Challenging Outdoor Activities for Boys

Every morning as soon as we leave the carpet and the doors to outside open, my boys take off at 100mph and would happily spend the rest of the day chasing each other around the setting like maniacs, with their k-nex guns in tow.  Obviously doing this all day, every day is not very conducive to learning and so we constantly have to try to think of other ways to engage and challenge them that will give them just as much of a thrill.

Last week 2 activities I came up with had them, to my amazement, enthralled for hours. Hooray 🙂

Water beads and guttering challenge

Last week was too cold for water play outside, so we put some blue water beads in the water tray instead. The boys were enjoying hurtling them down a single piece of guttering from the water tray into the tuff spot below.

Water bead challenge

I moved the tuff spot further away, put out the guttering stands and more pieces of guttering and set them a challenge – to move the water beads from the water tray to the tuff spot, using the pieces of guttering, without spilling any.  

This perhaps doesn’t sound overly challenging but it really flummoxed my kids! It took them a good 20minutes to work out how to 1. Slant the guttering to make the beads roll and; 2. How to link the pieces of guttering together.



Once they achieved this, more experimentation ensued; slanting the guttering higher/lower to make the beads travel faster/slower.

Water bead challenges- move the beads along the guttering without dropping any

imageIt had the children, particularly the boys, captivated.  It was a great one to stand back and observe because of all the wonderful active learning and problem solving happening.

Car Race

The following day the boys were getting a bit lairy indoors with the cars, whizzing them up and down the classroom at break neck speed, so I directed them outside to the guttering. Again it took them some time to position the guttering correctly, but when they got it in place, boy was engagement high! They absolutely loved hurtling them down the ramp and seeing whose travelled furthest. Originally I had positioned a measuring stick at the bottom of the ramp, but them remembered something I’d seen on Pinterest and added numbers to a piece of guttering. Of course they became even more competitive whilst learning to recognise numbers amongst lots of other skills. 👍


Please excuse the minging rug! We replaced our indoor rug and temporarily used our old one outdoors until it was well and truly destroyed! The children enjoyed building on it with the community bricks and pretending it was a bedroom/living room. 



6 thoughts on “Challenging Outdoor Activities for Boys

  1. Angela Ewing-Brock says:

    Loving this idea Alison. Can’t wait till my little one is old enough to have a go at your ideas in our own garden!


  2. Madeline D. says:

    I love this idea, and want to use it for my children. What are the blue structures you used prop the gutters up called and where did you get them? They seem like they could be used for lots of fun activities!


    • Thanks for your comment Madeline! I didn’t actually order them, so not sure where they were purchased from, but assume they are called guttering stands?


  3. Jan O'Donnell says:

    I tried your car race game with some of my boys (and a girl joined in!). They loved the activity and read some larger numbers beyond 20! Thanks for the great idea! 🙂


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