Now that temperatures have warmed up, parents everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief because we can finally escape the walls of our homes and get our kids playing outside.
Whether you have a backyard or a small outdoor space, getting some fresh air can be a major mood booster. In fact, research shows that kids who play outside are happier and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. And for those of us with babies? More outdoor time in the afternoon can equate to better nighttime sleep. Researchers at Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. found that babies who were better nighttime sleepers were exposed to twice as much daylight between noon and 4 p.m. than the problem sleepers.
Sometimes, getting the whole family outside for a little fun is just what we all need, so we’ve rounded up 21 fun outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy this summer.
1. Make Sidewalk Chalk Art
You’ve probably seen the geometric sidewalk chalk “stained glass” art either on Instagram or around your own neighborhood. Good news—it’s easy. All you need is some painter’s tape and sidewalk chalk. Tape off your driveway or sidewalk area into geometric shapes with your kids and let everyone use whatever colors they want to fill in the gaps.
This washable sidewalk chalk features exclusive Crayola crayon colors and an anti-roll shape to keep it from rolling away.
Painter's tape is the perfect way to take your kids' sidewalk art to the next level.
2. Take a Family Bike Ride
Even if your little one hasn’t mastered a bike yet, there are plenty of other options like a balance bike or scooter to include the whole family in the fun.
A balance bike is a great first step toward learning to ride a bike for little ones as young as 18 months.
This 3-wheeled scooter has adjustable handlebars for kids ages 2-5.
Provide protection for your little one when riding a bike or scooter with this helmet, designed for kids ages 1-9. Available in 7 colors.
3. Go on a Picnic
Pack up a cooler and bring a blanket and folding chairs for a change in mealtime scenery.
This insulated picnic basket will keep food and drinks at the perfect temperature for hours, and the cooler is leak-proof with an easy-to-clean, food-safe lining.
Available in three sizes and six pretty patterns, this picnic blanket is water resistant, easy to clean, and folds up into a strapped carrier for taking it on-the-go.
This booster chair is foldable, lightweight, and easy to take anywhere.
With an easy one-hand fold, you can take or store this wagon anywhere. It features three modes: two kids riding, flatbed hauling, and bench seating.
4. Have a Bean Bag Toss Competition
Depending on what part of the country you’re from, you may call this game Bags, Cornhole, or some other variation of the term.
Etsy | Sports And Games
Even younger kids can get in on the fun with a family game of cornhole.
5. Play Mini Golf
Head to the local putt-putt or get your golf on in your own backyard or at a park.
This cute kids' golf set comes with six cute creature obstacles (bumble bee, flowers, snail, snake, crocodile), two putters, two animal shape practice holes (turtle and beetle), and two golf balls.
6. Play Bocce Ball
You’ll need to be in a pretty flat, smooth area for this one.
For a family-friendly game that kids of all ages can enjoy, a Bocce Ball set will keep your family busy all summer.
7. Go an a Nature Scavenger Hunt
Triple threat here: outdoor time, exercise, and competition. Before you head outside, make a list of different items in nature and see who can spot them all first.
Etsy | Practical Whimsy Co
This printable nature scavenger hunt game will make your next trip outside with the kids even more fun.
8. Make DIY Bubble Foam
There’s something about foam that’s fun for kids and adults, and making it yourself is easy and entertaining. In a large bowl, mix together two parts water and one part tear-free bubble bath (e.g. 1 cup water, 1/2 cup tear-free bubble bath, or more or less, depending on how much you want to make). Add food coloring if you want to add some color. Use a hand-mixer to blend it on high until it reaches the consistency you like. Make a few batches, then pour it into a baby pool or water table.
This brand of bubble bath makes the best bubbles by far.
DIY bubble foam is just a little more fun when it's neon.
9. Get Out the Kinetic Sand
Like foam, there’s something mesmerizing about kinetic sand for both kids and grown-ups. The beach may be out of reach for many of us, but we can still bring a little bit of it home.
If you aren't familiar with kinetic sand, it sticks to itself so that kids can mold it into fun shapes and play with it more easily than regular sand. Plus, it's way easier to keep clean, but we'd still recommend playing with it outside.
10. “Camp Out” in Your Yard
I have the best memories of “camping out” with my dad in our backyard when I was younger—and I don’t even like camping. Whether you actually sleep outside or just make it a late night of fun with the kids, it’ll be an “adventure” they’ll remember.
It's a perfectly kid-sized sleeping bag that they can call their own. Designed for camping in the summer, spring, or fall.
Never underestimate the power of a tent for all kinds of imaginary play. During the colder months, we also love putting up the tent indoors for more fun adventures.
11. Fly Kites
There’s something so satisfying about watching a kite glide through the air, and there’s something even better about teaching your kids how to do it and watching the joy it brings them.
This mini kite has a 98-foot line and is the perfect outdoor activity for kids who love to run and watch it fly.
This large kite is simple to assemble and includes a plastic handle that's easy for small hands to operate.
12. Make Giant Bubbles
It’s so simple yet so fun. Add water to a baby pool and mix with 1-2 cups of dish soap. Dip a hula hoop into the mixture to make giant bubbles big enough to fit your kiddo inside.
These giant hoops are the perfect size for mega-fun bubbles.
13. Plant a Container Garden
Kids will love to learn to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables right from the seed.
Etsy | Grow and Make
Start their love of gardening early with this fun kids' gardening kit, which includes a grow tray with seed-growing pellets, eight seed packets, and easy-grow instructions.
14. Go Fishing at Home
You don’t have to live near a lake or a pond to get in on some fishing fun.
When you can't actually go fishing, this magnetic fishing set is a fun way to bring a fun summertime activity home.
15. Paint Rocks
Bonus points for hiding the rocks and going on a rock hunt later.
Get creative outside with this rock painting kit that includes eight waterproof paint colors, 10 river rocks, two paintbrushes, waterproof tracking stickers, and rock transfers.
16. Have a Water Fight
Nothing like a good old-fashioned water fight to get the whole family involved.
Attach the stem to a hose, and you'll fill 100+ self-sealing balloons in 60 seconds; all of the Bunch O Balloons pieces, including the packaging, can be recycled.
These foam water shooters are easy enough for even younger kids and toddlers to use.
17. Play in the Rain
Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean the day is a wash. Puddle stomping is one of my toddler’s favorite activities. The messier and muddier, the better.
Every kid needs a solid rain jacket for playing in puddles. We love this one for babies and toddlers, available in sizes 6-12 months to 4T.
Like a rain jacket, waterproof shoes are a must-have for summer. Natives are an editor favorite at The Everymom for their cute look and durability.
For even more puddle-stomping fun, opt for rain boots like these kids' Totes ankle rain boots, available in five fun colors.
No romp in the rain is complete without an umbrella, and this kids-sized one is an editor favorite.
18. Play Foursquare
The nostalgia is real with this one. All you need is a ball and some painter’s tape to make the court.
Melissa & Doug
Whether you use it for four square or kickball, never underestimate the power of a ball to keep kids playing outdoors.
19. Play Giant Jenga
These Jenga pieces are huge, so playing outdoors would be a good idea.
Take Jenga to the next level with this giant set that measures 18.5 inches high.
20. Run Through the Sprinkler or Take a Dip in the Pool
With so many fun sprinkler toys and mini inflatable pools, who wouldn’t want to get in on the fun?
For around $30, this giant unicorn sprinkler provides hours of entertainment—so it's totally worth the room it takes up in your yard.
Going to the splashpads at the park is fun, but having your own personal splashpad at home? Even better.
The Everymom x Minnidip
When it comes to kids' inflatable pools, the Minnidip designs can't be beat. We love the bright, fun look of our Everymom x Minnidip collab mini inflatable pool that is approximately 4 ft wide and 1 ft tall.
The Everygirl x Minnidip
For an even bigger version of a kids inflatable pool, this one is 5.5 ft wide and 1.5 ft tall.
Pro tip: Use it indoors during the colder months and fill it with balls to make a ball pit for your little ones.
21. Play Soccer
Girls vs. boys? Kids vs. adults? Grandkids vs. grandparents? The options are endless.
Whether they're playing soccer, hockey, or practicing pitching, this kickback goal is the perfect partner.
This soft and lightweight Paw Patrol soccer ball is great for kids ages 3 and up.
This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated for timeliness.