Do you see the sunshine? I do too. Sometime between the first day of spring and the last day of school, my heart yearns for outdoor activities for the kids. Sure, I am a child of the ’80s. There is a lot of worth in opening the garage door and asking kids to be back by sundown.
But the reality is days with young toddlers and preschoolers are not that simple. I remember having young children and wondering how we would make it to bedtime.
The days felt SO LONG. As much as I enjoyed my time with them, I also needed to get outside and find a way to watch from a fold-up chair with a book that I may or may not be able to read.
Toddlers and preschoolers need little help finding the tools to kick off play outside. But once they do – MAGIC. Here are 50 outdoor activities for kids!
RELATED: Here’s my go-to outdoor toy list!
List of Outdoor Activities for Kids
- Add food coloring to water bins.
- Add mud and get messy.
- Add old pots and pans to the water play.
- Add water (here is a list of 35 water games).
- Balance on pieces of wood.
- Bike ride.
- Bring an indoor toy outside!
- Bring boxes outside to make a fort.
- Bring racetracks outside – add water!
- Collect leaves.
- Construct something out of pieces of wood.
- Draw from shadows.
- Explore funnels and different-sized containers.
- Freeze water in a muffin tin.
- Gather sticks.
- Hang a hammock.
- Have a yard sale.
- Hide plastic Easter eggs (even when it is past Easter).
- Host a neighborhood paper airplane sale.
- Leaf murals.
- Listen for birds.
- Make a catapult.
- Make a jumbo chalkboard game.
- Make a mud kitchen.
- Make a nature wand.
- Make an obstacle course with chalk.
- Make a water sensory bin.
- Make liquid chalk to squirt on the driveway.
- Make rock pathways.
- Outdoor color hunt.
- Paint rocks outside.
- Paint with water and a paint roller on the driveway.
- Play tug-of-war.
- Play with birdseed (allergy families, read labels).
- Play with shaving cream.
- Practice pedaling on a tricycle.
- Relay races on the driveway.
- Roll logs.
- See if magnetic tiles stick to your garage door.
- Squirt alphabet letters with water.
- Stick nature to contact paper.
- Throw balls through a hula hoop.
- Tie sheets to trees to make a shaded reading area.
- Transport items in a wheelbarrow.
- Transport pine cones with toy trucks.
- Try pushing sticks into the ground.
- Try roller skating.
- Turn on the hose.
- Use a strainer or colander in water play.
- Use hula hoops.
RELATED: If you’ve run through the entire outdoor activities list, maybe you’ll need this list of indoor games to switch it up!
I have our go-to toy list to get started for any age or stage. For outdoor activities, these are the best backyard toys we’ve used for years for outdoor activities for kids. Here are some of my favorites:
- Balance bike
- Bike helmet
- Kid’s wheelbarrow
- Rocket Copters – a HUGE hit with my boys
- Sidewalk chalk
- Squirt bottles
- Walkie talkies
Is your child learning how to ride a balance or pedal bike? Here are the best bikes for kids.
What is the Best Outdoor Activity for Kids?
It is so hard to pick a favorite! But I do have a couple of go-to’s that are always a hit with the kids.
Splash the Alphabet is a favorite and so much fun! Add a drop of food coloring into the water bottles.
Pick a letter and squirt it! We also have such great memories from playing Outdoor Chalk Game. It is like a board game that you can walk on. Whoa. Mind blown, right?
Another easy-peasy and breezy (I couldn’t help myself) outdoor activity is Paint the Rocks. Some days we need to go on a rock hunt. The next step, paint them. Or, if you’re after some sensory play, try Bear Soup Sensory Play. How will I ever repay these bears for the joy they have brought my children?! They are by far a favorite – and I still catch my eight-year-old playing with them. Bring the bears outside for an outdoor water bin. Bear soup? Don’t mind if I do!
Do you know what else I tried? Taking indoor toys outside and it was a HUGE hit. I did this for Outdoor Tracks Water Play. The boys tested the race cars and attempted to have them land in buckets of water. (Always watch young children around water).
Of course, I couldn’t not mention Musical Scavenger Hunt. A musical scavenger hunt is a great way to go outside and get moving. Play a favorite song. When it stops – run and grab something from the color you stop on. It is a lot of fun for all ages.
If you want to add some outdoor math, give Shapes and Shaving Cream a go. We brought out our 3D shapes and made new sculptures. This is an excellent late morning activity outside before the sun gets too hot. When it warms up, hose everyone (and everything) down.
If shaving cream is your jam, then try Shaving Cream Pups. This sensory bin is a blast as children bury the pups and spray them clean with a water squirt bottle.
If your kid is past shaving cream (although who is?!) and wants some extra sensory fun, give Nature Murals a go. It’s a two-step outdoor activity. First, gather items outside. Next, glue them on a giant piece of wood or cardboard. A fun way to strengthen small hands, practice gluing, and incorporate creativity.
One of my all-time favorites for fall is Pumpkin Balance. Can you balance a mini pumpkin on your head? It is more complicated than it looks – but it gave us all a good laugh outside when we needed time out before dinner was ready.
I also can’t mention pumpkins without including Leaf Painting. I use butcher paper from home improvement stores for outside painting. Draw something your child enjoys, and the rest is up to them. Allow your toddler and preschooler to color mix as they paint.
Which Outdoor Activity Will You Try First?
Outside play has been a massive hit for my toddler, preschooler, and big kid. Outdoor activities for kids seem to bring all age groups together in a collective game. My outdoor supplies are always on hand and ready to give us life. Do you have a favorite outside idea?
Check Out More Outside Activities for Kids!
- Nature Murals; An Outdoor Art Idea
- Outdoor Sensory Play Supplies
- 27 Types of Outdoor Toys for Kids
- 35 Winning Water Games for Kids
Outdoor sensory play supplies are our summer staple.
It is time to restock the outdoor sensory supplies and prepare for fun water play!
Frequently Asked Questions
Bringing inside toys outside is one of our favorite outdoor activities for long days at home. This is because moving toys in a different environment gives them new life. (kinda like when you have your giveaway pile that your child discovers after months of tossing it aside).
The best outdoor activity for kids gets children moving. Our favorites include activities that encourage balancing, running, hopping, or water play. These gross motor activities are fun ideas to do outside.
Proper cold weather gear is everything when it comes to playing outside as the temperature drops. Look for clothing that holds more body heat than cotton. Children also need proper boots and warm socks to keep toes and feet warm.
Outdoor activities for kids encourage the large muscles in the body. We call these gross motor skills. Being outdoors also inspires creativity and helps physical and mental health. Go to your driveway, or head to the park with a friend using this list of outdoor activities for kids.
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