Looking for fun and easy outdoor summer activities for kids? Want to get your kids outside? Do your kids need an electronics intervention? Then you’re in the right place! I’ve rounded up some of the best summer ideas for kids to beat boredom and keep your little ones entertained!
Confession… my kids go to visit Mimi and Grandpa for the summer. Like, the whole summer. I know… half of you guys are probably thinking that I’m “cheating” at parenting and the other half of you are wondering if my parents will take your kids for the summer, too.
So, technically I don’t really need these ideas for outdoor summer activities for kids. Because my summers are kid-free.
But, I know that many of you overworked, stressed-out Mommas see the last day of school as doomsday. You start counting down the days until the kids go back to school, just like your kids spend the better part of January through May counting down the days until summer break.
And, I bet that half of you will hear the words “Mom, I’m bored” on day 1 of summer break.
The other half of you probably have kids that just want to sit on the couch and play Xbox/ipad/computer games. But summers are made for getting outside and doing kid stuff.
That’s one of the main reasons why I don’t feel bad about sending my kids to my parents’ house in Mississippi for the whole summer. They actually BEG me to go! Maybe because my parents live on a Boy Scout camp.
My Dad is the Camp Ranger at a Boy Scout camp, and he and my Mom live in a cute log cabin nestled in the woods with the tents, cabins, trading post, arts and crafts pavilion, and the dining hall. So my kids literally spend all summer at summer camp. If summer camp was more like glamping in a fully air-conditioned, plumbed log cabin.
They get to go swimming, horseback riding, canoeing, paddle boating and exploring. They sing camp songs by the fire each night. They eat all of their meals with about a hundred other kids in the dining hall.
They love it. And I love that there’s no wi-fi signal to turn them into couch potatoes for the summer.
Get your kids away from the wifi, too, and save yourself some cellular data with these easy outdoor summer activities for kids!
Outdoor Games for Kids
If you feel like the only games your kids play involve an electronic device, then these outdoor summer activities for kids are for you! Pry them away from the screen with one of these fun and easy outdoor games. Better yet, set up 4 or 5 of these games and invite the neighborhood kids over to join in the fun. Now your video game nut is outdoors AND social. Parenting win!
1. DIY Bean Bag Toss
What kid doesn’t love a good bean bag toss game? Heck, even BIG kids love tossing a bean bag (ahem, Cornhole anyone?). Check out the easy tutorial over at Mod Podge Rocks for how to create your own reusable DIY Bean Bag Toss game for loads of outdoor summer fun for kids.
2. DIY Outdoor Yahtzee Game
Yahtzee! Or, in this case, Yardzee! Go here to learn how to make your own giant version of the classic game for hours of outdoor fun this summer.
3. Balloon Tennis
Let kids make their own rackets and play a round of Balloon Tennis. Just grab a few paper plates and craft sticks and you’re good to go. This easy outdoor summer game is a busy Mommas dream!
4. Lawn Dominos
Make your own giant Lawn Dominos using scrap wood, foam board or precut wood “tiles”. I remember playing Dominos with my Memaw when I was younger, and she would LOVE this giant version.
5. Park Bingo
Have a park nearby? Make a regular ‘ol visit to the park super fun with Park Bingo. This genius idea from Coffee and Carpool is a great addition to your list of outdoor summer activities for kids!
6. Water Balloon Pinatas
Make your own Water Balloon Pinatas this summer using just a few simple supplies. This fun and easy outdoor activity from Red Ted Art is perfect for hot summer days. But if your kids are anything like mine, then maybe you should try this with a foam baseball bat rather than a stick. 🙂
7. Hide and Seek Rock Game
Yes, this is actually a thing! And there are Facebook groups dedicated to it! It’s basically like a giant treasure hunt with painted rocks. Maybe you’ve even found one on a playground before and wondered what the heck it was doing there. Go here for loads of info on how to play the Hide and Seek Painted Rock Game and join in the fun with your kiddos this summer.
8. Giant Jenga Yard Game
I’m sure you’ve seen this Giant Jenga Yard Game idea before… but what I love about this giant Jenga tutorial is that it’s not TOO giant. Something about the idea of 2 x 4s falling all around my kids just makes me a little anxious. But this version is perfect for little hands.
9. DIY Backyard Obstacle Course
Turn your backyard into a DIY Backyard Obstacle Course for your mini American Ninja Warrior. He’s probably already made his own version out of couch cushions and throw pillows anyway, so you’d be doing your poor couch a favor. Get creative with balls, buckets, jump ropes, chalk and more to create a fun course that will ensure your active kiddo gets a good night sleep. Wink wink.
10. Pool Noodle Soccer Games
Pool noodles are a super versatile summer toy. And they’re super cheap! You can usually find them at the Dollar Tree. Use them to create this fun Pool Noodle Game for the backyard that will get your kids outside AND improve their soccer skills.
11. Summertime Flamingo Ring Toss
Nothing says summertime like a bright pink flamingo lawn ornament. Turn those plastic birds into a fun game of Flamingo Ring Toss! For older kids, maybe up the ante by making them toss the rings with their non-dominant hand.
Outdoor Crafts for Kids
Art projects are great to get your kids’ creative juices flowing, but sometimes they’re just too messy. Like doing sand art on your formal dining table… By the way, be smarter than me and put down newspaper first. I’m still trying to scrape grains of hot pink sand out of the cracks in my table.
This summer, take the messy art activities outside. Then let the kiddos go hog wild. With these fun outdoor summer activities for kids, your littles can get messy creating their masterpieces, then you can just whip out the hose for clean up duty.
12. DIY Window Paint
I love the creative DIY window paint for kids featured on MomBrite. They use a few simple ingredients to create a window-safe paint that’s the perfect way to get your little artists (and their little paint messes) out of the house. And the best part… they can use a water gun to squirt off their “canvas” and start again!
13. DIY Puffy Sidewalk Paint
Remember the class shirts you used to make with puffy paint in the late 80s/early 90s at the end of the school year? Well, this DIY Puffy Sidewalk Paint is like that, only WAY cooler! And you probably already have all of the ingredients to make it in your pantry.
14. Mermaid Succulent Garden
Succulents are all the rage right now… And since they love light and are hard to kill, why not use them in a fun outdoor summer craft for kids? Make a Mermaid Garden with Succulents with your girly girls this summer. I know my sweet things would LOVE this outdoor activity. And, if succulents can survive toddlers, then maybe they can survive my non-green thumb. 🙂
15. Origami Boomerangs
Let your kids make and decorate their own Origami Paper Boomerangs. Then watch them test out their creations in the backyard. A word of warning, though… You may want to relocate the family dog. I can just picture our black lab “fetching” the kids’ creations in mid-air.
16. Nature Pocket Art
This fun outdoor summer activity for kids is really a two-fer (two activities in one)! First, go on a nature walk, er, expedition, for natural treasures. Then, bring your findings back and create a beautiful wall art project. Go here for the directions for this awesome Nature Pocket Art idea!
17. Bubble Painting
Combine two fun outdoor summer activities for kids into one awesome art project! You just need a few simple supplies (that you probably already have!) to make Bubble Painting masterpieces!
18. Edible Finger Paint
This Edible Finger Paint activity comes from yours truly! And it’s probably the easiest idea on this list. Which, I’m embarrassed to admit, is pretty typical!
As a full-time work from home Mom (I teach English online plus I’m a blogger), I’m always trying to come up with ideas to keep my kids entertained without spending 30 minutes on the setup. Heck, most of the time the actual activity itself doesn’t even last 30 minutes, am I right?
And this easy edible craft idea fits the bill. Set this activity up on the sidewalk for easy clean up!
19. DIY Gemstone Glitter Sidewalk Chalk
OMG! This super cute DIY Gemstone Glitter Sidewalk Chalk screams “girly girl”. So, it’s perfect for my bow-loving, lip gloss-sneaking 7 year old daughter! Just make sure you make a run to the craft store before you make this outdoor summer art project. It requires a few specialty supplies including a silicone mold and plaster of paris.
20. Eggshell Splat Canvas Painting
This creative art project idea looks like it’s so fun that even the big kids will want to participate! Plan on making a big batch of scrambled eggs for breakfast one morning, and then let the kids create their own Eggshell Splat Canvas Painings in the afternoon. Kill two birds with one egg, er, I mean stone. 🙂
21. DIY Cloud Dough
The DIY Cloud Dough from Mama Cheaps is a genius idea for your outdoor sensory bin. And, with just two ingredients, this fun outdoor activity for kids is a busy Mom’s dream!
Outdoor Educational Activities for Kids
Outdoor STEM activities, anyone? Who says that outdoor summer activities for kids can’t be fun AND educational?! These summer activity ideas will challenge your kids’ brains without them even realizing it. Yes, please!
22. DIY Water Wall
Have a fence? Then let your kids grab some zip ties and a bunch of random household items and build their own DIY Water Wall. Don’t DIY (Do It Yourself!), let your future engineers DIT (Do It Themselves). Half the fun is in the creation of the mini water park.
If you never thought that GPS coordinates and compasses would be involved in your outdoor summer activities for kids, then think again! Geocaching is like a giant outdoor treasure hunt, with millions of mini treasures (called “geocaches”) hidden all over the world, and it’s an AWESOME way to get your kids outside and exploring this summer. We were avid Geocachers when we lived in Wyoming and I can honestly say that it is fun for the whole family. Go here for tips on how to get started geocaching!
24. LEGO Sun Print Activity
Let your littles learn about the power of the sun with this fun and science-y Lego Construction Paper Sun Print activity. Yes, there are more uses for your kids’ overabundance of Legos… besides giving you immense foot pain.
25. Homemade Ice Cream in a Can
Research the science behind using rock salt and ice to make ice cream, and then learn how to make your own Homemade Ice Cream in a Can. This awesome tutorial shows you how to use two coffee cans (and your kiddos’ arm muscles) to make your own sweet treats this summer!
26. Watermelon Science Activity
I don’t know about your family, but we eat a ton of watermelon during the summer time. Next time you buy one for a sweet summer treat, keep the rind for this awesome Watermelon Science Activity. And the best thing about this fun STEM summer activity is that it can be done over and over again so it’ll last all afternoon, or at least long enough for you to get through a few chapters of your book uninterrupted.
27. DIY Solar Oven S’mores
This genius experiment is my absolute favorite thing on this list of fun outdoor summer activities for kids!
I’m a chocolate fanatic… a trait that I passed down to my kids. So this awesome outdoor STEM activity is definitely on our summer bucket list. Learn how to harness the power of the sun to create a classic summer treat with DIY Solar Oven S’mores! No need to fire up the bonfire for this one.
More Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids
28. Colored Ice Cubes
This outdoor sensory activity is so simple yet so effective, especially for those kids under two years old. Plop your sweet baby in a baby pool or a high chair with these DIY Colored Ice Cubes and let them play. And then be sure to have the camera handy to capture their puzzled faces as they try to figure out where their colorful toy disappeared to.
29. Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Scavenger Hunts are a GREAT way to get your kiddos out of the house and exploring! You can find loads of great scavenger hunt ideas on Pinterest, but I especially love the Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids over at DIY Candy. She shows you how to create a fun scavenger hunt game using a muffin tin, and she even provides the pictures for you to print out yourself.
30. DIY Mega Bubble Solution
I dare you to find me a kid that doesn’t like bubbles! Even our black lab loves bubbles. She wears herself out jumping four feet off the ground trying to eat them in mid-air. So, I know that she would love this DIY Mega Bubble Solution from The Quiet Grove. Seriously, go check it out… those bubbles look like they could encompass at least a few toddlers.
31. DIY Water Bottle Bubbles
Go from jumbo bubbles to bubble snakes with these DIY Water Bottle Bubbles! Find out how to make your own bubble-blowing contraption using a water bottle and a washcloth.
32. Garden Xylophone
Let your kids get musical this summer… and take all of the noise outside! Set up a Garden Xylophone using a few different sized jars and let them jam away!
33. Glamping Kids Pallet Tent
Get out the tools and create a Glamping Kids Tent from pallets! This would make an awesome place for your kids to hang out this summer. Bonus points if you set it up just out of wi-fi range so they have to read a book inside their new hideaway instead of playing on the ipad.
34. Frozen Dinosaur Eggs
You know those dig your own fossil kits that consist of little clay balls with plastic toys hidden inside? The ones that require your kids to use a little wooden chisel to dig out a surprise? And then you get to spend 42 minutes trying to sweep microscopic clay particles off your floors?
Well, these genius Frozen Dinosaur Eggs are like that, minus the huge mess! This is an awesome idea for scorching hot summer days when you don’t want your kids to be running around in the heat. Plop them down on the back porch with one of these frozen eggs and a spoon for loads of summer fun.
35. DIY Super Soaker Sponge Balls
One of the worst things about summer where I live is that it gets too stinkin’ hot. You don’t even want to be outside for five minutes from early June to late July. These DIY Super Soaker Sponge Balls are the perfect way to enjoy those 95 degree days. Just make sure to lather on the sunscreen!
36. Random Acts of Kindness for Kids
This summer, why not spread kindness like kids spread sand in your freshly vacuumed car?! These free Random Acts of Kindness printables are the perfect way to remind your kids about the importance of being kind. Just print them out, tie them to bubbles/toy cars/glow sticks from the dollar store, and hide them at the park. Such a fun (and important) outdoor summer activity for kids!
And, if you want more tips for how to raise nice kids (including FREE printable Kindness Charts), check out this post on How to Raise the Nice Kid in a World of Mean Girls.
37. Water Games for the Win!
If your kids want to beat the heat this summer, don’t send them inside to watch YouTube. Instead, try one of the awesome water game ideas from Play. Party. Plan.! Britni has loads of great water game ideas that are perfect for outdoor summer activities for kids. And the best part is, you probably already have all of the supplies on hand.
And there you have it… 37 outdoor summer activities for kids! That will keep them entertained for at least the first week of summer, am I right?! 🙂
And here’s hoping that while your kids are playing outside, you can lounge in the shade with a good book and a frozen drink.