The 20 Best Outdoor Activities To Enjoy With Your Little Ones

11 Min Read
Outdoor Activities For Your Kids

As weather warms, the fresh air and blue sky of Mother Nature calls. And parents who have been cooped up inside with their little ones eagerly answer that call. But what do you do once you’re outside? As sweet as it is to watch the kids tinker around with toys, and push them on the swing, these common activities get pretty old, pretty fast.

To liven up your outdoor time with your children, here are a variety of alfresco adventures that can infuse your quality time with creativity, physical activity, and of course, fun for all involved.

  1.   Sprinkler Leaps. When the weather gets balmy, cool down by setting up a sprinkler on a patch of grass and letting the kids go wild jumping through the water. You can add a dash of creativity by challenging everyone to do a dance move whilst leaping through the water. As an added bonus, little ones are usually tuckered out after this activity and ready for some down time.

  2.   Scavenger Hunts. Create an engaging opportunity to really pay attention to nature by making scavenger hunt lists of organic items you and your child can find in your yard, or community. You can also create photo-scavenger-hunt lists that consist of nature, or man-made objects your kids can “collect” by snapping a photo. You can then use the images to create photo journals of your outings.

  3.   Nature-Made Self Portraits. Awaken your imagination by collecting twigs, leaves, flowers, grass, rocks, and any other natural items you can find, then creating self-portraits out of them. You and the kids can craft your portraits on the ground and take photos of them, or glue the items on a piece of paper.

  4.   Finger Painting. As this variety of paint is a joy for all to use, yet a pain to clean up if it’s enjoyed inside, set up an outdoor art studio with finger paints and large pieces of paper. While fingers are the obvious “paint brush” you can get wild by also using your feet, elbows, and noses, or even flowers, sticks, and grass. Pull out the hose or sprinkler for a rinse off when you’re done.

  5.   Adopt Pet Rocks. There’s a simple pleasure that comes with finding a special rock, drawing a face on it, naming it, and loving it as you would a pet. Make sure your kids know that they’re not just looking for any rock, but one they think is really amazing. And make sure you also participate! Because who said adults can’t have a pet rock?!

  6.   Make a Chalk Maze. Stimulate your brain by drawing a massive, age-appropriate maze for your children, then stimulating their brains by having them complete the course. You can also motivate them by offering a little edible prize to everyone who finds their way out of the maze.

  7.   Wash the Car. Kill two birds with one afternoon activity by pulling out the buckets, large sponges, car wash soap, and rags, and washing the cars with your kiddos. Have everyone don a bathing suit so no one objects if a good-natured soap war ensues.

  8.   Create An Obstacle Course for Wheels. Use cones, hula hoops, ropes, toys, and anything else you have lying around to create an obstacle course for your child’s scooter, tricycle, bicycle, or other “vehicle” of choice.

  9.   Plant a Mini-Garden. Find a small patch of fertile ground in your backyard, or purchase a planter, and help your child prepare the soil then plant seeds, or flowers, herbs, or other vegetation from a nursery. This can be an ongoing activity as the kids can help you tend to the plants.  

  10. Backyard Putt Putt Golf. If you have a child-sized golf club and ball, you can create a mini putt putt golf course in your backyard or a nearby park by using cups to serve as the holes, and construct obstacles with large outdoor toys, non-breakable garden décor, or anything else you can find.

  11. Create a Sand Kitchen. As kids often love to emulate their parents in the kitchen, let them “cook” for you for a change by wetting a patch of sand in a sandbox, and providing old pots, pie tins, spatulas, mixing spoons, and other kitchen items you’re willing to sacrifice in the name of fun. Your child can then serve you sand pies, cakes, pizzas, and other non-edible dishes.

  12. Melt Crayons Into Shapes. Utilize those unreasonably hot days by placing cookie cutters on a tray lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil, breaking up pieces of unwrapped crayons and sprinkling some in each cookie cutter (making sure to mix the colors), then placing the tray in direct sunlight. After the crayons have fully melted, allow them to cool before popping them out of the cookie cutters and drawing with the new large, multi-colored crayons.

  13. Make a Bird Feeder, Then Identify the Birds. Discover the various birds living in your area by making and hanging a bird feeder, then using a bird book, or online guide, to identify the birds that find the seeds. Make the feeder by sticking a thin wooden dowel, or stick, through the lower portion of a plastic water bottle (making two perches), cutting a 7-8mm hole about 1.5 inches above each perch, filling the bottle with bird seed, then hanging it in an outdoor location you can easily view from inside the house.

  14. Have a Picnic. Enjoy one of the most classic outdoor activities by having your child help you pack a blanket, sandwiches, chips, drinks, and other picnic goods in a basket, then finding a shady spot in your yard or local park to enjoy your feast.

  15. Make Rock Sculptures. Collect rocks of various sizes that are light enough for your child to easily lift, then work together to stack or arrange them into cairns, shapes, scenes, or words.

  16. Collect Leaves and Flowers for Homemade Placemats. Decorate your home with the beauty of nature by going on a hunt for leaves and small flowers, arranging the treasures on the sticky side of a peeled, 12-inch piece of contact paper, placing another sheet of 12-inch, peeled contact paper on top of the first, then pressing them together by placing heavy books on top. After a few minutes, remove the books and you’ll have a homemade placemat.

  17. Go on a Treasure Hunt. Channel your inner pirates by hiding a homemade treasure box filled with loot in your yard, then drawing an age-appropriate treasure map for the kids. If you really want to do it up, put together pirate costumes before starting the search.

  18. Create Stories From the Clouds. Keep things simple by lying on a blanket, telling each other the shapes you see in the clouds, and making up stories about the adventures the shapes are on.

  19. Have a Campout. Enjoy a campout without the hassle of packing and unpacking the car, by popping a tent and creating a fire pit in the backyard, then roasting some hot dogs, or veggie dogs. And of course, set up a s'mores station.

  20. Satellite iSpy. On a warm, clear night, lie on a blanket outside and see who can spot the most satellites gliding through the night sky. You can also use the opportunity to teach your kids about the constellations, or simply look out for shooting stars. 

There are tons of ways to get creative, and educational, while spending time outside with the family. Feel free to throw in some things you used to love to do as a kid too (like maybe a slip-and-slide!) and let your inner child shine through too.