Getting outside with the family can be an excellent bonding experience. The great outdoors are filled with places to explore and new memories to make. Outdoor family activities give you quality time together without the distraction of screens, and they keep everyone active to boost physical and mental health. Best of all, many of the best outdoor activities for families are ones you can do right near your home (or even your backyard!).
7 Outdoor Activities for Families
Whether you want to get outside for a little bit of time each day or spend more time outdoors on weekends, these are some of the best outdoor family activities to squeeze in:
Start your own family garden or join a community garden with the kids. Gardening provides an excellent opportunity for family bonding as you learn to nurture plants and observe the fruits of your labor (literally!). To start, choose easy-to-grow flowers, vegetables, fruits, or herbs, and use the internet or library to research how to grow them. The following plants are perfect for beginners:
Swimming is not only one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities, but it also has tons of health benefits. Whether you take swimming lessons or are a seasoned swimmer making laps around the pool, swimming builds muscle and strength, lends to heart health, and offers a low-impact, full-body workout. If your family still needs to learn to swim safely, consider taking swimming lessons together. Kids swimming lessons come in a range of skill levels for all ages to learn to swim, and adults can even join in with adult swim classes. Once you all feel ready to brave the water, go swimming at a local river or lake, a community pool, a water park, or a community center.
3. Scavenger hunt
Design a scavenger hunt for the backyard. This can also turn into an indoor activity idea if the weather isn’t cooperating. Jot down several clues for your scavenger hunt to give to each person to find. Here are a few ideas:
- Find a bug hiding under a rock
- Look for two different kinds of leaves
- Search for a stick that’s longer than your arm
- Find something fuzzy
- Find a piece of litter (and throw it away!)
You can take pictures of your items or gather them to show everyone.
4. Water and sand play
Water and sand are not typical things you play with inside, but for outside play, they’re just right! Plus, sand and water play both provide plenty of opportunities for physical activity, sensory play, coordination practice, and socialization. Use the sprinkler, water balloons, a water table, or sand box to get messy with the family.
5. Hit the trails
Hiking doesn’t just give the family exercise; it also gives you a break from everyday stressors and routines. There’s something to be said about taking a hike and getting lost in the beauty of nature. Many hiking areas have rated trails to help you find ones fit for beginners (a.k.a. kids!). Have everyone bring a small backpack for snacks and water. At least one adult should also bring an emergency kit with a whistle, flares, and an insulated blanket.
Geocaching is basically an outside treasure hunt. You use GPS coordinates to find hidden places around your town or a specific area. Sometimes, those places have special treats inside for their finders! It gets you exploring places around you, so it’s a great way to find new outdoor spots to enjoy. Find geocaching trails near you.
7. Create obstacle courses
Make an obstacle course in your backyard or head to the playground and define your course. Completing an obstacle course is a super fun way to get everyone moving. You can even turn it into a friendly competition, America Ninja Warrior-style!
Get Outside with These Outdoor Activities for Families
The benefits of spending time outside with your family are virtually innumerable. You get to spend time in the sunshine while doing things together that you can’t do inside the walls of your home. Kids (and adults!) of all ages enjoy exploring and making new experiences outside, but it’s even better when you can enjoy those experiences as a family.