50 fun, Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids (they’ll love)

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Need some ideas on what to do with your kids this summer? Scroll through this list of 50 ideas and pick some that are right for your family.

NOTE: If you want the list in condensed form, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Outdoor summer activities for kids

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Table of contents

Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids

Water balloon fights

SOPPYCID 12Pcs Reusable Water Balloons, Pool Beach water Toys for Boys and Girls, Outdoor Summer Toys for Kids Ages 3-12, Magnetic Water Ball for Outdoor Activities

My daughter loves have water balloon fights on our trampoline with her friends. We currently have some “Bunch O Balloons” water balloons, which are quick to fill up but they are one-time use and create a lot of waste.

We may check out these well-rated reusable water “balloons” next. They look like lots of fun with less waste.

Building sandcastles at the beach

Building sandcastles on the beach is a great way for kids to use their imagination and to innovate.

They can use the creative part of their mind while putting their hands to work.

Camping (backyard or at a campsite)

Camping gets kids outside, they can learn about nature, and learn about planning and organization. (You need to make sure you have everything you’ll need to sustain you during the camping trip.)

If you don’t have the time – or desire – to camp a campsite, look to your own backyard for a camping adventure.

Nature scavenger hunts

Photo credit: TheCuriousDig on Etsy

Create a nature scavenger hunt customized for the things you’ll find and see in your region, or print off a ready-made printable like the one above from TheCuriousDig on Etsy.

Playing tag or hide and seek

Knowing a couple variations of tag is a fun activity for kids to do in your backyard or at the local park.

And hide and seek is fun too, just make sure to define the hiding area ahead of time. So your kid doesn’t end up trying to hide down the block.

Flying kites

Large Delta Kite for Kids & Adults,Extremely Easy to Fly Kite for Beach Trip,String Line Included,with Colorful Colors Tail,Perfect for Beginners,

Don’t be discouraged by a windy day. Embrace it and go fly a kite.

Go on a bike ride

Another great activity to get the kids outside is to take them on a bike ride.

If your child doesn’t ride yet, you can consider getting them a pedal-less balance bike so they can get used to the feel of balancing on two wheels.

Picnicking in the park

Make a regular meal into a fun experience with a picnic in the park.

I bring our little BBQ to the park and cook up some hot dogs for our family, but I make sure to bring extras because the neighborhood kids soon join us too.

It’s a great time that I look forward to.

RELATED ARTICLE: Wondering what snacks to bring to a picnic? Check out these picnic snack ideas.

Visiting a local farm or petting zoo

Photo credit: LearnAlongWithMe.com

I love goats. I think they are so funny and amusing.

Do you have a local farm or petting zoo in your area that you and the kids can check out?
If so, it can be a good way to spend the afternoon.

Playing in a sprinkler

On a hot day set up the sprinkler and let the kids run through the icy cold water.

We often have watering restrictions during the summer so we have to time this one for only certain days per week, but it gives the kids something to look forward to.

Drawing with sidewalk chalk

160 PCS Washable Sidewalk Chalks Set Non-Toxic Jumbo Chalk for Outdoor Art Play, Painting on Chalkboard, Blackboard and Playground

Sidewalk chalk is awesome because it lets kids get creative, and they can draw stuff that leads to them playing games – like hopscotch.

Ask them to draw a shapes on the sidewalk and then they have to leap from shape to shape without touching the rest of the sidewalk.

Hiking on local trails

Visit a botanical garden

Is there a botanical garden in your area? If so, plan a day trip to explore the garden and even reluctant kids will soon find themselves enamored by their surroundings.

Go to the swimming pool

What says summer more than swimming?

Get your kids to the pool so they can practice swimming and get some good exercise all while having a blast.

Creating a backyard obstacle course

edxeducation Step-a-Trail - 6 Piece Backyard Obstacle Course for Kids - Indoor and Outdoor - Build Coordination and Confidence - Physical and Sensory Play

Setting up an outdoor obstacle course challenges kids physically and can help improve their balance and coordination…all while having fun.

You can set up things you already have in your yard, or you can buy dedicated obstacle course kids like the one above.

Bird watching and identifying species

Many kids enjoy watching the antics of birds swooping, soaring and chattering in the branches.

You can jot down what birds you see in a journal or you can buy a bird watching book for kids like the one below that helps you identify common birds and features some journal pages.

Bird Watch Book for Kids: Introduction to Bird Watching, Colorful Guide to 25 Popular Backyard Birds, and Journal Pages

Playing frisbee or frisbee golf

Playing frisbee can be so much fun. And if your child doesn’t have someone else to play throw and catch with, they can practice their accuracy by playing frisbee golf.

Hosting a lemonade stand

Lemonade stands are great way for kids to learn entrepreneurial skills, customer service skills, and organization skills ALL WHILE HAVING FUN.

Outdoor arts and Nature crafts

Bring some basic arts and crafts supplies outside, set them on a table and have your kids look around for natural items to incorporate into their art or crafts.

Playing soccer or other sports

Sports like soccer and touch football are great because they require only minimal equipment – the ball.

Get some of your kids’ friends together at a local park and have some fun just playing.

Exploring tide pools at the beach

I spotted this incredible sea star (formerly called a starfish) while exploring the tide pools of Canada’s west coast.

What kind of amazing things will your children find exploring your local tide pools?

Collect Seashells

Heading to the beach and collecting seashells can be a fun and rewarding experience for kids and adults alike.

Gardening and planting flowers

Planting flowers and gardening is a fun, hands-on activity that most kids love.

And being able to pick and eat home-grown garden vegetables can be life-changing for kids giving them a greater appreciation for where their food comes from and the work required to get that food.

Watching butterflies

Butterflies can be amazing to watch as they flutter and flit from flower to flower.

Have your child try to find some butterflies and then draw the ones they see.

Making DIY bird feeders

HOME COMPOSER 4 Pack DIY Bird House Wind Chime Kits for Children to Build and Paint, Wooden Arts and Crafts for Kids Girls Boys Toddlers Ages 8-12 4-6 6-8, Paint Kit Includes Paints & Brushes

If you have some woodworking skills you could help your child make a birdhouse from scratch, or you can buy a DIY bird house kit like the one above where the pieces are already cut out but require assembly.

Go Stand-up Paddleboarding

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If you have a lake or a calm body of water nearby, you should check out stand-up paddleboarding.

Inflatable paddleboards are great because they fit into cars, and you blow them up once at the lake. (I find the manual pumps are a bit of a triceps workout because they require so many pumps.)

Make sure your child has a properly sized life jacket and follow all the other usual safety precautions around the water.

Stargazing and identifying constellations

Looking up at the stars can be a neat way to feel connected with the universe. Younger kids may not be up late enough in the summer to see the darkened skies, but older children will enjoy this.

Playing hopscotch

This simple schoolyard game is a fun activity for the kids to do this summer and they get some exercise while having fun.

Visiting a local splash pad or water park

Creating a nature journal

Get a journal for your kids to start documenting the things they see and find in nature.

It can help open their minds to be aware and concerned with what is happening around them.

Fishing at a local pond

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Worried about your child hooking you or themselves while casting? If so, check out these hide a hook bobbers from Shakespeare.

I have these for my youngest daughter. But the last time she went fishing she didn’t want to actually catch any fish so I just put a weight on the end of her line so she could practice casting into the water. She had fun.

Playing in a treehouse or fort

The neighborhood kids love it when some tree branches are down at the local park because they use them to make forts.

It’s fascinating how just some simple sticks can keep them busy for hours.

Organizing an outdoor treasure hunt

Kids love treasure. Actually, everyone loves treasure.

You can either arrange a treasure hunt for your kids, or they can organize one for their friends.

It is a simple activity that can take hours especially if they want to create their own treasure maps. (I usually add coffee or tea to the paper to make it look like an aged map.)

Visiting a farmers market

Setting up a slip and slide

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Set up a slip and slide for some backyard fun.

You can get single lane slip and slides (like when I was a kid), but now you can get 2 and even 3 lane slip and slides so kids can race.

Now I find the hose water so darn cold that I leave the sliding to my kids who seem oblivious to the cold.

Exploring a nearby forest or nature reserve

Get out in the woods, meadows or other nature reserves can help recharge and re-energize your kids, but also you.

Some people call immersing themselves in the woods “forest bathing” and it can benefit mental health and physical well-being. (Reference)

Play tetherball

Lifetime 90029 Portable Tetherball System

Tetherball is a fun game that you can now play right in your driveway thanks to portable tetherball systems.

Building a fairy garden

A fairy garden makes gardening on a small-scale really fun for kids and stokes their imagination and creativity.

You can use things you find around your home and yard to create intriguing little fairy gardens.

Make homemade ice cream

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Making homemade ice cream can be a great way to make your desserts and know what you’ve put into it!

We have one of these Cuisinart ice cream makers, but we don’t use it too often. I set it aside and kind of forgot about it. With the days heating up, it is time to pull it off the shelf.

Yes most of this activity is done inside, but the resulting ice cream can be enjoyed outside on your deck or patio.

Playing with water guns

Water guns are a fun way to get the kids running around! They’ll be getting exercise and not even know it. They’ll be too busy trying not to get squirted with icy cold tap water.

Do some outdoor science experiments

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Let your kids devise their own science experiments, or pick up a science kit like the one above.

Going on a bug hunt

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Outdoor bug hunting doesn’t require any special equipment because you could just repurpose yogurt containers or other containers to create a temporary holding chamber while your kids examine the bugs they captured.

If you want a bug hunt kit, National Geographic makes the well-rated kit above.

Hosting an outdoor movie night

Having an outdoor movie night can be a fun activity for the whole family.

Because it stays bright out longer in the summer though, this may be better reserved for older kids. Or just let your younger ones stay up a little later than normal.

My friend bought an inflatable movie screen last year and set it up for some outdoor movies in the spring: when it gets dark earlier so our young kids could stay up for it.

Scootering, Rollerblading or Skateboarding

scootering outside is a fun summer activity for kids

Little scooters like this one have become really popular with the neighborhood kids. The kids love it when they find a patch of recently paved street or sidewalk because of the smooth surface.

Visiting an outdoor playground

Create a list of the outdoor playgrounds in your city or town that you want to check out this summer.

If ever you’re in doubt on what to do, just pull out the list and select a park to visit.

This can usually tie in well to other activities like sidewalk chalk, soccer, picnics, scootering and scavenger hunts.

Play with a hula hoop

I took a break from writing this article and went and tried my daughter’s hula hoop. Jeez, I don’t remember hula hooping being difficult. I can’t get the hang of it anymore!

But kids love them.

I can’t remember where she got it, but my daughter has a hula hoop that comes apart and can fold small it can be brough to the park in our car without taking up an entire seat.

Doing yoga in the backyard

Set up a yoga mat in the backyard and let your child practice some yoga poses and mindful breathing.

Making and flying paper airplanes

Making paper airplanes is a fun craft that results in having something you can play with at the end.

Have a friendly competition with your kids and see whose paper airplane can fly the farthest in the backyard.

Blow Bubbles (and pop them!)

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Kids love bubbles! Bring a bubble wand or bubble-blowing gun outside and you instantly have something fun to do.

Play Mini Golf

Mini golf is an activity that you can do with your kids and you’ll both have fun. (Well, unless you get a little too competitive then someone may end up in tears…and that may be you 🙂

List of Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids

  1. Water balloon fights
  2. Building sandcastles at the beach
  3. Backyard camping
  4. Nature scavenger hunts
  5. Playing tag or hide and seek
  6. Flying kites
  7. Going on a bike ride
  8. Picnic in the park
  9. Visiting a local farm or petting zoo
  10. Playing in a sprinkler
  11. Drawing with sidewalk chalk
  12. Hiking on local trails
  13. Visiting a botanical garden
  14. Swimming at a local pool
  15. Creating a backyard obstacle course
  16. Bird watching and identifying species
  17. Playing frisbee or frisbee golf
  18. Hosting a lemonade stand
  19. Outdoor arts and crafts
  20. Playing soccer or other sports
  21. Exploring tide pools at the beach
  22. Collect seashells
  23. Gardening and planting flowers
  24. Watching butterflies
  25. Making DIY bird feeders
  26. Go paddleboarding
  27. Stargazing and identifying constellations
  28. Playing hopscotch
  29. Visiting a local splash pad or water park
  30. Creating a nature journal
  31. Fishing at a local pond
  32. Playing in a treehouse or fort
  33. Organizing an outdoor treasure hunt
  34. Visiting a farmers market
  35. Setting up a slip and slide
  36. Exploring a nearby forest or nature reserve
  37. Playing tetherball
  38. Building a fairy garden
  39. Making homemade ice cream
  40. Playing with water guns
  41. Doing a science experiment outdoors
  42. Going on a bug hunt
  43. Hosting an outdoor movie night
  44. Rollerblading or skateboarding
  45. Visiting an outdoor playground
  46. Playing with a hula hoop
  47. Doing yoga in the backyard
  48. Making and flying paper airplanes
  49. Blow bubbles and pop them!
  50. Play Mini golf

I hope this list of outdoor activities for kids will give you some ideas on how to keep your child busy this summer.

There are thousands of activities I’ve left off the list, but if you think of one that others readers would appreciate, feel free to comment below.

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