The best family memories are made outdoors, in the sunshine and beneath the stars. As you plan a weekend of camping, a day spent on the water fishing with kids, or a family vacation, consider doing these fun outdoor activities for kids!
Preparing easy camping meals for family is one of the most rewarding things to do outside. A grilled vegetable grilled cheese, for example, is a delicious lunch which can be easily made outside on the grill. Using a pocketless pita, have your kiddos load in their favorite meltable cheeses on both sides of thinly sliced onions, peppers, and zucchini, then fold it over into a half-moon. Place their creations on the grill using indirect heat and soon you’ll be plating up a tasty meal for the whole family.
Fishing with Kids
The quiet solitude of a still lake on an early morning, with your child by your side — there’s nothing quite like it. Fishing with kids is one of the family outdoor activities where memories are made, bonds are forged, and with luck, dinner’s pro-tein is caught!
This is one of the coolest family outdoor activities…and it doesn’t cost a penny! Rock stacking is equal parts all-natural Jenga and modern art project, and is one of the most ‘zen’ things to do outside because it promotes intense focus but also allows for artistic expression with different colors, shapes, angles. Whether your kid prefers the organic, clean lines of Frank Lloyd Wright or the flamboyant, wild curves of Antoni Gaudi, rock stacking is a screen-free activity sure leave a mark.
Ideally, all fun outdoor activities for kids will inspire physical movement, exploration, and an appreciation of the natural world. An outdoor scavenger hunt checks all of these boxes! Hide simple, colorful objects around your backyard or campsite, making a mental note (or a written list) of your hiding places, then set your kids loose to find as many as they can. The winner gets extra sprinklers on their ice cream after dinner!
Painting en plein air
Set up the entire family with canvases and some paints and brushes, and spend time together painting en plein air. You’ll experience the indoor restrictions of art fade away as natural light lends energy and beauty to your landscapes. Technical proficiency isn’t the point, but rather, to enjoy one of the most creative things to do outdoors with your kids.
Mapping the night sky is one of the family outdoor activities that can put a sweet bow on a terrific day. Armed with noth-ing more than a paper (or free smartphone app) guide to the night sky, finding constellations while stargazing will both delight and relax young children at the end of any day.
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion