A list of 25 fun outdoor summer activities you can do with your kids this week-end.
The sunshine is finally here, calling your names with its warm soft touch on your skin, the light breeze is so inviting to venture outside, and the incessant “I don’t know what to dooo-hooo-hooo…” is literally pushing you out the door in summertime. It’s the perfect way to get some exercise, get those bored wiggles out, and get plenty of vitamin D in all its natural glory!
Here’s a list of easy family friendly ideas for outdoor summer activities you can do this week-end.
Fun Outdoor Summer Activities:
1.Farm and animals
Hop in the car and drive to a near by farm to see, pat, or feed animals. If it’s a dairy farm, they will most likely have a small ice-cream shop, so your efforts will be rewarded with a scoop of freshly made melt-in-my-hand sweet goodness!
2. Berry Picking (peaches in August)
A staple of outdoor summer activities, berry picking is both laid back and exciting. Check out http://www.pickyourown.org to find out a nearest farm. Strawberries, cherries, blueberries. Raspberries, blackberries…All I can think of is jam, pies, and smoothies!
If you are picking just for fun, bring your own little buckets to fill, and once full, you can walk around and enjoy the farm, but won’t end up paying for pounds of strawberries! Unless you are a jam expert, well, then by all means!
3. Hiking, walking, or “wikiing”
Summer is perfect for exploring your local parks and reserves. Pick a trail according to your and your kids’ skill level and time to do it, pack water, map, and maybe a bug spray. And go exploring!
If you don’t like the intensity of a hike, then choose a paved trail and go for a walk. This especially works well for younger children and the babies in strollers.
Or you can mix the two and go wiking. Don’t know what wiking is? It’s a cross between hiking and walking, basically it’s when you go on a long walk or a short hike. Check out Kelly’s blog for more information and inspiration about it!
Don’t foret to pick up a leaf or flower for your Summer Journal!
4. Beach trip
If you live near the beach, take advantage! A perfect way to spend a day outdoors! Pack some sunscreen, a few shovels to build a sandcastle, and a bucket to make a moat or collect seashells into. Make sure you have plenty of water, if you’ll be sitting in the sun all day.
Most public beaches require an admission fee. Along with those shovels, don’t forget to bring some cash, too.
If you don’t live near the shore, find a lake with a swimming area.
You might want to call a lake park ahead of time to find out if the swimming area is open. Unlike the ocean beach, lakes can get polluted quickly and will need time to clean the water to be safe again for swimming.
Bring these 5 essentials with you on your next beach trip to make sure it’s a fun and stress-free day!
5. Pool Day
If you live in a town with a public community pool or club, it would be a shame not to check it out! Community pools often charge an admission fee, so be prepared to pay.
Often, public pools have an “after hours” program, which gives you access to the pool at a discounted rate. Our pool calls it “Twilight Swim”, and it begins after 4pm until closing. Bring goggles, sunscreen, water, and a towel!
Option 2: Set up your own blow-up pool in your backyard. It’s a one-time investment for a summertime of fun! Some inflatables will make your kids believe they are actually floating in the lake, haha! Additional ideas: slip-n-slide, sprinkler, bubbles, and lunch on a picnic blanket, and it’s a win of a summer day!
6. Picnic at the park, lake, or river bank
One of the simplest and classic outdoor summer activities—a picnic in a park–can brighten anyone’s day and make for the fun day full of memories. Pack a blanket, simple lunch or munches, and drinks, and you are set to go!
Want to take it up the next level of fun? Bring along some summer park games, like badminton, ring toss, or a classic glove and baseball. Bubbles and butterfly catcher are also great additions to your picnic in the park. Relax, enjoy the view, and appreciate being so close to nature.
If you are a family of avid fishermen, it would be a waste of your talent not to take your family out to fish. Gather your supplies, don’t forget a live bait (if you need it), pack a light snack, water, and patience! Fishing is definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme! It requires time and perseverance! The best of life’s stories are shared during the fishing trips. So go into it looking forward not only to a great catch but also for a time of good family bonding and sharing.
And even if you are not an avid fisherman, try fishing with your family at least once anyway! It’s low-paced and laid back, but still a super fun outdoor summer activity! Mom Tip: find out if your state requires a fishing license and purchase it ahead of time.
8. Playground Crawl
This is exactly what it sounds like, moving from one playground to another in a course of a day. If you’ve got super active kids who can’t get enough of playground fun, this outdoor summer activity is for you.
Check out your local playgrounds, get recommendation from friends, do a shout-out on Facebook for best parent-recommended playgrounds in the area. Compile your playground list that you want to visit in a day, map it out, so that you can stop by for lunch between playtime (or pack your own in a cooler), and head out for a day filled with money bars and swings.
If going to multiple playgrounds in one day sounds like a terrible idea to you, then break down your list into 1-2 playgrounds or even one at a time and visit them on a day you have nothing to do and no other ideas are working.
One year, my kids and I decided to break our list down to weeks, and so we visited one new playground a week. Our “crawl” may have lasted a whole summer, but we never were short on ideas and places to go!
9. Visit Wild Flower Field
This may be one of the more unusual outdoor summer activities, but this is why it will be a memorable one. If you and your kids are fascinated with nature and all things pretty (and even if not, try it anyway!), you will be in summer haven. On your next drive, take the back roads, and when you spot a field of pretty wild flowers, pull over.
Assuming it’s not a private property with clear signage, take a few steps into the field and pretend you are a fairy! Or a troll, or a gnome, or…anything else that makes you feel magical. Close your eyes, breather deeply, and soak in the smells and sounds of the wild. If the field is open to the public, run through freely and enjoy your oneness with nature.
An added bonus-freshly picked wild flowers for your home!
If you live near the river or lake, consider these fun outdoor summer activities: kayaking, canoeing, paddle-boarding, motor-boating, paddle boating, and more. A lot of lakes have their own boat rentals, so all you’ll have to bring is money, ID, sunscreen, water, and excitement to explore the deep end!
If you enjoy water, check out these 20 summer water activities
11. Local Nature Centers and Botanical Garden grounds
Find out if you have any nature centers or botanical gardens in your area. These places often offer classes, guided hikes and walks, exhibits, and park maps. Take advantage of the event calendar for the summer and participate. Some activities might include Bird watching, Bats evenings, Evening boating, Campfire nights, Nature walks, etc.
12. Fun with Chalk
If you love playing with chalk, try tracing each other and then coloring in your shadow or making a person out of your shape.
Other ideas are drawing a house with all the rooms, decorating each room with a bed, nightstand, closet, a window, a plan, etc. Whatever strikes your imagination! Try drawing a whole town and little paths connecting between the buildings.
Another idea is drawing a simple hop scotch grid or creating your own version with your own rules.
Have you tried chalk paint?
There are multiple recipes for making chalk paint. We made ours by recycling leftover chalk pieces. We first crushed all the chalk into as thin of a powder that we could. Then we mixed chalk and water and used paint brushes to make designs in our driveway and parking lot.
You can put your chalk paint mixture into little spray bottles and make spray paint art. Possibilities are endless. It’s a super exciting way to incorporate art, science, and imagination in one fun summer activity.
13. Miniature golfing
Mini-golf course is just long (or short) enough to get in all the fun of the game of golf, taking your time, and enjoying fun little challenges on the course. Be prepared to help your little ones, as sometimes getting into the hole can be challenging for them. And other times, they just want to channel their inner Happy Gilmore with their mini golf club. So keep an eye on them and have fun.
Best time to go is before noon when the sun is not high yet, it’s generally less crowded. Another good time is after 3pm, before the evening crowd rushes in, and the lines make it less fun to wait your turn.
14. Ice-cream shop Hop
I bet each family has that one favorite ice-cream shop that they always go to. But wait to see what happens when you set out on a mission to try out all the ice-cream shops in your area and declare one to be the winner in all categories: taste, atmosphere, flavors, service, price range, etc.
You don’t have to betray your old-time favorite shop, but try to broaden your tastes, and you will be surprised to see how difference Italian Ice is from a slushy, or a gelato from a farm stand soft serve. Declare yourself ice-cream foodies and go explore new flavors and places.
15. Family Bike Ride
Family that exercises together, grows and stays together! If you have invested into bikes for a whole family, nothing will beat the thrill of peddling together through some cool neighborhood bike trails.
For beginners, try going on a paved trail with little to none incline to ease into it. Trust me, it’ll make your first trail biking experience a lot more enjoyable !
Feeling up for a challenge? Pick a longer trail or try mountain biking in the woods. Pack water, a small repair kit, first aid kit, and a picnic if you are planning to stop by for a bite to eat.
16. Explore your town or nearby city
While the city dwellers fled their homes on summer week-ends to escape the hot concrete and congestion, it doesn’t mean there’s no hope for the small town folk. If you are brave enough to brace the noise, crowds, and the heat of city summer, you are in a for an unexpected treat.
From museums and historical parks to fun kids parks and many restaurants with diverse cuisines, cities offer many opportunities to learn and actually enjoy the craziness of the faster paced life. Just for a week-end, of course.
So wear comfortable shoes and clothes (because you WILL be doing a lot of walking), hop on the next train, and enjoy a day in the city.
17. Plant a flower/garden
If you enjoy gardening, pick a hardy flower type, such as sunflowers, zinnias, or marigolds and plant it with your kids. You can do it in a flower bed or in separate flower pots. Include your kids in the whole process: choosing the seeds, picking up soil, picking out flower pots, planting, etc.
Let your kids get dirty and excited about the prospect of watching the flower sprout and then grow into something beautiful. Remind them to water their flowers and watch them grow each day.
18. Catch/Release Fireflies
Fireflies are the symbol of summer. mysterious, beautiful, and so illusive, they are sure are fun to watch at night. If you have never tried catching fireflies, go out at dusk in an open area and…just go for it.
Once you catch your firefly, open your hands carefully to examine it and see it flash in the darkness of your cupped hands. You might want to put it in the jar to watch the flickering light a little more closely and safely.
Once you have observed your firefly, please, release it back into nature. Fireflies rarely survive being captive for too long. Better let them go back to the fun-loving firefly family.
19. Grow Butterflies
You don’t have to be an expert on types of butterflies to spot a funny looking swallow-tail caterpillar in your garden munching on dill or parsley.
After carefully picking it off the plant, place them into a butterfly habitat with plenty of yummy green plants, the caterpillars are so fond of. In a few days, the caterpillars will enlarge in size and will begin making a cocoon. Watch them go through a miraculous transformation call metamorphosis.
Then watch your kids’ faces light up in awe as they watch the cocoon break apart and a gorgeous butterfly emerge from its shell. You can keep a butterfly in your habitat for a day or two, feeding it with sugar water and juicy fruit like a slice of orange or a strawberry. But after a day or two it’s time for the butterfly to spread her wings and fly out into the nature!
You can also purchase caterpillars. But in our own experience, the best results we’ve had were with the butterflies we pick up from our backyard.
20. Amusement Park/Water park
Though usually crowded on week-ends, amusement parks are a fun place to be in summer time. Multiple rides with various craziness levels, from baby to grown-up, will give you the thrill of speed and adrenalin. The admission usually includes everything in the park (except for dining), so you can choose the order of your entertainment, which rides to take, and how many times. The choice of fun is yours!
Amusement parks don’t only have rides and roller coasters. Many have a performance center where you can catch a play/skit, some have mini train rides, and beautiful walking trails. Often amusement parks also include water park sections, which is a perfect way tp cool off on a hot summer day and take a break from the rides. Pack water and sunscreen. Bring a bathing suit, towel, and a change of clothes. It’s gonna be a long day but a fun one!
Mom tip 1:
BEFORE entering the park, take pictures of your kids (full length, front and back). Then email pictures to yourself in case you lose your phone or it runs out of charge. In a rare case that your child may get lost, this will help you first of all to remember what you kid was wearing to look around and spot him/her. Second, the description and picture are readily available for the park security personnel to help you locate a missing child.
Mom tip 2:
Always talk to your children before coming to the park, what to do in case of emergency or if they get lost. Create a family plan that’s easy for everyone to remember and rehearse it often. For instance, if one of our kids gets separated from us, they know to stay put where they realize they can’t see us. A grownup will turn around and find them, but they have to stay on one place and not try to find us. This has worked very well, not that we lose our kids that often.
Mom Tip 3:
Always check your town’s website for tickets to local attractions. Often they offer discounted tickets to the movies, amusement parks, aquariums, and zoos. Typically you have to pick the tickets up in person and pay in cash. But if the whole family is going, a little inconvenience of going into town for your tickets, will be worth your savings.
21. Backyard Camping
If you don’t want to lose some of the comforts of home, backyard camping might be the compromise you are looking for. You are not too far away from the bathroom and hand washing, extra blankets, or rain cover. Yet, you still get to have the fun of setting up tent together, a night-time fire and s’mores, sleeping in sleeping bags, all the sounds of nighttime critters, and waking up with sunrise and birds.
22. Drive-in/Movie in the park
Wether in the comfort of you car or on the blanket under the stars, it’s a fun way to experience movie watching in a whole new way. Check out the schedule of the drive-in theatre ahead of time. Often they sell one ticket for a double feature: 2 movies in one night.
Bring water and snacks, comfy blankets and pillows, and enjoy this unique but very classic American movie going experience.
Sometimes at the drive-in theaters, the second movie is for much older audiences than the first one, so if your kids are night owls, keep in mind that they might end up watching an adult movie as well.
23. Local Carnival or Fair
There’s something for everyone at a carnival: face painting, games, prizes, rides, live music, pony rides, and don’t forget…funnel cake! Small town carnivals usually benefit a local volunteer fire company, so not only will be having tons of fun, but you will also be supporting a local organization to boot.
If you and the kids can handle heights, definitely go on a ferris wheel to see your town from the bird’s view! It always leaves quite an impression on my kids! And, have I mentioned funnel cake?? It’s must at a fair!
If you have small children, come early when it’s still light or at sunset. Carnivals are usually very crowded, and it’s very easy to get lost and spot your little one in the dark. It’s typically far less crowded too.
24. Tie Dye
Although not necessarily considered an outdoor summer activity per se, it is often done outside to avoid messy clean up in your sparkling white kitchen. Buy a couple of white cotton t-shirts, pre-wash them, and tie them in a design of your choosing.
This activity is appropriate for very small kids or adults alike. Help the very small children hold the spray bottles with paint and squeeze just enough to paint the appropriate parts.
Other things to consider tie-dying: socks, head bands, shoe laces, tank tops, beach towels, pillow cases, tote bags, aprons.
25. Baseball Game
And this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning one of the oldest and very classic American Outdoor Summer Activities—going to a ball game! Wether it’s a major league baseball team or a local minor league team or even your big btother’s little league game. A ball game is a ball game! Peanuts, popcorn, and crackerjacks—get ready fo seven innings of snacks and cheering home runs!
Whatever you end up doing this summer, I hope you have fun and enjoy some of these outdoor summer activities. No better time than this week-end to head out and have some fun as a family.