This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you).
Perfectly planned crafts and adventures are fun and all, but sometimes I just need something quick and easy for my kids to do right at home, no planning required! That’s why I like to keep this list of go-to outdoor activities for kids handy to use in those moments. (In case you need a quick reminder about why choosing outdoor play can be so beneficial, take a peek here!)
Because there have been plenty of times where I didn’t plan anything for the day but we find ourselves with some free time and absolutely zero ideas. That’s why it’s so nice to have an easy list of go-to ideas that I can glance at and quickly choose an activity. I also try to make sure and only list activities that will actually engage my kids for more than 10 minutes before they’re bored again.
And, of course, these are all things you can do outdoors without leaving your own yard or neighborhood! So here are 50 of our tried and true easy outdoor activities for kids:
1. Dig for worms.
Kids always seem to have fun digging up these plump little guys! My son also had fun keeping some worms in his own container as “pets” for a few days.
2. Search for/collect insects.
Grab a jar or bug catcher and see how many different creepy crawlies are out in the yard!
3. Trace different tree leaves.
Collect a variety of different shaped tree leaves around the yard or neighborhood (before they turn crunchy). Bring them home and trace over them on paper with some colorful crayons and see how the different patterns and textures show up!
4. Paint a picture outside.
Less mess to clean up indoors, and your child might find something outside to inspire their painting!
5. Read a book outside.
One of the easiest ways to get kids outside is to move something we normally do indoors outside instead! Reading books is one of our favorites.
6. Build a fort.
Use natural materials, blankets draped over porch furniture, or whatever you have available in the yard!
8. Do some yard work.
Sometimes I’m surprised at how excited my little dude can get about helping with stuff around the yard. He’s helped saw up branches for firewood, trim bushes, rake leaves, pull out ivy. And offering to pay him a little for his work never hurts either🙂.
9. Take care of the garden.
If you already have a garden planted, you have some built-in outdoor activities for kids right there! Have them help you water, weed, or pick some of the harvest.
10. Go for a bike ride around the neighborhood.
Another one of our favorite go-to outdoor activities for kids! And if you’re getting bored with riding around the neighborhood, try and see if there are some new places that are still close to home.
11. Play dress up in the yard.
Sometimes all you need is a costume to spark hours of imaginative play!
12. Have a pirate treasure hunt.
13. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
This can be open ended where your kids just walk around and collect whatever they want, or you can have them look for specific items with these free printables!
14. Make a nature rainbow collage.
Use this printable to collect things around the yard and have your kids make their own nature rainbow!
15. Make mud pies.
This is one of my absolute favorite outdoor activities for kids! And it never gets old because as the seasons change, there is constantly a new supply of ingredients to use for the “pies”! Setting up a mud kitchen area in the yard is easy and can lead to hours of outdoor play!
17. Have an outdoor tea party.
This was one of my favorite activities as a kid! Grab a tea set (or some extras from the kitchen) and head outdoors. Have the kiddos create their own special set up, perhaps bring along some stuffed animal guests, then let them serve some simple fare that you have around the house (like lemonade and crackers).
16. Have a campfire “party”.
This idea spawned completely from the mind of my son. He entertained himself one day by stacking up logs in a teepee formation for his “fire” and pretending to roast marshmallows on it. Sometimes just the imagination of a child is enough, folks! When I saw how much fun he was having, I put a candle on top of his stack and lit it for him, then read him a few camp themed books while sitting by the “fire”.
18. Have an outdoor concert.
Bring the instruments outside and let the kids go to town! Also a great choice if you happen to have obnoxious neighbors who are in need of a little retribution 😂 .
19. Blow bubbles.
20. Play a sport.
Put to use whatever equipment you have available! We enjoy kicking a soccer ball around the yard, baseball, and hockey in the driveway.
21. Make mud faces on trees.
22. Start a rock collection.
Have your kids collect rocks that they think are interesting. Put them in a bowl of water to really observe the different colors, textures, and patterns! Or have your kids categorize them by size, color, or type of rock.
23. Draw with chalk.
We love drawing colorful chalk pictures in the driveway! Another fun thing is drawing roads for my son to ride his bike or little blue truck on. We have a ton of fun adding scenery like towns, stop signs, forests, rivers, barns, meadows, and railroad crossings!
24. Make something out of boxes.
I’m pretty sure my son plays with boxes just as much as he plays with his toys. Have the kids bring some boxes outside and draw or paint on them (or even use screws and nails to attach pieces together)! Using boxes, he’s made forts, houses, robots, cars, ships, and rockets!
25. Mix up potions.
27. Tell stories and roast food around a fire.
Look for some stumps in your yard or neighborhood and use this printable to count the rings and learn about the tree!
30. Play in the sprinkler.
31. Have a carwash.
When deciding on outdoor activities for kids, you might as well choose some that are also productive! Have the kiddos help you wash your own vehicle or set up a mini car wash for their bikes and play cars.
32. Use a field guide to identify plants in your yard.
My little guy loves doing this with me! I guess there’s just something exciting about feeling like you’re solving a mystery. It can also be super helpful to know about what’s growing in your yard. You can find out what benefits certain plants may have or discover that you have some poisonous or invasive plants around.
33. Fly a kite.
All you need is a windy day and some open space! Oh, and a kite 😁 .
34. Have a picnic.
As far as outdoor activities for kids go, picnics are always a hit! Take lunch outside today or just munch on some snackies while sitting on a blanket.
35. Pick up trash around the neighborhood.
Like I said before, might as well choose some outdoor activities for kids that teach them to be helpful little humans who give back to society!
36. Build a clothesline tent.
The easiest of all the forts, but still so much fun!
37. Create an obstacle course.
Use whatever materials are around (natural and man-made) and have the kids create things to jump over, climb on, crawl through, etc. Half of the fun for my son is the actual set-up. And, of course, you have to pretend that the floor is lava 😂 .
38. Do a science experiment.
Outside is a great place to conduct experiments as they’re often messy. The classic go-to is making the volcano erupt with baking soda and vinegar. Here are some more awesome experiment ideas to try outdoors!
39. Play classic yard games.
You know the ones. Tag, hide and seek, red rover, simon says, capture the flag, etc.
40. Perform a play.
Did anyone else do this as a kid? Dressing up and acting out a story line is such a great way for kids to showcase some creativity! Or in. my case, boss all the other kids around. I promise you, I’m a changed person! 😂
41. Set up a hammock.
Chill out and read a book together or use it as a swing!
42. Climb a tree.
43. Find shapes in the clouds.
If the sky is dotted with fluffy clouds, lay back and see what different shapes you can spot!
44. Volunteer to walk someone’s dog.
Who doesn’t love petting a nice pooch? This is great for kids who don’t have a pet of their own to learn some responsibility while getting some fresh air and exercise!
47. Play with a remote control car in the driveway.
We have this all-terrrain remote control car for our son, and he loves it! We play with it in the yard, driveway, and sometimes take it for walks down the street.
48. Investigate with a homemade nature explorer kit.
49. Have a water balloon fight.
Or target practice or a water balloon toss…the water balloon possibilities are endless!
50. Film a movie (outside)!
I love incorporating some creativity into our outdoor activities for kids! My little guy recently expressed an interest in filming his own movie. Hand over the camera and see what they come up with on their own! Or have them create a character (like a Steve Irwin or Bear Grylls) and film them leading their own show!
Hopefully this list of outdoor activities for kids will be helpful for you and the littles anytime the doldrums hit and your idea level is at zero. I know it’s been great for me to glance at and quickly pick an activity on the fly. Cheers to you and yours!
PS – Know someone that would like this blog? Please forward it to them!