Let's Go Play Outside!

backyard projects, hikes, and other outdoor family fun


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#9 Go on a butterfly hunt {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

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Since our yard right now has sunflowers, zinnias, and butterfly bush blooming we have been seeing a lot of butterflies.  We also have a great picture book called Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert.  The back of the book has wonderful illustrations identifying common types of butterflies, so that inspired us to do a butterfly hunt in our yard.  In the picture above, C was preparing for our hunt with the book and her butterfly net.  Although the net is more for show.  When we finally got close enough to a Tiger Swallowtail on one of the sunflowers, we didn’t want to risk hurting it.

I also missed our picture taking opportunities because we were busy admiring the butterflies (and sort of chasing them down without trying to scare them off – hard when you have an almost two-year-old with you too!).  I did get a picture of this moth on a zinnia bloom. Apparently the moths aren’t easily intimidated.

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English: Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papil...

English: Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And if  you’re like me and you couldn’t tell one butterfly from the next, check out the picture of a tiger swallowtail – just for future reference.  It is fun to know which is which, and now when we are playing outside and C sees one she recognizes from the book, she starts shouting about it.  Pretty exciting stuff.

A few quick internet searches can provide ample ammunition for your own butterfly hunt.  Or go to the next level and plant a butterfly garden in your yard.  Better Homes and Gardens has a nice feature with tips on making your yard butterfly friendly here.

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#6 Run an Obstacle Course in Your Yard {52 outdoor activities}

{52 outdoor activities} is a series featuring a unique idea for each week of the year to inspire you and your kids to get outside for some fun.

We’re not an athletic family.  My husband has made his living as a musician; I’m a librarian; we don’t do sports.  So, I try to put a little extra effort into getting the girls moving and developing their gross motor skills.  I thought an obstacle course in our backyard would be a perfect way to do that, and I was right.  Especially for C, who functions very well with specific directions.  She likes a blueprint for her activities, for sure.  I think most kids would respond to the challenge of an obstacle course.

So, I got C running, skipping and jumping on this course, but she did it wearing a tutu and rainboots.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll.

Here’s our course:

1. Climb over picnic table.

1. Climb over picnic table.

2. Run up the hill.

2. Run up the hill.

3. Hit the t-ball as hard as you can.

3. Hit the t-ball as hard as you can.

4. Hop on the swing and go as fast as you can!

4. Hop on the swing and go as fast as you can!

Skip to the sunflower house.  Count to 5 in Spanish.

Skip to the sunflower house. Count to 5 in Spanish.

Go down the slide!

Go down the slide!

Kick the soccer ball into the side of the garage. Done!

Kick the soccer ball into the side of the garage. Done!