15 Easy, Fun Summer Activities to Get the Entire Family Outside
Ahh… there’s nothing quite like summer. Balmy days are perfect for frozen treats, neighbourhood strolls, and everything else that we love about this vibrant season. With its blooming wildlife, summertime is rightfully renowned for the “zaps” of energy that it brings to our outdoor-loving kids!
We know that finding time and space for nature can be tricky. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 15 easy, DIY backyard summer outdoor games and activities for the entire family. You can get started in your backyard today using resources that you might already have at home! Read on to get inspired!
1. Blow bubbles!
Grab some pre-made bubble soap (or make your own!), and use your favourite bubble wand to blow some bubbles, and then try to chase, catch, or pop them!
2. Plant a vegetable or flower garden!
Watching vegetables and flowers grow activates kids’ appreciation for nature and food. Allow children to choose their favourite plants, and allot them their own special space in the garden where they can care for plant life. Types of vegetables that are low maintenance and quick to harvest include: snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce. Find seeds at your local grocery store, garden center, or online.
3. Plan a creature-themed feast!
Have kids pick their favourite animal, and prepare dishes that are inspired by the animal’s favourite foods. Make nutty, squirrel-inspired trail mixes or berry bowls inspired by fruit-loving cardinals! Not only is this a great way to encourage healthy and sustainable eating, but it’s also a fun, creative way to get kids involved in the kitchen!
4. Get bird watching!
Spend a day identifying the unique birds that live in your neighbourhood. Download a list of local bird species and their pictures, bring the list outside, and see how many birds you can spot! For extra fun, you can modify this activity to identify creatures like mammals or frogs based on their entertaining croaks and calls. An extra tip: create and set out simple birdfeeders, like the ones that we made in this post, to attract different birds. How many birds can you cross off of your list?
5. Make nature crafts!
Children can use objects that they find outdoors to create lovely crafts. Flowers can be woven into crowns. Fallen branches can be arranged into wreaths. Leaves, nuts, and seeds all make for great mixed-media art when glued to a page. Allow kids to decorate their rooms with their creations.
6. Play sports!
Nothing says summer like a great sports game! This summer, encourage children to play sports that are fun to play in small groups, pairs, or that can be played alone. Why not try badminton or frisbee golf?
7. Create and play giant-sized board games!
8. Yoga, anyone?
If you have access to a large balcony or backyard, yoga in natural spaces is a great way to amplify the positive effects of this activity on wellbeing. Many yoga instructors are offering free online classes that are perfect for beginners and experienced yogis alike. Download a class, grab yoga mats or beach towels, and namaste the day away as a family.
9. Download a wildlife-identification app
Tech-savvy kids can download apps that allow them to identify local plants and animals. Some apps allow users to upload photos of wildlife so that scientists can help them to accurately identify unknown species. Users’ photos can even help scientists to track species populations for climate change research. This is fabulous for science-minded tweens! There are also constellation-identification apps for astronomy enthusiasts to track starry patterns in the night sky.
10. Have a family picnic / tea party!
Bring your favorite foods outside for some family bonding and quality time with nature. Make it special by creating invitations, working together to create a menu inspired by seasonal produce, and allowing kids to help with food-preparation!
11. Host an outdoor scavenger hunt!
Take inspiration from natural objects in your local green space or yard, and get clever with the clues. Trees, flowers, and insects are great items to include on your scavenger hunt list. Before starting, establish the rules that must be followed and set a timer. When every item has been found, reward participants. You can modify this idea to host a treasure hunt by hiding small treasures near the chosen natural features.
12. Have a water fun day!
If you have access to a yard on a particularly hot day, bring out the garden sprinkler, grab your swimwear, and cool off with your family’s favorite water activities! You can also see if your local pool, splash pad, or a nearby lake or pond are safe to visit.
13. Host family game night outdoors!
Bring your family’s favourite games outdoors for a relaxing evening. Don’t forget the snacks!
14. Go backyard camping
If you have access to a safe green space and an old tent, this may be the perfect way to wind down after an active summer day. Set up a tent or tarp on a flat surface outdoors, and spend the night under the stars. Prepare snacks such as sandwiches, smores, and trail mixes. If you have a grill or fire pit, try roasting seasonal veggies.
15. Go on a nature hike
Going on nature hikes as a family is a great way to bond, stay active, and appreciate the unique ecosystems that exist in your region. Work together as a family to choose a hiking trail that has unique features (such as sparkling ponds or beautiful rock formations), plan for the trip, pack all that you need to stay safe and hydrated. An extra tip: try to leave no traces from your visit behind. By enjoying the hiking trail instead of modifying it or taking things home, you are practicing positive, sustainable behaviours that help the planet. Don't forget to bring your camera so that you can capture the memories that you and your family make!
What are your favorite ways to spend time outdoors during the summer months? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!