Non-Toxic Homemade Bubbles and 5 More Fun Backyard Activites

Written by contributor Emily McClements of Live Renewed.

Ah, the lazy days of summer are finally here. Where I live, in Northern Indiana, we have finally had a stretch of beautiful, summer weather the past few weeks. And we are enjoying every minute of it by spending as much time outside as possible.

But, I don”t know what it is about my kids. Sometimes they seem to get… well, a little bored outside. I think that they should just be able to spend hours exploring and discovering nature. But really, they are only two and three years old. Maybe it”s more that they just need a little direction for playing outside.

Beyond the classic running through the sprinkler, and going on nature walks, here are more ways to help your little ones play and enjoy the wonderful outdoors.

1. Homemade Bubbles

What kid doesn”t love bubbles? I think we can go through a big bottle of bubbles in an hour. Usually because it gets spilled at some point.

Because my kids love bubbles so much, and we often run out of bubble solution long before they are ready to be done playing with them, I discovered a super easy homemade bubble recipe that I can whip up in a few minutes whenever the mood for bubbles strikes my kiddos, which is basically ever day.

Homemade, Non-Toxic Bubbles

  • 1/4 cup natural dishwashing detergent (I use Seventh Generation)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 drops of glycerin (I got mine at my local health food store)

Mix together in a small bowl, or add to a mason jar and shake gently. Start blowing bubbles to your heart”s (or your little one”s heart”s) content. You can also make this the night before and let it sit out for even better bubbles.

I also love this idea for keeping homemade bubble solution at the ready, instead of having to mix up a new batch every few days!

2. Wash the Car

Kids obviously love to play in water. You can give water play a little more direction by giving your kids a bucket with some soapy water (use natural dishsoap to make the suds) and a big sponge, and let them help you wash your car, outdoor toys, patio furniture, or whatever else might need a good scrubbing. Kids love the opportunity to help, and of course love getting themselves soaked and covered in soapy suds.

Photo by biofriendly

3. Create Your Own Sandbox

Give your kiddos a taste of the beach in their own back yard by creating a sandbox for them. You don”t need to actually have a sandbox, or an actual back yard, for this one.

You can use a kiddie pool, or even an under-the-bed storage container, and fill it with sand from the hardware store. If you don”t have a back yard you could even set this up on a deck or porch.

You don”t have to have special sand toys either. Raid your kitchen cabinets for everything your tots need to scoop, pour, dig and build sand castles with.

4. Run Through an Obstacle Course

Help your kids get active and have a little fun, and adventure at the same time. Use things that you already have on hand, and set up a small obstacle course for them, of course making it appropriate for their age.

Here”s a sample obstacle course to get you started:

  • Put inside play tunnels on the grass for them to crawl through
  • Set hula hoops on the ground, or just use rope to create circles, to hop through,
  • Use a picnic table to climb up, over, and down,
  • Score points by shooting a ball through a hoop, or even into a bucket,
  • Jump rope five times, or just hop five times for little ones who can”t jump rope
  • Then set up their bike, trike or scooter to ride down the driveway to the finish line!

Of course, every obstacle course is more fun if you”re racing your mom!

Photo by

5. Messy Activities

There are a lot of activities that my kids are always asking me to do because they have so much fun doing them, but I”m sometimes resistant of the mess I know they”ll create. When the weather is nice you can let your kids take their favorite messy activities outdoors and not have to worry (as much) about the cleanup!

This includes everything from finger painting, to playing with flour, and even just plain old digging in the dirt. Whatever your kid”s favorite messy activity is – let them take it outside! Here are some of my favorite !

6. Fizzing Sidewalk Paint

I found this activity on Pinterest, and can”t wait to try it with my kids! It includes making your own sidewalk chalk paint and then spraying it with vinegar and watching it fizz up. What a fun and great idea! And I love that it uses ingredients I already have on hand in bulk, because I use them to clean my house.

However you choose to play outside, enjoy these long summer days with your kiddos!

What are your family”s favorite backyard activities?

About Emily

Like many moms, Emily began her journey toward natural living when she found out she was pregnant with her first child. From cloth diapers to homemade green cleaners, she began making small changes toward a simpler more natural lifestyle. When her husband lost his job a year later, she scrambled to also learn how to live as frugally as possible. She quickly realized that many things that save money also save the earth, and began chronicling her journey toward living "frugally green" at Live Renewed. She is now the proud mama of two little ones, and although her husband sometimes wonders what she has done with the woman he married, she is passionate about helping her family live differently and responsibly as they strive to be a good steward of all of the resources God has provided them with.


  1. What great ideas! Like your kids, mine seem to only be able to play outside for 30 minutes and then decide it isn’t fun anymore. I guess I should be happy they play independently for that long since they are 3 and 1! I definitely like the car washing idea…I think we will be trying that one soon :-)
    Heather´s latest post: The Dirty Life and a giveaway

  2. These are fun ideas! I will have to try the bubble recipe. I read that infants like to look at them. The other suggestions will have to wait until next summer! :)
    Jenni´s latest post: Removing Rust Stains From Stainless Steel

  3. Nice ideas!! Ahhh springtime. Flowers blooming, birds singing and children blowing bubbles…what a wonderful time of the year. A couple of years ago, when I first opened my daycare I knew I wanted to have bubbles available to my daycare children, but I also knew …

  4. I love these ideas! So simple. And who wouldn’t love fizzing sidewalk paint? I’ve got to try that one.
    Stacy´s latest post: Natural, Homemade Baby Care at Simple Organic

  5. These are great ideas! I love the homemade bubbles for kids. Especially kids love playing with bubbles. This is a must try recipe of fun! And my family favorite backyard activities are gardening! I let the kids weed the plants. They totally love it!
    Claire@My Costume Express´s latest post: Kids Costumes

  6. What great ideas! I love them all! I really enjoy the sandbox idea using a kiddie pool as a sand box. These ideas are for all people living in apartments and penny pinching and others. It’s always nice to get new healthy, safe ideas on how to keep your kid happy and entertained. Thanks.
    Annie´s latest post: Total Elimination Diet for Breastfeeding Moms

  7. Nice activities !! Bubbles are such a fun and easy way to entertain kids and adults. What is it about them anyway? Good idea to make enviro. friendly ones :) Thanks!

  8. :)love you approach! this activities so good for the kids. my kids love to play in the sand all day long!
    kristen´s latest post: דיוור אלקטרוני

  9. Bubbles! when I was achild I took bubbles with me to everywhere :) thanks for this homemade, non-toxic bubbles, I’ll give it to my niece.
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  10. Wow, yet another use for glycerin in your home that I didn’t know about. Just curious though, if you don’t happen to have any around, does just the natural dish soap work without the glycerin?

    In addition, anyone have suggestions for good places to purchase glycerin online? It can be hard to find, but it is so helpful for many cleaning and stain removal recipes, and I’m always looking for more places to suggest to readers. Thanks!
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  11. lovely ideas for the summer! thanks!
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  12. This home made bubbles idea is so great!!! the recipe is so easy for preparation! I’m going to make my kids these bubbles…seems like so much fun!!!
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  13. I establish additional recipes online that used corn syrup as an alternative of glycerin, but I’m not certain of the amount.
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  14. This is a great list of ideas! In our urban neighborhood, we too look to the backyard to explore nature. Here are some of our favorite activities:
    Debi´s latest post: Everyday Nature: Talking With Fish

  15. Does that mean that regular bubbles that you buy in the store are toxic? That’s not good. I remember many a carefree day I spent in the sandbox. That’s a great idea of something to build for the kids.
    Fria´s latest post: Goal0 12301 Nomad Portable Flexible Solar Panel Review

  16. Thanks for giving the making procedure of Homemade, Non-Toxic Bubbles..This blog contains many ideas which cheers up the kids..
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  17. nice site, all posts are very nice.


  1. [...] Non-toxic Homemade Bubbles and 5 More Fun Backyard Activities by Emily of Live Renewed (contributing at Simple Organic) [...]

  2. [...] If you need some outdoor inspiration for these final nice days of the year, here are six fun activities you can do in your own backyard! [...]

  3. […] 1.)  Bubbles. My daughter loves hanging out in our backyard watching her dad and me blow bubbles, and she enjoys just sitting on a step on our deck holding a jar of bubbles. So making bubbles the activity (and theme) at her first birthday party was an obvious choice. For roughly less than $50, I bought a ton of bubble solution, a couple packages of different-shaped bubble wands (which, along with bubble jars, make great favors) and a bubble machine, and set up a bubble station in our backyard (see more photos from my daughter’s bubble-themed party on Pinterest). The activity seems to have been a hit (there was lots of bubble blowing going on during the whole party) and I could have done it even cheaper by making my own bubble solution with this handy recipe from […]

  4. […] If you’re concerned about whether or not bubble solution is kid-safe, you can make your own using this recipe (found here). […]

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