Updated: Oct 22, 2021
It's the beginning of the summer, so this is a great time to get kids outside and get them moving!
If your kids are anything like mine, they would much rather be outside than inside, especially when it is warm out. Being outside can foster creative play that is device-free, and provide exercise.
Also, being in the sunlight provides vitamin D, just remember to wear your sunblock! It is also a good idea to bring a hat, sunglasses, and some water!
1. Play in the sandbox
If your kiddos are anything like mine, they can dig for hours on end. In the mud. Without a bucket.
Bonus for you if you actually bring a bucket and shovel, and be sure to go on a day that it hasn't just rained.
Making sand castles is great for creativity, also for logical reasoning and planning how to set up their structure so it doesn't fall down.
2. Go to a neighborhood playground
The playground is always a kid favorite, and most neighborhoods will have more than one, so rotating between a few different playgrounds lets kids feel like they are doing something new every time.
My teen daughter will go with us sometimes too, especially if her baby sister asks nicely.
Bonus for getting more exercise if you can walk to the playground from your house and get some steps in!
The only trick with this one is ever getting the kids to leave! It helps to pack a snack or juice box in the stroller to entice them when it's time to go. If that doesn't work, I try saying, "It's starting to get windy/ rainy/ dark." That usually will move them along!
3. Gardening & 4. Help with Yard Work
Kids love to learn about the world. Planting flowers or herbs from seeds helps them to learn how things grow. My toddler gets excited about watering hers and seeing how tall they get. She also helps pull weeds and prepares the garden bed.
5. Climb a tree
I remember climbing trees as a kid, and it helps to teach dexterity, balance, and problem solving.
Plus, kids have fun jumping back down from the tree too, or swinging from a branch. All of which provide good exercise.
Little ones can also have fun playing under big trees and incorporating them into games. Some things I have seen my kids do are play camping, and pretend to be gnomes and fairies that live in the woods.
Kids will also enjoy building a tree house, or hanging a hammock or swing in a tree to play with.
6. Play with Sidewalk chalk
Drawing with sidewalk chalk is great because it incorporates art and creativity with being out doors.
Kids can draw their own creative pictures. They also love to trace around the shape of objects, or make outlines of people if you are willing to lie down on the ground.
Chalk can also be used in games like hop-scotch where you draw the squares. The only other thing you would need is a bean bag.
Usually, I can find chalk at the dollar store. If you can't find it in the toy section, check with the office supplies.
7. Play music and dance
If you have an acoustic guitar, it can be relaxing to sit outside to jam and have a sing-along.
This can be an activity for a lazy afternoon, or go on into the night around the fire pit.
If you have several musical friends, like we do, you can take turns passing around the guitar and everyone playing something different.
If you aren't musically inclined, all you need is your phone and some Bluetooth speakers, and you can have a music show anywhere!
8. Go for a nature walk
If you live in the country, this is pretty easy to do. But even in a good sized city, usually there are parks or other nature areas to go to.
Our town has monthly toddler nature walks, we found them on the city's webpage.
This is an easy activity to do as a family too. You can research what animals and plants live in your area and try to look for them on your walk.
You can make a scavenger hunt with pictures, and have your little ones circle the pictures of the things they see along the walk. For toddlers you can make it something simple like a tree or a flower, and you can get more complex with older kids. If your kids have phones, you can have them take a picture of what they find.
9. Go on a picnic
Of course, you can get fancy with this and have a picnic basket and blanket, and go to the park or the mountains.
But, especially if you have small kids, you can even have a picnic in the back yard.
Lately, my toddler has been coming home from daycare and asking if she can have a picnic in the back yard. We will usually bring out a snack and a juice, play outside for a while, and go in when it starts to get dark.
This gives her some easy outside time, and I can do some outside chores too at times.
10. Play in the sprinkler
Kids all love to play in the water, and that is great if it is a hot day outside! These next few activities are for all the water children out there!
Playing in the sprinkler (bonus if you are watering the grass at the same time!) is the easiest way to get kids in the water.
If you have a yard with an incline, you can also try a slip & slide, or just lay down a plastic sheet and make your own!
11. Go to the swimming pool
We are a family of swimmers, so we got a back-yard pool a couple of years ago, and it has been one of the best investments we have made for our house. We are usually in the pool almost every day during the summer! There are many affordable options if you are shopping for one. If not a full-sized pool, you can get a toddler's wading pool usually around $10 this time of year.
Most communities also have a swimming pool as well, and it is a great place for kids to spend the day with their friends! It is usually affordable, and can keep kids entertained for hours!
These days, some communities even have water parks with slides and other rides. Those can be a great time too for little swimmers!
13. Go for a boat ride
Going out in a boat, whether it is a kayak or a cruise liner, is a great experience for kids of all ages.
My daughter had a lot of fun sitting on Daddy's lap to get to help drive the boat on our lake trip a couple years ago.
If you enjoy fishing, you can teach your kids to fish off of a boat as well, it is a great skill to be able to have.
In some areas, you can also go on a white-water rafting trip! Just be sure to hold on tight, and wear your life jacket!
14. Go hiking
Depending on the age of your kids, going hiking can amount to the same thing as going on a nature walk, if they aren't able to walk very far.
Or, if you are more of a motivated hiker, there are places where you can hike for days in a row without seeing civilization!
15. Go camping
If you really want to get your kids into the outdoors for a longer amount of time, a camping trip can combine a number of these other activities. Camping also teaches important wilderness survival skills.
When I was a kid, I remember going to Girl Scout camp every year, and hiking for miles into the woods. We learned to identify different animal tracks, cook over a fire, and what type of berries grew in the woods where we live.
Let me know in the comments what outdoor activities that you and your kids like the best, I am sure there are loads more besides these!