39 Outside Activities for Kids to Do Independently This Summer

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

girl playing in a sprinkler

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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

Outside activities kids can do by themselves in the summer

The majority of the activities on this list are designed to only use common items found in most family homes. They’re also activities that 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 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. Ride bikes
  21. Ride scooters
  22. Ride skateboards
  23. Roller skate or rollerblade
  24. Play frisbee
  25. Set up a lemonade stand
  26. Do a leaf rubbing
  27. Take photos outdoors
  28. Record a video outdoors
  29. Climb trees
  30. Make a dandelion chain
  31. Play soccer
  32. Play catch
  33. Create your own outdoor game
  34. Have a water balloon fight (try these biodegradable balloons)
  35. Draw a picture of something in nature
  36. Play on the playset
  37. Dig in dirt
  38. Plant a garden
  39. Finger paint outside

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…

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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.

4. Become a member of The Empowered Parents Collective.

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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.