Inside: Here are 20 super fun outdoor activities for kids and grandkids. From playing in the mud; painting on a wall; making volcanos & building forts—something for everyone!
Outdoor Activities for Kids & Grandkids!
It’s Spring! The sun is shining, the grass is green and flowers are popping up everywhere!
Kids and grandkids are ready for some fun in the sun!
Here are 20 easy-peasy outdoor activities to do with your kids and grandkids. Activities that strengthen and build fine and gross motor skills, increase spatial intelligence, problem-solving skills, and more!
Let the fun begin!
#1 Playing in the Mud
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood
Kids LOVE playing in the mud and dirt! There is something magical about that cool, gooey stuff that brings out creativity and imagination in kids.
Find a place in your yard for this activity. All you need are dirt, water, a few buckets, measuring cups, and kids/grandkids!
And, think about mud baths in spas that people pay big bucks for. When you’re knee-deep in mud in your backyard—it’s FREE!
- Develops gross and fine motor skills
- Sensory activity
- Creativity and imagination
- Hand/eye coordination
- Social skills
#2 Vertical Painting Outdoors
Kids/grandkids love painting vertically–especially outdoors.
Take a long piece of white butcher paper or utility paper and tape it to an outside wall. Provide tempera paints and let your kids/grandkids paint standing up. No need to give instructions—let their creativity and imaginations rule!
- Improves pencil grasp
- Midline crossing
- Strength & flexibility throughout the joints and muscles
#3 Water Shooter Games
Spring weather is the beginning of water play. In another blog, I shared how to make a water table for kids that will keep them occupied for hours.
This water activity uses water blasters. Available at Amazon, they’re easy to use—fill up a bucket with water, put the blaster in the bucket nose down, and pull up on the tube to fill with water. Aim and shoot!
Be prepared—it goes a long distance!
- Hand-eye coordination
- Gross motor skills
- Social interaction
#4 Identifying Leaves
Teaching your kids how to identify leaves is both fun and educational. Download this amazing plant identification app called PictureThis to help. Point your phone at a leaf, click and the name of the leaf comes into view.
A great brain-building project that helps kids understand that even leaves in nature have a name!
- Helps a child feel safe with plants
- Learning something new
- Being in nature
#5 Playing in Water: Canyons, Mountains, Oceans
Another great water activity! Take your kids/grandkids to the mountains, oceans, or canyons—anywhere you can find water for the kiddies to play in.
And take along some water toys—buckets, plastic cars or diggers, boats, etc.
- Fine motor coordination
- Outside in nature
#6 Feeding the Ducks
This is a no-brainer! Kids LOVE feeding ducks. Feed them ONLY wild bird seed—bread is not a good choice.
Find a place in your neighborhood where you can feed the ducks. This is a great activity any time of the year—especially in the Spring!
- Being in nature
- Fine motor development
- Understanding birds
#7 Climbing Trees & Over Rocks
Kids love to climb! Up trees, over rocks—anything that creates an adventure.
You can find trees at the park, or in the canyons or mountains. Sometimes you don’t have to look any further than your own backyard!
When I was growing up, we had a huge crabapple tree that I spent hours climbing up and down.
Kids also love to climb over big rocks and tree logs. Check out your local nature parks and other places for big rocks for your kids/grandkids to climb on. If they get a scratch—no worries—it’s all a part of the experience!
- Good exercise
- Requires balance & coordination
- Strengthens large and small muscles
- Safe risk-taking activity
#8 Reading Books Under a Tree
You’ve read to your kids indoors—now it’s time to take it outdoors—preferably under a big shady tree!
Books take on a different meaning when they’re read outside. Another way to increase the magic of reading aloud to a child!
- Increases vocabulary
- Critical thinking skills
- Develops early readers
#9 Nature Scavenger Hunt
We’ve taken our grandkids on listening walks and here is another fun walk for the outdoors—a scavenger hunt. Click here for my FREE scavenger hunt guide.
Kids/grandkids love to find things and it becomes even more fun when they’re finding things in the great outdoors!
- Increases curiosity
- Develops problem-solving skills
- Social skills
#10 Playing Hopscotch
This game has been around for ages! It was one of my favorite games in grade school and now my grandkids know how to play it.
Be sure and get them a hoppy taw. Most kids today have never heard of them. It’s what you throw down on each numbered square before hopping through the hopscotch and it’s more accurate than a beanbag.
You first toss your hoppy taw in place #1 (and so on up to 10) and hop around it through the numbers. When you come back, you stand on one leg and pick up the hoppy taw. If you step on a line or can’t pick up the hoppy taw—you lose a turn.
Our hopscotch board was different than they are today—but the fun is the same! (the hopscotch board I grew up with is similar to the one on the far right of the diagram above).
Check out this wonderful book about hopscotch and different ways to play the game: Hopscotch Around the World by Mary Lankford
- Increases gross motor skills
- Balance & coordination
- Social interaction
#11 Evening Walk with Flashlights
Grab your kids and grandkids and make a date with nature at night. All you need are flashlights for each child and a fun place to walk in the dark.
Nature takes on a whole different look in the dark. Bring some binoculars, too—you just may see an owl lurking in the trees!
- Healthy exercise
- Strengthens bones & muscles
#12 Going on a Hike
Kids love outdoor activities and hiking in nature is an unforgettable experience. To make it fun, take along some walkie-talkies to keep track of everyone.
And grab some sticks or walking sticks to help. You know how much kids love sticks!
Hiking in our family has become a family legacy—5 generations and counting!
- Great exercise
- Strengthens core muscles
- Increases sense of happiness
#13 Fun Outdoor Activities: Building a Fort
Don’t throw away those old tattered blankets and sheets! They are perfect for fort-building!
Give your kids/grandkids any old blankets, sheets, sticks, and anything else they will need to build an outdoor fort.
Building forts seem to be a “rite of passage” in childhood. I made them as a kid; my sons made them and now the grandkids.
- Increases creativity & imagination
- Encourages problem-solving skills
#14 Friendly Sparring with Saber Swords
I have a grandson who LOVES Star Wars. You can either purchase pool noodles or plastic saber swords. Then have everyone “fight” like Storm Troopers and Darth Vader.
It’s such an easy game and brings such delight to the grandkids. They move, run, dance, and hop as they spar with their “saber swords.”
Another outdoor activity that provides hours of fun!
- Develops gross motor skills
I wrote 2 blogs about birdwatching and bird activities. It’s fun; it’s educational and helps your children/grandchildren appreciate these little feathered friends. And it helps them to be more aware of creatures found in nature.
- Increases physical activity that improves sleep
- Helps arm strength
- Doctors recommend it
#16 Outdoor Activities: Fishing
If you take your kids/grandkids to a fish farm—they will have the time of their lives. And, the best thing about a fish farm is that all your kids/grandkids WILL catch a fish!
Our grandkids were in 7th heaven when we took them to a fish farm. We went on a Monday and the fish were hungry. In less than 5 minutes the grandkids had caught 8 fish. We had them cleaned and took them home to their parents to fry and bake.
- Improves physical & emotional health
- Builds confidence
#17 Sidewalk Chalk
An activity that heralds the beginning of Spring is creating designs and pictures with sidewalk chalk.
You can do a free-for-all where everyone draws and colors whatever they want. OR—you can create a design using painters’ tape and sidewalk chalk. Make a square and tape off sections. Using the sidewalk chalk; fill in all the spaces. When done, remove the tape and admire your design!
We’ve also chalked out letters of the alphabet in a random fashion. Then, we call out a letter and the kids have to find it and jump on it…quick! The first person to jump on the letter gets a point. In the end, the person with the most points wins.
- Color recognition
- Sorting & matching skills
- Gross & fine motor skills
#18 Outdoor Activities: Picnics!
Nothing says spring and summer than an outdoor picnic! Whether it’s breakfast in the canyons, lunch at the park, or dinner on the beach—it’s a fun and exhilarating outdoor activity!
Get your kids and grandkids involved in the planning—the food, the games; the activities. Check out my post on 43 picnic ideas (recipes included).
- Organization & planning skills
#19 Tug-of War
Tug-of-war has been around forever! And, it’s easy to play—just need lots of kids and a big thick rope.
Divide into two teams; each holding onto the rope. When someone says, “Pull”—both teams pull the rope toward their team. The team that is able to pull the rope so that the opposing team falls, wins!
Super fun and easy game to implement and play! A great activity for fun and laughter.
- Increases hand strength
#20 Build a Volcano Outdoors
To create this amazing volcano, you need 1 liter of Coke-a-Cola, and mint mentos candy. It’s simple: just add mint mentos to the soda bottle and watch the volcano burst! The combination will cause it to foam over the top of the bottle.
Why does it explode? The carbon dioxide molecules in the soda attach to the surface of the mentos creating lots of bubbles that rise to the surface and push the soda out–big time!
- Understanding how the combination of ingredients creates a reaction
What outdoor activities do you enjoy with your kids and grandkids? Please comment in the section below
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