We all know that playing outdoors is important for our health and overall well-being; but, getting the family out of the house, outdoors, and finding things to do with kids can often be a challenge.
Whether your children are teens or toddlers, there is a fun outdoor activity that fits the bill. In fact, activities for older kids might be just as much appreciated by their parents! And everyone needs a break from the daily routine from time to time.
If you’re looking for some fun things to do with kids and spend time as a family, here are 27+ great ideas that will get everyone outside and active and away from screens!
- Go Camping
- Go Glamping
- Go Backpacking
- Go Hiking
- Go Fishing
- Roast Marshmallows Over a Fire
- Plan a Get-Away Weekend
- Go for a Family Walk
- Go on a Bike or Scooter Ride
- Play Games in the Backyard
- Read a Book Together in the Shade
- Host a Kid-Friendly Science Experiment
- Create Some Outdoor Art
- Play in the Water
- Backyard Sports
- Giant Paper Airplanes
- Create a Scavenger Hunt
- Design an Obstacle Course
- Create a Treasure Hunt
- Visit a Local Park
- Explore Downtown
- Have a Picnic or Cookout
- Go Stargazing
- Create a Leaf or Bug Collection
- Create a Terrarium
- Create a Family Time Capsule
- Go Geocaching
- Plant a Garden
- Do Some Good Old-Fashioned Yardwork
Outdoor Things to do with Kids of All Ages
While there are a million and one things to do with kids outside. Here’s a quick round up of several ideas.
Camping is arguably the ultimate family outdoor activity. Whether in a national park, state park, or in your backyard, it’s guaranteed to be a memory you’ll cherish for years to come.
Camping trips can be as short or as long as you want them to be. Pack up the car and spend an afternoon exploring a new place, or set up your tent in your backyard and pretend it’s the great outdoors!
Camping as a family provides kids the opportunity to explore the world that they become detached from when they watch tv or “screen the day away” in the house.
Little ones, older kids, and parents will see life from a new perspective when surrounded by the natural beauty of the world without the technological distractions that often blind us.
Glamping is a fun twist on camping and can be just as enjoyable for kids and parents alike. Instead of sleeping in a tent, you can stay in a camper or RV!
This is a great option if you live in extreme hot or cold climates where a tent would not provide adequate relief from the heat or cold. Plus, when everyone’s exhausted from a day of hiking and adventuring, nothing beats a hot shower, a pantry and fridge full of food, and a nice soft bed.
RVs can be rented if you don’t want to deal with the financial commitment of owning one. Just be sure your car can tow what you rent!!
If you’re a family who loves adventuring, going backpacking is a great way to explore, build relationships, test your limits, and get some exercise while doing it!
Before going on any adventure, make sure everyone knows their limits. It’s best to attempt shorter day hikes first as a family to gauge everyone’s fitness level and train your bodies for a more strenuous trip. Age, physical fitness, and common sense are critical factors when backcountry hiking and camping. Do your research and plan carefully.
Always make sure to leave an itinerary with someone you trust back at home, give everyone in the family a map of the area, and ensure that everyone has their cell phone fully charged.
Make this activity easier by starting small- hike one mile without breaking your entire day’s plans!
Hiking is often coupled with backpacking, but it can stand on its own as an incredible family activity.
Before heading out on your hike, be sure everyone knows what kind of pace to keep based on the abilities of the youngest member of your party.
Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring plenty of food and water, and text your itinerary to a trusted friend-of-the-family.
It doesn’t get much more classic than going fishing. Tackle your favorite body of water, cast a line, and wait for that tug on the end!
You don’t have to be an expert angler to enjoy this activity as a family. Catching simple panfish such as bluegill and perch requires nothing more than a piece of hotdog or corn kernel on a hook!
Be sure to obey local catch-and-release laws and obtain a license if required in your area.
Roast Marshmallows Over a Fire
Ok, it might sound simple, but there’s a reason that roasting marshmallows is a favorite American past-time. Something is calming and enchanting about gathering around a warm fire, roasting some “mallows.” and telling stories. And the best part is that you don’t even need to leave your backyard.
If you don’t have an outdoor fireplace or chiminea, make your own fire pit in your backyard. All you need is a ring of stones, dirt, or metal edging, some wood . . . and a water hose ready to go (just to be safe).
Plan a Get-Away Weekend
If you’re looking for a change of pace, plan a get-away weekend that will leave everyone on their toes. Whether you take a road trip or fly somewhere warm, fun, and full of activity options, the memories you’ll make are sure to be cherished for years to come!
If you prefer to stay close to home, every city has its’ hidden gems that are meant to be discovered. A new restaurant, park, or museum is waiting for your family!
Instead of trying the same old favorites and watching Netflix all weekend, get out of your comfort zone and discover something new!
Go for a Family Walk
Quality family outdoor time is just outside your front door.
Take your family on a walk through the neighborhood, park, or local trail. If you’re up for it, try getting involved in the #findyourpark movement and find hidden gems right near you!
Walking is one of the simplest ways to get fit while spending quality time with loved ones.
Go on a Bike or Scooter Ride
Bicycles and scooters are some of the best ways for the whole family to have some fun and get some exercise.
Riding down a sidewalk or dirt path side by side with your kids, cruising, and exploring your surroundings is always a fun activity.
If you’re worried about safety, try using helmets and knee pads. Remember that kids learn by watching their parents- set a good example and always wear your own equipment!
Play Games in the Backyard
Fun games indoors are more fun outdoors. Grab a board game and play some back porch Clue, Jenga, Monopoly, or Uno.
Create a giant tic-tac-toe board on the ground with sticks or boards. Link together some pipe cleaners for the X’s and O’s and battle it out for the title of Tic-Tac-Toe Champion!
Teach your kids some fun old-school games like Red Rover or Musical Chairs. Let them invite some friends over to play. Before you know it, you’ve orchestrated a Field Day for all ages!
Engaging your kids in active games with their friends is a great way to silence the temptation to “screen” the afternoon away.
Read a Book Together in the Shade
One of the most calming activities you can do with your kids is read a good book and reading them outside the house will provide experience kids will love.
There are countless educational, interactive children’s books that will have you all hooked- just head to your local library or bookstore and pick something out!
If it’s nice outside, try setting up a blanket in the shade under a tree. This is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.
Host a Kid-Friendly Science Experiment
When thinking of things to do with kids, don’t be afraid to get messy! Kids will love seeing what happens when they drop a Mentos into a bottle of soda; but, no parent wants this happening in the house.
Countless great sites provide kid-friendly science experiments that are fun for the whole family. From homemade bottle-rockets to erupting volcanoes, you’re sure to find a science experiment that your little mad scientists can go crazy with.
Set up an outdoor “lab” with a table and table cloth and put on some old clothes. Prove to your kids that learning can be a fun activity!
Create Some Outdoor Art
Break out the sidewalk chalk, paint funny faces on some rocks, or make mud sculptures. These are just a few of the many creative works of art you can create outdoors!
If you have some plain flower pots lying around, break out the paints and let the whole family start decorating with original ideas!
Memorialize your kids’ masterpieces by taking pictures of them during and after. Younger children are sure to go crazy with paints or a bucket of mud; so, get ready for some hilarious memories!
Just have great fun getting messy with your kids because what’s life without getting a little (or REALLY) dirty?
Play in the Water
This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the importance of water play.
Whether you go to the beach, find a pool nearby, or jump through the sprinkler in the backyard, splashing around in hot summer months will keep everyone happy and tuckered out!
Crank things up with some Super Soakers, water balloons, and a cheap inflatable pool. Shoot, even washing the cars is guaranteed to turn into a crazy water fight when you’re all in on it together.
Grab a few bats, gloves, balls, and a water cooler to create your own family Sandlot.
Kick the soccer ball, toss the football, throw the frisbee, play a game of tag, or hide-and-seek. The possibilities are endless.
If you’re feeling competitive, organize a softball or kickball league with other families in your community. If other adults aren’t interested at first, invite the neighborhood kids over and let them organize their own soccer or football game.
Giant Paper Airplanes
We’re not talking about your typical, flimsy notebook paper planes.
Stock up on several sheets of inexpensive poster board and make your own giant, gliding poster planes!
Soon you’ll all be making crazy loops and dives as you see who can throw their plane the furthest.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun activities, both interactive and engaging. You can do these scavenger hunts in your backyard by writing down riddles with clues to hidden treasures.
Keep it simple for the little ones; but, make it enriching for older kids as well by having them search for objects in nature using the true names of plants, types of rocks, and insects.
Whatever you have them search for, a scavenger hunt is a great activity for instilling a sense of wonder, exploration, and appreciation for the world around them.
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Design an Obstacle Course
Design an obstacle course with things like tires, ropes, patio furniture, or even using what nature has already provided: trees, shrubs, and hills.
Challenge one another to see who can complete the course the fastest! Give time limits for each task and make it a race.
It’s not only fun for everyone involved- it will help your kids get strong and confident in their bodies.
Create a Treasure Hunt
What kid doesn’t love searching for buried treasure?
Write down a list of several clues leading to “treasures” hidden somewhere in the yard. The more clues, the longer it will keep the kids busy and out of the house!
What to put in the “treasure chest?” For older kids, you can make the treasure an experience – like a note telling them they can pick their favorite restaurant to go to for dinner. For the little ones, you can substitute things like toys, candy, or a jar of coins!
Whatever you decide, every family member will have a blast searching for clues and trying to decipher the next one. Even if you create the treasure hunt, watching the kids enjoy what you create is lots of fun!
Visit a Local Park
A park is a great place to get out of the house, explore and play as a family, and make new friends.
Walk, run, picnic, play on the playground equipment, fly a kite, play hide-and-seek in the trees, or toss a Frisbee. Whatever you choose to do at a local park will be a memorable time spent outdoors!
Taking the family to the historic center of downtown can be so much fun! If your town doesn’t have one, there’s sure to be another town nearby that will.
Pop in and out of shops (let the kids pick some to visit, too!), stop by a local ice cream shop, have lunch at a diner, enjoy a cup of coffee while people-watching.
There’s so much to explore and experience in your very own hometown! Your kids will be able to see the world around them in a new way — and learn about their history!
Have a Picnic or Cookout
Pack up some sandwiches, chips, and cookies, (and some sliced fruit for good measure), and have lunch at a nearby park.
A picnic is the perfect out-of-the-house family activity. Whether on a normal day or to celebrate a special occasion (i.e. a birthday), provides a change of scenery and routine for kids and parents alike.
If you prefer staying home, fire up the grill and invite some friends or family over for a cookout! Cooking and enjoying a meal outdoors is always more adventurous than the typical meal at the dinner table.
One of the most fascinating things to do with kids is look up at the stars.
In just a few hours, you’ll be able to appreciate how tiny we are in comparison to the rest of our galaxy! Pick a clear night, grab a large blanket, and see who can spot the first shooting star!
Create a Leaf or Bug Collection
Grab a jar, poke some holes in the lid and see who can find the biggest leaf or coolest-looking bugs!
Learn about what you find by bringing home some books from your local library or spending an afternoon researching online.
Make some sketches or rubbings of what you find with crayons and tracing paper. If flowers are the collected specimen, press them in a heavy book between two sheets of wax paper to preserve them. When they dry, use these and some contact paper to create a work of art or greeting cards.
Create a Terrarium
Gather some small rocks, dirt, and plants to create your very own outdoor world in a jar!
This is an especially fun activity if you’re planning on doing some camping.
Pick out the best pebbles, soil, and evergreen or fern plant that can fit inside your container. Add in some bugs for good measure and keep your terrarium well-watered.
Create a Family Time Capsule
Time capsules are a great way to teach children about the past and how things have changed. The best part is that it’s easy! All you need is an empty box, some items from home, and a few minutes of your time. Plus, this project will give the whole family something special to look back on in the future!
You can use any kind of container you want – even an old shoebox or plastic food storage container works well! Just make sure it’s big enough so that everything fits inside without being too cramped.
Fill the capsule with items from home like photos, letters, toys, etc., along with anything else that reminds them of their favorite memories growing up. Make sure the whole family contributes something!
Finally, seal the time capsule tightly and write today’s date on top before burying it (make sure it’s water-tight!) somewhere safe where no one will find it until years later.
Now all you have to do is wait patiently until then!
Geocaching is a great way to get outdoors and give the family an exciting interactive activity. This is also a good option for teens who feel like they’ve outgrown many of these other activities mentioned!
This fun activity is very easy and can be done in your neighborhood or in even in state parks, but beware: this one can get addictive! It does take a little practice, but it’s one of our favorite things to do with kids outside.
Plant a Garden
Of all the things to do with kids, growing things is not only lots of fun, but it also instills a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the natural world.
Keep this simple. Start with some seeds or young shoots from a nursery in small pots. Research online together and learn the best way to care for certain herbs and vegetables.
Because little ones can be impatient with the growing process, keep a photo journal of the plants so they can see the progress.
Even if you aren’t the greenest thumb in town, remember that plants are rather resilient; plants can tolerate mistakes made by novice gardeners.
Get your hands dirty and watch as your garden takes shape!
Do Some Good Old-Fashioned Yardwork
There’s no better way to feel accomplished, get some good exercise, and build cooperative skills than working together to spruce up the yard.
This is a great activity for bonding with children of all ages. It’s one of the best family events you can plan. Gather up some gloves, shovels, rakes, and bags, and give your little piece of land some TLC.
Pull out the weeds, bag up the leaves, and add some fresh mulch to those flower beds.
Add some life and fresh appeal with some new plants from the local nursery for the beds or containers.
When the hard work is finished, reward yourselves with a glass of lemonade or ice tea!
Wrapping up Things to do With Kids
If you are looking for ways to get your family outside, there are so many things to choose from! From biking to gardening and everything in between, the only limit seems to be your imagination! We hope this list has given you some super fun things to do with kids and inspire you to enjoy time with the ones that matter most. Do life together!
Joshua DavisBeing outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!
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