a cozy retreat.

Porch Railing Tent
Pin one end of a blanket to the railing of a deck or porch.  Pull out the opposite end and secure at an angle with bricks or rocks.  This is a "cool" place for a game or nap from the summer sun.

Cardboard Castle
An appliance box or other large box can be a "castle" to a child.  Cut out doors and a window with a utility knife.  (An adult will need to do this!)  Let the children decorate with paints, markers, or crayons.

Car Wash
Cut the top and bottom out of an appliance box and place it on its side so it looks like a tunnel.  Cut the bottom off of a large plastic garbage bag.  Cut up the seam on one side to open the bag.  Cut 2" strips up from the bottom of the bag stopping 3 inches from the top of the bag.  Tape the garbage bag to the top of the box to create the swishers, then let the children ride their toys through the box.

Dress Up
Do you have an old suitcase in the attic or basement?  Find some old shoes, hats, jewelry, nightgowns, or other old clothes and let the children play dress-up.

Broomstick Hockey
You will need children's brooms and a rubber ball for this game.  Children hit the ball with the broom and try to get it in a box or designated area.

Balloon Tennis
Bend two coat hangers into diamond shapes.  Stretch the legs of panty hose over the diamonds and knot at the end.  Bend up the hook of the hangers and tape it to make handles.  Blow up a balloon and you’re set of a tennis match!

Take several empty liter bottles from water or soft drinks and arrange them in a triangle.  Children stand behind a line and roll a ball, trying to knock down the plastic bottles.  Count how many they knock down.  Let children can take turns rolling the ball and setting up the bottles for each other.

Hint!  Fill the bottles with water if it’s a windy day.

Bouncy Ball Lane
Draw a path on the sidewalk with chalk.  Children take balls and try to bounce them on the designated line.

Goofy Golf
You will need several empty cardboard containers from fried chicken, popcorn, ice cream, etc.   Turn the containers upside down and cut an arch out of the bottom similar to a mouse hole.  Set the containers up on the grass and let the children practice hitting golf balls in the holes.

*You can also make a golf course with hula hoops.
*Use small brooms and tennis balls instead of golf clubs.

Paddle Ball
To make paddles, place two paper plates together and staple ¾ of the way around.  Insert the hand and use like a paddle.  Roll up a scrap piece of paper to make a ball.

Spooky Walk
When it gets dark, grab a flashlight and go on a spooky walk.
Hint!  Cut ovals out of reflective tape and put them on index cards.  Hide the cards in bushes and trees and then hunt for them in the dark.  They’ll look just like animal eyes peeking out at you!



Can Catch
You will need a tennis ball and empty Pringle’s can for this game.  Children bounce the ball and try to catch it in the can.  They can place this game by themselves or with a friend.

Fitness/Learning Trail
Get scrap cardboard, a marker, tape, and you’ll be set to make your own fitness trail.  Cut the cardboard into 8” x 10” pieces.  Write different body and brain exercises on each card and tape to different locations on your playground.  For example:
            10 jumping jacks
            say a nursery rhyme
            8 windmills
            count backwards from 20
            12 squats
            name your city, state, and country
            15 sit ups
            name 5 insects
            7 push ups
            sing the ABC’s forwards and then backwards

Driving School
Have a safety lesson about riding toys.  Draw parking spaces and road signs on the pavement with chalk and have the children practice riding their bikes and obeying the signs.  Make a driver’s license with the child’s photo, name, address, and personal attributes.

Everybody loves a parade!  Decorate riding toys and wagons with tissue paper, signs, and streamers.  Play some good marching music and off you go!

Staple two paper plates together ¾ of the way around with the insides of the plates facing each other.  Decorate the outside of the plates with markers, paints, and paper scraps to look like a clown, sun, bear, etc.  Blue on tissue paper streamers.  Fill the inside with goodies and then staple the rest of the way around.  Punch a hole in the top and tie with string to a long stick.  Blindfold children and let them swing at the moving piñata with a rolled up newspaper.

*You can also make a piñata from grocery sacks.  Double the sacks and fill with goodies.  Fold the top half of the bag over the bottom of a hanger and staple.  Decorate with tissue paper, paints, etc.

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