Looking for inspiration for fun outside summer activities that the whole family can enjoy? Check out the 25 outside activities listed below.
My family and I have tried out most of the ideas on this page.
Just this month, we had ourselves a painting party resulting in adorable flower pots on our front step.
A few of the summer activities listed here are new to us, such as a DIY backyard water blob and a family pick-up-and-walk. We’re excited to give these new activities a go this summer, as well as revisit “old” ideas that have entertained us for years of summers.
Sometimes, just reading through someone else’s plans for the summer gets my own ideas flowing. So, read the list, and be inspired to make this summer a memorable and joy-filled time for your whole family.
25 Fun Outside Summer Activities for the Family
1. Plant a garden pot.
Plant a garden pot with your favorite herbs or veggies.
Let your kids plant their own. It’s fun, and they’ll learn about the responsibility of watering and weeding their tiny garden.
2. Draw a sidewalk chalk board game.
Draw a sidewalk chalk board game on your patio, sidewalk, or street.
We love to make up our own squares from START to FINISH with instructions along the way: go back 2 spaces, stand on 1 foot, skip ahead to the rainbow square, etc.
For more sidewalk chalk board game ideas, visit https://www.pinterest.ca/gameonfamily/chalk-games/
3. Paint a flower pot.
No, you don’t have to splurge on a terracotta pot. We primed free plastic pots from the greenhouse, then painted our designs in cheap dollar store acrylic paint. (If you want the paint to last more than one summer, buy an outdoor furniture glaze from your local paint store.)
4. Outdoor scavenger hunts.
There are a bazillion and one different scavenger hunts available for free online. Here are just three ideas:
- Photo hunt. Grab your camera/phone and take pictures of each of the items on a list like this one: https://niagarafamilies.com/outdoor-scavenger-hunt/
- Clue/riddle hunt. Print a list of clues (like these: http://scavenger-hunt.org/10-outdoor-scavenger-hunt-riddles/) and place them around the yard to be found. Or, make your own.
List hunt. Sometimes, running around somewhere new with a list of things to check off is enough fun all on its own. Try this free Cemetery Scavenger Hunt.
5. Paint with water.
Grab an old paintbrush, a pail of water, and start drawing on your concrete patio or sidewalk. When the water dries, you have a fresh canvas to start again.
6. Picnic outside.
Picnic at a park you’ve never visited before.
7. Take a mini road trip.
Research local attractions, parks, monuments, nature spots, etc. that aren’t more than an hour’s drive away. Pack snacks and books, etc. for the trip. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it gives the whole family a small does of family vacation feelings.
8. Create a backyard obstacle course.
Time each other and record your speeds to see who’s fastest.
9. Go swimming
Swim at your local pool. Or try a new water park. Or go to the beach.
10. Reach for a goal.
For example, if you’re a family who likes running, set a date a few weeks into summer for a 2k run at a local park. Then, decide on a training schedule together. The schedule will give purpose and rhythm to your summer days, and the goal will give your kids something to look forward to.
11. Play “Around the World”.
This is a family favorite. If you don’t have a basketball hoop in your yard like we do, walk over to the nearest schoolyard. Draw chalk circles on the concrete and have fun!
(Here are the instructions for this simple game: https://www.wikihow.com/Play-Around-the-World)
12. Visit a skatepark.
Or find a smooth, rolling sidewalk near your home.
13. Visit an acreage or hobby farm.
Visit a friend/family member with an acreage or hobby farm.
This spring, the kids and I visited a friend who had a fresh litter of kittens. The kids played joyfully all afternoon while my friend and I drank coffee. It was bliss!
14. Splash around!
Visit a local splash park.
15. Make an adventure slideshow.
Pack your camera/phone and head to a park or nature spot. Take as many pictures of your adventure as possible. Then, go home and turn your pictures into a slideshow set to music.
16. Pitch a tent in the backyard.
Younger kids can play “camping” during the day. Older kids can sleep outside at night.
17. Follow a one-day schedule.
This is NOT a daily or weekly schedule. The idea here is to create purpose for one day and to motivate the kids with a reward at the end of their list of tasks.
You don’t have to print something out or make your list fancy (although here’s an example of one of the great lists you can print for free: https://www.raisingdragons.com/summer-screen-time-checklist-ages-4-10/.)
Customize your list according to your child and the weather, like this:
Walk around your neighborhood with your family and pick up garbage.
19. Water pistol target practice.
We like to set up a ladder outside and line up empty tin cans on each rung. Of course, you could use a nerf-gun for this, too, but water is much more fun in summertime. Even a water hose with a spray gun attached would be awesome.
20. Make a backyard water blob.
What is a water blob, you say? This is new to me, too.
Here’s the link where I found the idea: https://www.clumsycrafter.com/water-blob-tutorial/
21. Refurbish old furniture.
Refurbish and repurpose a piece of old furniture. I love doing this. Why not include the kids in the project? Especially if you’re painting a small dresser or table that can be used in their rooms.
22. Go hiking.
Go for a hike on a trail you’ve never tried before
23. Make a backyard water slide.
Got a portable small kiddie slide and kiddie pool in your back yard? We’ve done this every summer since the kids were toddlers. It’s a keeper.
24. Go on a treasure hunt.
Create a town treasure hunt. I like to use this free map generator: https://treasuremaps.kadsoftwareusa.com/
25. Paint each other!
“Let the kids paint each other with washable tempera paint and then wash it off in a sprinkler run.” (https://www.care.com/c/stories/3331/101-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-summer/)
26. (Bonus) Ask your kids what THEY’D like to do. 😊
Fun is Contagious
Remember, your excitement will rub off on your kids. You’re not just going to visit Grandma: You’re off to Grandma’s house to see the new kittens! Your enthusiasm is one of the key ingredients to the whole family’s fun (like it or not).
But, wait! What if it’s raining?
Stay tuned for my bonus June post: “25 Fun Rainy-Day Summer Activities for the Family”, which will be released June 29th!