52 Seriously Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

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Summer is here, which means the weather is just right for some much-needed outdoor fun for kids—you know, the kind of entertainment that gets them away from screens and doesn’t result in a colossal mess inside your home. Good news: Our roundup of outdoor activities for kids of all ages is full of foolproof ideas that guarantee a good time in any open-air location. From sidewalk sales and fruit picking to rockhounding and bug hunting, here are our top picks.

32 Fun Things to Do with Your Kids on a Rainy Day

outdoor-activities-for-kids a little girl picking fruit.
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1. Fruit Picking

A quick search for “pick your own farms near me” might yield a pretty big payoff—namely, an entire day of outdoor entertainment that includes hands-on engagement, beautiful scenery and deliciously sweet, seasonal treats. (Just don’t be surprised if your little forager puts more fruit in her mouth than in her basket.)

2. Nature Scavenger Hunt

When it comes to taking your kid out for a breath of fresh air, a little structure can go a long way. Case in point: The outdoor scavenger hunt—an activity that encourages young ones to inquire with all five senses whilst keeping them (mindfully) on task. This fun to-do can go down in any number of ways but this printable from the experts at REI is a great place to start.

3. Beach Day

Fact: Crashing waves, warm sun and a fresh sea breeze can wear out and ultimately calm down even the wildest child. The takeaway? Head straight to the seashore so you can soak up some vitamin D while the kid in your life builds a sand castle and eats their body weight in ice cream.

outdoor activities for kids bird watching
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4. Bird Watching

Grab a pair of binoculars and a small person and then head to a local park or reserve on a bird-watching mission. This quiet outdoor activity is equal parts stimulating and soothing, so your child will be able to practice mindfulness while you both get in touch with nature. Get all the beginner bird watching tips you need right here.

5. Sensory Sand Box Play

Nobody likes the feeling of sand between their toes quite as much as a little kid, and fortunately you don’t need to devote your entire day to a beach outing just to make the sensory magic happen. Locate a playground with a sandbox (or buy one for your backyard) and your kid will be happy to dig in any day.

6. Backyard Bounce House

OK, bounce houses can be terrifying but hear us out: A small(ish), inflatable bounce castle for the backyard is an easy way to make your outdoor space more appealing—and, given its location, you don’t even need to worry about what happens when 25 children start jumping in a confined space. (Phew.) We’re big fans of this one from Fisher Price (seriously, our Editor-in-Chief wrote an ode to it.)

outdoor activities for kids stomp rockets1

7. Stomp Rockets

Bring these soft, foam rockets along whenever you leave the house for a quick and easy activity that can help your kid release some energy without the risk of physical injury or property damage. In other words, this is a rare instance in which stomping is strongly encouraged. (Because the stronger the foot, the higher these rockets will soar.)

8. Visit a Botanical Garden

A calming stroll through a botanical garden isn’t just a great way to get outside—it’s also an amazing opportunity to watch your child’s powers of observation in action. Bonus points if you bring a sketch pad and colored pencils so your kid can draw his surroundings.

9. Sprinkler Play

Both the pool and the beach can be a bit high-maintenance if you have a toddler at home. Turn on the sprinklers, however, and you’ve found the perfect way for very little kids to cool down and, well, test the waters.

outdoor activities for kids slip and slide
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10. Slip and Slide

Sprinklers and toddlers are a match made in heaven, but when it comes to big kid appeal, nothing beats the extra thrills of a slip and slide for the lawn.

11. Rockhounding

Rockhounding is geology for amateurs, and there’s a good chance that it’s right up your young nature explorer’s alley. After all, there are few childhood accomplishments that can rival a great rock collection. While most kids will just enjoy the challenge of finding cool-looking stones, the more serious amateur geologists can read up on rockhounding for beginners here.

12. Follow the Leader Walk

When you can’t make it to the playground before dinner, a good ol’ walk around the block might be in order. Pro tip: Make it a child-led adventure by allowing your pint-sized person to decide the direction you go at each crossroads...until it’s time to beeline back home, that is.

outdoor activities for kids giant bubbles

13. Giant Bubbles

Bubbles are an instant hit among little kids, but bubble-blowing as an activity is often hard to watch. Enter: Giant bubble solution—the magic potion that allows even the most inept kid to create an incredible (airborne) spectacle.

14. Remote Control Car Races

The remote control car: A go-anywhere plaything that keeps kids of all ages entertained on outdoor excursions. The only downside? You have to remember to charge the damn thing. This top rated pick comes with two cars (i.e., great for siblings) and is battery operated, meaning as long as you have a couple of AA’s on hand, it will keep children occupied for hours.

15. Pool Day

Grab the floaties and swim goggles—a day at the pool, be it public or private, promises outdoor entertainment for the whole brood (and an excellent workout to boot). Especially if you keep this list of fun pool games for kids handy.

outdoor activities for kids kite flying
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16. Kite Flying

It’s an expression for a reason, friends. Next time you want your kid to spend some time outside (i.e., get out of your hair), just tell him to go fly a kite...but definitely invest in a kite that meets expectations before you try this trick. This rainbow number should do the trick.

17. Gardening

Give your child the gift of a green thumb by introducing gardening projects at an early age. The meditative nature of this physical workout will have him worn out in the best way possible—and with a little time there will be something to show for it, too.

18. Park Picnic

A low key way to enjoy good weather that never gets old—pack a lunch (or several) and head to the park so your kid can run wild in the grass and take snack breaks as needed. Bonus: The whole event will likely be something of a break for you, too.

outdoor activities for kids crayon melting
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19. Crayon Melting

Arts and crafts are the name of the game for most of the cold-weather months, but that doesn’t mean the crayons have to gather dust as soon as the sun starts to shine. A little aluminum foil, some cookie cutters and plenty of sunshine are all you need for this activity, which breathes new life into broken crayons (i.e., all of them) and gets your kid a breath of fresh air to boot.

20. Backyard Obstacle Course

There are all kinds of props that you can bust out for this one—foam blocks and stepping stones, to name a few—but an obstacle course can also be accomplished with nothing more than the sticks and stones you find outside. Either way, the end result is an entertaining activity that hones major gross motor skills.

21. Sidewalk Sale

That cluttered playroom is practically begging for a Marie Kondo-style spring cleaning. At first, it might be a hard sell for your kid (who just cannot part with that Pokémon stuffy she hasn’t touched in six years)—but if you float the idea of profit-sharing, there’s a good chance she’ll be setting up shop on the pavement and singing a different tune.

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22. Zip-line

It’s a bit of an investment but if you have a backyard and can swing it, you should absolutely set up a kid-friendly zip-line. It’s basically the ultimate boredom buster that thrill-seeking kids can enjoy whenever the mood strikes.

23. Water Balloon Toss

When summer rolls around and the weather is steamy, outdoor water games are a must. Hence, the water balloon toss—an easy activity that essentially plays out like a simple game of catch, but with both participants increasing their distance until the water-filled “ball” bursts.

24. Freeze Tag

For a round of freeze tag, you’ll need to gather a gaggle of energetic children—but once you’ve got a group together, this classic outside-only activity will keep ‘em entertained for a good while.

25. Bug Hunt

If your budding biologist enjoys encounters with creepy-crawly things, make that interest the focus of your next nature adventure with a bug hunt. All you need is an outdoor spot to explore and a handy tool, like this one, that allows your kid to catch, examine and safely release some fascinating specimens.

outdoor activities for kids car wash
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26. Car Wash

Bigger kids (i.e., young entrepreneurs) will get a kick out of this classic outdoor activity that combines water play with the opportunity to make a quick but honest buck—all while soaking up some sun. (Psst: Here are some other jobs for kids who’ve got money on their mind.)

strider bike outdoor activities for kids

27. Bike Ride

For a fun outdoor activity that families can do together, it’s hard to beat a classic bike ride. Whether you’re riding the trails in a nearby park or just going around and around your cul-de-sac, even kids as young as 18 months can get in on the fun with one of these child-friendly bikes. (Hint: Start them on balance bikes first instead of pedals so that your little thrill seeker can learn balance and essential riding skills.)

28. Squirt Gun Painting

Let’s be honest, all parties have a little more fun when the paint is taken outdoors and the mess isn’t occupying the grown-up mind. Here, an art activity that allows kids to really let loose a la Jackson Pollock—and all you need is a squirt gun, watercolor paper and liquid watercolors to pull it off. Not a fan of pretend weapons? No problem, just swap the squirt gun for a spray bottle and you’re good to go.

outdoor activities for kids paper boat races
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29. Paper Boat Races

Fill up the kiddie pool and give these adorable paper boats a whirl—your child will have a blast with both the crafting portion and the main outdoor event.

30. Chalk and Tape Mural

Sidewalk chalk is a sunny day stand-by, and with a roll of masking tape, you can give this creative activity a major boost. Have your child use the tape to create an intricate design of intersecting lines—when the blank spaces are filled in with colorful chalk and the tape is removed, the result will be an expansive work of color-blocked art that’s sure to inspire pride.

31. Driveway Tailgating

You don’t need to buy tickets to a sporting event to give your child a tailgating experience (i.e., arguably the best part of a sporting event). Just throw some burgers and dogs on a mini-grill outside the family car for some afternoon fun and good eats.

outdoor activities for kids tie dye party
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32. Tie Dye Party

Tie-dyeing is a fun and easy way to make colorful, wearable art with one child or a whole group. Plus, this creative project requires nothing more than a few white T-shirts, a tie-dye kit and a small outdoor space to contain the mess.

33. Photography Journal

There are lots of different things to do and play, but sometimes the best part of being outside is simply being able to appreciate where you are. Equip your kid with an Instant Camera and he’s sure to stay fully engaged with the environment...without fancy toys or high-speed races.

outdoor activities for kids outdoor movie night
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34. Outdoor Movie Night

Set up a projector screen in your backyard and order a pizza—because nothing beats the novelty of viewing a movie outdoors on a warm night, especially with a kid who wants to watch and wiggle at the same time.

35. Farmer’s Market

Enlist your child’s help in making both a menu and the corresponding shopping list before you visit the local farmer’s market together. The fresh food and time outdoors makes for an errand that’s far from snoozy. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started.

36. Tree Climbing

You won’t need to twist your child’s arm to get him to climb a tree—the hard part is finding one with potential.

outdoor activities for kids jumping rope
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37. Jumping Rope

This aerobic exercise doesn’t require a sprawling outdoor space, but it will help keep your kid from bouncing off the walls when they get back inside.

38. Flower Pressing

If your child likes to stop and smell (read: pluck) the roses, be sure to bring a flower pressing journal along on your next nature walk so she can preserve the wild blossoms she finds. Outdoor memories in the making.

39. I Spy

Yep, I Spy is good for more than just road trips: Much like the “follow the leader” idea, this walk-around-the-block activity promises to keep kids in the present so they truly take in their surroundings when they step outside the house.

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40. Water Table

Another great option for toddlers and babies who are ready to get their feet wet...but not too wet. Bonus: Water tables like this one include interactive toys that keep little ones mesmerized while teaching them about cause and effect.

41. Relay Race

Egg and spoon? Potato sack? Perhaps just good ol’ fashioned sprinting? There are as many different ways to design a relay race as there are days of summer—and all you need is an energetic crowd of kids to get the fun started. Invite the neighborhood youth over to your backyard (or local park, if you prefer) and let the games begin.

42. Go to the Zoo

Lions, tigers and bears…oh my! Needless to say, the zoo is chock full of animal attractions that will inspire oohs and aahs in kids of all ages. In fact, there’s so much to see you can probably spend a whole day at this outdoor destination, which is particularly good news when the alternative is whiling away the hours at home with a bored and stir-crazy kid.

outdoor activities for kids fishing
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43. Go Fishing

Here, an outdoor activity that’s relaxing, occasionally thrilling and perfect for parent-child bonding. Plus, if your kid manages to reel in a whopper, it will be an especially memorable family outing (and good material for your summer scrapbooking project, too).

44. Open a Lemonade Stand

This sunny day activity has stood the test of time for good reason—namely because kids still need to learn the value of a hard-earned dollar and adults are still easily suckered by the cuteness of a 7-year-old with something to sell.

45. Play Handball

Handball: the classic schoolyard game that requires nothing more than a fist, a ball and a wall. This one is fun for kids of all ages and can be played solo or with a pal, right on the side of your house.

46. Make a Bird Feeder

A bird feeder can turn your outdoor space into a magical (and musical) aviary, and crafting one from scratch is an excellent hands-on project for kids and parents to do together. Just be sure to read the National Audubon Society’s guide to best bird feeder practices, lest your DIY project do more harm than good to the feathered friends it attracts.

outdoor activities for kids camping
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47. Backyard Camping

Your child might be too young for a solo wilderness sleepover, but a night spent under the stars in your own backyard is a different story. Pitch a tent or roll out a sleeping pad and light up the fire pit for an evening of hot dogs, s’mores and scary stories.

48. Rock Painting

OK, so your kid’s first rockhounding mission didn’t yield anything that would catch a real geologist’s eye, but fear not—with a little acrylic paint, that lackluster collection of stones can be transformed into something that would make Picasso proud.

49. Take a Hike

When you’ve heard “I’m bored” for the umpteenth time, go ahead and say it. There’s actually nothing wrong with suggesting your child get some exercise on a local scenic trail (no matter how you really meant it).

50. Puddle Splashing

Rainy day? No big deal—just have the little kid in your life slip into some galoshes and head outdoors for some carefree puddle splashing fun. Then, wrap it up with a hot bath back home for even more water play. Easy peasy.

fun outdoor activities for kids a little girl playing mini golf.
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51. Mini Golf

Little kids might not fare so well on the regular putting green, but take ‘em to a mini golf course and they’ll enjoy a full day of entertainment from a version of the sport that’s genuinely fun for the whole fam.

52. Backyard Olympics

Invite your kids’ friends over and pick teams out of a hat. Be sure to vary the challenges so that they appeal to different strengths and abilities. Our favorite games? Water balloon toss, three-legged race and hula-hooping. Feel free to sit back and root from the sidelines or get right in there with ’em.

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Emma Singer

Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...
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