20 Awesome Outdoor Family Activities

My kids are never more delightfully behaved than when they are not on their iPads and/or phones. I don’t say that lightly, either; our kids are generally well-behaved kids.

But they’re extra fun, enjoyable, and sweet when their screens are nowhere near them. In our household, screen time is limited and outside time is endless.

I have no idea if this works because our kids are such ‘outside’ kids, or if they’re outside kids because they aren’t allowed to use their screens as much as other kids. Either way, it’s important to me and my husband that our kids spend a lot of time outside.

Family bonding outdoors

Ask my husband, and he’ll say the kids need to go outside and enjoy the very expensive pool we had built a few years ago. Ask me, and I’ll tell you that it’s because sunshine is good for the soul.

We’re both right – the pool was expensive, and they better use it. But being outside is also one of the best gifts you give yourself as it pertains to your health.

According to The Child Mind Institute, kids who regularly spend time outside are happier and healthier than kids who prefer to spend their time indoors.

Fortunately, we are Floridians, so outdoor time is comfortable and fun all year. Even when it’s cold outside, it’s still gorgeous. Every season has a ‘season’ in our house.

Spring, summer, and fall mean I can lay by the pool and read a book while the kids swim.

Winter means I can sit on the rockers on our front porch and read a book with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and watch the kids play (my husband is one of the kids when it comes to outdoor activities). It’s a win.

Family bonding outdoors

What are the Benefits of Outdoor Family Activities?

Let me just start here – it’s the core memories you’re making. Your kids are going to remember many things about their childhood, I promise.

But it is the little moments that they’ll remember the most. It’s the family football game you play outside when the weather is nice.

They’ll remember the choosing the perfect pumpkin at the patch to bring home and carve. Our kids will likely remember the family walks around our beautiful equestrian neighborhood that take us the route of the horses that live a few blocks away.

They love to see the horses, and their owner was kind enough to share their names and allow the kids to pet them and talk to them when we pass by.

Will the kids remember the vacations and the fancy restaurants, Disney trips, and more? Sure, they will. But I can promise you my kids will always remember daddy playing basketball with them on the driveway or throwing the football.

My son will remember the days he and I went outside with our baseball gloves and played ball. While they’re remember having friends over for pool parties during the summer, I bet our kids will remember the family nights we spent doing cannonballs and playing pool volleyball more.

I digress, however; there are other benefits to spending time outside with the kids. Kids who spend more time outdoors are more likely to experience the following:

  • Less stress
  • Less anxiety
  • Better ability to pay attention
  • Higher confidence
  • Better physical health
  • Less chance of health issues (outdoor time equates to a lower risk of obesity, which causes a myriad of other health issues)
  • Better focus
  • Happier kids
  • Better Sleep
  • Better Mental Clarity

Family bonding outdoors

The Best Winter Outdoor Activities

It’s hard to break down activities by season when the weather is different everywhere. However, winter activities can be enjoyed outside no matter the temperature.

1. Go Tubing
Take this one as you will. Go tubing in the water where it’s warm, or go tubing down a hill in the snow. Both are enjoyable, both require physical activity, and both are good for you and the kids. Everyone wins.
2. Go Skiing
Another moment of clarity here – you can go skiing in the snow or in the water depending on where you live. Life is hard, right?
3. Go Sledding
For those of you who live where it snows and those of us who like to visit the snowy areas of the country, sledding might be the most fun outdoor activity for families there is.
4. Go For a Hike
Snow, sunshine, or a light drizzle…a hike is a great thing to take. During our recent trip to the mountains, we did some hiking with the kids. We found a couple of beautiful waterfalls near our mountain home, and we hiked. It was in the 20s, the water was mostly ice, and there was snow everywhere, and we have never had more fun.
5. Take a Walk on the Beach
It doesn’t matter where you are, a walk on the beach is always a good idea. The kids can collect shells or driftwood pieces, and you all get to take in the fresh, salty air. It’s an immediate mood-booster.

Family bonding outdoors

The Best Spring Outdoor Activities

The sun is shining, the days are longer, and the pollen is everywhere. It’s the most miserably delightful time of year to spend outdoors. Don’t forget your allergy medication before you partake in these fun outdoor family activities in the spring.

1. Plant A Garden
This is such a great way to bond with the kids. They’ll learn responsibility by taking care of their garden. Gardening is great exercise. It’s also a fun way to enjoy time outside when you’re with the kids. Your only job is to figure out what grows well in your climate before planting.
2. Go on A Wildflower Walk
Our kids love to take family walks in the spring because there are flowers growing everywhere. Provided they are not growing in someone’s yard, we allow them to pick flowers.
3. Fly A Kite
I remember my dad taking me outside to the big field near our home to fly mine, and we had so much fun. It’s a memory I really love.
4. Go on A Picnic
I don’t care to eat on a blanket on the ground. However, the kids think it’s a family bonding activity, but my husband and I think it’s a great mini-date. The kids run around, we get to sit on the blanket with our wine and watch, and everyone is happy.
5. Walk Around Downtown in A New City
Pick a place you’ve never been. There are plenty of places within driving distance of your home. Now walk around downtown. I love doing this on the weekends because most places have the most wonderful farmer’s markets and downtown events on spring mornings. The kids love to see what kind of treats we can buy walking around, and we love the feeling of spring in the air.

Family bonding outdoors

The Best Summer Outdoor Activities

Summer is not my favorite season, which is ironic for a Floridian. It’s humid, and I don’t love sweating. However, these are all great family activities that will keep you outdoors all summer.

1. Go For A Swim
In a lake, in a pool, in the ocean – go swimming. It’s refreshing, and it’s the best exercise you’ll get without feeling like you’re exercising.
2. Take a Jet Ski Out
Everyone in my house loves a good jet ski day. It’s so much fun to go fast and feel the wind in your hair. It’s also a great way to explore your own area in the lake or on the ocean.
3. Have a Boat Day
You don’t have to own a boat to enjoy a boat day. Provided you are near a body of water, you can rent a boat. You can even hire a captain to drive it for you. it’s a great way to get outside, and it’s so much fun to explore, swim, and bond with your kids.
4. Go Whitewater Rafting
Adventure is always a winning decision when you’re spending family time together. Whitewater rafting can be done safely, and all you have to do is find a place that takes you. You may need to drive somewhere else to find a place to whitewater raft since there’s not whitewater everywhere, but you can do it.
5. Eat Dinner Outside
My single favorite summer activity is dinner outside on the pool deck. We break out the summer place settings, my husband grills, and we eat by the pool. We do this all summer, and it’s everyone’s favorite outdoor activity (other than the swimming we do when we are not eating).

Family bonding outdoors

The Best Fall Outdoor Activities

Ah, fall. We don’t actually have fall in Florida, but I always hope we might accidentally experience it. I love the shorter days, the feeling of excitement in the air, and the little moments. Here are my favorite things to do during the fall with my family – all outside, of course.

1. Visit a Haunted Hayride
Fall is in October, so it’s not difficult to find one. This is not the best activity for families with small kids, but it’s so much fun when your kids are a little older.
2. Go to a Pumpkin Patch
Is it really fall if you don’t visit a pumpkin patch? The correct answer is no. The key is to find one with more than just pumpkins. You want hayrides and games, live music, and fun local artisans on site to sell you awesome homemade items.
3. Find an Apple Orchard
This is on my fall bucket list. We don’t have any near us – or anywhere near to being near to us – and fall is too sports heavy for the kids for us to travel far. We have all always wanted to visit an apple orchard. It seems like the perfect outdoor activity for families. Let me live vicariously through you.
4. Play in a Pile of Leaves
Forget the bugs and other things that might be inside the pile. It’s messy, yes. But will your kids remember the mess afterward? No. All they’re going to remember is mom and dad playing in the leaves with them.
5. Carve Pumpkins
It’s not fall if you don’t do this gross activity. Do it outside because it’s gross. Even if it is not your favorite outdoor family activity, I guarantee it is your kid’s favorite activity. Just do it.

Family bonding outdoors

The Key to Spending Quality Time Outdoors with the Kids

You’re looking for fun family activities that bring you outside, right? Here’s the deal – this is not a comprehensive list of all the things. This is a list of some of the most basic things you can do outdoors.

They encompass a variety of financial situations from free (neighborhood walks) to more expensive (boat days and snow tubing) activities.

There is no limit to what you can do, how you do it, and when you do it. Trust me when I tell you that your kids don’t care so much about what you are doing when you are spending quality time outdoors. They care about who they are doing it with. That’s their parents.

Which brings me to my next point. Your kids not only want, but they need, your undivided attention. Put down your phone. Turn it off. Leave it in the house or in the car.

Don’t use it. Pay attention. Be present in the moment. They won’t remember what you did so much as they remember how they felt when you did it. Give them the gift of time (and good health being outside) and put down your phone.

Additional Resources for Spending Time With Your Kids

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