Outdoor Activities With Kids Quick Links:
- Design a Scavenger Hunt
- Beautify the Sidewalk With Chalk Art
- All-Family Obstacle Course
- Nature-Themed Arts and Crafts
- Enjoy a Family Bike Ride
- Start a Neighborhood Sports League
- Tag With a Twist
7 Things to Do Outside With Kids For Free
Summer is the perfect time for family bonding in the great outdoors - whether that means forests and hiking trails or city streets and sidewalks. The best part? Free time outdoors is exactly that: free!
Ready to help the little ones burn off energy while getting some healthy sun and fresh air? Here are 7 exciting and fun outdoor activities the whole family can do together without breaking the bank.
#1: Design a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a blast for both kids and parents, especially if you have a penchant for riddles. Use your creative chops to immerse your kids in a unique mystery and challenge their critical thinking skills.
You probably have the necessary scavenger hunt supplies on hand: some pieces of paper, a pen or pencil for writing down clues, and an exciting (or yummy) prize. Say, ice cream, perhaps? When they’re done, try flipping the game and have your kids design a scavenger hunt! You might be surprised how much glee children get out of riddling (or stumping) their parents.
Quick Tip: Writing Clues
Setting up the scavenger hunt should be a fun and creative process. Feel free to get a little funky with your puns, rhymes, and riddles. Here are three examples to get you started:
#2: Beautify the Sidewalk With Chalk Art
Not every art project requires an expensive trip to the craft store. For this creative activity, you just need some sidewalk chalk (usually available for a buck or two at dollar stores) and a sidewalk or asphalt driveway. Challenge your kids to create a mural with a secret message, or a different animal for every letter of the alphabet!
Quick Tip: DIY Fizzing Chalk Art
Want to give your sidewalk art a fun, scientific twist? Just follow this easy recipe by experienced parent bloggers for a fizzy-fun spin on the classic summer activity:
- Baking Soda
- Spray bottles
- Food coloring or liquid watercolor paint
- Squeeze bottles (DIY: poke a hole in the cap of an empty plastic bottle)
Here’s how you make it:
- Mix ⅓ cup of cornstarch, ⅓ cup of baking soda, and ⅓ cup of water as a base.
- Add food coloring or watercolor to your base paint (which will be white).
- Pour each fizzy sidewalk paint into its own squeezy bottle.
And voila! Your kids can now splash washable paint right on the sidewalk. Once they’ve finished their masterpieces, hand them each a spray bottle full of vinegar. Then watch their delight as their drawings turn into fizzy rainbow eruptions. Colorful, non-toxic, and endlessly engaging, this family fun activity just might become a cherished summer tradition.
#3: All-Family Obstacle Course
For some friendly competition (and a bit of exercise) challenge the kids to a race through an obstacle course. Among many popular physical activities for kids to participate in, this outdoor activity only requires the toys and tools you already have on hand.
Quick Tip: Obstacle Course Basics
Here are a few examples of mini-challenges to take your obstacle course from okay to yay:
- Hula Hoop: Have competitors hula hoop from one obstacle to the next. For the less dextrous, let them spin the hoop around their arm.
- The Floor is Lava: Draw big, squiggly shapes on the ground with chalk to mark “safe zones” and “lava zones.” Then, have competitors jump from safe zone to safe zone to get to the next obstacle. (Hint: use the fizzy chalk recipe from Tip #2 to add some realism to your lava sections!)
- Egg and Spoon Race: With just two basic materials from the kitchen, you can set up a balancing obstacle that’s challenging for both younger and older kids. To get to the finish line, the kids simply have to balance an egg on a spoon without dropping it. For a mess-free alternative, use a ball or a plastic egg.
When it comes to obstacle courses, the sky's the limit. Challenges can be as silly, weird, and creative as you like. The more involved your kids are in building the course, the more fun they’ll have running it. Check out this post on summer games for kids to see how!
#4: Nature-Themed Arts and Crafts
For the creative at heart, crafting in nature adds a calming new spin to the kid-favorite pastime. Play with color, experiment with natural materials, or create whimsical pieces to decorate your home or backyard!
Quick Tip: Outdoor Arts and Crafts Ideas
Here are some simple yet fulfilling nature-themed craft ideas that will spark creativity and keep the younger kids happy:
#5: Enjoy a Family Bike Ride
Of all the recommended summer activities, nothing beats a sunny family bike ride. Set a destination to make your bike ride feel like an adventure. Sing songs or start a funny family chant to keep the kids together and the energy up.
Quick Tip #1: Mark a Destination or a New Path
As a family, you can explore new terrains together. Open up a map of your neighborhood or city and plug in a few destinations. Suddenly, you’ll have a brand new path with landmarks the whole family can look out for.
Quick Tip #2: Choosing a Safer Bike
Whether you're circling the cul-de-sac with the little ones or exploring a park with the big kids, you'll want to ensure that their bikes are as safe as they are fun. The stability of a bike is key to building confidence in kids as they learn this new skill. Here’s what to look for when browsing bikes for your child:
- Lightweight frame
- Correct sizing
- Well-designed brakes
- Kid-specific design and low center of gravity
- Positive customer ratings
- Quick and reliable assembly
Most store-bought kids’ bikes meet few (if any) of these conditions. That’s where Guardian Bikes comes in.
Not only do our bikes come in unique designs that appeal to every little cyclist, but they also feature lightweight frames, a low center of gravity, patented SureStop brakes, and high-quality materials. Just use our online sizing tool to get started.
#6: Start a Neighborhood Sports League
Whether it’s a weekly game of soccer or a different sport every week, setting up a sports league is a great way to encourage the whole neighborhood to spend in the afternoon outside.
Quick Tip: Easy to Make Medals
Before the big day, you can create medals for all the participating players. All you need is some ribbon, plastic tops, glue, and art supplies to hand make these DIY medals.
#7: Tag With a Twist
If you’ve got more than a handful of little ruffians running around (e.g. during family gatherings or playdates with the neighbors), there’s a good chance a game of tag will break out. Here are a few twists on the basic game to keep things lively.
The Great Outdoors Awaits...
You don’t have to spend the big bucks to have a blast together as a family. Just get outside, add a dash of creativity, and you’re good to go - no screens or devices necessary. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Active for Life. 10 fun ways you can transform the game of tag. https://activeforlife.com/transform-the-game-of-tag/
Broogly. Popped Bubble Art. https://www.broogly.com/project/popped-bubble-art
Kids Activities. Outdoor Fun: Bicycle Games. https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/16780/outdoor-fun-bicycle-games/
Learn Play Imagine. Rainbow Sidewalk Chalk Paint. http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2014/02/rainbow-sidewalk-chalk-paint-recipe.html
Plum Pudding. Nature Sculpture. https://myplumpudding.blogspot.com/2008/03/nature-sculpture.html