30 Outdoor Activities for Kids

Get the little ones off their screens and into the great outdoors with these easy activities and fun projects you can do as a family.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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Photo By: Debbie Wolfe

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Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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Backyard Camping

You don’t have to visit a campground to explore the great outdoors. Set up a tent in your backyard and let the kids enjoy the thrill of camping from the comfort of home. Keep them busy with campground essentials like binoculars, musical instruments and of course, snacks.

More Ideas: 10 Creative Backyard Camping Ideas for Mini Explorers

Water Gun Painting

Load up water guns with diluted acrylic paints, set up an easel and canvas, and let your little Jackson Pollocks create colorful works of art. Just be sure to protect your landscaping with a drop cloth or two.

Pool Noodle Obstacle Course

Inexpensive pool noodles can be used for all kinds of kid-friendly activities. Try turning them into an obstacle course by staking pencils or dowels into the ground, then sliding the noodles over them to create various challenges for the little ones to traverse.

More Ideas: 10 Ways to Turn Pool Noodles Into Almost-Free Backyard Kids' Games

Sun Prints

Have your children gather flowers, leaves and other flat objects from around the yard, then arrange them on sun-sensitive photographic paper and place in direct sunlight to create one-of-a-kind prints. Buy a sun print paper kit from Amazon.

Get the How-to: 3 Gorgeous Ways to Craft With Sun Prints

Kiddie Car Wash

On hot summer days, the kiddos will love cooling off in this pint-sized car wash made from PVC pipes, pool noodles, sponges and plastic streamers.

Get the How-to: Crank Up the Fun With a DIY Kiddie Car Wash

Backyard Movie Night

If you have a projector, you can easily take family movie night outside by making an outdoor screen out of a white sheet. Lay down a blanket and pillows (or use them to cozy up your outdoor furniture) and enjoy your favorite flicks under the stars.

Get the How-to: How to Make an Easy DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Upcycled Sandbox Garden

If your kids have outgrown that old plastic sandbox or pool, help them upcycle it into a garden chocked full of healthy fruits and veggies. Get them into a daily routine of watering the garden and picking anything that’s ready to harvest.

Get the How-to: Upcycle a Sandbox Into a Kid-Friendly Garden

Foraged Fairy Garden

Add a little magic to your landscape with a fairy garden – think miniature houses, petite pathways and tiny doors on trees. Keep this activity budget-friendly by encouraging the kids to get creative with items found around the house and yard; this charming doorway, for instance, is made from pebbles, scrap wood and a push pin.

More Ideas: 12 Magical Fairy Garden Accessories You Can Make

Life-Size Fairy Garden

Alternatively, you can turn a patch of your yard into an enchanting fairy ring that’ll beckon the kids to play and dream all day. Let your children help you plant lush flowers, then finish off with whimsical accessories like lanterns, garden sculptures and a tiny table. Tea party, anyone?

Get the How-to: How to Create a Magical Backyard Fairy Ring

Bubble Station

Kids just can’t seem to get enough of bubbles. Keep them entertained for hours with an outdoor “bubble station” stocked with wands, bowls and a large dispenser full of bubble solution.

Giant Bubbles

What’s even better than bubbles? Giant bubbles. Make an oversized bubble wand using wooden dowels and cotton rope, then let your little ones perfect their techniques for making the biggest bubbles possible.

Get the How-to: Bring on the Bubbles: DIY Giant Bubble Wand + Solution

Nature-Inspired Play Zone

Encourage the kids to flex their imaginations and appreciate nature with a simple play area filled with foraged items like logs, sticks and pine cones. Add a few toys such as animal figurines, trucks or sand buckets, and this unassuming spot instantly becomes a jungle, a construction site, a beach – the sky’s the limit.

Get the How-to: DIY Nature Play Zone for Kids

Sidewalk Chalk Storytelling

Take your typical sidewalk chalk art up a notch by using it to tell a story. Encourage your kids to illustrate scenes from their favorite books or movies, then snap a photo that makes it look like they’re in on the action. They’ll love seeing themselves in their favorite fictional worlds.

More Ideas: Sidewalk Chalk Project for Kids

Glow-in-the-Dark Chalk Art

Keep the sidewalk-art fun going after dark with this easy-to-make glowing spray chalk.

Get the How-to: DIY Glow-in-the-Dark Chalk Spray for Instant Summer Fun

Backyard Scavenger Hunt

A simple outdoor scavenger hunt will motivate the kids to really take notice of their surroundings. Get creative with the format of the hunt – you can have them search for specific items, or find objects by color, shape or letter of the alphabet. Tech-savvy children may enjoy documenting their finds by taking photos.

Jumbo Tic-Tac-Toe

Turn plastic plates and hula hoops into an oversized tic-tac-toe game that’s tons of fun to play in the backyard.

Get the How-to: How to Make a Giant Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe With Hula Hoops

Stone Painting

Gather up some stones from around your yard, set the kids up with acrylic paints and a few brushes, and let them get creative! Encourage them to let the shapes of the stones guide them: Does it look like an animal? A face? A fruit or vegetable? Older kids with more practiced penmanship can even make plant markers for the garden, as seen here.

More Ideas: Easy Painted Rock Ideas for Everyone

Garden Racetrack

Turn excess landscape edging, an old bike tire and other upcycled items into a fun outdoor racetrack where your kiddos can vroom and zoom their favorite toy cars for hours on end.

Get the How-to: Kid's Garden Track

Sandcastle Station

You don’t have to be at the beach to enjoy the fun of building sandcastles. Bring the seaside experience home with a DIY activity table with refillable bins for sand and water. You can achieve a similar effect with an old kitchen sink, or simply with two plastic bins. Don’t forget the beach toys!

Get the How-to: Kids' Multipurpose Play Bench

Solar Oven S'mores

Upcycle a shoebox into a DIY solar oven, then harness the energy of the sun to make a batch of ooey-gooey s'mores.

Get the How-to: Make Delicious S'mores With a DIY Solar Oven

Water Balloon Piñata

This twist on the classic candy-filled piñata is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. Just fill at least a dozen balloons with water, bundle them together with a net and hang from a tree. Let the kids take their best swings with a stick or baseball bat and prepare to get soaked!

Paper-and-Straw Airplanes

Most kids have made a typical paper airplane, but we bet they haven’t made this paper-and-straw version. Their unusual design makes them fly exceptionally well; take a few outside and see who can throw them the farthest.

Get the How-to: How to Make Straw and Paper Airplanes

Bug Hotel

Have your little ones collect small twigs, acorns, pinecones and other natural items from around the yard, then use them to make a cozy home for ladybugs, bees and other beneficial insects. Encourage the kids to check back later and see which critters have moved in.

Get the How-to: How to Build a Bug Hotel

Drop Cloth Teepee

Give the kids a shaded spot to play and relax outside using a canvas drop cloth and basic sewing skills. Let them decorate it with washable paints so they can change up the design any time they want.

Get the How-to: How to Make a Kid's Teepee from a Canvas Drop Cloth

Pool Noodle Ring Toss

Another super-easy pool noodle hack: Make a simple ring toss game by cutting and staking a 24-inch noodle into the ground using a pencil or dowel. Then, cut and bend a few noodles into several sized rings, securing with colorful duct tape. Make two for a team version.

More Ideas: 10 Ways to Turn Pool Noodles Into Almost-Free Backyard Kids' Games

Pizza Garden

Plant a pizza-shaped garden with tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and other favorite toppings occupying each "slice." When the ingredients are ready to harvest, get the whole family together to whip up a pizza pie.

Get the How-to: Grow a Pizza Garden

Water Play Wall

Little ones can keep cool and splash about for hours with this clever water play activity station. Using zip ties and duct tape, secure a variety of funnels and plastic toys to a pegboard to create a water maze they’ll enjoy all summer long.

Eco-Friendly Birdfeeders

Get creative with items you already have around the house to make feeders for your feathered friends. An orange peel filled with birdseed and natural peanut butter makes a perfect eco-friendly treat.

More Ideas: Healthy Eating: 5 Eco-Friendly Birdfeeders

Pool Word Search

Put an educational spin on pool time with this easy pool noodle hack. Cut short segments of noodles in half lengthwise, then label 26 ping-pong balls with the letters of the alphabet. Toss the balls in the pool, then race to see who can spell a word on the pool noodle first.

More Ideas: Get Your Pool Party Poppin' With These Dollar Store Pool Game DIYs

Upcycled Bottle Rockets

Raid your recycling bin for empty 2-liter bottles and other supplies to make these DIY rockets. After the kids assemble and decorate them, they’ll be thrilled to launch them into the sky using a bike pump.

Get the How-to: Make a DIY Bottle Rocket

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