If the weather is warm, it’s time to head outside! 18 easy outdoor activities for kids will keep them active, ignite imaginations & have fun in nature.
18 Fun & Easy Outdoor Activities for Kids
Warm weather is here, which means we’re soaking up as much outdoor play time as we can. Whether that’s going to the parks, lake, nearby streams, playing in the backyard and in our front yard, being outside is my favorite way for my kids to stretch their imaginations and play.
I love listening to the fun games they come up with, watching them transform areas for their creative play, and being able to give them a few supplies like blankets or a bucket of sidewalk chalk, and see what they dream up.
Just yesterday, when I stopped hearing my three kids scootering on the driveway and yelling, “red, yellow, green,” I went outside to check on them. I found them with a pile of beanie babies under a pine tree building hammocks and nests for their animals to sleep in.
Being outside, exploring, using their imaginations and having fun is really the foundation of what childhood memories are built upon, as well as development.
Our backyard is right between two other families with kids the same age as my own, and has gates between the three yards making it easy for them all to hang out. This also means, our backyard which is centrally located, has become the gathering spot to play together, build forts, socialize and come up with new outdoor activities and games.
I love having all the kids in our yard playing together, watching their fun unfold, and listening to the inevitable giggle fits happen, but sometimes, the staples we have in our yard (a wooden swing set my husband built and giant climbing dome that’s held up for several years outside in Colorado weather perfectly) lose some of their appeal and the kids start looking for new outdoor activities to captivate them.
I’d rather they don’t go on another snake hunt like last Summer (and come home with one in a bucket), and that’s why, I keep fun & simple outdoor activities for the kids on hand.
Below is a list of our family’s favorite simple outdoor kids activities that we have enjoyed, and the neighborhood kids have enjoyed when the weather is warm.
What are Some Activities to Do Outside? Fun & Simple Outdoor Activities for Kids to Get in Nature
Here’s a list of fun things to do outside with your kids that don’t require a lot of supplies or set-up, and will have all the neighborhood kids wanting to get in on the fun!
1. Create a Giant Chalk Art Mosaic Masterpiece
Creating big displays of art using only sidewalk chalk and a little tape is really easy, fun and the results are beautiful. My family created a giant heart mosaic out of chalk on the garage and we love to watch neighbors walking by glance at it and smile. You can easily create chalk art mosaics on cement, sides of houses or your garage, and even your garage door. It’s easy to wash off with the hose and start again!
2. Trampoline Sprinklers
If you have a trampoline in your backyard, or your neighbors do, have your kids put on their swim suits and get ready for a wet session of bouncing, jumping and tumbling. Turn on the sprinklers underneath the trampoline and quickly, you’ll have a wet surface to play on. Just be careful and keep the number of kids on the trampoline at a time to 2-3 so there’s no collisions or sliding into each other.
3. Water Balloon T-Ball
A lot of our fun outdoor activities that the kids love the most are centered around water. And water balloon t-ball is a family favorite at our house!
Fill up a bucket of water balloons (these are our favorite kind of water balloons because they literally take 30 seconds to fill, self-seal and you have dozens done at once), set up your t-ball stand, and position players like you would for a game of baseball. Then, start swinging away and watch the water balloons fly or also, splash players if they break on contact.
4. Make Mud Pies and Mud Art Outdoors
What are the elements kids love the most? Water and dirt, and when you combine the two they’ll be in heaven playing outside and creating mud pies. Is there anything better than the feeling of mud squishing between your hands as you mold it into a mud pie?
Not just mud clumps, but encourage your kids to collect items from nature like rocks, flowers, grass clippings and decorative pebbles to make mud pie masterpieces.
5. Homemade Sprinkler is a Fun Outdoor Idea
If you don’t have a sprinkler or simply want to show your kids how they can make their own, this homemade sprinkler is surprisingly easy to create.
Here’s what you do:
- Take a 2-liter soda bottle and poke holes into it.
- Attach to a garden hose with a male-to-male adaptor.
- Hang the sprinkler over a tree branch, from your deck or lay in on the ground.
- Adjust the sprinkler flow by adjusting the water stream.
- Let your kids run through it and enjoy the giggles!
A fun sprinkler pad is another easy to set-up solution if you don’t want to make your own homemade sprinkler.
6. Outdoor Nature Scavenger Hunt
Whether your kids are on break (or experiencing school closures / quarantine), you just want to get outdoors, have a little extra fun on the hiking trails or explore your neighborhood park more…. an outdoor scavenger hunt is a fun way to get kids outside, excited and involved with nature.
Print a copy for everyone and make sure they have a bag or container to store their nature finds, and send them on their way!
7. Water Limbo
Turn on the hose, and have your kids dress in swim suits for water limbo outdoor fun. Holding the hose, each child will take a turn going under the water coming out of the hose. After each round, the person holding the hose will lower it a few inches and you’ll repeat to see who can make it under the water hose without touching the ground. At one point, the hose will spray a child and they’ll be out of the game. The last one wet wins!
8. Have a Rock Stacking Contest in Nature
You can do this fun outdoor activity with your kids in the backyard, at a park or on a hike. Gathering a selection of various sized rocks, see who can build the highest rock stack by carefully balancing each stone, one atop the next.
9. Set up a Fun with a Backyard Camp Out
Set up a tent, your camping chairs and bring out a few blankets is an easy way to set the stage for a full day of activities outside your kids will absolutely have fun with. There are so many possibilities! You can have a picnic, read books, camp overnight if the weather is nice, and let their imaginations run wild with possibilities.
10. Paint Kindness Rocks and Spread Them Outdoors
A kindness rock, sometimes called a kindness stone, is simply a rock that someone has taken and decorated with an inspirational message. With a little paint and fine paint pens created just for rock painting, your kids can create mini masterpieces with inspiring and kind messages they can leave around your neighborhood, school, parks and common areas.
11. Make a Slip and Slide Out of Supplies You Already Have
Using a giant tarp on a part of your yard that has a slight incline (if you don’t have a slip and slide already handy,) put a hose on the tarp for a consistent flow of water to make it slick, and let your kids slip and slide down their way down it. Adding inflatable pool toys is also fun and they slide down the tarp easily.
12. Roll Your Own Ice Cream
Nothing is quite as satisfying as a cold cup of ice cream (or yogurt) on a warm day. I love getting my kids involved in cooking the food they eat, and an occasional sweet is no exception. We have a fun little ice cream ball you put all your ingredients in and then roll it around for 25-30 minutes to create a cold treat. The kids like to sit on the ground and roll it to each other and make up games while they wait for it to form.
You can also use a simple ice cream / yogurt / sorbet maker and top with fresh fruit and honey.
13. Tape Together a Giant Water Blob – the Ultimate Outdoor Activity for Kids!
This may look harder than it really is to make…. because it’s fairy simple to create your own giant water blob your kids will play with outside for hours!
You’ll need heavy plastic sheeting (anything less than 4mm is too thin,) waterproof heavy duty duct tape, food dye (if you want to color your blob) and water. You may get a few small leaks on the edges, but it’s easily fixed with more tape.
14. Water Balloon Toss
Using self-seal water balloons (man, I wish these were around when I was a kid because filling each water balloon was painfully slow back-in-the-day), fill up a bucket of them to use. Then, have your kids line up across from one another and toss the water balloon, trying to catch it and not drop it. Each time the water balloon comes back to the first person who threw it, that person takes one step back, making the distance between the kids bigger and bigger.
The water balloon toss is a class outdoor activity for kids of all ages, but it definitely hasn’t lost it’s fun factor.
15. Paper Boat Race
If you have a kiddie pool, nearby stream or small area of water close by, making paper boats for a paper boat race could be a fun and easy outdoor activity your kids will love. First, have your kids create paper boats out of supplies that’ll help the boats stay afloat, and then race the boats by blowing through a straw to propel them.
16. Timed Toy-Made Obstacle Course
I have to give my husband credit for this outdoor activity he came up with several years ago. It’s a favorite with my three kids and not only gives them some exercise to burn off their extra energy, but stirs up their inner competitor.
Using the toys and items in your backyard such as chairs, sports equipment, a swing set, etc. create an obstacle course your kids have to go over, under, around, up, backwards, etc.
Then, using a stopwatch or the timer on your phone, time each child as they go through the course. Likely, your kids are going to want to try the obstacle course several more times, finding ways to improve their time and ability to make it through the course as fast as possible.
17. Squeeze the Sponge Relay
You will need two buckets for each of your kids — one filled with water and one empty bucket. Give each of the children playing, one sponge. The object of the game is to transfer the water from bucket to bucket using the sponge. Whoever does it the fastest is the winner!
18. Water Activities Every Kid Will Enjoy
I don’t know any child who won’t jump at the chance to go outside and splash in water. There are lots of creative ways to do it: ask their help to wash the car, water the garden, run through the sprinklers, play with a slip-n-slide, splash in a water table, or play on the shore of a local lake, river or stream.
Get Outside Today with These Fun & Simple Outdoor Activity Ideas
Going out in nature and being in “green environments” has countless benefits to childhood development, mood and focus. So, choose any of these fun and easy outdoor activities for kids the next time you want to inspire their imagination, watch their creativity bloom, listen to their laughter and watch the joy on their faces being outside in nature.
More Fun Activities for kids
- FREE 2-Page PDF Printable Indoor Scavenger Hunt for Kids
- 25 Easy Craft Ideas for Kids to Make at Home (Surprisingly Simple Craft Ideas)
- List of 98 Kid-Approved Indoor Activities for Kids on School Break/Closure
- 50 Activities & Experiments to Keep Kids Learning in Summer
- Ultimate List of 40 Best Family Night Ideas to Try With Kids
- 50 Screen-Free Activities for Kids This Summer