Keep kids busy and burning energy for hours at a time!
Keep this list of outdoor activities for kids handy. There's no reason for kids to be bored when there's a whole world of outdoor play waiting for them. How many of these games can you check off in one sunny season? (Hint: These outdoor play ideas are not limited to the summer months, or to your backyard.)
Play a Backyard Game
These are the classic outdoor activities you remember from your childhood, from hide-and-seek to freeze tag to Red Rover. Teach your kids how to play, and see if they can invent their own versions and variations too. (And if it's dark out? Time for night games with flashlights!)
Whether you take a stroll around the block or a challenging hike in the woods, walking outside is ideal for fitness, fun, and family bonding. Play a game as you go to keep kids interested and active. Check out outdoor retailer REI's Passport to Adventure program for suggested hiking trails and printable kids' activities.
Add a high-tech treasure hunt to your outdoor adventures by searching for a geocache. Using a handheld GPS device, navigate to a cache stashed in your area (find them at geocaching.com). Pick up a prize and leave one of your own. Or try letterboxing, which is similar but doesn't require a GPS unit.
Sprinklers, hoses, splash parks, the local pool—all are perfect for helping kids cool off and play actively at the same time (make sure you review swimming pool safety guidelines regularly).
Kids' feet can take them further when they're pushing pedals. Besides being an easy mode of transportation, bicycling makes for a fun whole-family outdoor activity. Explore quiet streets in your neighborhood or use Pedaling.com's searchable list to find a family-friendly bike trail.
It's one of the simplest of outdoor activities: a game of catch. But with dozens of options for projectiles, from footballs to frisbees to boomerangs and the Djubi, playing catch is anything but boring.
Shoot Some Hoops
There's a reason why every schoolyard and most suburban homes boast a basketball hoop just waiting for action. It's fun and versatile since kids can play alone or in groups, keep score or not, or even just "HORSE" around.
Head on down to your local ball field or map out some bases in your backyard for a pick-up game of baseball, softball, or even that comeback classic, kickball. Or break out a pitching machine for some fast-paced batting and fielding practice.
Whether you have a special occasion to celebrate or just make one up (happy Tuesday!), party games are a hit with groups of kids. Most can be played outside and adapted for children of different ages and abilities.
It's known as a super starter sport for kids, and with good reason. While team play requires discipline and cooperation, kicking the ball around in your backyard doesn't! Practice dribbling, passing, or shooting on a makeshift goal.
Hit the beach, on a lake or—if you're lucky—the ocean for oodles of outdoor play opportunities. Paddling, wading, swimming, ball games, sand castles. The possibilities are as endless as the water itself.