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35 Fun Backyard Activities for Kids to Do This Summer

“ I’m bored.”

“ What can I do? ”

Your children are home for summer and you need ideas for kid-friendly activities!

I’ve got you. 

With a little time and creativity, these backyard activities for kids will keep them busy and having a blast. This summer, our backyard has become an oasis for crafts, games, and making memories.

I love that our family  is taking advantage of our backyard in all kinds of ways, from exercising to painting! If you’re looking for ways to make the most of your backyard this summer, check out these ideas below.

A List of Creative and Fun Backyard Activities For Kids: 

1. Have a backyard picnic – picnics can be as elaborate or lowkey as you want. Just throwing a blanket on the ground and taking your lunch outside is a fun way to break up the day. Some of my kids favourite picnic foods are watermelon, pasta salad, strawberries, cheese and crackers, and cut up vegetables.

2. Clothespin tag – this is a clever spin on the classic game and a perfect way for your little ones to burn off some energy. One of the common ways is that all players apply a handful of clothespins to their clothing. At the start of the game, players try to pull clothespins from other players clothing and attaches it to their own clothing. After a set time, the player with the most clothespins, on their own clothing, wins.

3. Ring toss game – a great way to improve hand-eye coordination and introduce some friendly competition. You can make your own DIY ring toss game or pick one up from the store.

4. Nature scavenger hunt – get kids to explore the local part of the world around them! There are tons of free printable nature scavenger hunts available online or make up your own!

5. Supersized memory game – kids can use leftover cardboard or paper plates to create their very own outdoor memory game. This activity is fantastic for cognitive improvement.

6. DIY obstacle course – I often remind my kids the living room is not a gym. However, when they’re outside it’s game-on and they can go wild! Encourage your children to use their problem-solving skills with a unique backyard obstacle course. You can use pool noodles, hula hoops, kid pools, a sprinkler, and tires to make it happen. Get more ideas here.

Summer Games, Messy Painting, and DIY Fun!

7. Water balloon toss or play fight – my family plus water balloons equals craziness and fun; this is a great activity for a hot day. You can use the water balloons in a friendly toss game between family members. The aim is to not pop the balloon. Or you can have a full on water balloon play fight.

8. Play tug of war – an exciting test of strength, you can make this game more challenging by playing a toppling tug of war (standing on milk crates or similar sturdy object).

9. Beach ball bowling – you can use plastic bottles, tin cans or other kinds of things for the pins to create your own bowling tournament.

10. Marble racecourse – if you have a sand patch or extra dirt in your backyard it would be an ideal set up for a course to race different coloured marbles. Or, make your own DIY wooden racecourse.

11. Bean bag toss – like the ring toss, this game helps kids improve their hand-eye coordination. Make it interesting with prizes like a popsicle or extra screen time.

12. Whiteboard painting – the backyard is a great place to get messy and creative and whiteboard painting is both. Just make sure to have a hose handy!

13. Put up a tire swing – tire swings are a classic summer activity that never go out of style; you can often find a used tire at your local garage. With a tire, sturdy rope and a solid tree limb, you are good to go!

14. Put up a kids’ clothesline – drying wet clothes in the summer sun is one of the only good things about having to do laundry this season. Having a clothesline for your kids helps them get involved in household chores and you’d be surprised how willing they are to do that when you facilitate it.

15. Create a painted rock garden – let kids showcase their imagination and add some personality to your backyard.

A Little Imagination Goes a Long Way

16. Add a water table to your backyard – depending on the age of your children, a water table can teach motor skills and is a fun way to pass a hot day. Save money and create your own sensory table for backyard playtime.

17. Build a fairy garden –this is such a cute activity the whole family will enjoy, and who knows something magical may show up, like fire flies!

18. Create a DIY splash pad – with a tarp and sprinkler, you and your family can create a pretty awesome splash pad. Add pool noodles, giant floats and beach balls for a lots of additional water play.

19. Create a tiny village – like a fairy garden; this is a fun way to build something creative and learn a crafting skill or two. Kids will have a blast decorating and painting little wooden habitats for small critters; both real and imaginary. Hit up your local dollar store or craft supply store for materials.

20. Make a DIY butterfly feeder – watching butterflies is one of the most magical things about summer, and a butterfly feeder is a great way to encourage them to hang out more. Here are 10 DIY Butterfly Feeders to inspire you.

Camping Vibes, Water Activities, and Nature

21. Water balloon piñata – this wild game is another way to cool off on a hot day. You simply string the water balloon onto a tree branch and small bat or stick to pop the balloons.

22. Pitch a tent – having a tent in the backyard creates a hideout for kids when they want to relax. It also gives kids have a space for their “indoor” toys and encourages them to spend more time outdoors.

23. Roast marshmallows – with an enclosed fire pit or even a barbecue, roasted marshmallows is the ultimate summer treat. You and your kiddos can take it to the next level with a s’mores buffet party!

24. Play twister – take your twister mat outside for an afternoon of fun. Want to take it up a notch? Play water twister! Wet the play mat with a hose or sprinkler and go crazy.

25. Make an outdoor puppet theatre – create an opportunity to let your child’s flare for the dramatic shine. With a few materials you can set up a puppet theatre outside where they can create plays and entertainment for the family, friends, or an audience of teddy bears.

26. DIY supersized Jenga game – what’s better than this heart pulsing game? Creating and playing a supersized version. Learn how to make your own Giant Jenga Game here.

27. Paint nature – pull out those watercolours and encourage your child to paint what is around them. Outside painting is relaxing and skill-building.

28. Have a BBQ – My kids love BBQs! Any day, any time. You can make it a BBQ party by inviting family and friends and adding some festive tableware to your patio table.

Think Outside the Box!

29. Go crazy with a summer-themed piñata – filling a pinata with goodies and smashing it open is just pure fun! There are lots of summer themed designs in-stores at party supply stores or you can fashion your own using a cardboard box and lots of colour tissue paper.

30. Build a bird feeder – having a bird feeder in your backyard is a simple way for your kids to get to discover wildlife.

31. Convert boxes into cars for drive-in movie night – how fun is this! If you have a projector or even good wi-fi reach in your backyard, you can set up a backyard movie night. Kids can have fun converting cardboard boxes into cars for a backyard drive-in!

32. Dry wildflowers in your backyard – I love scrapbooking, and dried flowers make wonderful keepsakes! Kids can turn dried flowers into cards or bookmarks.

33. Pick up some hula hoops – hula hoops are a fantastic way to get the family outside for some aerobics and fun games! From spinning them on their hips to jumping in and around them on an obstacle course, children always are down to play with a hula hoop.

34. Plant a garden – beginning a gardening project with your kids is a great way to introduce them to the joys of planting.

35. Have a backyard photoshoot – grab your tripod and camera (or phone) and set up a backyard photoshoot! Kids can help with the set up and choosing wardrobe. Maybe it could be a theme? Like summer campers! Have fun, get creative, and capture a memorable summer pic of the whole family.

Just Have Fun!

As you can see, there are lots of backyard activities kids can do this summer. With a little patience and creativity, you and your family can have a blast and make meaningful memories. 

Happy summer, friends!


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Emily Smith
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