Home Career 64 of the Funnest Outside Activities for Kids

64 of the Funnest Outside Activities for Kids

by Staff


Whatever the weather, it’s always a good time to get outside. From water play to crafts and more, there’s plenty of fun in the great outdoors to be had by all. Here are our favorite outside activities for kids that keep them active and engaged all year long.

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Have a picnic

Three kids laughing, having fun lying on blanket in garden. Beautiful spring day.

Picnics are tried-and-true outdoor activities for kids. Bringing a blanket and a basket out into the yard or to the park makes any meal special.

Learn more: Picnic Food Ideas/Love and Lemons

Camp in the backyard

Asian chinese family putting on string light decorating camping at backyard of their house staycation weekend activities

Set up a tent, or bring out blankets so the kids can make one of their own, and spend the day outside. If it’s an actual tent and your kids are old enough, let them sleep out in the backyard for a night (or two).

Play snail

Play a version of hopscotch that involves a snail shell.

Go stargazing

Silhouettes of father, daughter and astronomical telescope under starry skies.

A clear night is a great time to see stars. Here is a guide of five constellations that kids can spot.

Outside movie night

Group of children are sitting in the yard during a birthday party and watching a movie on a video projector

Outside movie nights are memorable activities for kids. Set up a projector screen (could also be a white sheet) or pull a TV to where you can see it from outside and cue up a favorite movie.

Kick hopscotch up a notch

photo-of-hopscotch

Make hopscotch more challenging by writing directions for what kids should do when they land on each square. Turn around, do a jumping jack, stomp like a dinosaur, all the way down the sidewalk.

Learn more: Clever Ways To Play Hopscotch/Crafty Morning

Play Duck, Duck, Splash

photo-of-kids-playing-duck-duck-goose-game

It’s like Duck, Duck, Goose, but instead of goose, you’re carrying a water spray bottle or squirt gun, and you splash the person you want to chase.

Learn more: Duck, Duck, Splash/Inspiration Made Simple

Play water balloon volleyball

Kids playing water balloon volleyball

Using a beach towel as a springboard, launch a water balloon over the net. The other team tries to catch it in their towel and launch it back over. If the balloon breaks on your side of the net, the other team gets a point.

Learn more: Water Balloon Volleyball/It’s Always Autumn

Stage a car race in the driveway

photo-of-two-kids-with-a-pool-noodle-track

Use sidewalk chalk and other obstacles (sticks, rocks, pool noodles cut in half) and create a racecourse for cars.

Learn more: Outdoor Racetrack/Mum’s Grapevine

Play Frisbee tic-tac-toe

photo-of-kids-playing-tic-tac-toe

Turn an old sheet into a tic-tac-toe board with some tape, then use Frisbees (or beanbags) of different colors, or with Xs on half, to play tic-tac-toe.

Image: Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe/Living Well, Spending Less

Play field hockey with pool noodles

photo-of-a-child-playing-hockey-with-a-pool-noodle

Use pool noodles as sticks, balloons for the ball, and two laundry baskets for goals. The pool noodles move the balloons across the lawn to score goals in the laundry basket.

Learn more: Pool Noodle Hockey/Joyful Parenting

Sail in a paper-boat race

Create paper boats, then us straws to create wind while racing them in a kiddie pool or tub.

Make frozen suncatchers

photo-of-frozen-suncatcher

Gather items from outside—berries, evergreen boughs, twigs, leaves. Then, put out a plastic lid or pie plate as a mold. Fill the mold with water and arrange the elements. Leave it outside overnight to freeze in winter or pop it in the freezer in the summer. Then, remove the ice from the mold and you have a suncatcher to prop outside on your window to admire.

Learn more: Frozen Suncatcher/Run Wild My Child

Make a DIY obstacle course

Collage of DIY Obstacle Courses for Kids

Obstacle courses are fun outside activities for kids. Pull out all the outside gear for this one. Use jump ropes, Hula-Hoops, pool noodles, and whatever you have to create an obstacle course.

Learn more: DIY Obstacle Courses

Paint with flyswatters

photo-of-fly-swatter-and-paint

Dip a flyswatter in paint, or put dots of paint on paper, and use the flyswatter to spread the paint around.

Learn more: Fly Swatter Finger Painting/Little Bins for Little Hands

Melt crayons in the sun

photo-of-child-melting-crayons

Looking for outside activities that incorporate repurposing items you no longer need? Gather up old crayons and paper plates and aluminum foil. Place the aluminum foil on top of the paper plates. Then, put the crayons on the foil and place it in the sun. You can put the crayons inside of cookie cutters to give them shape. Once they are done melting, you can take them out of the cookie cutters and have new crayons.

Learn more: Sun-Melted Crayons/Happy Hooligans

Build a birdhouse

Little boy and girl building and painting birdhouse outdoors in summer

It’s easy to create a bird feeder using materials that you can find around the house, from plastic containers and spoons to oranges and birdseed. To make it more interesting, make a few bird feeders and hang them in different spots in your yard so you can see what kinds of birds visit each.

Learn more: Bird Feeder Ideas/Spruce Crafts

Catch fireflies

photo-of-boy-holding-firefly-jar

Catch fireflies in a jar to observe the insects. Release them at the end of the evening.

Learn more: Guide To Catching Fireflies/Homesteading

Create a fairy garden

photo-of-children-looking-at-a-fairy-garden

Find things from around the house, like spools, clay, broken pots, and more, to create a fairy garden. Or purchase a fairy garden kit at Amazon to get you started.

Learn more: Fairy Garden Tour/A Beautiful Mess

Go on a bug hunt

photo-of-child-looking-at-a-bug

Scavenger hunts are classic outside activities for kids. In this version, they’ll hunt for bugs. How many different types of bugs can they find in the backyard? Bring a magnifying glass or jar to catch and observe them.

Learn more: Bug Hunt/Family Corner

Make mud pies

photo-of-mud-pies

Get dirt, add water, and use old cake pans and plates to create mud pies. Decorate them with flowers and leaves.

Learn more: Make Mud Pies/Sparkle Stories

Have a bike parade

Little boy is showing his decorated bicycle at Kingsday

Decorate bikes with streamers, balloons, and flags. Then, bike around the neighborhood. Better yet, get other kids involved in the fun and keep the parade going. You might associate bike parades with the 4th of July, but Memorial Day, Labor Day, even the holidays (think: adding Christmas lights to bikes) are all good excuses for a bike parade.

Construct a cardboard fort

photo-of-fort-made-out-of-cardboard-boxes

Get a bunch of cardboard boxes, tape, paint, and markers and see what your kids can make out of them.

Learn more: Cardboard Box Fort Ideas/Backyard Summer Camp

Make a rock garden

photo-of-painted-rocks

Search for rocks—the smoother the better. Then, paint them and create a rock garden. You can also get a rock-painting kit that comes with inspiration from Target.

Learn more: Rock Garden Ideas/SheKnows

Map the neighborhood

Hand-drawn neighborhood map-by kids.

Look at maps of your city. Then, have your kids take a paper and pencil and walk through their neighborhood, making their own map.

Learn more: Nifty Neighborhood Maps/Crayola

Hold a neighborhood scavenger hunt

image-of-scavenger-hunt-printable

Beforehand, walk around your neighborhood and make a list of things that the kids are sure to find (stop sign, red house, mailbox shaped like a barn). Then, give your kids the list and see if they can find everything on your list.

Learn more: Scavenger Hunt Printable/Miss Merry

Play water limbo

photo-of-kids-playing-limbo

Use a hose as a stick and spray water in a stream for kids to limbo under.

Learn more: Water Hose Limbo/Great Camp Games

Toss water balloons

close-up-photo-of-water-balloons

There are plenty of outside activities for kids using water balloons. For this one, fill up water balloons and have kids start close together. Toss the balloon, then take a step back. Repeat until the balloon bursts, then start over.

Learn more: Eco-Friendly Water Balloons/Cool Mom Picks

Buy it: Bunch O Balloons at Amazon

Build igloos

photo-of-ice-igloo

The night before, fill various containers with water and different food coloring and freeze it. Then, pop the ice out of the molds and let kids build with it until it melts. Or get serious and freeze water in bread pan molds and use them as bricks to build an igloo.

Learn more: Make Igloos/Burlington Free Press

Slip-n-Slide

photo-of-kids-playing-on-slip-n-slide

Make your own Slip-n-Slide with a plastic tarp, secure it on a hill, and run the hose down the middle. Have kids slide down on their bellies or on pool floats.

Learn more: Build a Slip-n-Slide/All Things Thrifty

Buy it: Water Slides and Body Board Set at Amazon

Throw sponges at targets

photo-of-sponge-and-target

Draw a bull’s-eye on the driveway and give points to each circle. Then, put a bunch of sponges in a container of water. Have kids stand at a starting line and throw the sponges at the target.

Learn more: Sponge Bullseye/KiwiCo

Have a sponge relay

photo-of-kid-playing-with-sponge-and-water

This game is great for a group of four or more kids. Put two buckets out for each kid or team. Fill one bucket with water and sponges; the other bucket stays empty. The kids have to transfer water from the full bucket to the empty one using just the sponges. Whoever fills their bucket first is the winner.

Learn more: Sponge Relay/Flying With Four

Paint with squirt guns

photo-of-squirt-gun-painting

Fill a squirt gun with paint (or paint mixed with water if the paint is thicker), then aim it at a piece of paper or bedsheet to create spray art.

Learn more: Squirt Gun Painting/Fireflies and Mud Pies

Buy it: Squirt Guns at Amazon

Play water balloon dodgeball

Use water balloons in a game of dodgeball.

Read outside

photo-of-boy-getting-book-from-little-free-library

Get blankets, chairs, tents, whatever you need to make a cozy reading nook. Bring out a pitcher of lemonade and a stack of books. This activity is best when it’s nice and cool outside—no bugs and no humidity.

Learn more: Ways To Enjoy Reading Outside/Honestly Modern

Clean the cars

photo-of-sensory-bin-with-dirt-and-water

Get a plastic tub. Fill half with dirt and trucks and cars, the other half with soap and water. Then, sit back and relax as your children put vehicles through car wash after car wash.

Learn more: Clean the Cars Sensory Bin/Busy Toddler

Blow big bubbles

photo-of-kids-making-bubbles

See how big a bubble you can create with homemade solution in a kiddie pool and a bunch of different bubble wands. A Hula-Hoop or rope both make good giant bubble creators.

Learn more: Homemade Giant Bubbles/Happy Hooligans

Buy it: Giant Bubble Making Kits at Amazon

Play parachute games

photo-of-kids-playing-in-a-parachute

Stretch out a parachute and put balls on top, then shake the parachute but try not to let the balls roll off. Lift the parachute and see how many people can run under it before it comes down. Sit under the parachute and create a tent. These are just a few ideas for how to play with a parachute.

Learn more: Parachute Games/Backyard Games

Buy it: Play Parachute at Amazon

Make a sensory table

photo-of-water-table

An old train table repurposed as a water table, or a coffee table, now with bins for sand and water. Water and sensory tables are a fun way for kids to play creatively.

Learn more: DIY Sensory Tables/The Empowered Educator

Play classic games

Examples of old school recess games including hula tag and snake

The games you played when you were a kid never go out of style. Teach your child the classics:

  • Red Rover, Red Rover
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Mother May I
  • Kick the Can

Learn more: Classic Recess Games

Host a s’mores party

Start up the fire pit and make s’mores, the quintessential outdoor dessert. You can stick with the classic—graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate—or try one of the options at the link below.

Learn more: S’mores Recipes Six Sisters’ Stuff

Learn how to play cornhole

Cornhole game in backyard.

Cornhole is the classic game that involves throwing beanbags at a target. The team with the most holes in wins. You can make your own or buy a set. Either way, cornhole is a game that kids will work to master.

Learn more: Make Your Own Cornhole Game/HGTV

Buy it: Junior Cornhole Game Set at Amazon

Make sidewalk chalk art

photo-of-chalk-art

Use painter’s tape to mark off shapes on the sidewalk. Then, color in each space with chalk. The result is a Pinterest-worthy chalk art design.

Learn more: Geometric Chalk Art/A Sprinkle of Pink

Buy it: Colored Sidewalk Chalk at Amazon

Play bocce ball

photo-of-kids-playing-bocce-ball

Make use of a flat area in your yard to set up a bocce ball game. Each player needs two same-color balls. Then they toss the ball to see who can get it closest to a white marker.

Buy it: Bocce Ball Set at Amazon

Play backyard putt-putt

photo-of-kids-playing-mini-golf

Create a real mini-golf challenge around your yard, taking all the hills, dips, and obstacles into consideration. Either use objects you already have—croquet wickets, boxes with holes cut out, PVC pipe, cups. Or purchase a mini-golf kit.

Learn more: Backyard Mini Golf Course/Kix Cereal

Buy it: Mini Golf Kit at Amazon

Make your own bubble foam

photo-of-kids-playing-in-foam

No matter how you slice it, foam is fun. And making your own foam is extra fun. Mix two parts water with one part tear-free bubble bath. Add food coloring. Mix with a hand mixer on high until it reaches the foamy consistency you like.

Learn more: Bubble Foam/Busy Toddler

Start a garden

close-up-of-kate-messner-book-up-in-the-garden

Gardens provide plenty of outdoor activities for kids that keep on giving. In fall, plant the seeds. Keep watch on the garden during winter. In spring, look for the first shoots, and take care of the garden until harvest in summer. Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner is a picture book that explains what’s happening under the dirt in your garden, and it takes you through the entire year.

Buy it: Gardening Starter Kit at Amazon; Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt at Amazon

Go fishing

photo-of-kids-pretending-to-fish-in-a-backyard-pool

Fill up a kiddie pool with magnetic animals (or cut out fish with paper clips attached to them) and use a magnetic pole to catch them all. Fill the pool with water, or not, depending on your child’s preference.

Learn more: Brain-Boosting Ways To Use a Kiddie Pool/Mommy University

Buy it: Magnetic Fishing Set at Amazon

Run a three-legged race

photo-of-kids-doing-a-three-legged-race

If you have an even number of kids, pair them up for a three-legged race. Use a rope or exercise band to tie kids’ legs together. For a variation, get a huge shirt and have three kids work together. One kid puts their head through the head, and two kids put their heads through the sleeves. Then, they have to run from start to finish. Kids love the challenge, and we love them learning to work together.

Learn more: Hold a Three-Legged Race/Our Pastimes

Jump rope

Jump rope is great exercise, confidence building, and fun.

Learn more: Jump Rope Rhymes and Games/Mommy Poppins

Play all kinds of tag

Examples of kids playing fun tag games, including octopus tag and blob tag.

There are so many kinds of tag to play:

  • Blob Tag: When you’re tagged you join the blob.
  • Hot Dog Tag: One kid is the hot dog, and they tag two “buns.”
  • Animal Tag: Kids have to act like animals when they are tagged.
  • Dragon Tag: As kids are tagged, they link arms to form a dragon.

Learn more: Fun Tag Game Variations

Capture the flag

photo-of-kids-running

Capture the Flag’s rules haven’t changed since you were a kid. Each team tries to take the other team’s flag and get it back to their territory. But if a player gets tagged by the other team while on that team’s side, they get sent to “jail.” The game ends when one team gets the other team’s flag to their home base.

Learn more: Capture the Flag/Party Games 4 Kids

Create a business

Girls with lemonade stand in front of house.

Encourage your entrepreneurial kid to set up a lemonade stand, or decide on something else to sell. First, survey neighbors to find out what they’d like to buy. (Maybe people want Popsicles in summer but hot cocoa in winter.) Then, have your kids price out the ingredients and go shopping with you. Figure out what time of day is best to sell. And put up advertisements around the neighborhood.

Create a water wall

photo-of-kids-playing-at-a-water-wall

Kids love outside water activities! A water wall is essentially a maze for water to trickle through. Hang different objects from your house—tubes, milk jugs and cottage cheese cartons with the bottoms cut out, funnels, and anything else that water could go through—on a pegboard or simply on the wall. Then, run water through it and see how it flows.

Learn more: Water Wall/Happy Hooligans

Make a homemade water blob

photo-of-kids-playing-on-a-water-blob

A water blob is a large piece of thin plastic, folded in half, taped shut, and filled with water. Essentially, a huge water balloon that kids can play on. Make your own by folding and sealing plastic sheeting with duct tape. Then, fill the blob with water. If it springs leaks while you play, just seal them back up with duct tape.

Learn more: Water Blob Tutorial/Clumsy Crafter

Get creative with tie-dye

Tie-dyed shirt on the grass

Tie-dying activities are best for kids to do outside, so take advantage of warm, sunny days to tie-dye shirts or pillow cases, or tie-dye a sheet and put it over a frame to make a tent.

Learn more: Tie-Dye Instructions/Lola Lambchops

Draw with shadows

Use sun and your child’s toys to create shadow drawings.

Make slime

image-of-slime

Slime activities for kids are best done outside. Make your own slime with glue, food coloring, baking soda, and saline solution (and glitter if you’d like).

Learn more: Slime Recipe/The Kitchn

Make sun art

image-of-sun-print-paper

Collect leaves and plants, put them on the special paper, and leave them in the sun to create silhouettes.

Learn more: Sun Print Paper/Flinn Scientific

Buy it: Sun Art Paper Kit at Amazon

Create a nature weaving

photo-of-nature-weaving-activity

Looking for outside craft activities for kids? Use sticks and string as the structure to weave in leaves and flowers. Kids will have fun collecting plants and seeing which are the best for weaving.

Learn more: Nature Weaving Craft/Craftiments

Make a worm farm

photo-of-worm-jar

Worms are easy enough to come by. Fill a mason jar with dirt, make sure you have some worms to observe, and watch them wriggle!

Learn more: Make a Worm Jar/Homeschool Creations

Have a tea party

photo-of-kids-playing-tea-party

Bring out the fancy dishes, make iced tea or lemonade, and put out platters of crackers and cookies to add a bit of fancy to your summer. Invite teddy bears, dolls, and even dump trucks to the party to encourage pretend play.

Learn more: Kids Tea Party Guide/The Spruce

Make a dandelion crown

photo-of-child-wearing-a-dandelion-crown

Pick dandelions and other flowers with long stems and weave them together to make crowns, necklaces, and bracelets.

Learn more: Make a Dandelion Crown/Prairie Play

Play a game of kickball

A red kickball rolls toward home plate after it is pitch - the person pictured here on plate is approaching the kick.

Sometimes the best games are the classics. If your child has a bunch of friends over, organize them into two teams and start a game of kickball.

Have a glow party

photo of glow sticks

When it gets dark, break out a few glow sticks, put on some music, and dance the night away!

Buy it: Glow Sticks at Amazon

What are your favorite outside activities for kids? Share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out Wet and Wild Outdoor Science Activities.





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