Active & Outside: 30 Kids Outdoor Summer Activities

“Children are natural researchers – they question what they see, hypothesize solutions, predict outcomes, experiment, reflect on and represent their discoveries.”

30 kids outdoor summer actitivies

Summer for kids is a magical three months of endless time outdoors and under the sun, breathing in nature’s fresh air and finding innocent fun in all of Mother Earth’s precious gifts. Make sure your kids are getting outside for these priceless experiences that they will grow up to always look back on with fond memories. You don’t need expensive toys, fancy games or even a swimming pool for your kids to get outdoors and learn about animals, nature and themselves. All you need is imagination and a bit of inspiration! Try out any or all of these awesome activities with your kids that involve crafting, creating, learning, playing and growing amongst nature!

1. Yoga in the Garden

Yoga_in_the_gardenImage by Treehouse Tots

Yoga is a revitalizing activity for people of all ages. Movement through the breath stimulates the body, mind and spirit while teaching children balance, stability, and strength. Yoga for kids is a great activity that will get them up and moving! Take this activity outside by laying out the yoga mats in the yard. If you don’t have mats you can use beach towels or bed sheets. Kids yoga can be even more fun with friends! Best part is, this kids summer activity is free! Now let’s see those downward facing dogs!

This yoga for kids video walks them through several fundamental yoga poses that will help expel extra energy and jitters, while incorporating fun animal noises!

2. DIY Hula HoopDIY Hula HoopImage by Six Sisters Stuff

This activity for kids is a fun one because it incorporates a craft and an activity; making hula hoops and then decorating them.  Hula hooping is not only fun, it’s exercise for kids.  Hula hooping is a great way to strengthen the core, while promoting balance and stability.  Once the hula hoops are made send your kids outside to play with their new toys they helped make themselves.  Have a contest to see who can hula hoop for the longest. Have fun with it! Instructions via Six Sisters Stuff.

3. Easy to Grow Plants for Kids

Kids_GardenImage by Treehouse Tots

Gardening is a therapeutic outdoor activity for kids – not just adults!  It requires love and attention on a daily basis. Gardening teaches kids the value of responsibility, hard work, dedication and preparation, masked as play time! Doesn’t dirt resemble a sand box?!

There are so many plants that are easy for little hands to grow.  Sugar snap peas are crunchy, sweet, and can be eaten off the vine, making them a fun and tasty vegetable to grow. Cherry tomatoes are another fun vegetable for kids to grow because they can also be eaten off of the vine, and kids can watch the tomatoes change from green to red as they ripen. Sunflowers are a great flower to plant because they are bright and incredibly colorful and they grow quickly. They can get to two feet in about a month, and if you buy edible sunflowers you can harvest the seeds with your kid come late summer. Try to use natural solutions to prevent pests instead of chemicals so that you can protect your little ones.

4. DIY Bird Feeder


Image by Plain Vanilla Mom

Bird feeders are fun crafts for kids that brings wildlife to your backyard. This outside activity for kids offers so many sensory experiences – gooey honey, mixing different nuts and seeds, shaping the feeders, hanging them to dry, and watching birds flock to them. Use different shaped cookie cutters to form the shape of your bird feeders. Fill the cookie cutters with honey, corn syrup, or gelatin, water, and a bird seed mixture consisting of mainly sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, thistle, sunflower chips and just a tiny bit of peanuts or dried fruit.  Hang the finished product on a tree branch in your yard using string or ribbon found in your home, no need to go out and buy some for this outdoor activity.

Spend the summer with our kids watching the birds flock! Research what types of birds are native to your are; look up images of those birds and see how many of them you can spot! Instructions via Plain Vanilla Mom.

5. DIY Wind Chimes

DIY WindchimeImage by Happy Hooligans

This recycled craft for kids is a great way to reuse and repurpose old materials that you normally would discard in the trash.  This DIY craft is one that can be made outdoors and adds a creative element to any yard that your kids can feel apart of! You’ll need at least 5 old CDs, an old coffee can, string or fishing line and sharpies. Talk about the different sounds that the chimes make with your kids for a learning activity.  What kind of pitch can you hear? How does more wind effect the sound of the chimes versus less? What can you teach your kids about noise and frequency? Get started with Happy Hooligans!

Sound & noise resources for kids:
Basics of Sound
Other Sound Experiments & Activities

6. Nature Scavenger Hunt

Nature-Scavenger-HuntImage by The Taylor House

Try outdoor kids activities that get your kids interacting with nature. A nature scavenger hunt will get your kids outside and running around instead of sitting on the couch watching TV.  Make a list of what treasures in nature your kids must find. Some examples could be things like a leaf, a flower, seeds, a piece of trash, an insect with spots then draw it, a beautiful rock, a pinecone, something smooth, something rough, something green, something that starts with an ‘A’, etc. then send them out into nature! Games for kids are always a great summer activity.  This scavenger hunt is even more fun with more kids, get into pairs or teams and race against each other!

7. DIY Watering Can for the Garden

diy-watering-can-450x676Image by One Creative Mommy

If your family has a garden in the yard, give your kids the honor of watering it every other day as a way to get them outdoors and interacting with nature. And this DIY watering can out of a milk carton is easy, eco-friendly and can be crafted outdoors! Get the how-to-instrutions here from One Creative Mommy!

8. Go Park Hopping 

Park-Hopping-ReplacementImage by Kelly Verdeck

Another outdoor kids activity is a Park Crawl, where you make it a goal to visit a new park every week! Make it an outdoor kids game where you try to see how many you can go to during that summer. Each park will have different structures, activities, games, nature and children, which will be a great exercise for kids. Each new environment will present a new opportunity to get outside of their comfort zone – their usual place or places of play.

9. Pet Rock Tic Tac Toe

Pet_Rocks_Tic_Tac_ToeImage by One Creative Mommy

Tic Tac Toe with pet rocks is the perfect game for kids to beat any summer boredom your kids may have.  Kids games don’t have to be played indoors, you can draw the tic tac toe lines on a chalkboard if you have one, or simply draw the board with colorful chalk on the sidewalk or lines in the dirt (this way your kids are guaranteed to play outside!). With this free kids game you could paint and decorate rocks outside first! Instructions via One Creative Mommy.

10. Firefly Jars

Firefly_jarImage by Coffee Cups and Crayons

We don’t encourage catching bugs for sport, so this kids craft lets your kids paint their own bugs on their jar so the spark never runs out! All you need is a repurposed mason jar and glow in the dark finger paint to get your kids outside running around! Instructions via Coffee Cups and Crayons.

11. Sleep Under The Stars

Sleep-Under-Stars-ReplacementImage by Jeremy Gillard

Bring the sleeping bags outside in the backyard for a full night under the stars.  Look up constellations before you go outside and see if your kids can find which planets are which, what stars shine brightest, or what phase the moon is in that night.  This outdoor kids activity will turn into an astronomy lesson! 

12. DIY Nature Bracelets


This free kids craft will have them out and about in nature in no time! Simply wrap a piece of tape around their wrists, sticky side up, and let them go out into nature sticking leaves, flower petals, twigs and whatever else they can find to their bracelets.  Encourage to only pick up nature from the ground so that you’re not harming living things! When they get back from their journeys into the yard, compare their beautiful nature bracelets and see how they differ.

13. Oversized Memory Cards

Oversized-Memory-CardsImage by Dollar Store Crafts

This free kids activity is both fun, outdoors, and finally gives you something to do with all that scratch paper laying around the house.  Get 20 pieces of paper and write or draw a matching item on two of the cards.  Try doing the alphabet if you have preschoolers to help them remember and recognize the letters.  Lay the cards out on the lawn and let the games begin! Tutorial via Dollar Store Crafts.

14. Camp in your Backyard

Backyard-CampingImage by We Got Real

Travel no further than your backyard for great outdoor activities for kids, like camping! Put away the video games and have your kids help you pitch a tent (teaching them the steps along the way) for a night of activities under the stars.  This kids activity saves you from hours in a car driving to a camp spot, plus it’s totally free

15. Decorate Bikes

Decorate-your-bikes-A-fun-kids-activity-for-the-summer copyImage by Coffee Cups and Crayons

When you are young, your bike is your ticket to freedom, and summer is the perfect season to enjoy riding through the neighborhood and explore around. Whether it’s for the 4th of July or a neighborhood party, this craft allows kids to add to the joy of biking by decorating it for the summer. Get awesome inspiration and ideas from Coffee Cups and Crayons.

16. Have a Read-A-Thon Outside


Image by Condesign

A fun outdoor kids activity that costs no money is having a read-a-thon out in the yard. Lay out some blankets and sheets on the lawn under a tree if possible so there’s shade. Have your kids pick out 3-5 of their favorite books so once they finish one they can pick up another and keep reading!

17. DIY Kids Sandbox

DIY-SandboxImage by Mama Smiles

Sandboxes are so fun for kids but not so affordable for parents.  Make your own sandbox using a repurposed under-bed storage box and filling it with sand.  Let the kids bring out their favorite toys into the yard and begin playing in the sand! Get started with Mama Smiles! 

18. Go on a Bike Ride

Bike-to-school-kellyvImage by Kelly Verdeck

Bike riding is not only a therapeutic activity that allows you to be outdoors and in nature, but it’s great exercise for your kids.  Take them on a bike ride around the neighborhood and point out pretty flowers, tall trees or vegetable gardens in the vicinity. 

19. Painted Rock Faces

Painted-Rock-facesImage by Teach Beside Me

This kids craft combines art with the outdoors.  Send your kids outside to collect rocks that are mostly flat, and use paint to decorate each rock as a different body part; two rocks for the eyes, one for the nice and one for the mouth. Leaves, petals and moss make great hair for your rock faces! Compare the different faces and who used what in nature to make them! Instructions via Teach Beside Me. 

20. Play with Bubbles

bubbles-outdoor-activities-replacementImage by Kelly Verdeck

Playing with bubbles in the yard is a fun way for kids to be out in the sunshine and running around.  You can find bubbles at target or even the dollar store.  Have a contest to see who can blow the largest one!

21. Take Twister Outside

Outdoor-Twister-GameImage by Just Us Girls

Let the kids get all tangled up with a life sized twister board in the backyard.  Just spray-paint the circles directly onto the grass, and you can keep playing until the next time to mow! Visit Just Us Girls for instructions.

22. DIY Twig Plant Markerspainted-twig-plant-markers

Image by Dukes & Duchesses

Get the kids involved in the garden this summer! These DIY plant markers are so adorable. Let the kids collect their favorite sticks and twigs in the yard and have a painting party outside, decorating each marker in a different color and labeling it according to the plant. This craft is useful, fun, and brings out creativity! Instructions via Dukes and Duchesses.

23. DIY Ring Toss Game


Image by Mom Endeavors

The ring toss game is perfect for any summer day out in the sunshine and would be the perfect kids activity for the Fourth of July.  Find directions on Mom Endeavors to make it yourself!

24. DIY Fly your Own Kite 

6261695695_83088a32e4_zImage by Kelly Verdeck

Get the whole family outside flying kites this summer, with this easy DIY kite tutorial from Made by JoelMade easily with thick paper, string, sticks and tape, this awesome mini kite can be made in 10 minutes! This activity will keep your kids outdoors and running around all day!

25. Take The Dog on a Walk

Walk-The-Dog-ReplacementImage by Kelly Verdeck

Animals are therapeutic for children and so is exercise. This outdoor activity involves both! This summer when it’s time to take your pooch out on a stroll, bring your kids with you and let them walk the dog (if they are old enough).  This connection with their pet and the outdoors will be something they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.

26. Hopscotch with Chalk

Chalk-Hop-ScotchImage by Dukes & Duchesses

All you need for this simple kids activity is chalk and the sidewalk. Dukes & Duchesses even shows you how to make your own chalk so you don’t have to go out and buy it. Draw a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk like the one in the image above.  Use a rock for your kids to throw, and wherever it lands is the square they hop to!

27. Collect Seashells


Capture summer’s special moments by collecting treasures from the beach. Walks along the beach are fun and therapeutic for absolutely everyone, and there is an endless amount of shells, stones and sand dollars to be found. Turn a beach day into a nature scavenger hunt and bring a basket or mason jar!

28. DIY Spray Chalk Recipe

spray chalk 007Image by Growing a Jeweled Rose

Let your kids practice their artistic skills and their motor development with this outdoor kids craft.  This recipe for liquid chalk lets your kids play outside and paint for hours.  Let them spray paint the sidewalk, your driveway or the porch.  Fortunately this chalk come out easily with one wash of the hose.  Get the recipe on Growing a Jeweled Rose!

29. Soccer Ball Kid’s Croquet with a Pool Noodle

pool-noodle-croquet-5Image by Down Home Inspiration 

Pool noodles are more useful then you think! Reuse and repurpose a pool noodle for this active outdoors kids activity.  This activity will have your kids running around outside and playing for hours! All you need is a soccer ball, 4-6 pool noodles which you can buy from the local dollar store if you don’t already have them, and kebab sticks to secure the noodles into the ground. Set the activity up in your backyard so the kids can go out and play whenever they want or at a nearby park and make it a day-long activity! Get started on Down Home Inspiration.

30. A Block Party Potluck


Block parties are fun, social, and a great reason for your whole family to pass the time interacting outdoors.  Invite your fellow neighbors for a block party potluck, where each family brings their own meal or side dish to share.  Set up tables and chairs in your front yards or on the street if you have blocked it off with cones for the event. Try this simple and healthy meatless dish that will wow your party guests!

These outdoor crafts, activities and experiences are invaluable for children because they are growing, learning and discovering a deep love and connection with nature.  It is important to encourage this connection by creating fun and creative opportunities to get them outside and interacting with the natural environment around them. And you don’t need to spend a fortune to do it! Share with us the ways you get your children to learn and play outside!

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2 Responses to Active & Outside: 30 Kids Outdoor Summer Activities

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