Gardening: children's gardening tools, child sized rakes, a variety of seeds, planters or pots, watering cans, gardening gloves.
Natural Materials: pine cones, sea shells, stones, leaves, seed pods, moss
Water and Sand: hoses, spray bottles, sprinklers, turkey basters, paint brushes, cars, trucks, buckets, cups, bowls, shovels, sifters, funnels, sponges, boats, scoops, muffin tins, squeeze bottles, medicine droppers, soup ladle, strainer, containers of various sizes.
Art/Painting: big pieces of paper, foam brushes, rollers, sponges, easel, paint brushes, paint, markers, chalk, bingo dabbers.
Sculpting: clay, playdough, wet sand or mud, cornstarch goop, accessories like straws, pipe cleaners, feathers, etc.
Dramatic Play: boxes, small tent or blankets, play house, toy kitchen set, tool set, dress up clothes, dishes, play food.
Gross Motor: balls of different sizes and materials, tricycles, riding toys, bean bags, hoola hoops, small basket ball net, bowling set, parachute, skipping ropes, bubble wands, bubble solution.
Of course you need to make sure that the materials you provide are age appropriate and that you are adequately supervising the children while they play. If you have a variety of age groups in your dayhome or family, divide your outdoor space into different areas, and distribute the materials according to age. Make sure that some activities are done all together, such as the kitchen play set, a small tent, and parachute games.
With these types of materials available, you will never have to hear "there is nothing to do outside" and your children will benefit from fresh air, exercise, and an expanded view of her or his world.
Coming in our next post....organizing your outdoor space and materials!