50 Outside Activities for Kids to Do Independently This Summer

These outside activities for kids provide hours of independent play in the summer.

boy going down a slip and slide

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The summertime is a chance for kids to relax, explore, play, and best of all – spend time outside in warm sunny weather.

Research shows that having kids spend time outdoors has many benefits for kids. Time outdoors:

  • encourages exercise
  • reduces anxiety
  • improves focus
  • raises kids’ interest in the environment

But sometimes, finding outside activities for kids can be challenging.

Letting kids experience a bit of boredom can be beneficial for kids since it can push kids to think creatively.

But there moments when our children will come to us claiming they can’t find “anything to do”. It’s in those moments that having a list of outdoor activities kids can choose from can be handy.

outside activities for kids summer

Fun outside activities kids can do by themselves in the summer

The majority of the fun outdoor activities on this list are designed to only use common items found in most family homes. They’re also activities that older kids ages 6+ should generally be able to do independently, with minimal help or guidance from you.

Click on the links below to see suggestions, resources, and ideas for each activity.

  1. Create an obstacle course
  2. Plan a nature scavenger hunt (or use one of these printable scavenger hunts)
  3. Catch and release butterflies and bugs
  4. Have a 3-legged race
  5. Camp in the backyard (pretend play)
  6. Run through sprinklers
  7. Slide down a slip and slide
  8. Blow bubbles
  9. Jump rope
  10. Play hopscotch
  11. Play freeze tag
  12. Play hide and go seek
  13. Play capture the flag
  14. Play red light green light
  15. Play charades
  16. Play truth or dare
  17. Play Simon Says
  18. Have a picnic in your yard
  19. Build a fort
  20. Make mud pies in a mud kitchen
  21. Have a water fight
  22. Ride bikes
  23. Ride scooters
  24. Ride skateboards
  25. Do bird watching in your own backyard
  26. Roller skate or rollerblade
  27. Play frisbee
  28. Set up a lemonade stand
  29. Do a leaf rubbing
  30. Make wildflower seed bomb
  31. Do a wildflower pressing craft
  32. Take photos outdoors
  33. Record a video outdoors
  34. Climb trees
  35. Fly kites
  36. Create a small fort with sticks, pine cones, and rocks
  37. Make a dandelion chain
  38. Play soccer
  39. Play catch
  40. Create your own outdoor game
  41. Go on a treasure hunt
  42. Have a water balloon fight (try these biodegradable balloons)
  43. Draw a picture of something in nature
  44. Make sidewalk chalk art
  45. Play on the playset
  46. Dig in dirt
  47. Plant a garden
  48. Finger paint outside
  49. Do squirt gun painting
  50. Play freeze tag, red light green light, or red rover

Tired of hearing your kids say “There’s nothing to do!”? These printable 101+ Boredom Buster Cards can help. Each card contains a suggested activity kids ages 6+ can do with little or no guidance from you. And they use materials found in most family homes. Click here to learn more and get your own.

kids activities cards

What to do next…

1. Subscribe to Self-Sufficient Kids’ email list.

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2. Take one of my quizzes!

Find out if you’re raising a self-sufficient kid (click here) or if you’re doing too much for your kids (click here). At the end of each quiz, you’ll be asked to provide your email address to see the results.

3. Get your kids started on chores.

Learn how to get your child started on chores (& keep them motivated + avoid power struggles) by enrolling in my Get Your Kids Successfully Started on Chores course. Click here to learn more and sign up.

About Kerry Flatley

Hi! I’m Kerry, the mother of two girls and a certified parent educator. I believe it is possible for parents to have a supportive, loving, and warm relationship with their kids while raising them to be independent and ultimately self-sufficient. Over the years, I’ve read numerous books and articles that support this belief and I’ve put these ideas into practice with my own kids. Read more about me and Self-Sufficient Kids here.