Summer is a great time of year for both spending time with your family AND spending time outside.

But what to do?

Here’s a list of 100 things you can do outside with your kids this summer, most of which are free or very inexpensive. Summer plans don’t have to be complicated or expensive to be enjoyable!

100 Things to do Outside with Your Kids This Summer - mostly cheap or free ideas for outside summertime fun!

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Free or Cheap Things to do Outside With Your Kids This Summer

Build memories with your family this summer without breaking the bank! Slap on a hat, slather the sunscreen, grab your kids, and head outside to make some great summer memories!

1. Make a bird feeder

This is a great way to attract birds to your yard. Depending on how handy you are, can make them out of wood, pop bottles, or milk cartons. Check out these easy to make bird feeders over on The Homeschool Scientist

2. Do some stargazing

3.  Listen to the birds

Go on a nature walk, or try it out in your own backyard. How many different birds can you hear? Can you identify any of them? We love to use the Peterson Field Guides Birds of North America App to help us identify birds by their calls.

4. Plant a vegetable garden

5. Draw with sidewalk chalk

6. Go on a pond study

Have you got a pond nearby to explore? If so, you and your children can have a lot of fun learning all about what is living and growing in it! My Little Poppies has a nice list of equipment to bring along, as well as instructions on how to have a simple pond study with your children.

7. Go to the beach

8. Build a sandcastle

While you are at the beach, don’t forget to build a sandcastle! Or build one in your own sandbox at home or at a park.

100 Things to do with your kids outside this summer

9. Build a dam

This was always one of my favourite beach activities as a child. It usually started with a moat around a sandcastle and ended with a complicated network of waterways leading back to the lake. We had so much fun dumping the water into the moat, watching its return path to the lake, and experimenting with dams and detours.

10. Jump over waves

11. Bury yourself in the sand

12. Skip rocks

I keep practising this one hoping to get better at it! My kids are always fascinated with the activity and love to try their hand at it.

13. Make dandelion chains

14. Press flowers

Pick some flowers from your garden, or gather some wildflowers to preserve using a flower press, a heavy book, or you can even make your own flower press using only paper, cardboard & elastics.

15. Fly a kite


16. Compost

This is a great activity for teaching kids about garbage and gardening! If you don’t already compost your kitchen waste, you can invest in one of the many types of composters available, or even compost in an old soda bottle!

17. Have a lemonade stand

18. Pick up trash

19. Make a rainbow

Use your garden hose on a sunny day to make a rainbow!

20. Start a rock collection

21. Plant a tree

22. Paint rocks/make a pet rock

23. Make crayon rubbings (leaves, sidewalks, bricks, etc)

24. Go berry picking

100 Things to do with your Kids outside this summer

25. Build a fort

26. Go on a family bike ride

27. Have a yard sale

28. Play in the sprinkler or slip & slide

29. Have a nature scavenger hunt

30. Make a sundial

31. Go bird watching

Take along some binoculars and a field guide, and go bird watching. Check out your own backyard, neighbourhood, or a local nature trail, and see who you can find. Bring along some birdseed if you want to be sure to get a closer look.

32. Go camping

33. Have a campfire

34. Go on a hike

35. Go canoeing

36. Have a backyard campout

Not up to a real camping trip with your kids this summer? Why not try a mini camp-out in the backyard instead? If it ends badly, you can always retreat to the house!

37. Fill and throw water balloons

38. Have a water fight

Kids LOVE to play in the water, and they love to compete against their siblings and parents, so gather the water guns, water balloons, DIY sponge bombs, and use the garden hose and have a BIG water fight!

39. Start a nature journal

Don’t be intimidated by all the beautiful and complicated nature journals you see out there! Getting started with nature notebooks can be as simple as grabbing a notebook and a pencil and recording your own observations about what you see, feel, and smell in nature.

Things to do with your kids this summer: Start a nature notebook!

40. Go walking in the rain

41. Go fishing

42. Visit a local farmer’s market

43. Make a fairy garden/fairy houses

44. Organize a neighbourhood baseball/soccer game

45. Attend a local festival

46. Plant a butterfly garden

Attract butterflies to your yard this summer by planting the flowers that they love!

47. Make a solar oven

48. Climb a tree

49. Have a car/bicycle/toy wash

50. Build an obstacle course

51. Paint the sidewalk with water

52. Have a piñata

53. Make a stomp rocket

54. Make mud pies

55. Weave with nature

56. Play “Pooh Sticks”

Ever since we read The House at Pooh Corner, we’ve been playing Pooh Sticks when we cross over a bridge. Drop a stick on the upstream side of the bridge, and wait for it to appear on the other. Everyone can drop their own stick, and have a race!

57. Swing in a hammock

58. Play hopscotch

59. Make a volcano

Make your volcano out of play-dough or paper mache, and have fun with your kids (who will want to erupt it over and over again)!

60. Watch a sunset

61. Play miniature golf

62. Watch fireworks

63. Go geocaching

64. Attend an outdoor concert

65. Feed the ducks

100 Things to do with your kids outside this summer - feed the ducks!

66. Forage for wild edibles

67. Lie on a large blanket and watch the clouds

68. Make your own weather station

69. Visit a zoo

70. Organize a neighbourhood triathlon

71. Create art out of nature

Make a picture using only pieces of nature, create a nature collage, or even paint with nature! 

72. Go on a book picnic

73. Gather wildflowers

74. Photograph nature

75. Search for a four-leaf clover

76. Make bird nests

77. Build and walk on tin can stilts

78. Make a scarecrow

79. Make plaster casts of animal tracks

80. Go spelunking/ caving

81. Build a stick structure

82. Go owling

83. Catch insects in a net

84. Go boating

85. Visit a nature preserve/conservation park

86. Have a picnic

87. Catch fireflies

88. Blow bubbles

89. Paint outside

90. Make wind chimes

91. Build a bird bath

92. Go to the park

93. Splatter paint

94. Host an outdoor art show

95. Host a neighbourhood play or talent show

96. Have a backyard movie night

97. Host an old-fashioned strawberry social

98. Play kick-the-can

99. Skip/jump rope

100. Have a bicycle parade

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