With electronics ruling a large portion of our lives, it can feel hard to get outside and enjoy all the benefits. Nevertheless, children need to get outside whenever they can. Being outside is a great way to burn off energy, get exercise, and build up our immune systems, and there are plenty of fun things for kids to do outside.
Being outside has many benefits, including:
- Builds up your immune system
- Gives you essential nutrients, including Vitamin D
- Allows for exercise and fresh air
- Provides opportunities for creative expression
- Lower production of the stress hormone cortisol
- Better sleep quality
Is Your Child Struggling to Find Fun Activities to Do Outside?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to being outside. However, sometimes, we need a handful of ideas to get the creative wheels turning. If you are looking for fun activities to try outside, look no further. Here are 23 awesome outdoor activities your child will love.
Have You Heard of the 1,000 Hours Outside Challenge?
This challenge is a great one to start with your children this year. It is as simple as it sounds, do your best to get outside for 1,000 hours in a year. Doing a challenge such as the 1,000 hours can make getting outside more fun and effortless. It's known that most new habits only take around a week to take effect. So if you and your child only spend an hour outside a day over the course of a week, it would only take 7 of the 1000 hours to make the habit second nature.
23 Fun Things to Do Outside for Kids
Go on a Nature Walk and Start a Nature Journal
Being outside is a wonderful time to explore nature. Grab a journal, take a walk somewhere new or on your favorite nature trail, and study something unique about nature that you may not have known. This not only teaches your child how to navigate and understand the natural world. But also how to pay closer attention to detail to their surroundings.
Build a Fort Out of Sticks and Other Materials
Gather whatever natural material you find: sticks, branches, leaves, etc. Then build a unique fort of your very own. The benefit of this activity is that your child will learn how to use various skills. Creativity, simple engineering, and an understanding of what makes a structure strong or weak.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Create your own or find a nature scavenger hunt online. These scavenger hunts include anything from animals and plants to cars or roads. To add a personal touch, include whatever your child is interested in on the scavenger hunt. Scavenger hunts can also be combined with a good amount of activities on this list to make for a full day of outdoor fun!
Look for Bugs or Animals
Another great way to spend time outside is to search for bugs or animals. Try looking for a favorite bug or animal and its tracks, or study a new type and see if you can find one in your backyard. This activity would be a great addition to starting a nature journal. It could also be a good opportunity to explore risk assessment with your child to understand what kind of animals are meant to be left alone.
Wash Their Toy Vehicles
Grab the bucket of water and soap and let your child wash their toy vehicles. Children love taking part in “grown-up” chores and playing in the water. For an extra-fun activity, wash your cars right alongside them. Besides being a fun and useful activity for both you and your child. It can be used to teach your child another layer of responsibility they can use later in life.
Rescue Animals From an Ice Block
Freeze toy animals and water in a plastic bin. Be sure the toys are waterproof and not made out of fabric. Once the water is frozen, give your child a water squirter, cups, or anything to pour/squirt warm water. Rescue the toys from the frozen water by pouring or spraying warm water over the ice block.
Create a Stained Glass Masterpiece Out of Sidewalk Chalk
Grab some painter's tape and your sidewalk chalk for this fun activity. First, arrange the painter's tape any way you want, creating a stained glass look with different sections. Then, color each area with sidewalk chalk. After finishing, you have yourself a colorful and fun masterpiece!
Start a Garden
Starting a garden is a great way for children to spend time outside. Being outside allows your child to cultivate a love for the natural world around her. Invite them to get their hands dirty and start a flower or vegetable garden. If you have a small backyard, start these gardens in flower pots.
Create an Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses are fun for all ages. Grab any materials you can find to climb over, jump in, or climb under. Some great ideas are:
- Pool noodles
- Old tires
- Sticks or branches
- Hula hoops
- Stepping stones
Just make sure to keep the obstacle course age appropriate. What is good for an eight-year-old might not be the best for a four-year-old.
Play with a Sensory Bin
Sensory bins aren't just for toddlers. Big kids love them too. Fill a plastic bin or a sandbox with any material and add cups, scoops, bowls, etc. Ideas for sensory bins are:
- Dirt or soil
- Shaving cream
- Tissue paper
- Dry oatmeal
- Dry noodles
- Coffee beans
- Bubble wrap
- Cotton balls
- Bottle tops
You could also combine a sensory bin with a scavenger hunt as a fun final prize!
Create Artwork Out of Nature
Collect nature from your backyard or on a nature walk. Bring it home and create artwork with it. Some excellent natural materials to make artwork with are:
This is another activity that you could combine with starting a nature journal. A good example of this could be at the end of a nature journaling day, your child uses all the plants and rocks they identified to make their masterpiece.
Make a Nature Crown
Another great activity to do with the materials you collect in nature is to make a nature crown. Cut two strips from a brown paper sack. Measure them together to fit your child's head and staple it to create a crown. Glue the natural materials you found onto the paper sack. You now have yourself a beautiful crown.
Collect Flowers to Press
While outside, collect flowers to press. Try to find flowers you have never seen before; be sure you have permission before picking them. To press a flower, place your flower on a newspaper in between the pages of a book. Then, carefully shut the book and leave it in a dry, warm place. Check on your flowers every 24 hours. When your flowers dry, you can use them to create nature art, add to a picture, or create a collection of your flowers.
Create a Messy Station
A messy station is what it sounds like; create an area outside where your child can explore and make a mess. You can add materials like cups, bowls, shovels, etc. Use sensory items such as water, mud, dirt, or shaving cream. Messy stations allow your child to explore creating a mess while keeping it contained to an area of your approval.
Play Outdoor Games
Outdoor games are a highlight of a child's outside time. Here are great outdoor games to try:
- Hide and seek
- Mother May I
- Simon Says
- Red Rover
- Doggy, Doggy, Where's Your Bone?
- Four Square
- Tug of War
- Dodge ball
- Hula hoop
All of these games provide the chance for your child to learn enhanced social skills, teamwork, and a healthy spirit of competition.
Find Shapes in Clouds
Lay down and find shapes in the clouds. See who can find an animal or a favorite shape. There are so many possibilities when it comes to this activity. This can also act as a small miracle for the worn-out parent. A chance to lay down in soft grass for a moment and rest while your child works on their imagination and pattern recognition.
Climb a Tree
Climbing trees is a great pastime. It allows every child to develop courage, autonomy, strength, and endurance. However, this activity can be a double-edged sword. While tree climbing is a great time for your child to learn risk assessment and courage, it can be easy for a child to climb higher than they are able to climb back down. The best advice to follow is to simply keep a close eye on them but let them be autonomous. With the best judgment of course.
Ride a Bike or Scooter
Riding a bike or scooter is a great way to explore the place you live further while also getting exercise. This activity doesn't just stop at exercise. Riding a bike around your local neighborhood gives you the chance to teach your kid navigation by giving them two points in your neighborhood and having them find the fastest and slowest way between those two points.
Play with Water
Playing with water is always fun for children. Play with a slip, slide, or sprinkler, or grab the hose. Have a water balloon fight or play with water guns. Water play is fun for the whole family, and the possibilities are endless.
Roll Down a Hill
If your child doesn't mind getting itchy, rolling down a hill is a great activity. Just be sure to shower afterward to get rid of the itchiness. Another way to make this more fun is to add races, beach balls, and bikes to give more allergy-prone and older kids more chances to have fun.
Search for Lightening Bugs
Have you ever caught a lightning bug and put it in a jar? These bugs are amazing creatures to watch. Grab a jar and chase a lightning bug. When you catch one, gently place them in the jar with holes in the top. When you are done chasing them, be sure to let them go!
Play with Bubbles
Bubbles are a cheap and easy activity that most children enjoy. However, if you need more bubble solution, try making your own. To make your bubble solution add 2 cups of warm water and 1/3 dish soap. Mix until well blended. Make sure to mix slowly to keep your solution from foaming or bubbling up until thoroughly mixed. If you want to create bubbles that float higher, try adding 1/4 cup of corn syrup.
Have a Picnic
Picnics are fun to have outside. Pack a simple lunch and lay out a blanket in your backyard. Use closed-lid drinks to keep bugs out of your cups. Enjoy the nice weather and a great lunch! Make this a nice rest in between the various outdoor activities to maximize your outdoor time and reach the 1000 hours mentioned at the top of this list.
It can be fun to come up with new ideas to try outside. Getting outside as a child and an adult is essential for our overall health. Making it a priority can provide many benefits. So lace up those tennis shoes and get outside.
If your outdoor day ends with your child's friends spending the night, here is our list of the best 15 activities to do a sleepover!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©kornnphoto/Shutterstock.com.