40 free activites and play ideas

Summer of Play: Indoor & Outdoor Play Ideas

Play is a huge part of growing up, and after the effects of the pandemic where many children were not interacting and playing with others as they would usually do. Save the Children created the ‘Summer Of Play’ campaign to try to tackle this issue. Finding free activities and play ideas can be challenging especially during the summer holidays, so we have teamed up to bring you a few little play ideas, to help encourage more play.

Free Summer Activities and Play Ideas

Free Activities and Play Ideas

We are supporting this campaign with Save the Children and In Kind Direct by bringing you these free indoor and outdoor ideas of ways to play. As the play experts we know how important play is – but it needn’t cost anything and it can come purely from a child’s imagination.

Three things that children need during the summer are Fun Friends and Freedom….

51% of children are playing out with friends less than before the pandemic.

Data from save the Children (2021)

Here are twenty ideas for indoor play and twenty ideas for playing outside. Hopefully these will spark more and more ideas and give children a new outlet – especially during the long holidays when free activities and play ideas can wane slightly!

Outdoor Play

1. Collect bits from the garden & create a mini garden on a plate

2. Have a water fight!

3. Make an obstacle course

4. Find two friends and learn to skip with a double rope

5. Make potions using flower petals

6. Take a bed sheet, find a tree and make a base camp

7. Take a magnifying glass and look at nature up close

8. Play the floor is lava – in a wood or at a play park

9. Make holes in a plastic cup and try to transfer all the water from one bucket to another along a course

10. See how tall you can make a pebble tower

10. Find an old mat or rug and pretend you have a flying carpet

11. Collect leaves, sticks etc and create your own pretend tea party

12. Use a stick or chalk to play O’s and X’s on the pavement

13. Catch the flag – two teams try to capture the oppositions flag

14. Dig for treasure (in your own back garden or an allotment)

15. Draw a big hopscotch, find a stone and learn how to play hopscotch

16. Make a shop collect things to ‘sell’, make a sign and get creative!

17. Play French cricket – you will need a tennis racket or bat and a ball

18. Target practise – just don’t aim at your siblings!

19. Camp out for the night

20. Make paper aeroplanes and see who can fly the furthest

Indoor Play

1. Pick a letter or the day and try to do and eat everything using that letter

2. Fill a zip bag with foam and food colouring to make a sensory bag

3. Learn how to do a magic trick

4. Make your own board game

5. Put on a fashion show

6. Have a carpet tea party – invite your family or use toys as guests

7. Bubbles in the bath – see how big you can make them

8 Put food colouring & vinegar in glasses, add a pinch of bicarb and watch them fizz (use a shower or sink)

9. Make an indoor den with boxes and blankets – try making a tunnel too

10. Make the tallest toilet tube stack you can

10. Play hide and seek

11. Cut out bits from magazines and make colour collages

12. Write a quiz for a family night in

13. Make a car or marble ramp

14. Use dry ingredients (e.g. lentils and pasta) & make a landscape/scene

15. Turn your living room into a lily pond using newspaper as lily pads

16. Freeze some toys in ice and help them to escape!

17. Add water to cornflour to make ‘goop’, add colouring & mix

18. Hide some treasure and make a map for someone else to find it

19. Blow peas at a goal (use straws)

20. Make a paper helicopter and fly it from the top of the stairs

If you want to find out more about ‘the play experts’ – please visit our website or for more free activities and ideas come and find us on social using the icons below: