Image courtesy of Pixabay

Now more than ever, parents and children spend much of their “family time” staring at a glowing screen, whether as individuals on their personal devices or as a group around a big screen TV. Spend some time in the fresh air and sunshine instead! Explore the great outdoors with these family-friendly ideas.

Backyard fun

Your outdoor family activities can begin right in your own backyard. Consider the excitement of camping under the stars! You can start your evening roasting marshmallows and hot dogs, then tell ghost stories or fairy tales when the moon comes out. Catch fireflies and run barefoot together! Unicef Kid Power suggests adding some wild effects with glow-in-the-dark face paint, just ensure it’s easy to apply and remove before you get too carried away. Just in case the moonlight isn’t bright enough, pick up an LED lantern for extra lighting. Some models have features like USB charging.

Or if daytime shenanigans are in order, go for a treasure hunt. Make a pirate’s treasure map, incorporating clues from around the neighborhood. You can hide special treasures that kids can find via their map. These items can be from a discount or dollar store, since the fun is in the hunt! You can even engage other neighborhood families for added excitement. An outdoor scavenger hunt is another great way to engage your kids.

Naturally nice

Some children, and adults for that matter, tend toward quieter activities, or maybe you’re looking for something to help your kids wind down. Listening to nature can be just the ticket. See how many animal sounds you can identify, you can even compare daytime sounds to nighttime. Frogs, insects, coyotes and birds all offer plenty of entertaining music. It’s an activity for close to home, but you can also go to area forests and parks for variety, and you can even enjoy a hike while you’re at it. Or maybe your youngsters love our feathered friends. Build a bird feeder together and let the kids decorate it. It’ll be a blast watching birds come to feed throughout the seasons, and you can take the opportunity to start learning the birds’ various tunes.


Washing the car is traditionally thought of as a chore, but on a hot day, kids, garden hoses and bathing suits quickly turn it into big fun. Another idea is to create a piñata from balloons filled with water and hung overhead. Or blow bubbles with homemade solution. Just mix water with dish soap, two to one, and round up some materials for making loops, such as coat hangers and egg rings. A dash of glycerin makes the bubbles a bit stronger, and stronger bubbles can be easier to manipulate.

Fitness fun

Some of the best activities you can do with your family are sports-related. Insider suggests taking a bike ride in a national park, or going miniature golfing at your local course. Or you can put on some roller skates to do some freestyling, or just hit a playground for a family-friendly romp!

Lend a hand

Doing something for others is always a plus, and volunteering as a family allows your children to see you setting a great example. Some experts recommend offering to spruce up public places like your town square or an area park. Or see if you can help walk dogs at the local shelter. It’s a great opportunity to do something together outdoors while giving back to your community.

Play it safe

Whatever activities you choose, always put safety first.  You should ensure outdoor equipment and play areas are secure and free of sharp objects, electrical equipment, trash and animal feces.  Close gates and talk with your children about staying out of streets and driveways.

Family time fun

Exploring outside is a great way to spend time as a family.  Think of activities you’ll all enjoy, and play safely.  The great outdoors can offer up fantastic family fun!


By: Jenny Miller
Putting an End to Nature-Deficit Disorder