Backyard fun: 100 things to do outside (for all ages!)

Looking for stuff to do in the backyard when you, or your kids, are bored? Check out this lengthy list of fun things to do outside in your backyard! Some are free, some are creative, some are silly and some take some planning and involvement. But, all of them are great things to do outside!

Here’s a great idea: What to do outside when you’re bored? You could print this list out, cut up all the idea and throw them in a giant jar. Then, when you or you kids are feeling bored and needing some activity idea suggestions, just reach into the jar and pull out that day’s fun thing to do in your backyard!

kids painting, playing in a pool and a backyard fort

Fun things to do outside in your backyard for free!

1. Have a picnic. Place a blanket on the ground and eat sandwiches with chips and your favorite beverages. It’s the most relaxing way to spend a day outside! Or, pack up a basket for the kids and send them out on their own to hunt out the perfect backyard picnic spot… maybe they’ll even build a fort!

Read more: Your guide to simple, easy, and super great family picnics!

2. Collect leaves. Go on an exploration around the yard to see what kinds of leaves you can collect. You can find great leaves in all shapes, sizes, and colors. This can be a short activity or turn it into a longer project by pressing and drying the leaves, nature journaling with them, or even doing crayon leaf rubbings.

Read More: Leaf Art ideas and leaf art inspiration for kids

3. Look for insects. Explore the backyard area to see what types of insects you might find. Again, kids could journal their findings or just enjoy the investigation. Let them use magnifying glasses too for a bit more of a science-y feel.

Read More: Great kids picture books about insects and bugs!

4. Do a scavenger hunt. Print out a fun backyard scavenger hunt. See who can find the most things first. Or, have the kids or a friend make scavenger hunts for each other and you!

A child's finger pointing to nature scavenger hunt treasures like rocks, leaves, twigs, and flower petals
Pointing at her favourite scavenger hunt find

Read More: Grab these nature scavenger hunts or a Neighbourhood Scavenger Hunt Printable Here

5. Explore with a magnifying glass. Look around the backyard with a magnifying glass. Ask your children to see what they can find while using it. You and they might find teeny tiny bugs, but you’ll also find cool colours and patterns and get a different perspective on the outside world.

6. Read a book. Grab your latest read or get into storytelling mode and read a fun book to the kids. And, pulling out some old blankets and pillows will make outdoor book reading even more special!

young girl reading a book laying on a towel at the beach
Throw a towel down and enjoy a bit of backyard reading

Read More: Grab this summer reading challenge to get kids reading outside in nature!

7. Play tag. Run around and chase each other until you’re all tired and ready to rest. If you have school-aged kids they’ll have oodles of tag rule versions – enough to play all afternoon!

8. Go stargazing. Place blankets and pillows on the ground after dark (outdoor furniture cushions work well too). Get cozy. Spend the evening cuddled up staring at the sky, talking, and looking at the beautiful stars. Download a star map app first to add a bit of education to your stargazing session too. Make it even more exciting by intentionally heading out during a meteor shower.

Read More: Best stargazing apps according to the BBC Sky at Night Magazine

9. Go bowling. Place old plastic containers in a row and roll a ball on the ground, playing a game of homemade bowling in the backyard. Empty drink contains, yogurt tubs, even cereal boxes will work!

10. Make an obstacle course. Set up an obstacle course using pool floats, boxes, lawn chairs, random yard toys, and other components. Make it a friendly and fun competition for the kids. They’ll have as much fun making courses as doing them.

11. Exercise. Start doing exercises outside with the kids. You can do squats, jumping jacks, and other fun movements. A quick youtube search will give you hundreds of exercise videos you can do!

12. Dance to music. Put some of your favorite tunes on and start dancing! Let your kids show you some of their favorite dance moves!

13. Play hide and seek. Play a good game of hide and seek. Try to hide behind the tree or bushes or blend in with your surroundings. Make it even more challenging and play after dark!

14. Tell scary stories. Sit around your backyard fire pit and tell scary stories at night. Make sure they’re age-appropriate stories if little ones are joining in on this activity. Up the scary factor by forgoing the fire and doing it in the dark!

15. Play tic-tac-toe. Use sticks and rocks to play a game of tic-tac-toe in the grass.

16. Do some yoga. Place yoga mats on the ground and do yoga with the kids, showing them all kinds of movements and stances to do. And, if you don’t have mats, just use a blanket instead. If you don’t know any moves, look something up on Youtube!

17. Collect twigs. Look around the backyard for any twigs you can find. You can use them for arts and crafts projects at a later time. See who can find the most unique-looking twig out of the bunch. Try making patterns and spelling words and names with the twigs.

18. Search for shapes or colours. Decide which shape or colour you’ll hunt for first or compare you findings after a certain amount of time has passes.

19. Have a race. See who can run the fastest from one point of the yard to the other with this simple and fun competition. Then, try a 3 legged race, hopping on one foot, and wheelbarrow partner races too.

20. Watch the clouds. Slow down and look up. See if you can find any interesting shapes, animals, or make up stories for the changing scenes.

21. Set up a bike carwash. Grab some soap and brushes and pull out the hose for a mini backyard bike wash… or if the kids are too small for bikes, they’ll love washing their push toys too!

preschooler washing his car in the backyard with a water hose
Washing his car in the backyard

22. Teach your children the macarena. Play the song and show them how it’s done! It will leave everyone laughing.

23. Give the dog a bath. All hands on deck when washing the dog in the backyard!

24. Play Simon Says. If the leader (Simon) says “Simon says” then do it… if Simon doesn’t say “Simon says”, don’t.

25. Search for birds. See what kinds of birds you can find lingering in the backyard and take photos when they land somewhere near you. Pull out the binoculars and nature guides for a bit more excitement and learning with your bird watching.

Read More: Tips for attracting birds to your backyard in the winter

26. Sunbathe. Soak up all the sun while resting on a beach towel in the backyard. It’s relaxing, but don’t forget the sunscreen!

27. Play with the pets. Play fetch with the dog; bring the cat for a walk. Or if you have small pets like guinea pigs or rabbits, bring them out for some grass nibbling and fresh air.

28. Ride bikes back and forth. If you have a cement or blacktop area in the backyard, let the kids ride back and forth on their bikes. They might even set up jumps and obstacles to bike over and around. Take your activity outside of the backyard and go for a bike ride around the neighbourhood too!

29. Play a game of I Spy. Keep the kids busy with a game of I Spy that keeps them looking around for different objects and colours.

30. Let the kids prepare a picnic. Instead of you setting it up, let the kids make their favorite foods and eat them together on the grass in the backyard.

31. Have a pushup competition. See who can do the most pushups in the backyard. The winner gets a prize!

32. Collect caterpillars or lady bugs. Collect some insects into a jar to watch for a while. Make sure your new friends have few air holes and a bit of grass and debris to hide in and around. If you’ve found a caterpillar give them some leaves to much. Oh, and don’t forget to let them go in the same spot you found them after 30 minutes!

33. Make fan forts. Use a fan at the opening of a duvet cover to make a fan fort. Kids love these!

34. Bob for apples. Fill up a large container with water and apples and show your little ones what it’s like to bob for apples. It’s a silly game that will leave you all laughing. You may want to have a bowl for each participant.

35. Enjoy outdoor pedicures. Who needs the salon? Set up a pedicure station in the backyard for a day of pampering. Wash, soak, scrub, paint nails, and dry!

36. Pillowcase races. Racing or not, the kids (and you) can have a lot of fun trying to get around the yard with your legs in pillowcases. You might want to double or triple the cases… I wonder if they’re strong enough to resist tearing? …but who has potato sacks these days?

Things to do outside when you’re bored and ready to be a bit creative?

37. Draw images. Use a sketchpad and paper to sketch some of the things you see in the backyard. Bring out the markers, crayons, pastels, paints… and watch art happen!

38. Take photos. Set up a photoshoot in the backyard. Have some fun and haul out some props or put on a vogue style fashion shoot!

39. Paint rocks. Supply the paint and brushes and get creative by adding different colors to the rocks. Leave these in the garden and flower beds afterwards for added bits of colour and fun to the backyard.

two kids outside painting rocks for the garden

40. Create a cat shelter. Do you have outdoor kitties or stray cats around? Use a cardboard box to cut out and decorate a cat shelter to put in your backyard. Don’t forget some cozy blankets or towels inside too!

41. Make sidewalk chalk paint. Learn how to make chalk paint from scratch, setting it up in the backyard. A quick google search seems to say that cornstarch, water and food colouring might do the trick. But it looks like you can also use baking soda, plaster or Paris, or eggshells… so, get creative!

a girl drawing on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk

42. Put on a puppet show. Grab the puppets and put on a show to make the kids laugh. Or, have the kids make a show for you!

43. Write poems or stories inspired by what you see. Encourage each person to write a poem while in the backyard while focusing on the scenery around them. This article may help you find some inspiration and a bit of guidance on encouraging writing in nature.

44. Have an outdoor concert. Let each person pick a song to sing, setting up a homemade backyard concert. And, if you have instruments, bring those outside too!

45. Paint the fence. If your backyard’s fence needs a painting, let the kids help you with it to keep everyone busy and entertained. And, if it doesn’t need painting, let the kids have fun painting various designs and pictures onto it with a pail of water and their hands or paintbrushes.

46. Put up an outdoor fort. Pretend to go camping and put a fort in the backyard. Hang out inside the fort with shade for hours.

a fort made my an only child using tarps and random backyard pieces
Here’s a backyard fort made by my kids a few years ago

47. Nature Haikus. Look up some examples of haikus and then put your own creativity to work.

48. Have a blindfolded painting challenge. Bring the paint and canvases outdoors while wearing blindfolds to see who can create the best painting.

49. Paint pinecones. If you can find pinecones in the backyard, grab them and paint them for fun. Add some string and hang them up in the trees afterwards.

50. Make a Dandelion Crown. If your yard is like ours and covered in dandelions, pick the tallest flower stalks and weave or braid these together to make crowns.

51. Have an outdoor costume party. Pull out the old Halloween costumes or your fancy clothes you keep but never wear and get dressed up!

52. Paint with nature. Use leaves, twigs, flowers, pinecones, rocks, and grasses as your paintbrushes. Look at all the different textures and variety that nature has to offer! Get more ideas on this nature process art how-to here.

kids paintings hanging in the backyard line to dry
painting outside in the backyard

And a bunch of other fun backyard activity ideas!

53. Plant something. Get the seeds and soil and start planting some of your favorite things, such as fruit, veggies, or even flowers. Help your kids plant some seeds. Or, if you’ve already planted they’ll need some attention… pick the dead flowers, do a bit of weeding, or just give them some love and attention.

Read More: Easy plant ideas for kids to grow

54. Jump on a trampoline. Get a trampoline and install it in the backyard. It can provide you with hours of entertainment and exercise. It’s great for children and adults. This really is true. Trampolines are go outside magnets!

55. Make a slip and slide. Turn the time machine back to 1987 and put a large piece of long plastic on the ground, wet it with water, and then add a bit of dish soap to it to create a homemade slip and slide. It’s so much fun!

56. Set up a tent. Pitch a tent in the backyard for a night of outdoor backyard camping. Who says you need to go to a camping resort to have a good time?

Read More: How to enjoy camping in your own backyard!

57. Have a water balloon fight. Fill up some balloons with water and have a balloon fight. See who gets soaked the most.

58. Set up the kiddie pool. Pull out the pool and fill it with plenty of water. Let the kids swim and splash around. You can have fun in the pool, too! Or if you don’t have a kiddie pool, you can all have fun playing in the water table by bringing out some waterproof indoor toys that don’t usually get time outside.

Read More: 20 kiddie pool games – easy & fun ways to stay cool in the backyard!

59. Roast marshmallows. Put marshmallows on a stick and roast them over the grill or a small bonfire, depending on what you have available to use. Eat them as is or use them to make s’mores.

60. Cater to the birds. Make some birdfeeders or birdhouses for your feathered friends to enjoy. Or spend some time turning the backyard into a spot that will attract the birds in the wintertime.

Read More: Easy birdseed ornaments

61. Set up a rock-climbing wall. Buy or create your own rock climbing wall. It can keep your kids entertained for hours and it’s a great exercise!

62. Play frisbee. Grab a frisbee and throw it around. See who can catch it first. Keep it moving and flying around in the air as you run back and forth. Try some tricks: back-handed, under the leg, and over the head.

63. Try Slacklining. Get your family a slackline kit (if you have some big sturdy trees in your yard). These are lots of fun and a challenge for all ages!

64. Have a BBQ. Pull the grill out and spend the day cooking meats and veggies. Let the kids pick out what they’d like to add to the grill, such as hot dogs and hamburgers or shish kabobs.

65. Use a hula hoop. Pull the hula hoops out and have a competition. See who can keep the hula hoop going the longest. Try arms, neck, and feet too!

66. Harvest plants. See which plants are ready to harvest and get the kids to lend a helping hand with picking them and adding them to a container. If you’re comfortable identifying plants you might even take a look around for native edibles… like dandelions.

child holding carrots harvested from the backyard garden
Carrots harvested from the backyard garden

Read More: 6 practical tips for getting kids into the garden

67. Set up an easy outdoor lounge. Blow up small pools and turn them into lounging areas with neck pillows, blankets, and drinks!

68. Fairy Garden. Create a magical little area in your yard for the kids to play and imagine with fairies and gnomes.

69. Watch a movie. Use a wall in your backyard as a spot for your movie projector. Set up a movie to watch outside with the family. If you don’t have a light coloured building wall, you could try fastening a white sheet up hanging from a tree, the swing set or draped over a fence.

70. Play with chalk. If you have cement or blacktop in your backyard, don’t hesitate to bring out the chalk and start drawing with it.

71. Have a NERF gun war. Bring out the NERF guns and let the kids battle it out in a competition to see who can get the most shots. Don’t forget sunglasses for eye protection!

72. Blow bubbles. Grab some bubble wands and start blowing bubbles. Have a fun competition to see who can blow the biggest bubble of all time.

73. Have a paint fight. Add washable paint to water guns and go all out to see who gets covered in paint the most.

74. Play with action figures. Bring the action figures or animal figurines outdoors and get creative while playing make-believe with the kids.

kids playing cornhole or bean bag toss outside at the campsite
Game of bean bag toss at the giant backyard camp out family reunion!

75. Play lawn games. Find different games that are good to play on the lawn. They’ll keep everyone entertained for hours. Think bean bag toss games like cornhole, or badminton, bocce, and croquet.

Read More: Check out these super fun oversized giant yard games… with DIY suggestions too!

76. Play Twister. If you have the game of Twister, the backyard is the perfect place to play it because you’ll have lots of space.

78. Set up a Tiki bar. Serve kid-friendly cocktails in the backyard. Get your kids to help with preparing the beverages, pull out the fancy glasses and straws, and line the rims with sugar!

79. Set up an outdoor ball pit. Have fun with a homemade ball pit in the backyard or blow up a bunch of balloons to throw into the empty pool.

80. Rent or buy a bounce house. You can rent or buy an inflatable bounce house, setting it up in the yard. Maybe a family friend has one you could borrow for the weekend? My kids were given a hand-me-down bouncy house that was held together with duct tape, but they loved it!

81. Pull the weeds. Get your backyard garden and flower beds looking their best while getting the kids to help with pulling the weeds. Turn it into a competition to make it fun for everyone and teach them about gardening and plants while you’re at it.

82. Teach the kids how to jump rope. Grab a jump rope and show the children how to use it. Do you remember how to double-dutch?

83. Create an outdoor water oasis. Use sprinklers, an inflatable pool, and a slip and slide to create an outdoor water oasis that reminds your kids of being at the waterpark.

84. Play hopscotch. If you have a cemented area in the backyard, use it to play hopscotch with the kids.

85. Play softball. If your backyard is big enough, bring out the softballs and bats to play a few rounds together as a family. Or just the balls and gloves if batting seems a bit unsafe. Ever played pop 500?

86. Enjoy a game of kickball. Did out the soccer ball, set up some goal posts and get in competition mode with the kids.

87. Prepare a treasure hunt. Hide different things throughout the backyard and encourage the kids to search for these items with or without clues.

88. Set up a sandbox. Fill a plastic bin full of sand and add some toys and shovels to it. Let your children play in the sand! A sandbox or play mud kitchen is a great long-term backyard activity worth investing in.

89. Get a swingset. If you can afford to do so, buy a swing set and install it in the backyard. It can keep the kids entertained for hours.

90. Set up a mini basketball court. Get a basketball court set up in the backyard so that the kids can play.

91. Create a Ninja Warrior course. Use wood and other fixtures to create a Ninja Warrior course for your kids.

92. Wash the car. If your garage is right next to the backyard, wash the car with help from the kids.

93. Play with moon dough. Bring a bucket full of moon dough out and play with it, letting the children get creative. All you need is cornstarch, water, and possibly food colouring. Seriously, this should really only ever be an outside activity!

Read More: Here’s a moon dough recipe by A Few Shortcuts

94. Have a tea party. Bring out your fancy china (or whatever you have!). Make some tea, serve some crackers and enjoy a bit of fun and sophistication in the backyard. Invite grandma and grandpa or some stuffies and dolls for a bigger party!

95. Fly a drone. If you have a drone, hang out in the backyard while hovering it around to see what kind of footage you can get.

96. Have a glow party. Wait until the sun sets and head out in the backyard with glow sticks for everyone.

Read More: Here’s a list of a bunch of great backyard games to enjoy after dark.

97. Play tennis or badminton: Who needs a court to play tennis? If you have the supplies needed, you can play a few games in the yard with the kids. Or, if your yard is set up for it, you can bounce and hit the balls against the side of the garage.

98. Hang a tire swing from a tree. Put a tire swing on a big tree in the backyard. Your kids will love it.

99. Make pie iron dinners on the grill. Hobo dinners consist of ground meat, veggies, and potatoes in foil packs that cook on the grill or over the fire pit.

Read More: Here are a bunch of yummy campfire pie recipes to get you started.

campfire pie iron cooking tools
Roasting campfire pies over the backyard fire pit

100. Pull out the vintage toys. Skip-It, Pogo-Sticks, Pogo Balls, Can Stilts, and Penny Boards… all sorts of cool toys to keep you moving. Your kids will love the novelty of seeing you try to remember your sweet moves!

So many ideas! What fun things will you do outside in your backyard first?


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