A lot of us have spent much more time at home with our kids this year than in previous years, and it’s totally possible that you may be feeling out of fresh ideas for fun things your kids can do at home. If you’re like me, you also don’t want them to be glued to a screen all the time, and you’d rather them get outside, soak in some sun, and enjoy being a kid in the summertime! If you’re feeling a little uninspired about how to get your kids playing outside right now, then this is the article is here to help with 60+ ideas for things your kids can do outside this summer!!
Yes, you read that correctly: over 60 ideas here!
Most of these can be done with a variety of ages simply by adjusting certain components of any given activity. We have ideas just for the kids (allowing you to hang out on the sidelines and take a minute to yourself) as well as ideas that the whole family can join in on to make some new memories. We hope that these ideas help you and your kids get excited about getting out in the yard and soaking in some vitamin D.
Sports and Physical Games
If you have enough members in your family, you could easily set up some fun outdoor sports or just outdoor games! Here are some good, highly physical activities to help your kids get that energy out, outside!
- Play catch (use a glove and baseball or a football) with a friend, a neighbor, or Mom and Dad. This is great practice for child who is currently interested in sports or plans to try out for sporting teams in the future. It’s also just great coordination practice for younger kids.
- Soccer! Kick a soccer ball around and get some energy out! You don’t have to have enough people to make a team, just kicking it back and forth (and running after it when it gets away) can be great exercise!
- Use a golf club for the child’s height and either go to a golf course or set up a mini practice course at home.
- Go to an open area and throw a frisbee around with family members or a beloved doggy.
Other Physical Outdoor Games and Activities
- Play the horseshoe game. Some parks have fixed ones. If your park doesn’t have a set, you can purchase your own portable horseshoe game. (They are lightweight.)
- Cornhole is another great outdoor game that’s fun for everyone; even young toddlers can enjoy playing it!
- Grab a hula hoop and learn coordination and practice this awesome gross motor skill! (It also provides a great workout and can help wear those kiddos out so they’ll sleep well at night!)
- Run (or walk) for recreation! Do you have a local track or park in your area? Your child may have an untapped interest in running! This is especially great for older kids and teens, but you may be surprised to find out that your little ones like it, too!
- Jump rope! Jumping rope is a great way to get excess energy out. Your kids may also enjoy competing with one another (or you) to find out how many jumps in a row they can get! This one is adjustable for kids or adults, in case you are looking for a fun way to burn off energy too!
- Play tag, hide and seek, Simon says, or red-light/green-light. These childhood classics shouldn’t be forgotten by the current generation! They are all great to do outside–some with less supervision than others, depending on where you live and the ages of your children!
- Play an outdoor round of Twister! Twister is such a fun game for all ages and can be played either inside or outside.
- Swimming! Everyone likes swimming in the summer. If you don’t have access to a gym or other public pool, these inflatable ones can be great for everyone when it’s hot out and a good way to start teaching younger children swimming basics like floating and kicking.
- Fly a kite! This is a fun outdoor activity–especially on a windy day or at the beach.
If you have creative kiddos (or if you want to encourage your kids to be creative), here are some fun ideas to invent and create in the great outdoors!
- Challenge your kids to make a music or dance video outside to one of their favorite songs! They can record it with a phone and enjoy watching and showing off their videos later on.
- Color with sidewalk chalk. Make beautiful summer creations or make this a teachable opportunity and teach your little ones to draw or to write letters and numbers. We love this rainbow chalk so much!
- Build a fort. This one requires some supervision and parental approval, but building some sort of outdoor fortress seems kind of like a childhood rite of passage. It requires some serious planning and sometimes teamwork!
- Take a handful of washable paints and paintbrushes and paint outside! We love using butcher paper and either tape it to our driveway or to a wall outside the house. Make sure the paints are washable.
- Make some paper airplanes and fly them around.
- Dress up in fun costumes and do an outdoor photo shoot!
- Put on an outdoor puppet show! (Check out this cute puppet theater!)
- Grow a garden! Check out this gardening journal that kids can use to track their garden progress. And be sure to read our article with ideas to help you Use Your Garden as an Outdoor Classroom!
- Ask your children to find the perfect picnic spot in the yard and prepare a picnic menu! If you have multiple children, each child could have a turn choosing/preparing the menu (which is a good chance to practice cooking/budgeting skills) and surprising the the rest of the family with their picnic!
- Make a photo journal. Have your children take photos of their outside activities with a disposable camera or with a cell phone. Print the pictures, and have your kiddos create a family photo journal! Document fun things you do over the summer (whether at home, on vacation, etc.) or even just your everyday activities together. Use regular disposable cameras or waterproof ones!
- Play Boredom Busting Bingo! To get yours for free, put “0.00” in the “Pay what you can” section before you add it to your cart.
- Create a backyard campsite and play some Fun and Free Camping Games!
For the Entrepreneurial Child
If you have an older child or teen who is looking for ways to pick up a little extra money this summer, here are some outdoor jobs and activities for the entrepreneurial child!
For Younger Children
- Helping Mom or Dad (or vacationing neighbors) water plants.
- Picking up sticks or pine cones in the yard.
- Rinsing household cars with a hose.
- Sweeping paths or carports.
- Setting up a lemonade stand.
Older Children (and Teens)
- Washing Mom’s or Dad’s car.
- Pulling weeds.
- Walking the neighbors’ dogs.
- Cleaning up outdoor furniture or dirty rugs.
- Tidying/organizing outdoor areas like porches, carports, etc.
- Helping with bigger outdoor/gardening projects.
- Cleaning out carports or back decks.
- Mowing lawns.
Other Fun Activities
- Here are just some fun, more general outdoor activities that kids of all ages will enjoy! Many of them are actually very simple, but -fortunately- “complicated” is not a requirement for making fun memories!
- Water gun or water balloon fight. Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned water gun or water balloon fight to cool off on a hot summer day?
- On a similar note, a splash pad can be an incredibly fun outdoor activity for special occasions!
- Bring a classic board game outside to enjoy in the sunshine: Chess, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four are great ones for older kids! Candy Land, Memory and Go Fish are great for younger children!
- Do the same thing with reading (or school if you school year round)—bring it outside!
- Build a campfire (with supervision of course) and make S’mores!
- Count objects! If you have little kids, they will enjoy just going outside and observing/counting different types of things. For example, you could go to a bush in your front yard or park and count the flowers on the bush with Mom, or count cars in the park parking lot. You could count how many birds you see, what kind, etc.
- Do a backyard bug scavenger hunt! Here’s a free printable you can use!
- Feed the ducks in a nearby pond or lake (if it is permitted). All you need is old bread in crumbs or small chunks of crackers.
- If you live in a rural area, find a local U-pick farm and pick some delicious berries.
- Blow some bubbles! They sell all kinds of different shapes and sizes for bubbles. Get creative and play around with those wonderful entertainers! The glycerin bubbles last longer. (They don’t pop as quickly or easily). We shared a recipe for Unpoppable Bubbles that you might want to use to make your own.
- Paint some rocks and hide them around local parks for someone else to find!
- Read books! Here are 10 Books to Read This Summer for parents (but many of the ideas would work for kids too). This article will give you ideas for different kinds of books you might want to read. Or you may like Summer Reading for Parents and Kids or Read with Your Teen This Summer.
- Lastly, if you homeschool year round, there’s no reason not to take class outside once in awhile! Here are two posts 3 Tips to Help You Take Homeschool Outside and The Benefits of Outside Classes.
Hopefully this massive list gives you a lot of new ideas (or reminds you of older ones) to get your kids playing outside this summer! Do you have any fun and simple outdoor activities to add? Drop them in a comment below!