No Energy Left? Entertain Your Kids with These Easy Outdoor Activities

minimal effort 🤝 maximum fun

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kid, lady bugs, flashlight, bubbles
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

Working and stay-at-home parents unite on this irrefutable fact: the hours from 4 pm to 8 pm feel like a stretch of eternity. Whether it’s the middle of summer and they’ve been home all day or it’s during the school year and they’re jumping off the walls because they haven’t been home all day—the struggle is the same. Shooing the kids out of the house for outdoor activities feels like the only other option but chasing them down the street doesn’t sound easy or appealing.

The idea of sitting back and relaxing while your kids play feels like a faraway dream. Truthfully, I would just be happy if my kids would let me play with them in one spot instead of jumping to 20 different locations. The possibility of that is usually even slimmer when we play outside. But there are several ways kids can enjoy the fresh air without their parents lifting a finger, and we recently tried a few with major success. Since we’re not in the habit of gatekeeping, here are our favorite low-lift outdoor activities perfect for exhausting days:


1. Play pretend with nature-inspired toys

Pretend play sets are elite in our house cause it really gets my kids creativity going. This new Yellowstone National Park Grizzly Bear Game from Melissa & Doug is a unique way to get kids excited about being outside and tap into their wild side. Kids can play catching games with two bear paw gloves with self-stick hook-and-loop tabs. Plush fish, moths, and berries—some of grizzlies’ favorite snacks—also stick to the snouts of two plush strap-on grizzly bear heads for hands-free pick-up games and exciting role playing.

This pretend play set is part of Melissa & Doug’s National Park Foundation Collection, which is designed to inspire kids to discover the wonders of America’s national parks. Not only are they having fun, but kids will learn interesting facts about our national parks and precious wildlife as well.  

melissa & doug national parks pretend play set
Melissa & Doug

Yellowstone National Park Grizzly Bear Games

Use code EVERYMOM20 to get 20% off any Melissa & Doug product!


2. Release their energy with a sprinkler run 

This is an ideal activity for hot summer days, or for those who live in warmer climates and have to deal with hot temps well into the end of the year (cries in Texan). We recently got the Pretty Petals Sprinkler, and my kids are obsessed with it. It has 12 flexible flowers that squirt water in different directions, which makes it more interactive and kid-friendly than regular sprinklers.

My 3-year-old runs through it, sprays us with flowers, and uses it to water our plants. We usually sit back and watch or take the opportunity to cool down and run through with him. We’ve used this more times than I can count over the summer and will continue to for the next few months. It’s provided us with hours of outdoor play with no extra work. What else can you expect from Melissa & Doug toys? They’re just that good.

easy outdoor activities - melissa & doug kids sprinklers
Melissa & Doug

Pretty Petals Sprinkler

Use code EVERYMOM20 to get 20% off any Melissa & Doug product!


3. Promote their curiosity with a bug hunt

Bug hunts are a slightly gross but highly effective task for occupying kids. We have a strict catch-and-release policy in our family because Mom is not a fan of creepy crawlers. However, bugs are a fascinating and important part of nature, and finding them keeps littles engrossed. You can equip your kids with the adorable Giddy Buggy Flashlight and Giddy Buggy Bug House to aid their search while you sit in a lawn chair and spout random facts about bugs from Google. This is a go-to game at our house.

easy outdoor activities, melissa & doug kids flashlight
Melissa & Doug

Giddy Buggy Flashlight

Use code EVERYMOM20 to get 20% off any Melissa & Doug product!

easy outdoor activities, melissa & doug bug house
Melissa & Doug

Giddy Buggy Bug House

Use code EVERYMOM20 to get 20% off any Melissa & Doug product!


4. Encourage creativity with rock painting

Arts and crafts are fun indoors but even better outdoors because there’s way less risk involved. Instead of cringing at your kids splattering paint everywhere, take the paints outside and have them paint a batch of rocks. This can be done on concrete, grass, or an old blanket and requires minimal cleanup. It may even be a relaxing activity for parents to partake in as well and you’ll have an opportunity to bond with your littles. 

easy outdoor activities, paint for kids

Acrylic Paint Pens

These multi-surface, non-toxic paint markers are perfect for painting on various objects.


5. Go crazy with the bubbles

There are dozens of different bubble tools that kids can use outdoors. From bubble lawn mower toys to bubble machines, almost any of them are guaranteed to keep littles mesmerized for a while. You can have them make cool shapes with bubble wands or let them run through giant bubbles for squeaky-clean playtime. 

easy outdoor activities, bubble wands

Bubble Wand Set

This set of 21 inch bubble wands can create 12 fun shapes.

easy outdoor activities, bubbles for kids

Kids Bubble Blower Wand Set

This bubble blower is great for toddlers who struggle with traditional bubble wands.


6. Relax them with outdoor storytime

This activity is better suited for the upcoming fall weather when the sun is friendlier and there’s a crisp breeze in the air. Bring out a couple of lawn chairs, sit underneath a big tree, and read them a few books about nature. Reading outside is a relaxing way to bond with your kids and help them wind down after a stimulating day.

We love the Giddy Buggy Chair for an inviting seat that will encourage children to lounge and listen. It also comes with a handy cup holder and storage bag making it excellent for trips to the beach, park, campsite, and tons more outdoor activities.

easy outdoor activities, melissa & doug lawn chair for kids
Melissa & Doug

Giddy Buggy Chair

Use code EVERYMOM20 to get 20% off any Melissa & Doug product!

easy outdoor activities, kids book about nature
Amazon | Amy Mucci

Thinking of Nature

Teach children to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors as they explore nature through this thought-provoking book.


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This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Melissa & Doug, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.