60 Summer Outdoor Activities for Kids

It’s a challenge for parents to keep their children entertained over the long summer break. To reduce the times you hear, “I’m bored,” you need to plan ahead. Check out these 60 outdoor activities and choose the ones that will keep your children smiling all summer long.  

Active Games 

  1. Balloon Volleyball - Set up your court by using a jump rope (or any rope) to divide your yard in two. Use a balloon for the ball and have players alternate serves. The first to 21 is the winner!   
  2. Blanket Relay - Grab some blankets (preferably old ones) and pull your partner across the lawn as fast as you can. Team members switch places to give their partner a ride to the finish line.
  3. Mini-Golf Course - Your garage probably has everything you need for this game — pool noodles, ropes, and cardboard boxes. Arrange everything on your driveway or in your yard to create your very own course.
  4. Driveway Toy Car Race - Grab any type of toy car and a couple sticks of sidewalk chalk. Draw your start and finish lines and the lane markers in the driveway, and let the races begin.
  5. Frisbee Tic Tac Toe - You will need a cheap shower curtain, colored tape and nine Frisbees. Tape the shower curtain to the ground, making a Tic-Tac-Toe grid with the tape. Stand behind a given line to throw a Frisbee on a square. Allow the players multiple tries to land in a square.
  6. Glow in the Dark Bowling - Pop glow sticks into 10 bottles of water to make bowling pins you can use at night.
  7. Lawn Twister - Use circular stencils and spray paint the game board onto your lawn for outdoor fun.
  8. Outdoor Field Hockey - Grab pool noodles, balloons and a laundry basket to create a homemade version of field hockey. Use the pool noodles as the stick to move the balloon across your lawn to score a goal in the laundry basket.
  9. Paper Boat Race - Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool by blowing through a straw to propel them.
  10. Obstacle Course - Use objects you already own like jump ropes, boxes and hula-hoops to create a backyard course. Your kids will be entertained and put their skills to the test. Encourage your children to change up the course with their own ideas.
  11. Shaving Cream Fight - Stock up on shaving cream. Shake can for 20 seconds, then an adult says, “Go.” Spray opponents from the neck down. Hose off when the game is over.
  12. Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest - Liven up an afternoon with some friendly competition. Challenge your kids to see who can aim the best or spit the farthest.

Art Projects 

  1. Body Painting - Let kids paint themselves and each other with washable tempera paint, then let them wash it off in the sprinklers. Old swimsuit or clothes are recommended.
  2. Flower Painting - Dip the full flower into paint and use as a paintbrush to create unique artwork.
  3. Fly Swatter Painting - Using a fly swatter is a great twist on creating art. Choosing one with a unique pattern will enable your child to whip up a unique masterpiece.
  4. Photography Journal - Encourage your kids to record their day by taking photographs. It’s an interesting way to look at a day in their lives through images.
  5. Sun Melted Crayons - Gather up all those broken crayons along with aluminum foil, cookie cutters and a paper plate. Place foil on a paper plate then top with the cookie cutters. Add broken crayons and place in a sunny spot. Once melted, pop the newly formed crayons out of the cookie cutters. Then put your new crayons to use.
  6. Art Sale - Put those talents to good use by organizing an event to give back. Set up a stand and have the neighborhood kids take shifts selling unique artistic creations, from pottery to pencil drawings. The money raised can go to a favorite charity. Genius Tip: Shift scheduling coordination is easy with a sign up.

 Back to Nature 

  1. Build A Birdhouse - Make a birdhouse out of Popsicle sticks. Paint and hang for the birds.
  2. Camp Out in Your Backyard - Your family can enjoy the great outdoors with the comforts of home close by. Build a fire to roast hot dogs and melt marshmallows for s’mores.
  3. Design a Fairy House - Gather twigs, leaves and flowers and then add a ton of imagination to create a fairy house.
  4. Favorite Park - Get a map of your local parks. Visit them all and vote for your favorite one.
  5. Glow in the Dark - At night, catch fireflies in a jar to observe these interesting insects. Release them back to nature at the end of the evening.
  6. Bug Hunt - Grab a clipboard, a piece of paper and a marker then head outdoors. A magnifying glass and a plastic jar could be fun too. Encourage your kids to list or draw every bug they see. For an added twist, count all the ants they find.
  7. Stargazing - Learn about the constellations and print out a few star maps. One night you can spread out a blanket and look for these recognizable groups of stars.
  8. Mud Pies - Let the kids get messy while having a ton of fun. Add water and mud into buckets then flip over to create mud pies. Decorate with twigs, leaves and flowers.
  9. Nature Walk - Go for a walk and collect items from Mother Nature. Back at home make a collage out of the found items.
  10. Plant a Garden - A garden is a great way to teach kids about growing their own food. Between the watering and weeding, a garden will keep them occupied all summer, and you get to eat the harvest.
  11. Picnic at a Park - Take the kids to a state or national park to teach them the importance of preserving beautiful land. Take a journal or sketch pad along to document the experience.
  12. Farmer’s Market Visit - It’s a great opportunity to sneak in a little education about nutrition and get them more interested in the food they eat. Let your children pick something new to try.

Community Fun 

  1. Bike Parade - Reach out to your neighbors with kids for a community parade. Encourage participants to decorate their ride with streamers, balloons and flags. Let them cruise around together as parents cheer them on.
  2. Ice Cream Truck Chase - Let the truck go a bit ahead of your house and chase it down for a tasty treat. Your kids can have an adventure on their neighborhood block.
  3. Community Bike Wash - Grab a bucket, sponge and hose to set up a bike wash for neighborhood kids and raise money for a local charity.
  4. Neighborhood Game Night - Organize a multifamily competition by playing kickball, soccer and capture the flag. Team up dads and daughters verses moms and sons. Designate a different parent to referee.
  5. Move Night - You don’t have to go to a local park to create an outdoor movie experience. Rent a projection screen, set up in a neighborhood yard or common area, spread out the blankets and enjoy with some popcorn and snacks.


  1. Cardboard Fort or Castle - Swing by your local grocery or appliance store and bring back a bunch of boxes. Consider yourself part of the building crew since it’s likely you will be the person in charge of the cutting with a craft knife. Your kids can tape it up and paint their structure.
  2. Rock Art - Collect rocks and paint them for use as garden decoration, paperweights or pet rocks.
  3. Seashell Art - Your kids can paint, string or glue them together. The only things necessary are a few supplies and a creative mind.
  4. Totem Poles - Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls. On your porch or patio, spread out an old cloth as base camp to construct and paint this art project.

 Mind Challenges 

  1. Map It Out - Show your kids a few examples of maps. Have them think about their neighborhood to create their very own map. Once drawn, take a walk or drive to see if you can follow along.
  2. Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt - This fun game combines a neighborhood walk with a scavenger hunt. Before you leave home, write down 10 to 15 things to look for during the neighborhood walk, such as street signs, garden fixtures, different trees, birds and animals. The first person to find every item is the winner.
  3. Ball Park Time - Go to a local baseball game and help your kids learn how to keep a scorecard.
  4. Plan a Treasure Hunt - With a little advanced planning, send your kids on a treasure hunt. Start with a homemade map you’ve stained with coffee and scorched the edges. Have some prizes at the end of their adventure.
  5. Take a Heads or Tails Road Trip - Every time you get to an intersection, flip a coin to see if you’re going right (heads) or left (tails).

Water Fun 

  1. Aqua Limbo - Use the stream from a water hose as the stick for a game of limbo.
  2. Balloon Babies - Fill up a water balloon and draw a face on it. Wrap up in a towel and give to your child as her new baby. See how long she can take care of it before the balloon breaks.
  3. Tricycle Car Wash - With a bundle of PVC pipes and a garden hose, you can transform your driveway into a car wash for tricycle riders. Swimsuits are required for this splashing good time.
  4. Homemade Sprinkler - Take a 2-liter soda bottle and poke holes into it. Attach to a garden hose with a male-to-male adaptor. Let hang or toss over a tree branch. Adjust the sprinkler flow by adjusting the water stream.
  5. Water War - Crank up the hose, fill up the water guns and balloons and turn on the sprinkler for a water fight. It’s a perfect activity on a hot day and a great substitute for a pool.
  6. Ice Block Building - Fill up various containers with a mixture of water and food coloring. Once frozen, take them outside. Pop out the molds and let the kids build towers, trains and buildings before they all melt.
  7. Ice Painting - Paint with colorful ice. Simply freeze ice cube trays with washable tempera paint. It’s a fun way for your kids to cool off, create art and get messy.
  8. Slip ‘n Slide - Purchase colorful plastic sheeting and secure on a slight slope with the hose water running downhill. Add pool floats to increase the fun factor.
  9. Sponge Bull’s Eye - Draw a bull’s eye on the driveway and assign a points value to each circle of the target. Kids stand at the starting line and throw a wet sponge at the target.
  10. Squeeze the Sponge Relay - You will need two buckets for each of your kids — one filled with water and one empty. Give each of the kids one sponge. The object of the game is to transfer the water from bucket to bucket using the sponge. Whoever does it the fastest is the winner.
  11. Squirt Gun Painting - Instead of loading water into a squirt gun, add paint. Kids can squirt paint onto a sheet of paper to create art in a very fun way.
  12. Take a Cooling Walk - Wade through a stream in search of minnows or tadpoles. Take your net along for some catch and release.
  13. Unfreeze Your Prize - Place small toys like plastic bugs, cars or dolls into an ice cube tray. Add water and freeze. Pass out one cube to each child. Have them melt while holding in their hands until prizes emerge.
  14. Water Balloon Dodge Ball - Use balloons filled with water as a dodge ball. Play as usual, just remember don’t aim at people’s faces.
  15. Water Balloon Piñata - Fill balloons with water, tie them up and string between two trees or along a clothesline. Let kids take turn striking the balloons with a stick for a fun summer twist without all the sugar.
  16. Wet Sponge Tag - Starting with a soaked sponge, the first person tags another person by tossing the sponge onto another player to make them “It.” Remember don’t aim for the face!
 Great memories are made during the summer months, so start checking off this list today!                    

Additional Resources

100 Summer Craft Ideas for Kids
20 Outdoor Games for Your Backyard Party
60 Summer Outdoor Activities for Kids
50 Fun Outdoor Activities for Families