Pick Your Play
Here are ideas and resources to encourage kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun!
Resources are geared towards kids aged 5-12, but will be fun for the whole family!
Explore the James
An interactive map of region with hiking, swimming, biking, etc.
Park and Playground List
Check out these recommendations from Completely Kids that have something special.
Ultimate List of Parks and Playgrounds
This list from RVA on the Cheap includes recommendations in Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, Goochland, and more!
Check out dozens of videos lead by professional athletes encouraging physical activity. .
Best Park / Playgrounds
This guide from Mike Ward includes a kid and parent review.
Games for Social Distancing
Age appropriate (K-5) short games encouraging movement, fun, and creativity.
Parks / Playgrounds with Shade
For those May and summer days when the temperature ticks up, check out these shady spots from West End Mom.
1000 Hours Outside
Track how much time you spend outside with this 1,000 hour outside tracker.
Check out our great park and playground guide and explore new outdoor spaces to play, be active, and have fun!
Wellness Tips for Kids
Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Kids – Resource from Anthem.
Printable bingo template from PBS Kids.
30 Classic Outdoor Games for Kids
From Freeze Tag to Simon Says, check out these oldies, but goodies from Wired.com.
Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course Ideas
From Lily Pad Hop to Dragon Hop Scotch, check out these fun chalk ideas from Pink Stripey Socks.
Playworks Game Library
Great outdoor game suggestions. Can be sorted by group size, equipment needed, and age level.
Mulch is Lava!
Pretend the mulch (grass, or dirt) is lava and try to get from one object to another without setting foot on the “lava”.
Follow the Leader
Pick a leader and follow that person doing funny stuff like hopping on one foot, bear crawl, skipping. Change leaders every couple minutes.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Check out this 1 minute video telling you the basics of geocaching. Sign-up for free here.
Use your imagination to create different obstacle courses in your yard, at a playground, or any green space. You can use playground equipment, things you have at home, or just things in nature (like trees) to create a challenging course. Check out some ideas below!
James River Park
James River Park is 600-acres of parcels connected by 23 miles of trails, and it goes from Huguenot Flatwater to Ancarrow’s Landing across from Rockett’s Landing. Check out their Kids Seek n Find Map.
Virginia Capital Trail
The Virginia Capital Trail is a biking, running, and walking paved trail that goes from Richmond to Jamestown; its length is 51.7 miles. It is a great resource for kids going to school or for being active. Check out a scavenger hunt you can do on the Capital Trail here.
I love to explore the nearby creek. It can be a great place to skip rocks or look for crayfish. They are like tiny lobsters!
Blue Sky Fund
Soil Activity (3rd Grade) – Experiential activity and Virtual field trip.
Ecosystem Activity (3rd Grade) – Virtual field trip and Experiential activity.
Weather Activity (4th Grade) – Virtual field trip and Experiential activity and bonus activity!
Communities in Schools of Chesterfield
Wendy of CIS of Chesterfield shared some of that areas county parks as great places to explore and have fun. Point of Rocks is one of my favorite walks outside. It has a long boardwalk through the marsh, which is BEAUTIFUL! Rockwood Park also has some nice trails, and a free nature center (COVID might impact). There are lots of hidden, painted rocks there too- which are fun to find, and even leave a new one. Finally, Dutch Gap is a nice hike/walk, which is really popular with bird watchers!
Nutzy (Richmond Squirrels)
Nutzy shared that “Maymont Park is truly one of my favorite parks in the Richmond area for kids of all ages. To start they have a farm and wildlife habitat and petting zoo. You are able to pet, feed and meet over eight different live animals and see much more wildlife up close. It also has 100+ acres of gardens and trails for walking and hiking. They even have a dog park for you to bring your fury friends along. This park is the perfect place to come and play and stay for a picnic lunch afterwards! I love to bring my ball and glove and play catch in the open fields with Natasha.”
Check out these fun obstacle course videos to get some ideas for creating your own. Video 1, Video 2.
So many basic home, yard, and play supplies can be used to make creative new courses, including rope, cones, hula hoops, trash cans, balls, chalk, yard tools, water bottles, and more!
Check out these fun “Get Outside!” videos from Sports Backers and RPS at area parks. This one filmed at Maymont encourages you to do animal exercises in various parts of the park (like buffalo burpees and eagle ellipticals). Try coming up with your own alliterative exercises based on what’s in your yard or favorite outdoor space.
Explore Poor Farm Park in Ashland. See if you can find the amphitheater there, then dance, sing, or play games on the stage! Bring your hiking shoes to enjoy the trails, playground, and ample hills and stairs at the park, too.
POP-UP CLASSES – Join SPARC’s fantastic teaching artists for a socially distant class for different ages (pre-K to 12th grade) on Saturdays in May. These one-time-only classes provide a great opportunity to learn a little bit about longer-term SPARC classes and to connect with other young people interested in the arts. Students can expect an active, exciting hour of activities like theatre games, exercises, music, stories, movement, and more. Small fee, but free options available. Visit to enroll.
Exercise is so important for a healthy lifestyle! In order to maximize your workout and help prevent injury, it’s important to stretch your muscles both before and after exercising. The James River offers the perfect place to take your time to do some deep stretches and maybe even some yoga. Carefully hop rocks out into the river a bit to find space to yourself. Slowly reach for the sky and then down to your toes. Lean from side to side; forward and backward- holding the stretches for at least 10 seconds each. When you’re done, go for a jog on the many paths that run alongside the river or just enjoy the solitude of your own rock and let the beautiful sights and sounds of nature quiet your mind. Mental health is also key to a healthy lifestyle!
Try your foot at Soccer Tennis used by Kickers players at the beginning of the season to get to know each other. Use a tennis net or cones. Rules: no hands, headers = double points. Head to your local tennis court (the courts at Byrd Park are our club’s favorite!), bring a soccer ball, and a friend (or many)! Volley the ball back and forth across the net with your head, body, legs, or feet – See how many times in a row you can hit the ball to your friend without it bouncing more than twice! Feel free to keep score and have a winner.
Mayor Stoney shared that some of his favorite kids games are Duck Duck Goose and Red Light Green Light and Libbie Hill Park is a favorite spot to be active. So many stairs!! So if you’re ever in Libbie Hill Park and run into the mayor, put your sneakers on and get ready to chase him around the circle. GOOSE!
Click here for a printable version of these recommendations
Want to support Pick Your Play?
We’re hoping to give away dozens of play packs to kids. Check out our Amazon Wish List to help support this effort or email Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org.