23 Fun & Free Outdoor Summer Activities For Kids

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There are so many fun things to do outside with your kids this summer—and they don’t all cost a lot of money. In fact, some of the very best outdoor activities to do this summer are completely free! 

Spending time outdoors is one of the very best things kids can do!  It not only gives them the chance to explore nature, but it also increases their fitness and helps them build confidence as they tackle different outdoor activities. And you can never go wrong with fresh air and sunshine! And the best part is you get to bond with your kids while creating amazing memories with them! Let’s take a look at some ideas of the best fun and free activities to do with your kids this summer.

Have A Picnic

Whether you stay at home or go to a park, a picnic is a really fun way to spend time with your kids.  Let your kids help you make and pack a picnic lunch to take along with you.  Don’t forget to pack lots of snacks, water, sunscreen, a blanket to sit on, and a frisbee to play with!

Go Fishing

If there is a lake, river, or beach that is near you then fishing could be a really fun free summer activity for you to do with your kids.  And you don’t need to have all sorts of expensive fishing poles, even just a stick with a piece of string tied to it with a hook will do.

How to Build a Fishing Pole Using a Stick | Fishing 101

Go Hiking

Investigate some of your local parks, forests, and other outdoor areas to see what free hiking options are available.  Don’t forget your camera, snacks, lots of water and sunscreen!

Make A Kite

Kites are really fun to make and fly and they are awesome to take along with you when you go for your picnic.

How To Make a Simple Kite

Do A Nature Scavenger Hunt

A nature scavenger hunt is a really awesome way for kids to explore and learn about nature.  You can create your own scavenger hunt list by using objects that you know the kids will be able to find in your area.  Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Tree
  • Leaves (list different leaf shapes that are found in your area)
  • Earthworms
  • Ants
  • Spider / Spiderweb
  • Acorns
  • Mushrooms
  • Feathers
  • Stones
  • Butterfly
  • Flowers (list different types of flowers found in your area)
  • Clover
  • Stick

There are so many different items you can add to your scavenger hunt list and this activity is just as fun at home or at the park!

Make A Bird Feeder

Bird feeders are a great way to introduce kids to the bird life in your area.  Not only is making the bird feeder really fun but it is even more fun when birds start coming to visit!  You can teach your kids about the different types of birds that come to your garden, such as seed eaters versus birds who eat insects.

How to Make a Bird Feeder from a Plastic Bottle

In this quick tutorial, you can learn how to make a quick bird feeder from just a plastic bottle and a couple of sticks or pencils. It doesn’t get much easier than this!

How to Make a Tin Can Bird Feeder

Did we just say that the plastic bottle bird feeder was easy? Well, wait till you see how easy it is to make a tin can bird feeder!

Ride Bikes

Summer is the perfect time to pull out the bikes that many have been gathering dust in the garage! Take afternoon rides around the neighborhood or take a day trip out to a local park or trail where bikes are allowed. 

Play Outdoor Games

There are stacks of fun and free outdoor games that you can play with your kids.  In our article, 15+ Awesome Outdoor Games we looked at some awesome games that kids can play outside with little equipment needed. Some of the game ideas include Simon Says, Blind Man’s Bluff, Oranges and Lemons, Balloon Race, Hide and Seek, just to mention a few!

You can even try some of car games that you would normally play when you are taking a trip e.g. I-Spy and Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Run Through The Sprinkler

This has got to be one of the most fun outdoor summer activities ever!  Especially on very hot days. Simply set up your sprinkler and let the kids have a blast running through the water!

Start A Veggie Garden

Many veggies can be easily grown from scraps in water and this is a fun and interesting way to kick-start a veggie garden for your kids! This is also a really awesome way to teach kids about recycling and sustainable living.  Vegetables that can be grown from scraps in water include:

  • Celery
  • Leeks
  • Green Onions
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes / Sweet Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Lettuce

Don’t have space for a big veggie garden, use pots instead!

How to Grow Vegetables from Kitchen Scraps

This quick video shows you how to easily grow veggies from kitchen scraps. It also shows you how to replant them into the soil when they are big enough.

Build a Stacked Strawberry Tower

Nothing fancy is needed for this easy strawberry planter!  Simply find a few different-sized containers that you can stack one on top of each other to form a tower that makes the perfect planter for your strawberries.  First, fill each of the pots with soil and then stack them on top of each other.  Next plant the strawberry plants around the edges.

Making a Strawberry Tower | Burke’s Backyard

Build An Obstacle Course

Use everything you already have at home to build a fun obstacle course in your garden.  You can use things like boxes, jumping ropes, balls, sticks, buckets, etc.  Let your kids think of things that can be used and let them arrange the obstacle course as they would like to.  If there are arguments, let each child have a turn at designing the obstacle course.

Watermelon Seed Spitting Competition

Watermelon is not only good for you, but it is also an awesome fruit that is incredibly hydrating on hot days.  Why not have a watermelon seed spitting competition as you enjoy this amazing snack with your kids!  See who can spit the furthest and who has the best aim!

Make Mud Pies

I am yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love mud!  Create a fun mud kitchen for your kids with any old mugs, dishes or pots that you have lying around. Your kids will have hours of fun playing in the mud and making mud pies. Get creative by adding all sorts of goodies such as sticks, flowers, leaves, etc. from the garden to their pies.

Shadow Art

Get some chalk and let the kids draw their outlines on the driveway.  This is also a fun activity that can be done with paper and pens while the kids create shadow shapes with their hands.

Go Swimming

Nothing beats going swimming on a hot summer’s day! Try the pool, the beach, or a lake or dam nearby. Don’t forget lots of water and sunscreen!


You have to cook anyway, so why not make it fun! Let the kids help you prepare everything and give them a chance to grill their own food if they are old enough.

Rock Balancing

Rock balancing or stone balancing is actually an art form where rocks are naturally balanced on top of one another without using any type of object or glue to hold them up. It can be a little tricky at first but with a little practice, it becomes really fun! If you live in an area where there are lots of different stone and rock sizes, then you can ask your kids to collect as many different-sized rocks as they can.  They can then build towers with the rocks trying to balance one on top of the other. 

Stone Stacking For Beginners | Nature Art & Craft

Go On A Bug Hunt

Give your kids a container and ask them to collect different types of bugs from the garden.  This is a fun way to learn about the different bugs and insects that live in your area and how they help the environment. If you want to make it even more fun, give each child a container and see who can collect all the bugs first.

Build A Slip ‘n Slide

A slip ‘n slide is a really fun way to cool down if it is a hot day.  All you need is a giant piece of plastic, liquid soap and water…. it looked like the dads in this video were having way more fun than the kids 😉

How To Make A Backyard Slip ‘n Slide

Cloud Gazing

Cloud gazing is a fun activity that is perfect for hyped-up kids who need to calm down after some very busy play!  Everyone lies on their backs looking for shapes in the clouds. When someone sees a shape in the clouds they share their find with the other kids who must see if they can see the same shape. If you like you can ask the kids to draw the shapes that they see.

Make Paper Planes

Paper planes are a really fun way to spend an afternoon!  Build paper planes and then see whose plane can fly the furthest!  Once the planes are built and the plane throwing competition has been won you can have a plane downing competition.  Let each of the kids throw one of their planes with the other kids trying to down the plane by throwing balls at it!

How to Fold an Easy Paper Airplane in 1 Minute

Build A Firepit

Every home needs a firepit!  And they really don’t have to be difficult to build! The easy fire pit tutorial below only uses old recycled bricks to build a quick and easy firepit that your kids will enjoy helping build. And the best part is that you can make s’mores when you are done!

Free and Super Easy DIY Fire Pit

Camp Outside

Now that you’ve built your very own firepit, the next thing you really should do is camp outside! And this is an awesome option if you can’t go camping at a park or reserve. And it can almost be more fun because your pets and even your kid’s toy animals can join in on the fun! Why not bring lots of blankets and cushions outside and make your tent even more snuggly and cuddly. You can sing songs and read some awesome kid’s stories to make it even more fun!


There really are so many different outdoor kids activities that you can do over the summer to keep boredom at bay!

And if the weather is bad, don’t fret! Why not play some easy card games, read some amazing children’s books or check out our free coloring pages for kids? These free printable coloring sheets are sure to keep your kids happy and busy even when they can’t be outside enjoying their favorite games and activities!