My heart nearly burst with happiness when I overheard a conversation my children, now teens and preteens, had this week while cleaning the backyard and reminiscing about childhood backyard play memories:

“Remember how fun it was to play in the backyard when we were little, making mudpies, and building forts?”

“And playing in the water, and in the sandbox?”

“What about the time our area had a Flash Flood Warning so we built rafts in the backyard, thinking they would carry us over the back fence into the neighbor’s yard when the water level rose high enough?” 😂😂😂

They experienced lots of smiles and giggles at these happy recollections of outdoor play.






Today my children still love spending time in the backyard:

  • reading in the hammock
  • planting and tending the garden
  • photographing the birds and garden
  • hosting playdates and teen parties

I, too, love spending time in the backyard:

  • walking barefoot in the grass
  • planting and tending the garden
  • photography and nature journaling
  • reading
  • exercising
  • visiting with friends
  • hosting church potlucks

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There are many benefits to spending time in the backyard, or at a neighborhood park:

  • reduces stress
  • improves sleep
  • restores focus
  • increases levels of Vitamin D
  • strengthens immune system
  • lowers inflammation
  • free aromatherapy
  • can reduce ADHD symptoms
  • improves sensory skills
  • increases attention span
  • increases in social and emotional development
  • sparks creativity and imagination
  • creates lifelong memories
  • brings happiness
  • develops a deeper sense of spirituality

Now that you know WHY you should play in the backyard, here are some ideas to get you started:



  • stargaze
  • play in the water
  • build a bonfire
  • barbeque dinner
  • paint rocks


  • host a party
  • plant a garden
  • make an art project
  • fly a kite
  • draw with sidewalk chalk


  • play board games
  • host a neighborhood potluck
  • play in the dirt
  • build a fort
  • make giant bubbles




  • host a tea party
  • do nature journaling
  • have a family read-aloud
  • photograph plants and insects
  • hang a hammock
  • eat a meal at the patio table
  • build a fairy garden


  • make a racetrack for toy cars
  • make an obstacle course
  • host a book club gathering
  • hold a business meeting outdoors

Whether you are 1 or 101, it is never too late to begin spending more time absorbed in backyard play.

You will immediately begin to reap the positive and healing benefits that come from spending time outdoors AND, as a bonus, will make magical memories that will last a lifetime.

What’s not to love about that?



Still need convincing?

Check out this best selling book about the many benefits of spending time outdoors.


RECOMMENDED READING: Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder