It’s the season to open the windows, put away the winter coats and, best of all, get your kids outside. With most camps canceled this summer, kids may need more organized activities at home to stay active, healthy and entertained. While toddlers may need simpler outdoor activities, school-age kids are able to spend more time and energy outside, but this also means a bit more planning on your part. Don’t sweat it—we’ve got you covered! Here are 18 kid-friendly outdoor activities for a camp-less summer.
1. Bring out the Binoculars
Go for a walk around the neighborhood and see what you spot, from birds and insects to bright flowers and green grass. If your kids are feeling ambitious, turn it into a day-long excursion and go on a hike.
2. Have an Outdoor Tea Party
Tea parties bring a bit of fancy fun to any day—make it a formal affair by having your kids dress up in their best duds to enjoy their iced tea (or other fanciful beverage!) at an outdoor table. Extra fancy points? Talk in posh accents as you eat summer-inspired finger sandwiches.
3. Soak in the Sprinklers
Break out the bathing suits and let kids run through the sprinklers or a hose. Also try filling up an inflatable baby pool or getting out the Slip ‘N Slide, a perennial kid favorite.
4. Check Off Your Outdoor Chore List
Chores can be anything but a chore when you’re outside. Have kids help wash the car, clean up trash in the neighborhood or tend to the yard. Even if they focus more on having fun than actually helping, it gives them a sense of accomplishment while being physically active.
5. Craft a Collage
Flowers, leaves and blades of grass make for a colorful collage that celebrates spring’s bounty. Have kids collect as much foliage as they can to glue onto colored construction paper or even a poster board.
6. Set Up an Obstacle Course
Playgrounds might be closed right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t set up your own makeshift version! Use home items like buckets, hula hoops, step stools and more to set up an obstacle course your kids can burn off some energy in. Make it a family-friendly competition and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes to get through the course!
7. Plant Something
You don’t need a huge garden plot to see if your kids have a green thumb. Find a small piece of earth on your property or buy a planter and some soil, and have your kids plant flowers or herbs.
8. Pick a Sport, Any Sport
Baseball, soccer, basketball, frisbee—the options are endless. Whichever game you play, it doesn’t have to be competitive. Keeping it casual and fun is perfectly fine. The less equipment the sport needs, the better!
9. Save Some Fun for When the Sun Goes Down
Go for a walk in the early evening or right after the sun goes down. Bring a flashlight, and ask your kids to come up with a list of how the world seems different from when the sun is up. Don’t forget the bug spray!
10. Count on the Clouds
The simple activity of cloud-watching can be an endlessly creative exercise. Have kids lie on the grass with a journal to record what they see, in either written form or illustrations.
11. Stage a Variety Show
From songs to magic tricks, an impromptu variety show puts kids in the starring role. Have the kids first design their outdoor stage before they get out a few instruments, some playing cards and costumes to take it away.
12. Embark on a Photo Fest
Give kids a digital camera and let them take pictures of the world at large. You can even print the photos to compose a collage or create a digital flipbook.
13. Dine at Dusk
Serve dinner al fresco as the sun goes down with summery fare like grilled chicken and veggies with fresh fruit for dessert. For healthy pre-made meals, try Nurture Life’s kids meal delivery. Nurture Life’s healthy options are ready in 2 minutes or less and offer variety for picky eaters and flavor explorers alike. Our favorite summer meal? BBQ Pulled Pork with Carrots & Cornbread.
14. Create a Plein Air Painting
Set kids up with an easel of paper, some watercolor paints and brushes in a variety of sizes. Have them paint what they see in the world around them or let them be creative in freeform.
15. Host a Socially Distant Dance Show
Your kids can show off their moves without breaking social distancing rules! Set a time for the outdoor show and invite your neighbors to watch your kid’s dance routine from a safe distance.
16. Pick Up a Hobby
A fun way to enjoy spring outside is to teach younger kids how to ride a bike or older kids how to rollerskate, skateboard or rollerblade. You might even pick up the hobby for yourself!
17. Scavenge Through Nature
Provide kids a list of clues or items to find outside. You can also hide indoor items around the backyard in fun places, like behind a big bush or under a rock.
18. Have a Water Fight
When the water fight is outside there’s no clean up! If you don’t have water balloons, use household items like cups (or Nurture Life trays!) to fill and splash each other with.
With or without camp, your kids can stay healthy and happy throughout the warmer months with these kid-friendly outdoor activities. Explore your backyard and your neighborhood; learn a new sport or a new hobby; create art projects and talent shows. Your little ones will love spending their days (and nights) outside with these fun and adventurous activities.