50 Fun Things to Do Outside With Kids as a Family

3 kids flying a kite outside

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Playing outside with your children isn't just about encouraging more physical activity. A 2019 study found that kids who spent the least amount of time in green spaces were 55% more likely to develop psychiatric issues, such as anxiety and mood disorders, as adolescents or adults.

And while wrangling kids of varying ages to participate in a single activity can seem difficult, we've rounded up 50 mostly free things to do outside as a family to help you find the perfect fit. Next time the weather looks inviting, try these creative ways to play outside:

  • Go for a walk. Set a timer to see how far you can walk in five minutes, 10, 20, or 30. Note whether you're going to make a loop or take an out-and-back route so you can plan accordingly.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Fly kites.
  • Blow bubbles using a DIY mix.
  • Play classic outdoor games such as Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, or Steal the Bacon.
  • Host a nature scavenger hunt. Look for pine cones, acorns, and other common outdoor items and tally who found the most pieces.
  • Hula hoop.
  • Roller skate.
  • Play Follow the Leader through your yard or neighborhood.
  • Draw a hopscotch board with chalk.
  • Make homemade playdough and bring it outside. It's less messy than playing on the floor or carpet.
  • Drive to a neighboring town and check out their playgrounds. Maybe you'll find a new favorite.
  • Set up a canvas and let your little ones paint. Again, less mess to clean up.
  • Find a shady tree and read.
  • Have a picnic at a local park, beach, or your own backyard.
  • Do things you'd normally do inside, like play board games or have a pillow fight.
  • Make s'mores.
  • Plant a small container garden.
  • Film a home movie.
  • Eat homemade popsicles.
  • Have a water balloon fight.
  • Wash the car.
  • Go for a group jog.
  • Play wiffleball or kickball.
  • Take turns playing photographer with your phone or camera.
  • Make mud pies. Who can make the fanciest creation?
  • Sing as loud as you can.
  • Is it getting dark outside? Play hide and seek with flashlights (and partners if you have little ones).
  • Water the plants. Give your preschooler some basic experiments to consider: Does the hose make water come out faster than the watering can? Which is easier to control?
  • Build paper airplanes. Who can make theirs fly the farthest?
  • Search for bugs.
  • Set up a lemonade stand.
  • Run through the sprinkler.
  • Make homemade bird feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed.
  • Drive to another neighborhood and go for a walk there. Pretend to be observational scientists: What's different? What is the same?
  • Gather up a wagon, stuffed animals, and some pots and pans and have an instant parade.
  • Look for things like pine cones, sticks, shells, and rocks to make a mobile.
  • Play on the swing set in the dark.
  • Pick flowers (from your own yard).
  • Find shapes in the clouds.
  • Take a nap in a hammock or just on a blanket you lay on the grass.
  • Go "fishing." Set up a wading pool with objects and let your little one try to catch them.
  • Color eggs outside with less mess.
  • Pitch a tent.
  • Paint rocks.
  • Host a dance party.
  • Have a water gun fight.
  • Learn to do cartwheels.
  • Build a fort using lawn furniture.
  • Walk barefoot in the grass. Then try the cement (make sure it isn't too hot first). Ask your preschooler to compare what they feel like. What other surfaces can you make your feet touch?
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Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Engemann K, Pedersen CB, Arge L, Tsirogiannis C, Mortensen PB, Svenning JC. Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2019;116(11):5188-5193. doi:10.1073/pnas.1807504116