Need Ideas for at HOME Outdoor Activities to Do with My Kids

Updated on May 19, 2009
A.C. asks from Ballwin, MO
17 answers

I have a 9.5 son (11/99) and a 4.5 (7/04) daughter. I have to beg them to come outside with me on gorgeous days!! We have a huge back yard, "common ground," creek, small trail thru a bit of woods in backyard, and a swingset with 2 swings and a slide (dad is adding bar and rings next week). I need ideas on what to do with them, AND what they can do ON THEIR OWN (together) for days when it's nice outside. Anything above 80-85 degrees, and I'm preferring inside, but instead of having to drive places, what are some things we can do at our home? I'll even appreciate getting tip on indoor activities. Since they are 4+ years apart and different genders, it requires a bit more imagination. Dad is building a clubhouse in the next few weeks, so that may help.

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answers from St. Louis on

Bubbles, side walk chalk, inflatable pool or sprinkler, water guns, water balloons, basketball net, play dates with other children, playing hide and seek, jumping rope or riding bikes.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi! My son loves to help me garden, and it's a great activity because it's constant work, messy (especially when watering-- we set up the sprinkler), yet changes all the time. Plus it gets him to eat veggies he probably wouldn't otherwise. And when he gets bored with weeding, he takes a trowel and digs for worms in "his" bed. :)

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answers from St. Louis on

When I was a young girl, I was not at all into running and doing activities that required a lot of sweating. It isnt that I did not like to run and play with my friends, ride bikes, or roller skate, I just enjoyed quieter activities more. So when my Mom would tell me to go outside, my idea of going outside and hers were very different.

I would take a book and a blanket and sit under our tree to read. I would explore the ant hills, and birds nests, climbing the tree if I had to. I would plan a picnic in our back yard for me and my Mom, and then we would sit and talk. I loved going to the Library only to come home and spend days on end reading, outside of course.

I had friends who rode bikes all day long, an and played tag, played in the sprinkler, and played a pick up game of ball. I enjoyed doing those things with them as well, from tiem to time.

What I am getting at here, is the definition of activities outside. Exercise is important and most kids enjoy a good physical activity at some point during the day, however some kids see the outdoors in a very different way than other kids. So first I would make the indoors less apealing than the outdoors. During certain hours of the day, the TV and the game systems must be off.

When it comes to going outside though, what is your goal? Is it exercise, or just being outside and enjoying the fresh air and nature. You might be surprised at how your children view it, it could be very different from the way you view it.

The outdoors holds a lot of wonderful opportunities in and of themselves. You dont need a swingset and a tree house to enjoy it. You just need to know what it means to you. I would take some time and ask them seperately what being outside means to them. Then take it from there.

One of my most memorable out door experiences was a day when my family went sledding in the snow. While they all laughed and had a great time, I stood in the snow shivering, wet, uncomfortable and not at all enjoying myself, I cried the whole time. It is memorable because it set in my mind that being outdoors meant something different to me than it did to my family.

One of my happiets memories of being outside, was a morning breakfast picnic, wiht my mother. We had donuts and milk on a blanket. We sat there listening to the birds sing and talking about how quiet the morning was except for the birds. I spent nearly the whole day outside that day. I enjoyed just being, not doing, just being.

I did get my exercise as a kid as well, but the outdoors for me, was more about the experience of being outside than it was about running and playing. Talk to them, find out what it means to them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

Put together a scavenger hunt, you can draw simple pictures of objects for the younger child, the older can read, you can have them do this activity together...outdorrs is fun using things found in nature ( in your own backyard) whole new opertunity to learn about things in a fun easy to google a few fun facts about ants, whatever type of trees grow in your back yard. You don't need an expensive water table to have some fun water play a few pails/small totes of water, measuring cups, tablespoons, funnel and some food coloring and you have a fun easy clean up activity. Try freezing some toys in water and seeing how fast they can melt, make ice cubes different color with food coloring and see what colors they make when they melt ( add red with blue ice cubes for purple, yellow and blue for green etc ) it is a fun practically free activity and they are learning at the same time ( win win) make some sensory boxes you can buy inexpensive clear plastic boxes with can have one with rice one with dried beans one with dry macaroni noodles...cheaper and easier to clean up after than sister even used oatmeal once, its cheap enough to toss out on a regular basis, she also uses a cheap little plastic table cloth to spread out under the are they play in to aid with clean up. If you are using the sensory tubs out side you can use bird seed and then you don't have to worry about clean up because the birds will clean up...= ) interduce them to old fashioned faves like jax, jump rope and the never grows old bubbles. Get a lower basket ball hoop and teach them how to play Pig or horse. Get them to go on walks with you. Make a picnic who says you have to go to a park when you can enjoy your own backyard. Get them magnifying glass and bug catchers...some of the most simple things are the most fun...lots of luck = ) B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I would go over the ideas with the kids and tell them if the weather is good, that each day you will do at least one activity outside, and set up a calendar of which one they will do each day. Then when you find something they really like, make it a regular weekly one.

Water Guns - With the rule of shooting chest and below, no head and face shots.

Sidewalk chalk - Drawing, four square(two/three sqr,draw a circle and split like pie), tic-tac-toe, hop scotch

Bike - have races (start the older one back further to even up).

Balls - kickball, tennis, golf

Skates - they have roller blades for little ones

Picnic in the yard - Let the kids pick the meal and no fuss from mom....

Got a dirt pile - let them dig and get dirty, then take an outdoor hose bath

Scavenger Hunt - Make up your own hunt that the kids have to work together. If they want a seperate one, draw pictures for the younger one, even if they are stick looking ones. Winner gets to pick what to eat for lunch, or snack

Where's Waldo - Adapt with what ever you have that you can hide. Hide a toy outside, then send the kids to find it, the one who finds it gets to hide it next while the other goes into the house, as well as you....

Make cards and pictures to send to family, friends, church members... Even if someone is not ill, they usually will enjoy receiving a little ray of sunshine from the kids.

Know someone who is ill? Have the kids help put together a casserole to take to them.

My last thought, how about just spreading a blanket out in the shade on a beautiful day and having a rest period outside. Everyone (including mom) has to spend a certain period of time laying down resting or napping. Have an ancey one, set a timer for them so they can hear it and know that it is time to rest. Take a good book for yourself or find a book from the library that all of you would enjoy and read to them.

OPS - Just about forgot.... If you have a GPS unit - Go out to and check it out. It is a "treasure hunt" that uses your GPS coordinates... There might be some close to you that you and the kids could go find. My friends and I went out and the kids ranged from 16 to 4 and they ALL had a great time, including us two moms!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

buy them some magnifying glasses and set a circle on the ground call it their small jungle. let them look at everything int he circle with the magnifying glass. have soem picnics outside. go for a shape and color hike (walk through the woods and let them look for things in a certain shape/color)do some outdoor cooking like if they were camping. hope it helps, this is all stuff we do in girlscouts



answers from Wichita on

Good Morning A., I have a 4 yr old gr son and a almost 19 month gr son I keep daily. Lately Mom doesn't want the oldest one to nap as he stays up alot later then he should. So I have tried a number of things to keep him busy. We have planted flower seeds in a side garden, will be filling pots next.( he loves playing in the dirt, then getting sprayed with the hose) We have drawn on the driveway with chalk, we have had outside snack breaks on a blanket, thrown Frisbees and played with If you will have some scrap lumber left from the play set dad is building have your son see if he can design and build a little bird house or feeder.

I had a old plastic flower pot here and I gave Corbin some ribbon little artifical flowers, some glue and had him decorate the pot for his mom on May Day, filled it with dirt and he picked out marigolds to plant in it.

If you have a lot of room in your back yard, perhaps dad can help make a small golf course for them, or set up croquet set and teach them back yard games. You could get some books from the library on trees, plants, rocks, animals, bugs, etc and go on nature walks. See how many things you can find, make a scrapbook for them to keep their treasures in.

Just a few ideas to start off your thinking mode. I am sure there are better and alot more ideas out there.

God Bless you and have a fun summer
K. Nana of 5



answers from St. Louis on

scavenger hunts or you can hide things around aoutside with notes with clues to lead you to the next thing. It's exciting and makes them think.

by the way it also makes you think because you need to come up with it. Maybe there are some ideas on-line for them.

Enjoy every minute my oldest graduates in two weeks.

God Bless,
L. (H. now)



answers from Springfield on

Hello A. ,my adivce to you is to find the book of the ultimate book of kid concoctions they 2 books are alot of fun.



answers from St. Joseph on

I would recommend looking at a bounce house. They are pretty affordable and can be put up and taken down fairly easily (plus they are perfect for birthday parties). I bought one because my 2 kids (now 6 & 4) were bouncing all over the furniture and it was driving me insane. I LOVE it because the kids are less likely to get hurt on it than they would on a trampoline and I don't need to be outside with them while they are doing it because, unlike a pool, they won't drown.

Best part about it, they build up their leg muscles and wear themselves OUT!!! It's fantastic! I got mine off of Ebay for about $300 which included s/h and the air compressor. It's certified for up to 500lbs which means I could even get in it with them if I wanted to. The key is to get the ones with the weight limits up to 500lbs or else if they have any friends over only 3 can get in because most of them are limited to 300 lbs.

There are lots of other outdoor activities you can do with them but it also requires some work on your part. I would get an easel or two with the tempra or finger paint paint pots and let them make pictures. Hang up a laundry line and let them dry.

You could do leave and flower pressing and identify all the species that you find. Bugs as well which is a great intro to science and Biology class.

The Intex pools are great for ease of set up and maintenance isn't too bad but the down side is, is that I feel like I ALWAYS need to be outside with the kids when the pool is up, just in case someone decides to get in even when they are told they can't. I don't feel safe with my kids unsupervised around water unless it's just a sprinkler system or baby pool. But you could also invest in the big water guns and let them go at eachother...heck get some for the whole family and make it like paintball, use the woods as cover, etc. Would be a lot of fun and get everyone doing something together!



answers from Kansas City on

My kids are the same ages. They LOVE crayola's airbrush chalk & 3D chalk. It's so cool and the glasses really make it look like the drawing are 3D!!

Little Tykes also makes this beach ball that you attach a water hose to and it bounces all over the yard. They get wet, but not soaking.
Hope it helps!


answers from Kansas City on

just a couple thoughts i had...does your son like basketball? maybe you could put up a hoop. your daughter (and possibly your son too) might enjoy gardening with you. a cheap sandbox for your daughter would be an old tractor tire filled with sand. a small pool is fairly inexpensive and they would have hours of fun with that. walks around the neighborhood are always fun. or go on a "nature hunt" around the yard and see what they can find - maybe make a list of bugs and/or plants to look for. let them paint outside and make a huge mess if they want. many things they enjoy inside could be taken outside, reading, playing games, arts and crafts, etc...everything but the electronics! which i assume you're trying to get them away from by getting them outside. good job! just a couple thoughts i had, have a great summer!


answers from St. Louis on

Hi! Im sorry but I really have no experience with 9 year old boys, besides the ones in my neighborhood, but I will tell you, they are ALWAYS on their bikes! As for the 4 year old girl- sidewalk chalk, bubbles, anything to do with water, there is a dora and princess sprinkler at Target she can run and play in. We bought a sand/water box for her that she would honestly play with for 8 hours straight if I would let her. I also bought a blow up pool at target that was about $30 and its huge! Her and I played in it together comfortablely, and Im sure you son would like that too. I could be wrong but considering the age and gender difference it could be hard finding things they both like. I just go to Target in the summer isles and always come up with something cool. I am def going to have to learn about all this boy stuff though!



answers from Topeka on

so far you have a lot of good ideas! My only suggestion would be to turn off the TV or video games. I dont know if your kids like to do these things but I know if our TV or playstation are on my son is not going outside. If they do have some favorite games inside maybe you could think of a way to make an outside version of the game.



answers from St. Louis on

Hula hoops, balls, plastic bats with balls, jump ropes, bubbles, chalk, basketball hoop, horseshoes, washers, bikes, walks, books, picnics, these are just a few things I can think of at the moment. We yearly restock our outside play bin with stuff. The jump ropes,hula hoops and the basketball hoop are the biggest hits with the kids. The girls learn all kinds of songs for the jump ropes and we have contests with the hula hoops for longest time most hula hoops etc. A hammock would be nice so that they can read in it. Are there place around your neighborhood that you could walk to? We have a Chucky Cheese and an ice cream place fairly close. We can walk to the bank or a school playground. Just a few more ideas. Crafting outside can be fun. If you are not crafty yourself there are all kinds of kits you can buy from Michaels, Hobby Lobby or even JoAnns. If you are crafty buy a birdhouse or build one, work on a garden and make paper using your flower petals, plant and grow an herb garden then have the kids help with a meal using your herbs. Tie die a shirt or do leaf prints on one. Make your own bubbles or slime. has many other ideas for outside or inside fun. I can't remember all the websites that I have gone to I think there are others - Kaboose, childfun but there are soooo many ideas out there have a great summer and good luck.



answers from Wichita on

bubble baseball. plastic bats and if you can let them make their own bubble solution. also water balloons. my two favorite outdoor activity.

In the fall put up sticky contact paper on a fence if you have one. two or three strips will do. Then let the wind blow whatever onto the sticky side. talk about them and learn.



answers from Kansas City on

Get a plastic bug box (or a mason jar) and go bug hunting. Or frog/toad hunting. Capture something, study it, then let it go. Science class!

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