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.
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?