Inside, we tend to have lots of manipulatives for children: things that they can move and build with and adjust and change. When we take our children outdoors, we only provide them with static gross motor equipment or other static play items.
Without manipulatives, the children quickly become bored. They’ll then make manipulatives of whatever they find in the environment, such as turning a stick into a gun. Some ideas for manipulatives would be tubes through which the children can drop balls, sticks or any other objects they find and play with.
Create a tracking panel or a gravel panel that children can drop objects down. A sand table, loaded with shovels and buckets so children can build and manipulate the sand, provides hours of enjoyment. Anything that can be used outdoors that will allow children to build and move and reshape their environment will create hours of interest. Additionally, this helps reduce supervision problems.