Rejoice!! Finally, a post on no-prep, super quick and easy outdoor activities for kids.
Do you know how frustrating it is to turn to the internet looking for some SIMPLE activities to keep your kids busy only to find crazy elaborate ideas that will take you hours to set up?
Of course you do. I’m sure you’ve been there.
Or even worse! You actually spend a precious hour of your life setting up the activity for your kids to be done with it in five.
Happens. Every. Time.
21st century moms simply don’t have time for that! And even if you DO, I’m sure you would much rather spend that time WITH your child than setting up an activity FOR your child.
The other frustration is finding things like “take a walk” on these activity lists. I’m sure you are aware of this activity.
So here we go! This amazing list is FILLED with outdoor activities that you can set up in no time, that are super fun for your child (and maybe you, too) and that are unique, not obvious.
Be sure to check out my indoor no prep activities for toddlers and indoor no prep activities for kids too, for when you go back inside.
This post contains affiliate links.
No-Prep Outdoor Kid Activities
Collect and Paint Rocks
Myself (and my kids) love this activity for many reasons. First of all, it will keep your kids busy for a long time. It also requires mom to do very little. Your kids will find the rocks and then paint them, too. All you need to do is to get some paints and paper. You will also love it because painting outdoors is far superior to painting indoors. #mydiningroomtablewillneverbethesame
2. Play Follow The Leader
How much prep? None. I told you this list was a good one! My kids love to play follow the leader outside. It’s so much better than inside, because you can climb rocks and logs, jump over streams and so much more. Make sure to model for your child or children first so they can see how many creative possibilities there are, right in your backyard!
3. Have A Relay Race
If you only have one child, you can still totally do this activity. Simply time your child each time and have him try to beat his personal best time (you can do this with multiple children, too, especially if they are far apart in age so then you won’t always have the oldest kids winning every time).
Some ideas for relays:
- running backwards
- jumping like a frog
- crab walk racing
- jumping on one leg
- bear crawl (walk on hands and feet with butt in the air)
4. Race Around The House
You’ll really love this one at bedtime when your child is exhausted and doesn’t fight it at all! My kids love this one, and I always time them to see if they can beat their personal best.
5. Paint With Leaves
Let your kids be creative with this one. They can paint WITH leaves or they can even paint the leaves themselves. We even like to paint the leaves and then press them onto paper.
6. Play With The Hose
Kids love water (obviously) and there is just something about a hose. Bonus points if it has a nozzle on the end so that your child can experiment with the different settings.
You can also play Water Hose Jump Rope. Put the hose’s spray close to the ground and move it back and forth. Your child needs to try to jump over it without getting wet!
7. Have A Nature Scavenger Hunt
This activity is so flexible, and I love that you can even use it as a learning tool. If you have a toddler learning colors, ask your toddler to find things of certain colors outside. If you have a preschooler learning letter sounds, ask your child to find things in nature that begin with certain letters.
You can also keep it more simple:
- find a white rock
- find a purple leaf
- find a worm
- find an acorn
8. Wash Their Toys Or Bikes
Arm your child with a bucket of sudsy water and a sponge, and set her loose to wash her bike, scooter, or outdoor toy. Don’t be surprised if your child starts washing everything in sight!
9. Go On A Hunt For Bugs
If you have a bug catcher, great! It adds to the fun.
10. Create A Chalk Relay
Okay, so this one requires a liiiiittle bit of prep, but it’s minimal, I promise. Draw squiggly lines, circles to jump on and more on your driveway. Get creative!
11.Play With Water Balloons
If you’re thinking, wait, filling water balloons is TORTURE and far from no-prep, then you’ve never seen bunch ‘o balloons. You can seriously fill a hundred water balloons in SECONDS. These balloons are my #1 summer product recommendation. You NEED them.
12. Watch For Planes Using The App “Flight Radar 24”
This activity comes from my husband. Simply download the app Flight Radar 24, and you can see plane routes. You can literally see when a plane is going to go right over your house! This activity keeps my 4 and 7 year old engaged for hours. After a little bit of practice, you can start a countdown to let your child know when a plane is going to appear in the sky above you!
You can also learn a little geography too, because the app will tell you where the plane is coming from and where it is going to.
13. Play Hide And Seek
14. Go On A Nature Walk
15. Bake Mud Pies
If you have any old baking tins or wooden spoons, give them to your child and let her go wild. If not, a plain old stick will do the trick!
16. Have A Picnic
My kids LOVE eating outside, but they love eating outside on a blanket even more. Super secret tip: This is the perfect time to introduce new food to your child because she will be more likely to eat it.
17. Jump In Puddles
18. Play Tag
19. Read Outside
Reading outside is one of my FAVORITE outdoor activities.
And if you have a kiddie pool (without water in it), you could even fill it up with pillows and blankets from inside to read in!
20. Play Catch Or Kickball
21. Go On A Photo Scavenger Hunt
Give your child a list of simple things to find in your backyard and a kid camera (or your phone if your child can be trusted!) and have your child photograph each item on the list.
22. Having A Stacking Rock Competition
This is super fun. Make it into a game to see who can stack the most rocks on top of each other!
23. Play Hot And Cold
Hide an object (or a little, new toy) and play Hot And Cold to help your child find it.
24. Look For A Four Leaf Clover
This should take a long time (unless you’re like my daughter who seems to be super lucky and finds them quickly all the time).
25. Look For Shapes In The Clouds
26. Have A Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Throwback to our 80’s childhood, mamas! When is the last time you spit watermelon seeds to see how far they would fly?
27. Let Your Kids Paint Themselves
28. Paint With Flowers
First your child can hunt for and pick flowers, and then use them to paint pretty designs.
29. Bring The Inside Out
This is another one of my favorite outdoor activities. Think about the activities that make you cringe inside during the colder months. I don’t like when my kids play with their kinetic sand, play doh and anything to do with sand or glitter inside. But outside? I’m totally game!
30. Set Up A Tent Or Teepee
Just use the one that you typically put up inside.
31. Create A Fairy House
Have your child collect twigs, cut grass, rocks and leaves to create a fairy house.
32. Draw Nature
Grab some paper and colored pencils and encourage your child to draw something in nature. She can draw the sky, the trees, the yard, whatever!
33. Play Aqua Limbo
Use the stream of water from the hose as a “stick” in order to play limbo.
34. Paint With Squirt Guns
35 Play “Unfreeze Your Prize”
Freeze some small toys in ice cube trays with water and play a water relay race. Have your child fill up their sponge with warm water, and then run over to the ice cubes and squeeze the warm water over them to try to melt them.
36. Play I Spy
37. Play With Water
There are so many different ways to play with water, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. Fill up a big storage container with water and then give your child a variety of different sized cups, bowls, pitchers, etc. to play with.
38. Draw With Dry Erase Markers On A Sliding Glass Door
Don’t worry, it washes right off!
39. Have Your Child Perform A Play Or Dance Show
40. Start A Collection
Encourage your child to start a new collection: pressed flowers, pressed leaves or rocks are popular options.
41. Play Red Rover
This of course will only work with a larger group of kids. Perfect for parties or play dates!
42. Play Red Light, Green Light
This is a great activity for developing coordination in younger kids.
43. Play Kick The Can
Kick the Can is like Hide and Seek, Tag and Capture the Flag all in one. One player will count while the rest of the players hide. Then, once the seeker starts seeking, players in hiding will come out of their hiding spots to try to “kick the can”. Players who are tagged by the seeker go to “jail” and those in jail can be let out when another player successfully kicks the can.
44. Play Hide And Seek With Flashlights
This is one of our favorite outdoor activities, and when we recently did it outside, it quickly became another favorite. It’s like Hide and Seek, but spookier.
45. Water The Plants And Flowers
46. Practice Cartwheels
This video from Anna McNulty (who we LOVE for anything gymnastics/cheer/dance related) is so helpful in helping your child perfect the cartwheel.
47. Do An Art Class- drawing tutorials for kids YouTube
It doesn’t matter whether or not you are artistic, your kids can be with the magic of the Internet. We LOVE LOVE LOVE Art For Kids Hub on YouTube which has super simple-to-follow drawing tutorials.
48. Play Beanbag Tag
It’s the same as tag, but you can throw beanbags at each other instead of tagging. Way more fun, in my opinion.
49. Dig For Treasures In The Dirt Or Sand
Hide some little toys or figurines and have your child dig for treasures.
50. Create An Agility Course For Your Family Dog
Leave it up to your kids to collect things from around the house in order to make a course. They will surprise you with their creativity!
51. Do Water Gun Target Practice
52. Create Nature Art
Creating a picture of nature USING nature is such a great hands on activity. Your child can use paper and glue in order to glue rocks, leaves, flowers, etc onto paper.
53. Make A Flower Arrangement
Pick flowers and create a flower bouquet in a vase.
54. Play Capture The Flag
55. Play Crab Soccer
Get into the crab position (back facing the ground and walking on hands and feet) and play soccer. This is super tough but sure to elicit major giggles.
56. Play Cone Guardian
Two different teams (or players) will try to knock over the other team’s cone by throwing a ball at it.
57. Play Manhunt
Manhunt is a different version of Hide and Seek. In this version, only one person hides and all other players try to find him.
That’s it! I cannot imagine that in this HUGE list of no-prep outdoor activities for kids you didn’t find at least one new, fun activity for your family. Let me know in the comments which activity you plan to do! Have fun!