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As a parent, most of us want to make sure that our kids get plenty of fresh air and exercise, but many children still don’t get enough outside time. With our busy schedules, it can be hard to find fun things for kids to do outside.
Kids are so full of energy and finding new and different things for them to do can be a challenge. Luckily, there is plenty of space outside for your child’s imagination to run wild.
According to the Outdoor Foundation, children’s outdoor play has decreased by more than 50 percent in recent decades. There are many reasons for this decline. In many cases, technology has taken over for bike rides and walks in the woods
Other reasons for the decline could be in part that parents sometimes feel like they need to constantly be monitoring their kids when they’re outside. Also, parents may be afraid of traffic and other dangers that exist.
It is important to find a balance between technology and the outdoors as well as find ways to safely allow your child to play outside. If you encourage your children to play outside more often it will benefit their physical and mental health tremendously.
In this article, we will help you find outdoor activities for kids that are fun, safe, and will foster your child’s imagination. Best of all, most of these activities are free!
The benefits of outdoor time for kids
There are so many reasons why spending more time outdoors is a good idea. These are just a few reasons to encourage your children to get outside more.
- Outdoor time can help improve children’s physical health as they get more exercise and fresh air.
- Playing outside helps to develop creativity and problem solving skills in kids.
- It’s a great way for them to connect with nature and learn about the world around them.
- Time spent outdoors is also good for the soul and can help to reduce stress.
- Playing outside has a lot of benefits for children. Fresh air and exercise are two of the most obvious, but getting dirty has its own set of benefits, too!
- Safe exposure to the sun provides vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones. Playing in nature also helps kids learn about their environment and how to take care of it.
- Getting some quality time outside can boost your child’s creativity. The opportunities for play are endless!
Tips for safe and fun outdoor play
The best thing about outdoor play is that a lot of times, depending on where you live, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own backyard. A child’s creativity can flow even with a small amount of outdoor space to play.
- Let them create an outdoor environment of their own in the backyard or on a deck.
- You don’t have to travel far from home, as many parks provide free activities throughout the year.
- Let them spend time outside in the morning or evening when they aren’t so likely to be hot.
- Make sure that you have sunscreen on during any outdoor activities, even if it’s cloudy.
- Create a buddy system for your child, but give them some independence too. For example, allow children to ride their bikes in the area around your home, but make sure that they are staying nearby.
- Let them play outside with other children without constant parental supervision. This will also allow them to feel independent and best of all, you can get some work done.
- If it’s safe for kids to do so, let them explore nature by themselves or with friends. They might find some interesting bugs or rocks that they can bring home and show you.
- Try to let your kids play by themselves outside if possible, as it’s a great way for them to make friends and learn social skills.
Check out our list of funthings for kids to do outside. Best of all, most of these fun outdoor activities for kids won’t even cost you a dime!
Outside activities for kids in the spring and summer
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt
- Collect plants, rocks, flowers, etc. to make a nature collage
- Have a picnic in the yard
- Fly a kite or drone
- Play catch or frisbee
- Jump on a trampoline
- Make outdoor art with sidewalk chalk
- Plant a flower or vegetable garden
- Watch fireflies at night
- Take a walk in the rain
- Throw a boomerang
- Climb a tree
- Visit a botanical garden
- Have a picnic at the park
- Visit a splash pad or water park
- Ride bikes or scooters around the neighborhood.
- Make homemade pizzas and cook them outside on a grill or over a campfire
- Play tag, hide and seek, hopscotch, or four square
- Go for a nature hike in the woods and identify bugs, flowers, trees, and animals
- Create a fairy garden
- Roll down a grassy hill
- Camp out in the backyard
- Play flashlight tag
- Play capture the flag
- Have a water balloon fight or make a slip and slide
- Make puppets out of things you find outside such as sticks, leaves, flowers, etc.\
- Make a bird feeder and spend some time outside watching the birds
- Make or download a bird journal and go birdwatching
- Have an outdoor movie night using your TV or laptop
- Make s’mores over a campfire
- Collect rocks and paint them
- Make an obstacle course out of things in your backyard
- Swing on a tree swing.
- Go on a photo scavenger hunt – make a list of things to find and take a photo when you find it
- Go kayaking or canoeing
- Go geocaching
- Look for butterflies and use ID cards to identify them then log them in a butterfly journal
- Go to the beach or lake
- Visit the zoo
- Throw rocks in a creek or river
Outdoor activities for kids in the fall
- Hike through the woods
- Collect colored leaves to identify or use for crafts
- Visit a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, corn maze, etc.
- Pick apples and make homemade applesauce or caramel apples
- Make a scarecrow
- Play in a pile of leaves
- Play a game of flag football
- Take a ride to look at the fall foliage
- Go on a hayride
- Fall scavenger hunt
- Go on a fall photo scavenger hunt
- Build a fort out of fall leaves, branches, etc.
- Decorate a pumpkin with markers or paint
- Roast marshmallows over a fire pit, outdoor grill, etc.
- Plant flower bulbs
- Plant a fall garden with cool season annuals or vegetables
- Make a mask with leaves
Things for kids to do outside in the winter
- Play in the snow
- Learn to ski
- Bundle up and go on an outdoor adventure. Look for winter animals like birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc.
- Make snow angels
- Collect pinecones to make pinecone crafts
- Build a snowman
- Take a winter hike through the woods
- Look for animal tracks in the snow and try to identify them
- Build an igloo out of bricks of snow. Either freeform them or purchase a brick mold
- Make ice ornaments
- Play in the yard with sleds, tubes, toboggans, etc.
- Make homemade popsicles and freeze them outside on your patio or porch
- Blow frozen bubbles
- Have a snowball fight
- Make snow ice cream
- Put water in a snow brick mold and leave it to freeze overnight to make ice sculptures. To be extra creative, add food coloring to the water before freezing
- Make snow paint to create colorful snow art
- Go ice skating
There are so many fun things to do outside with your kids, you can hardly go wrong. These are just a few of our favorites, but get creative and let your child’s imagination run wild. They’ll have a blast and you’ll get some much-needed fresh air too!