If you're always looking for fun and engaging activities to keep your toddlers and kids busy outside, then you're in the right place. We've compiled a list of 50 exciting outdoor activities that are perfect for young children.
From simple games to creative crafts, from exploring nature to enjoying physical play, there's something for everyone. So, grab your sunscreen, grab your little one's hand, and get ready to head outside for a world of adventure and exploration.
50 Outdoor Activities to keep Toddlers and Kids Busy
1. Build a sand castle at the beach or in a sandbox:
Encourage creativity and fine motor skills by having kids build sand castles using shovels, buckets, and their hands. If you don’t already have one, it’s pretty easy to put together a make-shift sand box at home. Grab a large, underbed bin and a small bag of sand from your local hardware store and viola, you have a sandbox. This activity fosters imagination while enjoying the outdoors.
2. Have a Picnic:
Pack a yummy lunch and head to a local park or your backyard for a family picnic. This is a great way to connect with nature and spend quality time together, while enjoying some fresh air and tasty treats. Here is one of my favorite picnic blankets that is lightweight and easy to clean!
3. Fly a Kite:
Teach your children the joy of kite flying on a breezy day. This activity encourages them to be active (ha! Running to get the kite going is no small feat!) and develop coordination. The thrill of seeing their kite finally soar through the sky after all that hard work is incredible.
4. Play Hot Potato With A Ball:
Gather the kids and toss a ball while playing music or singing a song for them, stopping it randomly. The child holding the ball when the music stops is out. This fun, fast-paced game helps to develop hand-eye coordination and listening skills needed to be kindergarten ready.
5. Have a Treasure Hunt in the backyard:
Create a treasure map and hide small items for your children to discover. Have each clue lead to another and finally get to the treasure. This engaging activity encourages problem-solving, teamwork, and outdoor exploration.
6. Dance with bubbles:
Put some music on a portable speaker and blow bubbles with your mouth or a bubble machine. Encourage your children to dance with them and chase/pop them. This simple yet delightful activity promotes physical movement and hand-eye coordination, and honestly it just brings pure joy watching kids chasing bubbles.
7. Catch bugs in a bug-catcher:
Get a bug-catcher or make one by poking holes in tupperware and let them explore the backyard or park to catch and observe insects. This activity fosters curiosity and an appreciation for nature.
8. Draw pictures with chalk and guess what they are:
Give your kids sidewalk chalk and let your children's creativity run wild as they draw pictures for others to guess. This activity promotes artistic expression and communication skills.
9. Have a nature scavenger hunt:
Create a list of natural items for your children to find, like leaves, rocks, flowers, pinecones, acorns, bugs, etc. This encourages observation, exploration, and a deeper appreciation for the environment.
10. Play toss with a frisbee:
Teach your kids to throw and catch a frisbee, developing their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and sportsmanship. This fun and active game can be enjoyed in the backyard or at a local park.
11. Have a water balloon fight:
On a hot day (because we don’t want shivering kids in wet clothes!) fill up water balloons and let the kids engage in a friendly water balloon fight. This entertaining activity not only offers a refreshing way to cool down but also helps improve children's hand-eye coordination and agility as they throw and dodge water balloons.
12. Jump rope:
This classic game enhances coordination, stamina, and rhythmic skills while providing a fun and energetic form of exercise. Children can take turns jumping individually or, if they’re more seasoned rope jumpers, attempt more advanced techniques like double Dutch for an added challenge!
13. Have a bubble-blowing contest:
Gather different sized bubble wands (this bubble wand is so cool and doesn’t spill!!) and see who can blow the biggest. This light-hearted competition encourages friendly rivalry. For bonus points, give prizes for first, second, and third place.
14. Hula hoop challenge:
Encourage your children to participate in a friendly hula hoop contest to see who can keep the hoop spinning the longest. This entertaining activity helps to improve balance, coordination, and core strength while offering an enjoyable way to exercise and compete.
15. Pick flowers & make a bouquet:
Take a walk with your children and collect flowers to create beautiful wildflower bouquets. This activity encourages an appreciation for nature's beauty and offers a creative outlet. Put the bouquet in your child’s room for them to appreciate and enjoy for days.
16. Play volleyball with a beach ball:
Set up a simple net or use a rope/string, and play a friendly game of volleyball using a beach ball. This activity promotes teamwork, hand-eye coordination, and physical activity. Plus, the beach ball is so light that you don’t have to worry about anyone getting hurt.
17. Go on a nature walk:
Explore local trails or parks with your children, pointing out interesting plants, animals, and natural features. This activity fosters curiosity, observation, and an appreciation for the outdoors. You can play I-SPY as you walk to make it even more fun.
18. Run through a sprinkler:
Set up a sprinkler on a warm day and let your children run, jump, and play in the refreshing water. This activity combines physical activity with a fun way to cool off. Plus, it’s less of a hassle than blowing up a pool.
19. Swim in a kiddie pool:
Set up a small pool in your backyard for your children to splash and play in. This provides a safe environment for them to get acclimated with water, stay cool, and have fun. I love to pull a chair up to the side of the pool and put my feet in to keep cool myself
20. Climb trees:
Encourage your children to safely explore and climb trees, under adult supervision. This activity helps develop strength, balance, and confidence, while fostering a connection to nature. Try to only intervene when you feel absolutely necessary so your kids can learn to trust themselves.
21. Collect leaves to make art:
Encourage your children to gather various leaves during a nature walk, then use glue to create a unique and colorful collage. You can either let them use their imagination, or give them direction like “make an animal with the leaves”.This activity fosters creativity, observation skills, and an appreciation for nature's beauty.
22. Go berry picking on a farm:
Visit a local farm where you can pick seasonal berries with your children. This fun and educational activity can help teach kids about agriculture, healthy eating, and the importance of supporting local farms. It can also help encourage trying new foods for picky eaters.
23. Play with water blasters:
Grab some water blasters (they’re super affordable at the dollar store!) and let them engage in a friendly water battle. This exciting activity promotes physical activity, hand-eye coordination, and offers a refreshing and fun way to cool down on a hot day.
24. Paint rocks:
Gather smooth rocks and provide your children with paint and brushes to create their own unique rock art. This creative activity encourages artistic expression and the rocks can be used as a gift to a grandparent, garden decorations, or keepsakes.
25. Have bike or scooter races:
Organize a friendly race where children can ride their bikes or scooters. Use chalk to mark the beginning and the finish line. This outdoor activity promotes physical fitness, balance, and a sense of friendly competition
26. Paint a flower pot:
Provide your kids with plain flower pots and paint for them to create their own colorful and imaginative designs. Once the pots are dry, plant flowers or herbs together to complete the project. These also make a great gift for mother’s day!
27. Skip stones at the beach or pond:
Teach (or at least attempt to teach ha!) your children the art of stone skipping and enjoy a peaceful day by the water. This calming activity helps develop hand-eye coordination and an appreciation for nature. Even if most of the rocks end up plopping into the water, they’ll have fun trying!
28. Launch water balloons:
Using a water balloon launcher, slingshot, or even just their hands, see how far your kids can propel water balloons. This fun activity encourages teamwork, coordination, and offers a new twist on traditional water play.
29. Play leapfrog:
Teach your children to play leapfrog, a classic game where players take turns jumping over one another. This activity promotes physical movement, coordination, and cooperation. Make sure you play this on a soft surface like grass or sand because your kids might get knocked over.
30. Collect rocks:
During a nature walk, encourage your children to collect interesting rocks. Later, they can sort, identify, or even paint their finds, promoting observation skills and an appreciation for the natural world. If they get enough, they can try stacking them as an additional activity.
31. Search for caterpillars:
Embark on a mini-adventure with your kids to find caterpillars in your garden or local park. Use this as a mini science lesson to explain how caterpillars turn into butterflies to spark their curiosity about STEM. This activity fosters curiosity, observation skills, and a connection to the natural world.
32. Set up a tent and pretend to camp:
Create a camping atmosphere in your backyard by setting up a tent and engaging in pretend play. For an added dose of fun, make some s’mores and hot dogs over a firepit. This activity encourages imagination, creativity, and outdoor bonding.
33. Make a bug house:
Build a small bug house with your children using sticks, leaves, and other natural materials. This project helps teach about insect habitats and encourages respect for nature.
34. Search for ants:
Observe and follow ant trails with your kids, learning about their behavior and organization. Use this as a teaching moment to explain how ant colonies work. This activity promotes curiosity, patience, and a fascination for the natural world.
35. Find flowers & dry them:
Collect various flowers with your children and teach them how to dry and preserve them for crafts or keepsakes. This activity nurtures an appreciation for nature's beauty and creative potential.
36. Catch ladybugs:
Encourage your kids to gently catch and observe ladybugs before releasing them back into their natural habitat. Ask them about their colors and have them count the spots on the ladybug’s wings. This activity fosters an appreciation for the environment and teaches respect for living creatures.
37. Draw your name on the sidewalk with chalk:
Provide sidewalk chalk and let your children practice writing and decorating their names on the pavement. This activity promotes creativity, self-expression, and fine motor skills.
38. Play hopscotch:
Teach your kids the classic game of hopscotch, which develops coordination, balance, and counting skills while offering a fun way to be active outdoors. Have them help use chalk to practice writing their numbers.
39. Catch a butterfly with a net:
Give your children with butterfly nets and encourage them to gently catch and observe butterflies before releasing them. This activity fosters curiosity, patience, and a connection to nature.
40. Stack rocks:
Challenge your kids to find and stack rocks of various sizes and shapes to create interesting structures. This activity encourages balance, creativity, and an appreciation for natural materials. Give a prize to the kid who stacks the highest.
41. Play with water and sponges in a bucket:
Fill a bucket with water and provide sponges for your children to play with, squeezing, splashing, and exploring the water. This simple activity promotes sensory exploration and motor skills development.
42. Play keepy-uppy with a balloon:
Blow up a balloon and challenge your kids to keep it in the air using their hands, feet, or other body parts. This lighthearted game develops hand-eye coordination, balance, and teamwork.
43. Clean up trash at the park, then play:
Teach your children about environmental responsibility by picking up litter at a local park, and then reward their efforts with playtime. This activity instills a sense of community stewardship and respect for the environment.
44. Play a game of duck, duck, goose:
Gather your children and their friends for a game of duck, duck, goose, which promotes physical activity, coordination, and social interaction.
45. Jump on a trampoline:
Allow your kids to experience the joy of jumping on a trampoline, which provides a fun and exhilarating way to develop balance, coordination, and strength. While trampolines are fun, explain the importance of using them safely so no one gets hurt.
46. Catch a grasshopper:
Encourage your kids to catch grasshoppers in a gentle and respectful manner, fostering curiosity and observation skills.
47. Paint leaves:
Collect leaves with your children and use paint to create colorful and unique patterns or designs. You can also get paper and make leaf prints after painting them. This creative activity encourages artistic expression and a connection to nature.
48. Create a backyard obstacle course:
Design a fun and challenging obstacle course using items like hula hoops, pool noodles, and buckets. This activity promotes physical fitness, coordination, problem-solving, and teamwork.
49. Plant a mini vegetable or flower garden:
Teach your children about gardening by creating a small plot or using containers to plant vegetables or flowers. This hands-on activity encourages responsibility, patience, and an understanding of plant growth and care.
50. Make a bird feeder:
Help your children create simple bird feeders using materials like pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed or by repurposing plastic bottles or milk cartons. This activity promotes creativity, fine motor skills, and an appreciation for wildlife while attracting birds to your yard for observation and enjoyment.
Spending time outdoors with toddlers and kids can be a wonderful way to foster their creativity, imagination, and physical development. Whether it's playing games, making crafts, discovering nature, or simply running around and enjoying the fresh air, these activities can help keep your little ones busy, engaged, and entertained.
So, let's encourage our children to unplug from screens, step outside, and embrace the joys of the great outdoors. Get ready for plenty of smiles, laughter, and adventures as you create lasting memories with your kids through these outdoor activities!
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