It’s important to go outside, get moving and spend time together as a family. But as every parent knows, finding outdoor family activities suited to everyone can be challenging. That’s why it’s important to have fun things to do outside with kids in your toolkit.
Here are 10 easy ideas for outdoor activities to get moving while engaging every member of the family.
This age-old pastime is one of the easiest ways to get active with your family, regardless of age or ability. Increase your heart rate with intervals of sprinting and resting. Stay on your toes to maximize your agility training during this outdoor family activity.
With no equipment required, this outdoor family game can be easily played in a backyard or expanded to include a larger footprint with the addition of a “home base.” The home base is a place where players can’t be tagged out – if only they can make it back there. Not only does it add an increased level of difficulty to have a home base, but it also allows for sprints and chases that will help get your heart rate up. Using a timer can also quicken the pace.
3. Neighborhood walks
Getting out for a daily walk in the neighborhood is a great way to get moving. You can increase the physical fitness aspect of the walk by adding interval sprints with the challenge of “first one to the _____ wins.” Use role play to get younger kids interested in sprints, chasing each other with something like dragon vs. princess. For digitally inclined kids, games like geocaching or Pokémon Go are great ways to motivate everyone to walk.
4. Hike together
Whether it’s an urban greenway or a mountain hike, you can hit the trail with the entire family in an immersive natural environment. For infants and toddlers, consider investing in a riding backpack. For older kids, increase the level of difficulty by selecting a longer hike or one with greater elevation gain. AllTrails is a great resource to find hikes based on distance, elevation and scenery.
5. Family bike ride
With wheels you can really go the distance on this outdoor family workout. Look up greenways and bike trails in your area to ensure that you’re biking on a safe path with limited cars. Be prepared with helmets, water and snacks as you create a distance goal for the family. Start with a 3-mile goal and increase from there.
This is a fun thing to do outside with kids, but the game is not just child’s play, as it is a great challenge for your balance and coordination. When you throw the stone into your hopscotch, you have to skip that square while hopping on one foot. Now make it to the end of the pattern, turn around, and pick up the stone while still balanced on one foot. If you touch the ground with your second foot or hop out of the pattern, you’re out. Be sure to switch legs to challenge both sides equally.
7. Gardening and yard work
The best part about this outdoor family activity is that you knock out a chore while getting active. Small projects like potting plants are perfect for toddlers, while major gardening jobs like larger plantings or DIY building projects can engage older kids in meaningful ways. Gardening also grows your mental health. Studies have shown it lowers your blood pressure and reduces tension, too.
8. Jump rope
The whole family can participate in individual jump rope challenges or consider investing in a longer rope to get three or more people involved at once. Double Dutch is perhaps the highest degree of difficulty for this outdoor family activity, engaging rhythm, balance, coordination, agility and a good deal of cardio.
9. Bocce ball
This simple but globally popular game can be played using everyday objects, such as golf balls, tennis balls or even stones. Players separate into two teams with four balls each. One team throws a smaller marked ball (called the pallino or jack). The small marker becomes the target for the larger balls. Teams alternate throwing their balls and trying to get as close to the marker as possible. The team that gets closest when the balls are done gets a point! You can increase the difficulty and adventure of this outdoor family activity by expanding the footprint to your entire neighborhood or park.
If your kids are a bit older and able to handle a basketball, you can challenge each other to a game of HORSE. Decide on an order, and then take turns coming up with inventive shots that the others must also complete to stay in the game. To increase your heart rate with some shots, try shooting after 10 jumping jacks or while doing a body weight squat.