30 Fun Screen-free Ways to Get Kids Outdoors This Summer

Summertime is a great opportunity to get kids away from screens and outside having fun with their siblings or friends.

Read on for 30 fun ideas to get kids unplugged and outside this summer.

Spending time outdoors is associated with a number of wonderful benefits for kids, including:
  • Improved mental and emotional well-being
  • Increased physical activity and fitness
  • Enhanced creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills
  • Lower stress levels
  • Greater concentration and focus

There are endless ways to get kids unplugged and outside this summer.

Here are 30 of our favourite screen-free summer ideas to get you started:

1. Have a picnic lunch in the park

Fill a picnic basket with sandwiches, your favorite snacks, and some lemonade or iced tea.

Then head to your local park for a lunchtime picnic.

Don't forget to pack a blanket or towel to sit on and a ball to kick around!

2. Go on a nature hike

Visit a nearby nature trail and explore the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.

Be sure to bring along a camera or binoculars so you can get up close and personal with some of the animals you might see.

Grab one of our nature scavenger hunts to give kids a focus for their nature walk.

3. Go stargazing

Pack a blanket, some snacks, and head outside on a clear night to look up at the stars.

See how many constellations you can find or just make up your own stories about the different shapes you can see in the sky!

4. Have a water fight

Fill up some water balloons and have a fun-filled water fight with your friends or family members.

Be sure to have someone supervising if you're using water balloons and tidy up all the empties!

5. Go for a swim

Take a trip to the swimming pool, lido or the beach and cool off with a refreshing swim.

Don't forget your sunscreen and the rules for staying safe in the water!

6. Go pond dipping

Grab a pale coloured washign up bowl, a net and a magnifying glass and head to your nearest pond or river to see what you can find.

Use this freshwater name trail identification guide to find out more about your finds, then gently return them to the water.

7. Play frisbee or catch

Get active and play a game of catch or frisbee in your backyard or at the park.

The whole family can get involved and get moving - phones strictly turned off!

8. Go roller skating or cycling

Dust off those roller skates or bicycles and go for a spin around the block or through your neighborhood park.

It's a great way to get kids active. Just be sure to wear helmets!

9. Play soccer, basketball, or other sports

Get together with some friends and play your favorite sport.

You could even set up a game of horseshoes or croquet in your backyard.

10. Go on a scavenger hunt

Make a list of items to find and see how long it takes you to find everything on the list.

You can do this in your own backyard or neighborhood, or even at the park.

Don't want to make your own? Grab this garden minibeasts scavenger hunt and head outside!

11. Plant a garden

Get your hands dirty and plant a garden of flowers, vegetables, or herbs.

You'll have fun watching everything grow!

See more:

12. Go camping in your backyard

Pitch a tent in your backyard and spend the night "camping" out under the stars.

Don't forget the s'mores!

More camping tips:

13. Train your dog (or your friend's dog)

Spend some time teaching your dog (or a friend's dog) some new tricks.

You might be surprised at how quickly they learn. Homemade dog treats might help!

14. Set up a lemonade stand

Set up a lemonade stand and see how much money you can make!

You can use the money to buy more lemonade ingredients or donate it to a charity of your choice.

15. Wash the car

Get out the hose and wash your family's car (or your neighbour's car).

It's a fun way to stay cool and you could even earn some extra pocket money.

16. Do some yard work

Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, or pull weeds in your garden.

You might not think it's fun, but it's a great way to get some exercise and fresh air and the kids will love it!

17. Build a fort

Grab some sheets and pillows and build yourself a fort in your backyard.

Then spend some time reading, playing games, or just relaxing inside your fort.

18. Play tag or hide-and-seek

These classic games are always fun, no matter how old you are!

19. Have a water balloon toss

Fill up some water balloons and see how far you can throw them (without breaking them!)

You can play by yourself or with a friend. Just grab your Bunch o Balloons and get set!

20. Observe insects

Get a magnifying glass and take a closer look at the insects in your backyard or neighborhood.

Watching bees is perfect for younger kids and they can learn all about them too!

21. Go to your local farm or wildlife park

Spend a day walking around and observing all the different animals at your local farm or wildlife park.

You might even learn something new!

22. Visit a farmers' market

Support your local farmers and buy some fresh fruit and vegetables at your nearest farmers' market.

You can often find local honey, breads, and other goodies as well.

It's a great way to get kids connecting food with where it comes from, plus you can make a delicious meal when you get home!

23.  Make nature mandalas

Gather up some rocks, leaves, sticks, and other natural materials and use them to create nature mandalas on the ground.

You can take pictures of your creations then leave them for others to enjoy.

24. Look for rocks to make rock art

Collect some rocks from your yard or neighbourhood and then paint them with fun designs.

You can use them as paperweights, door stoppers, or just decoration.

Check out these painted rock design ideas.

25. Go to a sports game

Cheer on your local team at a baseball game. Or in the UK, how about a cricket match?

You can buy tickets to a major league game, or even just watch a little league game for free.

26. Forage for wild food

Go on a hike and see what edible plants you can find. Be sure to do your research first so you know what's safe to eat!

This Foraging with Kids book is a brilliant guide and goes with us everywhere!

27. Go berry picking

Head to a local farm or pick-your-own strawberry field and fill up on fresh berries.

You can even make your own jam or pies with your bounty.

Use this list of 100 delicious fresh strawberry recipes for inspiration.

28. Make a flower crown

Collect some pretty flowers and leaves and use them to make a crown or headband.

This is a fun activity for a birthday party or other celebration.

And perfect for Summer Solstice or a Midsummer celebration.

29. Make a bird feeder

Build a bird feeder out of a recycled milk carton, a cardboard tube or eveen an old shoe box.

Then, sit back and watch the birds come to feed!

30. Weave a basket

Collect some long grasses or reeds and weave them into a basket.

You can then use it to collect rocks, shells, or other treasures on your adventures.

This basket weaving kit is perfect for beginners.

As you can see, summertime has so many opportunities for kids to get unplugged and explore the outdoors.

There are so many fun activities that they can participate in, from playing tag or hide-and-seek to going on a nature hike.

We've provided just a few ideas to get you started, but be sure to explore your local area for even more possibilities.

Wondering how to keep your kids busy all summer?

You need this brilliant summer camp at home planner!

More fun summer ideas for kids:

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