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15 Fun and Free Outdoor Activities for Kids

15 Fun and Free Outdoor Activities for Kids

I don’t love Texas summers (they’re hot, y’all, and I don’t mean “kind of” hot…I mean blistering, stifling, oppressive heat basically from May through October). But I do love the idea of summer (my California roots are to thank, no doubt) and I do love being outside. I am always looking for new things to do outside with the kids, and it’s even better when they are FREE and don’t take a lot of planning!

That quest for free and easy outdoor activities for kids led to this post. Here are some awesome outdoor activities the kids will love.

Outdoor Activities for Kids

1. Go for a walk. I use this as a chance to get in some cardio, and make it fun for the kids by letting them get out of the stroller in several spots, too. And sometimes, if I’m being really nice, we end up at the park.

2. Go to the park. If you don’t know where the local parks are, or you want to find somewhere different to go, check out this fun map of playgrounds – just enter your zip code and see what comes up! 

3. Go for a nature walk. A scavenger hunt would be fun for older kids, too. Just write out a list of several things to look for on your walk (rocks, bugs, leaves, water, etc.) and watch the kids explore. You can also print out this free park scavenger hunt page.

4. Paint with water. This is a FAVORITE activity of ours. I give the kids each a cup full of water and a couple of old paintbrushes, and we sit on the porch or the sidewalk and paint away! 

5. Sidewalk chalk. Okay, not totally free, but you can buy sidewalk chalk at Target for $1, so…pretty close to free!

6. Have fun with ice! What’s more fun than a big block of ice full of TOYS?! You can use little toys from around the house and have the kids go on a “rescue mission” to get them out of the ice. We did this a couple of years ago at a party and it was a huge hit…even though all the blocks had melted in minutes thanks to the Texas sun. Here is a great tutorial that explains how to make these.

7. Read outdoors. Reading is always awesome, but even more fun in the great outdoors (or at least, I think it is). These free summer reading programs will be perfect for your avid readers, and hopefully encourage the reluctant readers to open a book!

8. Have a trampoline? These fun water games for trampolines would be perfect for some summertime jumping (and make me want a trampoline).

9. Break out the squirt bottles. Squirt bottles are always fun. 

10. Play dress-up and save the world. Last year, I made the kids Power Rangers costumes for Halloween. You can see the no-sew tutorial here (I made them with tape…you may even have everything you need on-hand already). Kids love to dress up! 

11. Play in the mud. I cringe at the idea of this, but really…what’s a little dirt gonna hurt? A hose and some dirt can go a LONG WAY in entertaining kids…and you can just hose them off when they’re done.

12. Make a fort. All those boxes you have sitting around in you garage (or is that just me?) can turn into some seriously amazing forts in the backyard!

13. Visit the local splash pad. Many towns have splash pads for the public. We have a splash pad in the community we live in, but the kids get a real kick out of visiting other ones. This is a great way to keep cool. If you’re in the Dallas area, check out Celebration Park and the fabulous splash pad they have!

14. Go to the beach. The beach is free, but you don’t need to be on a coast to enjoy outdoor water activities. Many lakes have fun places to hang out at and swim, too. 

15. Host a lemonade stand! This one isn’t totally free, but if you plan it right, the kids will earn back the money they spend. Get tips for a successful lemonade stand here. Use these free printables to keep costs down.

15. Take a hike.

There are lots of fun things you can do outside that don’t cost a penny. 

If you have a newborn, you can get ideas for outdoor activities to do with your baby in this post from Rock-a-Bye Parents – I remember those days, and it was hard finding things to do that were suitable for a little baby!

What are your favorite outdoor activities?


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bookmarking this for future reference-love the painting with water idea!

So many great ideas! Off to pin this great resource. ๐Ÿ™‚

These are great ideas, thank you! I am pinning to my summer fun board.

Girl – I hear you with those stifling summers. I was stationed in Wichita Falls for a year and it was like living inside of a blowdryer.

But these are all fantastic ideas – we need more outside time – even though I hate the sun and heat, I know it’s good for The Girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is a great list and we already do most of these, but I didn’t think of the ice idea. My daughter loves playing with ice and this will be a great addition to our outdoor games when it’s super hot.

I LOVE this! I am so doing some of these! Especially painting with water! Thanks for sharing at Mommy Monday!

I love getting ideas for free activities. I’ve come up with a few posts myself on things I have done with my 2 year old with things just around the house and outdoors. Thanks so much for sharing these with us at the Creative Style Linkup!

I love finding new things to do with my only child. It takes a lot to entertain him! I liked the water paint idea and the trampoline fun that you included in a link. Definitely going to be mom of the year this week with all of these ideas!

These are some great, old school, simple ideas. Takes me back to when I was a child and loving life. I love the ice idea. I’ve never heard of it, but I’m sure Bee would LOVE it! She was asking about playing with ice today! Thanks for sharing with Creative Style!

Awesome ideas! It is so wonderful to be able to enjoy the great outdoors with little ones and not have to worry about spending a whole lot of money.

This is a great list of ideas. I never knew about the find a playground link. That is pretty cool!

As far as owning a trampoline… GET ONE! They are worth their money 10x’s over!

Lovely ideas for free fun Carrie.

Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

Great round-up! Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

I have to try the ice idea! Our son loves to play with ice but never thought of putting a toy inside it. He would have lots of fun with that idea!

Some great ideas!! It is so important to get outside. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

My kids really like our trampoline. This is their favorite summer activity. Sometimes, they can jump for 5 hours!

Spending time with kids is really nice. I love to play with kids in the sand of beach. Last year we were at the beach with our kids and we enjoyed it a lot.

Thank you very much for your post.

Sounds fun! Will definitely bookmark this for future reference. Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to more.

Outdoor activities are really helpful means of gauging physical skills especially among children. Great post!

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