While indoor play has its time and place, there’s nothing like getting out into the fresh air to make memories with your kids. You don’t need a ton of supplies or money, you just need a little imagination. These year-round ideas for spontaneous play make the ultimate bucket list of outdoor adventures for this summer and beyond. Scroll down to get going!
1. Go camping and spend the night in a real tent (the backyard totally counts!).
2. Not into camping? Try glamping!
3. Find a pond and feed the ducks.
4. Go fishing in a canoe.
5. Hike up a mountain and admire the views from the top.
6. Build a sandcastle with just your hands.
7. Run through a sprinkler in your backyard.
photo: MI PHAM via Unsplash
8. Plant a tree.
9. Catch fireflies in a jar.
10. Jump into a lake.
11. Ride in a rowboat.
12. Explore a forest.
14. Run a mile.
15. Pick fruit off a tree (or a bush!).
photo: Kilian Kremer via Unsplash
16. Fly a kite.
17. Plant a garden.
18. Roll down a grassy hill.
19. Make a fort with driftwood and sticks found on the beach.
20. Go water tubing down a lazy river.
21. Seek out the most picturesque playground with a view and snap away.
22. Go on a hike and see how many types of wildflowers you can spot.
23. Perfect your handstands and cartwheels.
24. Have a three-legged race.
26. Play capture the flag.
27. Build a fort with boxes and sheets.
28. Roast s’mores over a real fire.
29. Climb a tree.
photo: Marcus Wallis via Unsplash
30. Fill your yard with bubbles.
31. Make a flower crown out of mini daisies.
32. Create a paper airplane and see how far it will fly.
33. Count to 60 while hula hooping.
35. Take story time outside by reading your favorite book under a tree.
36. Strap on the life vests and kayak on a lake.
38. Make your own trail mix and then head out on a hike.
39. Go on an overnight backpacking trip.
photo: Filip Mroz via Unsplash
40. Sail a leaf boat down a creek.
41. Go an entire day without technology (yes, that includes your smartphone!).
42. Take a family bike ride (don’t forget the helmets!).
43. Teach your kids old-school games like Red Rover and bobbing for apples.
44. Play frisbee.
45. Lay back and look for shapes in the clouds.
46. Play duck, duck, goose.
48. Decorate your sidewalk with imaginative chalk art.
50. Play hopscotch.
51. Create an impromptu obstacle course at your local playground. Hop over logs, whiz down slides and swing on the monkey bars.
52. Make a bird feeder.
53. Visit a farm and feed a horse.
54. Pick a wildflower bouquet.
55. Have a family meal outside.
56. Jump rope 100 times without stopping.
57. Paint garden sticks.
58. Try composting (psst…here’s how to easily build your own bin).
59. Play hide-and-seek amongst the trees at your local park.
60. Take a photo every weekend for a year. At the end of the year turn your photos into a collage or album.
61. After a storm put on your rain boots and see who can make the biggest puddle splash.
62. Go geocaching.
63. Take your kids fishing. Don’t have a creek bed near you? Make your own dry creek and go fish!
64. Cruise like you did as a kid with a pair of roller skates.
65. Make a bug catcher out of a mason jar.
66. Spread literacy by building a Little Free Lending Library in your front yard.
67. Host a mini Olympics.
68. Get up early and watch the sunrise as a family.
69. Play freeze tag.
70. Plant an herb garden with a reclaimed wheelbarrow.
72. Watch the planes land at your local airport.
73. Make a time capsule and bury it for discovery 50 years from now!
75. Create instruments out of what you find in a park and then have a jam session.
76. Make mud pies.
78. Create a new family tradition and follow it every year.
79. Look for seashells on the beach.
80. Take a walk in the rain.
81. Walk (or run!) a full circle around your favorite park.
83. Construct a water wall.
84. Make a terrarium with what you find outdoors.
85. Spot a shooting star.
86. Have an ice cream taste test.
90. Have a backyard car wash.
91. Play “parachute” with a sheet.
92. Learn a new sport.
96. Go on a night hike.
99. Skip rocks across the water’s surface.
100. Look for rainbows after a storm.
— Sara Olsher, Erin Feher, Laura Rodde, Jen Caynan and Erin Lem