54 Outdoor Activities That Even Indoor Kids Will Enjoy
Playing outside is one of the cornerstones of childhood. Not only does it create core memories, it also promotes curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
But keeping kids entertained during the long summer break or when it gets dark early in winter can make planning activities challenging. Or, if you're not a self-described "outdoor person" yourself, you may not know what, exactly, to do with your kids outside. The good news is that playing outdoors doesn't have to involve elaborate equipment, long trips, intense sports, or new toys. From classics like hopscotch and bike rides to family adventures like camping, there are plenty of outdoor activities kids can do year-round, no matter their age.
Ahead, we've gathered 54 outdoor activities for kids — including toddlers and preschoolers — that span all four seasons, so you don't need to let the weather stop your family from enjoying the outdoors.
Kids' Outdoor Activities For Summer
- Kayaking. Get out on the water and take the time to point out all the creatures floating below you. See if your kid can count all the turtles they see!
- Build Sandcastles. Host a friendly competition on who can build the best sandcastle. But give yourself the luxury of judging from a beach chair.
- Pool Time. There's nothing like a pool day that screams summer! Pack some fun pool floats to fit in some tanning while watching the kids play Marco Polo.
- Outdoor Movie Night. Grab some pillows and throw up a projector in your backyard for a DIY movie night. Then pick a family-friendly movie to stream.
- Chalk Pictionary. Pictionary may be a crowd favorite on game night, but that doesn't mean it has to be an indoor activity! Break out the chalk for some sidewalk fun.
- Hula Hoop. A childhood classic that will keep them entertained for hours. Don't be afraid to join in the fun with an adult version of the hula hoop.
- Water Guns. You can't go wrong with a backyard water battle! Choose your water toy of choice and get to squirting your enemy.
- Ride Bikes. Strap on the helmets and take off! Just make sure everyone has a bike helmet.
- Toss a Frisbee. It's a classic for a reason!
- Potato-Sack Race. This may take a little extra planning, but it's totally worth it for the laughs you'll share over each tumble.
- Play in the Sprinkler. When it's hot out, all you want to do is enjoy the feel of cold water.
- Water-Balloon Fight. Even if you're not aiming water balloons at each other, simply set up a target of sorts to aim at.
- Roll in the Grass. Find a steep hill and let yourself enjoy the fall. (But avoid wearing white if you can!)
- Wash the Car. Chores can actually be very beneficial for child development, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. And washing the car is a fun one! Get some buckets and big sponges and send them on their way!
- Lemonade Stand. There's nothing quite like the zing of tart lemonade! Let them help you make the concoction and make the sign before setting up for the neighborhood's enjoyment.
- Backyard Soccer. Kicking a ball around doesn't have to follow official soccer rules. Just have fun passing it back and forth.
- Water Park. Whether it's a lazy river or water slides, water parks have something for both kids and adults to enjoy.
- Surfing. Kids can start surf lessons as young as 5 years old. Cowabunga, dude!
Kids' Outdoor Activities For Fall
- Camping. Make new family memories by heading to the woods or even setting up camp in the backyard. All you need is a tent and maybe some cute camping outfits.
- Apple Picking. Take a drive to the nearest orchard to hand-select the best apples. If you have energy when you get home, get the kids involved in making a pie or baked apples.
- Climb a Tree. Enjoy the beautiful fall leaves up close by encouraging them to scale the closest safely-climbable tree.
- Photo Safari. Create a list of "photo missions" and send them on their way with a disposable camera.
- Play Croquet. It's the perfect weather for a crisp day of hitting balls through small arches.
- Paper Airplanes. Give the kids a stack of printer paper (colored construction paper is even better!) and let them get creative. Then have a contest to see whose goes farthest.
- Play Hopscotch. All you need is some chalk and a rock and they're ready to test their balance skills.
- Feed the Ducks. Head to the nearest pond and make some new friends for an afternoon (and before they take off for winter).
- Set Up an Obstacle Course. This activity takes a little more thought but offers a rewarding experience.
- Jump in a Leaf Pile. The crucial activity of fall is to rake up the leaves to then jump in them. It simply can't be missed!
- Tie-Dye T-Shirts. Doing this activity outside means less risk of mess. All you need is some white tees, rubber bands, and some coloring agents.
- Hiking. Take in the views of the changing leaves as you wander the trails. But make sure to pack your hiking pants!
- Horseback Riding. Kids can start learning how to ride as young as three!
- Make a Witch's Brew. Let the kids gather ingredients for their potion like sticks, leaves, acorns, dirt, etc. and mix them up.
- Watch a Parade. This year, attend your local Thanksgiving parade. Just make sure to get there early enough for easy viewing.
- Start a Bonfire. As the weather gets cooler, it's the perfect time to gather around the fire. If you're feeling like it, you can try these s'mores cones.
- Hayride. Whether it's Halloween-themed or simply for fall, head to the local farm to enjoy a hayride with the whole family.
- Flag Football. Once captains are selected, you can sit back and watch the game unfold.
Kids' Outdoor Activities For Winter
- Snow shoeing. This activity is one of the easiest (and most inexpensive) ways for families to enjoy snowy winter days.
- Skiing. Kids can learn to ski as young as two! Let them surprise you with their newfound skills.
- Build a snowman. Can your kids create the next Frosty?
- Flashlight Tag. It gets darker earlier in the evening so use it to your advantage! This game is mix of hide and seek and tag.
- Snowball Fight. When the snow is that powdery texture it's time to battle until the hot chocolate is ready.
- Ice Skating. Maybe your kids aren't going to the Winter Olympics anytime soon, but it doesn't mean they can't enjoy the rink!
- Ice Hockey. Grab ice skates, a puck and some hockey sticks.
- Make a Snow Fort. Get creative with the snow and build your own "igloo."
- Christmas Light Walk. Check out your neighbors' holiday lights this season.
- Sledding. Snow days scream "sledding." These inflatable sleds are made from "snow vinyl" material designed to withstand temperatures as low as -25°F.
- Snow Paint. Mix water and food coloring and you have paint safe for decorating the snow.
- Freezing Bubbles. Blow bubbles and watch them turn to ice. A lesson in fun and science!
- Snow Maze. If the snow is already up to their chest, might as well dig a little deeper to make a snow maze.
- Shovel a Neighbor's Sidewalk. Encourage your kids to show kindness by offering a neighbor some winter help.
- Caroling. If it's the holiday season, go door to door to offer up some festive cheer!
- Snowmobiling. For younger kids (think 6 to 12), you can rent mini snowmobiles designed just for kids.
- Horse-drawn sleigh ride. Experience a magical night in a horse-drawn carriage.
- Snow Angels. Flop back into the snow and spread your "wings." It's as simple as that!
Kids' Outdoor Activities For Spring
- Fishing. As winter slips away, bass come out to play! Warm creeks are coming to life with new fish activity.
- Flower Picking. Make a flower bouquet of daffodils, tulips, orchids, primrose, snowdrops, violets, or any other springtime flowers you find.
- Lawn Games. Try Giant Tik Tak Toe or Giant Jenga or really any giant version of your favorite board game on your lawn.
- Gardening. Late spring is the perfect time to plant tomatoes.
- Paint Rocks. It's as easy as it sounds. Just find some flat rocks to use as your canvas.
- Blow Bubbles. A classic pastime. Who doesn't love bubbles?
- Scavenger Hunt. This activity will take some additional planning but it isn't spring without at least one scavenger hunt (Easter eggs or not!).
- Playground. It's the perfect temperature to use the swings or climb the monkey bars.
- Mini Golf. While mini golf is the go-to date night, it's also a great family activity. Keep score — or don't, and just have fun with it.
- Fly a Kite. Have one kid hold the string while the other runs as fast as they can with the kite. Then watch it soar!
- Finger Painting Station. Keep the mess outside!
- Petting Zoo. Introduce your kids to goats, hens, and other new creatures.
- Enjoy a Picnic. Place some sandwiches and blankets into a cute picnic basket for a picturesque spring day.
- Host Family Olympics. Compete with frisbee toss, jump rope, and hopscotch to see who will win the Family Olympics.
- Bird Watching. Cup your hands over your eyes like binoculars and try to count all of the different birds you see on a walk. Bonus: Use a bird-identifying app or book to figure out which type of birds you're seeing.
- Farmer's Market. Let the kids help you pick out the fresh vegetables that will make an appearance in tonight's dinner.
- Outdoor Tea Party. It's a beautiful day outside, bring the teddy bears and dolls to a tea party in the backyard.
- Visit a Tulip Field. Tulips are in season, so may a day trip out of it!