100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (2024)

Welcome to summer! My kids have been out of school for a few weeks now and the novelty of long hot lazy days is starting to wear off. We’ve made our bucket lists for the big things we want to accomplish, but in the meantime, there’s still a lot of downtime around the house. We’re always looking for fun new things to do to keep us active, outdoors and having fun! Collectively, with our contributors and community, we’ve put together this HUGE comprehensive ultimate list of 100+ outdoor summer activities for kids!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (1)

Summer outdoor activities printable PDF checklist!

While this post will give you all the details and variations for all 100+ outdoor summer activities for kids, if you want a printable checklist version, CLICK HERE and get a free printable PDF of the list!

Special thanks to our Instagram community

These fun activities are guaranteed to keep your kids (and you) entertained, learning, and active while outside this summer! These activities have been tried, tested and kid-approved by our followers, editors, writers, and contributors! Plus, all of the photos in the post of kids outside having fun are from our absolutely amazing Instagram community! A very special thanks to all the mamas that let us feature their beautiful images.

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100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (2)@jenmarie_anderson

1. Water balloon fight

Everyone loves a good water balloon fight! For extra fun, get the whole neighborhood involved. Or make it a game – when you get hit you’re out, until there’s one champion! Or throw them high and practice catching pop flies! Split up into teams and each team is a certain color balloon. We like these balloons that are super easy to fill! Just remember to clean up all your plastic trash afterward!

2. Outdoor drumline (or band)

This outdoor summer activity was inspired by watching the drummers at an outdoor music festival last summer. My kids were absolutely mesmerized by the guys playing the drums on buckets, just using sticks and their hands. Find all the buckets (pails, boxes, bowls, pots, etc.) you can, give them a stick and have them create their own beats! (outside, of course, because it’s LOUD!)

3. Frozen ice dino dig

Freeze some plastic dinosaurs or other small toys or treasures in a giant block of ice. Give the kids tools to help them chip away at the ice to get to the treasure. This is a great way to stay cool on a hot day!

4. Have a car wash (or dog wash)

Get out the hose, buckets and soap and ready for some fun! Use towels or sponges to clean all your family vehicles outside and get your cars nice and shiny! Or wash the kids bikes, wagons or Cozy Coupes! You could even have a dog wash if you run out of vehicles!

5. Outdoor game night

Create a family tradition of playing a game outdoors! Whether it’s a traditional board game (like Monopoly or Life), a fun family card game (like Uno or Go Fish) or something a bit more interactive (charades or Pictionary), games are great outdoor summer activities and the perfect way to enjoy an evening outside. This is my personal favorite family game. And if you want extra competition, invite another family over and battle each other!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (3)@adventures_with_gigi

6. Fruit picking

Summer is the peak time to visit a local orchard. Lots of places let kids pick-your-own fruits, veggies and flowers. Our summertime favorite picks are strawberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, herbs, blueberries, zucchini, watermelons and sunflowers.

7. Find some animals

Visit a local zoo to learn more about the animals and how they handle the summer heat. Do they have adaptions that help them stay cool? When are they the most active? Or get more interactive and visit a petting zoo, farm, nature center or animal safari center. Here are some great reasons why summer on the farm with animals is so much fun!

8. Attend a carnival or fair

Summer is ripe with fun local carnivals and state/county fairs. Attend one and try out some of the traditional foods (funnel cake and lemon shake-ups) or the crazy food (fried Snickers bars?!). Play some games, ride the rides and have a great day of fun!

9. Make a fairy house

Don’t leave your local neighborhood fairies to fend for themselves in this heat. Create magical tiny homes for your fairies out of stones, sticks and other found and recycled materials. Here’s a great tutorial for making fairy houses out of natural materials in your own backyard that will keep your kids entertained for hours. For a little extra magic, add some sparkly gemstones, glitter or twinkle lights. These little paint-your-own fairy doors are adorable!

10. Play Frisbee or disc golf

Playing Frisbee is a great alternative to traditional pitch and catch. The flat disc is usually much easier for kids to toss and catch. Throw one around at your local park and see who can throw it the farthest or with the most accuracy. Once you’ve gotten the hang on it, try your luck at disc golf! So much fun for the whole family!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (4)@gabriella.rojas.ray

11. Play in the rain

Summer rain showers are perfect for playing in! Light summer drizzles are usually warm and perfect for making fun puddles to splash in! Grab an umbrella or go out in your bathing suit! Here’s a great post filled with fun and creative ways to play OUTSIDE in the rain!

12. Identify local birds

Summer is a great time to get to know the local wildlife and continue your nature study. Help your kids identify the neighborhood birds in your area, by color, size, and song. You can also research what they like to eat, where they live, where they migrate and what kind of nest they build. If you want to get extra crafty, set up a nature window for bird watching.

13. Make a bug hotel

Get a headstart on winter by building a protective shelter for your garden bugs. Bug hotels are not only part garden art, but they also provide much-needed protection for bugs and beneficial insects throughout the winter. Set up different protected areas in your hotel with a variety of sticks, pine cones, seed heads, bamboo shoots, and wood shavings.

14. Play flashlight tag

Played at night, flashlight tag is a fun game that mixes hide and seek with tag. The person who is “it” waits at home base counting to a high number while everyone else hides. Then, armed with a flashlight, this person searches for the others who may be switching hiding spots. The flashlight must remain on at all times and may not be covered. When “it ” spots someone, s/he must use the flashlight to get a close enough look at the person to identify him or her and call out that person’s name (who then becomes “it”)!

15. Attend an outdoor concert

Check your local listing for outdoor concerts, movies or shows. Many local venues such as county parks, museums, pools, and libraries host free events for families in the evenings during summer. Pack a blanket and some snacks and enjoy an evening outdoors enjoying the show!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (5)@wolvenkinderen

16. Set up a lemonade stand

Nothing says childhood like having a lemonade stand. It’s practically a rite of passage! Help your kids make some homemade lemonade, a couple of signs and set up a table for their booth. Not into lemonade? Try homemade popsicles, iced tea, kool-aid or bake cookies/cupcakes and have a bake sale! Your kids will be so excited to see their hard work turn into a few dollars! Who knows, you may even spark a future entrepreneur!

17. Go for a family bike ride

Biking with kids is a fun summertime adventure and a great way to get outdoors, explore new areas/trails, create family memories and get in shape. Riding a bike not only improves physical fitness, but it also benefits your child’s learning development and mental health. Plus, biking reduces carbon emissions, eases traffic congestion and eliminates parking problems. If you’re just getting started, we’ve got a great post with lots of tips for biking with kids.

18. Jump rope

Childhood jump rope games seem to have become a lost art. I remember playing all kinds of variations of jump ropes games such as helicopter, double-dutch, French skipping, and cat and mouse when I was a kid (a million years ago!). Most jumping games were also set to fun rhymes and songs. Break out the rope jumps this summer, and let’s bring these fun games back! Jumping rope is not only fantastic exercise, but it’s for great hand-eye coordination.

19. Go on a clean-up hike

Next time you’re out exploring your favorite local trail (or even going for a walk around your neighborhood), take along a garbage bag and make an effort to clean up any trash or rubbish you find along the way. Chances are, you’ll be (unpleasantly) surprised at just how much trash has been discarded. Set a good example for your kids by cleaning up and explaining to them the importance of taking care of our surroundings and the environment.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (6)@pilgrimspassingthru

20. Plant some veggies

Whether you’ve got the room in your backyard for an entire garden or just a spot for a pot, plant a few vegetables this summer with the kids. Depending on your zone, you can start with seeds or transplant sprouts. Have the kids help choose a few vegetable plants from a local garden center that they’ll actually enjoy eating. Some of our favorites are sugar snap peas, beets, cherry tomatoes, mint, lettuce, carrots, zucchini, and pumpkins! Here’s a great post with 5 easy vegetables to grow with kids!

21. Press flowers

Flowers are everywhere you look during the summer! Take advantage of the abundance and preserve some for a cold rainy day. Collect flowers on a sunny day when they’re not wet or damp. Place the flowers between sheets of parchment or wax paper and lay a heavy book on top. Let the flowers dry for 7-10 days. Use the flowers for art decorations, cards, journals, luminaries or anything your heart desires! We’ve tried this flower press kit and made beautiful art! And here’s a great post on how to make a pressed wildflower bookmark.

22. Watch a sunset or sunrise

If you’re looking for a peaceful way to spend some time outside with your kids, try watching a sunrise or sunset together. This is a great way to have a quiet conversation, tell stories or just enjoy some silence while taking in the beauty of the scene.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (7)@susan.grimes

23. Fly a kite

Flying a kite is one of those quintessential childhood activities that everyone should try at least once! Grab a kite from a store or try your hand at making your own! Choose a location with a wide open space, like a football field, park or the beach. See how high you can get the kite and who can make it do acrobatic tricks! If you need more inspiration or instruction, here’s a post all about kite flying with kids!

24. Make pizza on the grill

If you’ve never tried to make your own pizza on the BBQ grill, what are you waiting for?! Buy some premade pizza dough (or make your own – it’s easy!) and your favorite pizza toppings. Have everything ready to go, then slide the crust on the grill for a few minutes. Flip the whole thing over and then add your pizza toppings while it cooks. Your grill can get much hotter than your oven, so it’ll make your crust extra crispy and delicious! Let the kids help, but definitely with adult supervision. Or try your hand at using an outdoor pizza oven – here’s some info on how to use an outdoor pizza oven, our favorite recipes and tips for cooking pizza outside!

25. Make sun prints

Making nature art using sun print paper is a great way to teach kids about the sun and shadows. It also encourages them to be observant of shapes, patterns and sizes of leaves, plants and natural objects. Plus, you get some really gorgeous art prints out of it that would look so pretty framed or turned into wrapping paper or greeting cards. See our full post on sun prints for more details.

26. Catch fireflies

Catching fireflies (or lightning bugs, as we call them) is one of my (and my kids’) favorite things to do in the summer. Once the temperature gets warm enough, twilight is the perfect time to chase after these slow flying bugs. They’re easy enough to catch with your hands, just be careful not to injure them and let them go gently. Check out this post for more information on fireflies, fun facts, firefly jokes, and info on how to save them.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (8)@erincomfortphotography

27. Play golf (or putt putt or driving range)

Golf is such a fun outdoor activity for the entire family. My kids are really into golf these days and they can’t seem to get enough. We love going out and playing nine holes as a family at a public course or spending an hour hitting balls at the driving range. If you haven’t tried Top Golf, it’s also been a huge hit! Or mix it up and try your hand at putt putt golf – winner gets to pick dinner! Here’s a great post on everything you need to know to get started playing golf with kids.

28. Go on a rainbow walk

Turn your evening stroll or afternoon hike into a rainbow walk, where kids are tasked with finding one item of every color of the rainbow. Either have them write down the item and corresponding color or take a photo of it with your phone/camera.

29. Put on a play

Most kids love performing, so have them put on a show! Help them come up with a story (maybe reenact their favorite movie/book or make something up entirely!), cast the characters, find costumes, rehearse their lines and even create background scenery! Have them set up a theater, advertise the show and sell tickets and popcorn. If you’re lucky, this could take ALL DAY (or longer)! Have them perform their show for the family (or the neighborhood) and be sure to give them a standing ovation!

30. Build a sandcastle

Whether you’re on the beach or just playing in a sandbox, building a sand castle is so much fun! You don’t need any fancy equipment to make an amazing sand creation. Just some sand, add water and a few cups and buckets of various sizes. Feel free to add shells, sticks, grass or leaves for decorations. Put those future architectural skills to work! Take your sandcastle building to the next level with these sandcastle building tips for kids from a professional!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (9)@thebackwoodsmama

31. Climb a tree

Climbing trees is a great way for kids to experience “risky” play, with great rewards. One of my favorite writers, Linda McGurk wrote: “Tree climbing has real benefits for kids – physically, mentally, cognitively and socially. Just think about it. As your child scales the tree he’s building muscle strength, practicing gross motor skills such as balance and improving spatial awareness and proprioception. When he decides which branches are safe to stand on and how high to go, he’s learning how to judge risk and developing critical thinking skills. As he plans his path up through the limbs, he’s gaining decision-making and problem-solving skills, and if things don’t go according to plan, he gains emotional strength and resilience by trying again. When he successfully negotiates the branches, he feels a sense of accomplishment, which in turn boosts his self-confidence.”

32. Pack a picnic

Sometimes the smallest things (like a change of scenery) can make all the difference. Try packing a picnic and eating a meal in a whole new location. Choose a park with a fun playground, a picnic table by a lake or the edge of a babbling brook. Spread out a blanket with all the food and let the kids eat as they play with no rushing or nagging at them to sit down and eat. The kids will graze during the time you’re there as they play and explore. And chances are, they’ll eat ALL the food in the car on the way home!

33. Host a garage sale

Summer’s a great time to clean out some of the clutter in your home and get rid of some things that you and the kids no longer need or enjoy. Make it a family project to clean out their bedrooms and playroom with them and choose items to contribute to the family yard sale. Give them a percentage of the earnings or let them have the proceeds from particular items they sell. Be sure to have them help with labeling, advertising, and marketing! And let them help with selling, answering customer questions and making change.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (10)@mommatolittlemen

34. Hammock naps

Not sure I have to say anything else about this one. If the thought of napping in a hammock on a warm summer day doesn’t thrill you to the bone, I’m not sure this is the website for you. 😉

35. Hula hoop

Like jumping rope, hula hooping seems to be another lost art of childhood. Make sure your kids get the chance to experience the thrills and fun of a hula hoop. Watching kids learn how to hula hoop is absolutely adorable and worth the nominal price of a hoop. Play games, like who can keep it going the longest, who can make it go up and down their body or who can jump through it as it rolls down the sidewalk!

36. Visit a farmer’s market

In the summer, local farmer’s markets are teeming with the most amazing produce around. Take your kids and introduce them to the vendors. Let them ask questions about where and how the food was grown. Let them taste free samples of fruits, veggies, and baked goods. And then pick out a few items to take home for dinner! They’ll be more likely to eat the food if they had a say in choosing it. Here are some fun things to do at a farmer’s market and ways for kids to learn and explore while there!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (11)@alwaysfourlove

37. Pick a wildflower bouquet

Summertime is the best time for finding and picking wildflowers. Bring a pair of scissors on your walk and snip a few flowers for a bouquet. Wildflowers make beautiful and colorful arrangements. But only take a few and make sure to leave plenty for the bees!

38. Host your own summer Olympics

It doesn’t have to be an Olympic year for your kids to enjoy the games. Create your own version of the Olympics by having them compete for the gold in their favorite events. Set up the ping pong table outside, host a diving competition at the pool, try some rhymic gymnastics with ribbons and hoops. Whatever their sport, find a way to recreate it!

39. Make a concrete stepping stone

Decorate your garden or walkway with beautiful concrete stepping stones. All you need is a mold, some concrete mix and any decorations you want to use. Try colored stones, shells, glass or beads. They also make stepping stone mosaic kits with all this stuff included, just to make it easier on you.

40. Set up a bird feeder

Attract some local birds into your backyard by setting up a bird feeder and/or a bird bath. We’ve got a great post on how to make a few easy bird feeders for kids with items and ingredients you already have at home.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (12)@affairwithworld

41. Have a stargazing party

When the heat in the summer is too intense during the day, swap your outdoor time for some evening stargazing. Grab a blanket, an air mattress or fill a kiddie pool with pillows and escape into the darkness to watch as the stars appear. Pull out a telescope and try to identify the stars and constellations you see. Plus, if you can get away from the city lights and noise, that’s even better!

42. Make an outdoor tic-tac-toe board

Tic tac toe is one of those games that’s easy enough for preschoolers, yet is still competitive enough to entertain older kids and adults. It teaches kids a lot of valuable skills, like logic, reasoning, creativity, strategy, coordination, visual skills, motor skills, concentration and how to be a good loser. We’ve got a great tutorial on how to make your own DIY tic tac toe rocks and board with kids. Or draw a board with chalk (or in the sand or use sticks) and use rocks or shells as X’s and O’s.

43. Set up a backyard obstacle course

Kids love competitive games and obstacle courses are a fun way to get them outdoors and active. Have them help set up an obstacle course in the backyard or at local park. You don’t need much to create a course, just a clever way to get from point A to point Z. Basic skills will be balancing, climbing, jumping, running, crawling and catching. They’ll love the challenge and come up with their own ways to play and challenge each other.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (13)@miri.andthekids

44. Build an outdoor fort

Kids love building forts. Pillow and blanket forts are great for winter, but get out and try your hand at building a fort outdoors or in the woods. Sticks and branches make great walls and can be found relatively easily. Or find a horizontal tree and make a lean-to! There are so many different ways to build a fort – you’re only limited by your imagination.

45. Read a book outside

I’m of the opinion that almost everything is better when you’re outside and immersed in nature. That’s definitely true for one of my favorite past times…reading! If your kids are old enough to read on their own, create a comfy and shady spot for them to read outside. If your kids are little, try having storytime outside together and reading to them as they lounge on a blanket or in a hammock.

46. Look for 4-leaf clovers

Have you ever found a 4-leaf clover? Lucky you! Give your kids the chance to change their luck by doing a 4-leaf clover hunt. Your chances are actually pretty good for finding one. According to research, there is usually one four-leaf clover for every 10,000 three-leaf shamrocks and around 200 clovers can be found in a 60-square centimeter plot of clover. Therefore, a space of about 1.2 square meters (or 4 square feet) should contain at least 1 four-leaf clover! Here’s a great post with all kinds of tips and advice on how to find more 4-leaf clovers with kids!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (14)@threegirlztwirlz

47. Explore a creek

Exploring a creek is by far my children’s all-time favorite outdoor activity. If you’re lucky enough to live anywhere close to a creek (and I bet you are!), take your kids to check it out. Creeks provide so many amazing opportunities for exploration, curiosity and imaginative play! We’ve got a great post all about the incredible benefits of exploring creeks with kids.

48. Visit a new (to you) park/playground

Checking out a new park allows parents and kids to be adventurous, without needing to leave their own city or spend a lot of time researching or packing for an exotic outing. Most of the parks near us have wooded areas, lakes or ponds, hiking trails and a playground, which is always the most attractive feature for my kids and definitely the first thing they want to check out upon arrival. Pick a park that you’ve never explored and make an adventure out of checking it out! Need some playground games for kids, we’ve got you covered!

49. Make homemade ice cream or popsicles

This may be the most delicious activity we recommend and fun for everyone involved. Making your own ice cream or popsicles is easier than you may think. You don’t need fancy machines or ingredients to make the most delish homemade ice cream. Just a few items and some shaking/mixing energy! Making popsicles is even easier, with nothing more involved than throwing a blended concoction in a freezer. We have these popsicle molds and they’re amazing. Check out this fun post for some easy and healthy fruit popsicle recipes for kids.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (15)@callred25

50. Decorate the driveway with sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk chalk is such an easy way to entertain the kids for a few hours. Draw a bunch of boxes and have them draw scenes from their favorite movie or book. Use the chalk to get them to practice their spelling and math skills. See if they can create a mural of their favorite vacation or hike. Have them draw their family! The possibilities are endless.

51. Set up a butterfly feeding station

If you’ve got (or want) a lot of butterflies in your area, set up a butterfly feeding station in your yard. All you need is a shallow dish, some sugar water and a few sweet fruit slices. You’ll have to change it out every few days (due to ants and heat), but your butterflies will be eternally grateful! Or grow a butterfly-attracting garden with your kids – we’ll show you how.

52.Skip stones

Skipping stones is a childhood favorite activity that my kids love. Head to your closest creek, river or lake and look for the flattest rocks. Show your kids the proper technique and what make the best skipping stones. Then, see who can skip their stones the farthest or have the most skips before dropping below the surface. Turn your activity into a learning experience and talk about the science behind skipping stones and the best way to do it!

53. Outdoor movie night

Watch a family favorite outside on the big screen! Borrow an outdoor movie projector from a friend, rent one, buy one or hire a company and host a movie night in your backyard. Play a kid-friendly movie and invite the neighborhood to watch a movie played on a screen, sheet, or side of the house! Add some popcorn and peanuts, and it’ll be a night your kids will never forget! Here’s everything you need to know to make your outdoor movie night a huge success!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (16)@carlylainephotography

54. Make giant bubbles

Making HUGE bubbles was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. All you need is some bubble juice (soapy water) and a long piece of string/yarn. Tie the ends together to form a circle and dip in the water. Pull apart and blow air through to create a giant bubble! Have a contest of who can blow the biggest or whose bubble lasts the longest before it pops. Check out this post filled with the best bubble recipes, bubble experiments, games, and more!

55. Go on a hike

Summer is such a wonderful time to go on a family hike, particularly if you have access to woods or a forest. Tall trees provide great coverage from the sun and can keep you from getting too hot while you hike. If it is hot in your area, try hiking first thing in the morning while it’s still cool or later in the evening after the intensity of the sun has died down. Don’t forget your bug spray! We’ve got a great post on how to get started hiking with kids.

56. Night swim with glow sticks

If you have access to a pool in the evening, try going for a night swim! Spice it up by adding or wearing glowsticks! You can even do this in one of those little inflatable baby pools in the backyard and it’s just as much fun!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (17)@ausomelyos

57. Visit a splash pad or waterpark

Water play is an essential part of any summer experience! Go beyond your traditional sprinkler or hose by visiting a local park splashpad or a water park! There’s something truly magical about water for kids and this a great summertime tradition.

58. Canoe/kayak/paddleboard

Going for a boat ride is such a classic summer adventure. If you can, take your kids on a canoe trip, a kayak outing or out paddleboarding. You’ll be pleasantly surprised just how fun and entertaining being on the water can be for everyone. Here’s a super helpful post on how to get started stand-up paddleboarding with kids.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (18)@tiffany_pearl_

59. Play HORSE

Basketball is a great way to get kids outside and active! Play a round of HORSE with your kids in your driveway or local basketball court. If your kids are little, give them a bit of an advantage with a lighter ball or lower hoop.

60. Make sun tea

My dad used to make the most amazing sun tea every summer. He was an ice tea connoisseur and there’s something pretty special about tea that was bathed in sunlight and infused with the perfect blend of herbs from our garden. Some creative add-ins for your sun tea are peaches, mint, lemons, raspberries, honey, hibiscus, orange peels, pineapple or strawberries!

61. Drive-in movie theater

Drive-in movie theaters are getting harder and harder to come by. If you know of one of these gems, make sure to take the kids now, before they’re history. The novelty of watching a movie from the back of your car on a big screen outside under the stars is something that every kid should experience once!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (19)@florafairweather

62. Make a flower/leaf/clover crown

If you’re looking for another activity to do with all those gorgeous summer flowers and green leaves, try making a crown! Clover flowers are perfect for making a simple daisy-chain crown. Or get more elaborate by stringing leaves together. Best of all, add beautiful wildflowers or flowers from your garden to your crown for added color and texture!

63. Make a nature mandala

In its simplest form, a mandala is a circular structure with a design that radiates out symmetrically from the center. Making a mandala with kids in nature is a delightful, beautiful and easy activity that you can do almost anywhere and at any time. All you need is a small collection of materials and an imagination.

64. Go out for snow cones

I’ve already suggested making your own ice cream and popsicles, but there’s something about snow cones that’s best to leave to the experts. The perfect shaved ice is not something you can just recreate on a whim – it’s a skill – and definitely worth an outing for the perfect ice and the ultimate ice-to-juice ratio.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (20)@lightandlife.photography

65. Catch a fish

Fishing is a great activity that the whole family can enjoy and do nearly anywhere there’s water! If you’ve never fished before, do a little bit of research about what the fish in your area eat and when/where to go. Ask at a fishy friend or at a local bait shop. A lot of state parks will even provide fishing gear for the day for free! Trust me, it doesn’t get much better than seeing your child’s entire face light up when she/he lands a fish! Here’s some advice on how to raise a kid that loves to fish!

66. Set up a neighborhood kickball game

This activity is at the very top of my son’s summer bucket list. Kickball is more than a sport to this kid, it’s a way of life! We’re hoping to set up a kickball game that involves all the kids on our street (plus a few neighboring streets) and even a few parents for the ultimate kickball challenge! It’s going to be epic!

67. Race paper boats

Having a paper boat race is another really fun outdoor activity to do with your kids. This is a great one for the kids that are into STEM activities. Have them each create their own paper boat (or use natural elements like leaves and sticks) and then race them down a stream or creek.

68. Decorate your wagon/bike

Need a simple activity to entertain the kids for a while? Let them decorate their bikes or wagon like a float in a parade! Give them some colored paper, streamers, ribbons, balloons, scarves or whatever else you can find and let their imaginations run wild! Even better, get all the kids on the block to decorate their bikes and wagons and then have a neighborhood parade!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (21)@har_leenie

69. Run through the sprinkler

Who needs a park splash pad when you have a sprinkler at home?! Set up the sprinkler in the yard and let the kids do their thing! They’ll love running through it, standing in it and jumping over the spray. Even better, get your camera out and make sure to snap some awesome sprinkler photos of your little ones!

70. Start a nature journal

Have an artistic kid? Try starting a nature journal with your children this summer. There’s an abundance of things to draw in the summer; flowers, animals, insects and plants. Have them look up the name of each of the things they draw and write down any characteristics, stories or thoughts they have while sketching.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (22)@amerryadventure

71. Backyard camping

Going on a camping trip is great (and you should definitely do that this summer!), but when you don’t have the time, just set up the tent in the backyard. The kids will love to “pretend” they’re camping. Let them read books, tell stories, play with flashlights/headlamps and have fun! Don’t have a tent? Set up a hammock or throw some sleeping bags on a trampoline! Here are some tips on backyard camping with kids.

72. Pay it forward

Give your kids one of the greatest gifts ever – the gift of giving back! Make sure to pay it forward this summer by doing small acts of kindness anytime you can. Whether that’s putting a quarter in a row of meters, buying a snow cone for the family behind you in line or visiting a local animal shelter and spending time with the animals. Work with your kids to come up with a list of things you could do together to pay if forward. Need inspiration? Here are 20+ outdoor acts of kindness and ways to be kind to nature.

73. Make a journey stick

Journey sticks are a great way to create visual reminders of your adventures. All you need is a perfect-size walking stick, some simple crafting materials (string, ribbon, etc.) and an imagination! We’ve got a great post all about how to make journey sticks with kids by incorporating elements of your hikes, adventures, and outings into beautiful physical storytelling devices.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (23)@sara_mccarty

74. Have a shaving cream fight

Pick up a couple of cans of shaving cream and let your kids have fun with it! My two had never really seen or played with shaving cream before this and they were fascinated by it! It’s so soft and squishy and fun to smear all over! If you don’t want to do this outside, stick them in the bathtub!

75. Check out your local swimming pool

Cool off on a hot day at your local watering hole (swimming pool). Lots of community pools have awesome water features like slides, lazy rivers, splash areas, wave pools and wading areas for the littlest ones. Make a big splash by trying some of these super fun and creative swimming pools games for kids.

76. Set up a slackline

Slacklining is a perfect way for kids of all ages to hone balancing skills while building core strength and confidence. Slacklining is one of my kids’ favorite backyard activities and I’m blown away by how much time they spend on it daily, balancing, bouncing and playing games. This is a great beginner slackline kit and we’ve got an awesome post on slacklining with kids.

77. Make slime

What is it with kids and slime? They absolutely LOVE it! But it’s seriously messy, so summer is the perfect time to make a big batch of slime outside! There are million recipes out there for making any kind of slime your heart desires – fluffy slime, glitter slime, neon slime and even edible slime!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (24)@barefootphotographycanada

78. Spot animals in the clouds

Cloud spotting is a favorite peaceful summertime activity. All you need for this activity is a place to lie down and an unobstructed patch of cloudy sky. See what shapes you can find and make up a story about them. Or play eye-spy and see if others can find what you’ve identified.

79. Do a neighborhood scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep kids entertained and having fun while outdoors. Giving them a list of items or objects to find, gives them a purpose and helps keeps their attention. We put together this super fun printable neighborhood scavenger hunt that’s 4-pages of things kids of any age can find year-round in your own neighborhood.

80. Attend a baseball game

Particularly if you’re in the US, nothing says summer quite like baseball season! If you can, attend a baseball game with your kids. Whether it’s a professional MLB game, a minor league team or just your local town’s baseball fields, watching a baseball game is a great way to spend a summer evening. Root root for the home team and enjoy those peanuts and cracker jacks!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (25)@in_thislight

81. Blow dandelions & make wishes

As dandelions turn to puffballs, children everywhere rush to pick them so that they can close their eyes, make a wish, and blow the seeds into the air. No one knows for sure how or why people started making wishes on dandelions. In addition to granting wishes, many people believe that dandelion seeds will carry your thoughts and dreams to loved ones when you blow them into the air. Others believe that dandelions may be able to tell you if you’re loved. Legend has it that, if you can blow all the seeds off a dandelion with a single breath, then the person you love will love you back. If seeds remain, then the object of your affection may have reservations about their feelings toward you.

82. Cook a foil packet dinner

Cooking dinner on the grill outside is so much for kids. Especially if you get them involved and let them help! Choose a dinner that can be cooked inside a foil packet – usually a piece of meat (fish, chicken or steak) and a few sliced vegetables. Have the kids help shop, chop, assemble, season, and cook the packets – either right on a bonfire or on the grill. Pop the cooked packets on a plate, open to let out the steam, and let them dive in! Bon appetit!

83. Tie-dye shirts

You don’t need to go away to summer camp to partake in this fun summertime activity. Tie-dying a t-shirt (or towel, socks or underwear!) is easier than you think. All you need is a few colors of dye, a white article of clothing, and a few rubber bands. No two shirts will be alike and the kids will love wearing their very own creations!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (26)@chelseasmithphotography

84. Watermelon seed spitting contest

Watermelon is one of those foods that screams summertime! Make the most out of your watermelon eating experience by having a seed spitting contest while you eat your slice! See who’s the most accurate by spitting into a bucket. Or who’s the most powerful by spitting seeds for distance! It’s deliciously messy and gross, so you know the kids will love it!

85. Paint and hide kindness rocks

Kindness rocks are catching on like wildfire these days. My kids love finding them when we’re out and about. Join the craze and make some kindness rocks of your own for the kids to leave in some of their favorite outdoor locations. Paint them with bright colors, pretty designs and words of peace, love and hope. Here’s everything you need to get started rock painting kindness rocks with kids.

86. Go geocaching

Geocaching is one of our family’s favorite things to do when out hiking or exploring. You’ll be amazed at just how many geocaches there are out there, hiding in all your favorite places! It’s a blast for kids and totally free! Check out our beginner’s guide to geocaching with kids for everything you need to know to get started!

87. Sparklers

Sparklers are such a fun and fascinating experience for kids. There’s something magical about holding sparkling fire in your hand. Wave them around to make shapes or spin them to create a blurred effect. However, safety is always a huge issue with sparklers, so be sure to supervise your kids, help them with lightening them, holding them and disposing of them properly.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (27)@3_littlewonders

88. Have a bonfire & roast s’mores

Summertime bonfires are so much fun. Take your bonfire to the next level by roasting s’mores with fancy ingredients, telling ghost stories around the fire and changing the color of the flames! Make sure to check out our post all about how to create a magical bonfire for your kids.

89. Set up an outdoor bowling lane

Bowling outside is a super fun summertime activity for kids. All you need is a few plastic pins (or water bottles!), a heavy-ish ball and a flat alley to set everything up (driveway or sidewalk works great). Bonus: teach your kids how to keep score and it’s a game plus a math lesson!

90. Make wind chimes

I just adore the sound of windchimes in the summer. And they’re surprisingly easy to make! You can make windchimes out of sticks, shells, old silverware, stones, glass or anything else you can think of! My kids and I made some beautiful windchimes from all the treasures we found on the beach last year (shells, driftwood, chunks of sand dollars, etc.). It’s a visible (and audible) way to remember our trip.

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (28)@sara_mccarty

91. Watch a parade

Summer is a fantastic time to watch a parade! In the US, there are 4th of July parades across the country, which are so much fun to watch. Bring your lawn chairs, a big bottle of water and enjoy the bands, floats and candy!

92. Treasure hunt with a metal detector

If your kids are into treasure hunting, try exploring with a metal detector! You may be surprised how many cool things you can find hidden, just beneath your feet. And if you find trash (which happens), this is also a great way to clean up your area! It’s a win for the kids and for the environment!

93. Raise butterflies from caterpillars

Watching a tiny caterpillar grow and then turn into a butterfly is truly one of the most spectacular miracles of nature. Give your children a chance to experience this incredible metamorphosis themselves by finding (or purchasing) caterpillars and watching them change. Releasing the butterflies into the wild is a memorable moment they won’t soon forget. See our post on raising butterflies from caterpillars for more info.

94. Make a sundial

Making a sundial is a surprisingly easy activity to do with kids. All you need are 12 small items (stones or shells work great) to serve as hour markers and a large stick. Paint the rocks/shells and number them 1-12. Put the stick in the ground upright and use the items to mark where the shadow is at any given hour. Explain to your kids how shadows work with the position of the sun. It may take a little tweaking over a few days to get it just right, but this is a great summertime science lesson!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (29)@kmphotographytn

95. Take underwater photos

Underwater photography is all the rage these days! And it’s easy to see why with so many fun and incredible underwater shots! You don’t need a super fancy camera to get these shots either! Use a Go Pro if you have one, an iPhone with a waterproof case or try a disposable underwater camera! Take photos of your kids swimming, playing, and making silly faces underwater. Then let them have a turn taking the photos!

96. Create a treasure hunt

Have your kids come up with their very own treasure hunt in your backyard, neighborhood or local park. They’ll need to choose their treasure, figure out how/where to hide it, come up with a map and any clues they want to give. This is a great way for them to work on orienteering, map skills and thinking analytically for clues.

97. Learn how to play bocce ball

Bocce ball is a really fun game that the entire family can play, nearly anywhere you’ve got some open grass (there are bocce courts, but that’s not really necessary). The concept of the game is to get your bocce balls the closest to the white ball (which is the target). The four balls closest to the target are scored. Or, you can do like us and just make up your own rules as you go along! Either way, it’s fun!

98. Set up a course & have a remote control car race

Test your kids’ creativity and speed by having them create a race track for remote control cars! My kids love the off-roading cars that can go through puddles, off the curbs and through the grass. Their race tracks involve going all around our neighborhood, down the street, around the houses and through a few yards!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (30)@laurakimbrown

99. Minibeast (bug) hunt

The insects are definitely out in full force during the summer months. Take advantage of the situation by going on a bug hunt! See how many bugs you can find! Kids love finding worms, caterpillars, ladybugs, grasshoppers, dragonflies, centipedes, butterflies, and fireflies! Take a photo of each or sketch them in your nature journal. If your kids are scared of creepy-crawlies (or you are), here’s some great info on how to get over your fear of nature.

100. Explore an area using a map & compass

Knowing how to read a map is an important skill for all kids to learn. Choose an area that’s unfamiliar to your child, print out (Google maps) or draw a map of the area and teach them how to use the map to get to a certain destination. X marks the spot! Teach them directions and how to use landmarks. If you want to get extra technical, try using a compass to determine your direction. Here are some tips for teaching kids how to read maps.

101. Outdoor finger painting

Summer is a great time to let your kids get messy! (because you can always just hose them off before they come inside!) Try letting your kids do some fun fingerpainting this summer. Use poster board or a giant sheet for a canvas. Or let them paint the sidewalks. Washable paints are non-toxic and come off easily with some water.

102. Jump on a trampoline

Trampolines are so much fun for kids, no matter what the season! Take advantage of the summer sun and heat to add some fun to your traditional trampoline jumping. Turn a sprinkler on over the trampoline or add water balloons (or water beads)! Set up twinkle lights in the yard and jump into the evening. Here are 30+ trampoline games and activities for kids to keep them entertained for hours!

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (31)@corihenderson

What’s on your summer outdoor activity list?

100+ Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids • RUN WILD MY CHILD (2024)
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