Looking for inexpensive things to do outside with kids? Our list of outdoor activities will help you spend quality time with your kids without breaking the bank!
Some of the best memories from childhood involve a sense of adventure and discovery. But you don’t need to spend a ton of time, energy, or money to create memories that last a lifetime.
Here are ten inexpensive outdoor activities that are perfect for the whole family.
Treasure Hunting outside with Kids
Take your family on a fun adventure with Geocaching – the world’s largest scavenger hunt. Hidden around the world are literally millions of little treasure boxes – some of them easy to find and others more difficult – but either way, there are sure to be some close to home.
Our Favorite Geocaching GPS – Garmin GPSMAP
By downloading the geocaching app on your phone or using your own GPS device, your family can join the fun. Locate a nearby cache using the geocaching app. When you open the box, you will discover a little treasure! Take the treasure as a memento of your find, sign the log book, and leave behind your own little special trinket for the next person. Geocaching is truly an adventure the whole family can enjoy.
Family Day-Hikes With Kids
Whether you live in a city or out in the countryside, there are hiking paths close by just waiting to be discovered. If you enjoy kicking up a little dust out on the trail, visit a local state park or nature preserve.
Our Favorite Hiking Gear:
If you prefer sneakers over hiking boots, head downtown to walk among the skyscrapers, or take a stroll through the streets of a historic neighborhood. Sometimes, just the smallest change of scenery can bring such joy – but don’t forget the water bottles.
Urban Fishing with Kids
This may come as a surprise, but a good day of fishing is closer than you think. If you live in a city or town with a public park and pond, chances are good that the local Fish and Game Department stocks that pond with fish.
Our Favorite On the Go Fishing Pole: Telescopic Fishing Pole
Do a little online research to find information on when the area is stocked and with what type of fish. Also, double check for any licensing requirements set by your state; but most likely, no license will be required for children under 12 years old. So dust off that old rod, buy new fishing line and bait, and spend some quality time teaching your kids to fish.
Start a Natural Art Collection
Few things can inspire a deep sense of awe and wonder as spending time outside with your children. Help spark their love for nature by encouraging your child to start a natural art collection. You can go on a walk and collect different leaves. Or visit a lake, river, or beach and collect unique rocks and shells.
Our Favorite Rock Collection Box: Geology Gem Kit
Store these special finds in a shoebox and add to the collection with subsequent finds. Worried about more clutter? Then let your child use the camera on your phone to create a photo album of their favorite flowers or bugs.
Have a Star Party
You don’t need a degree in astronomy to teach your child about the planets and stars. Instead, download a stargazing app. Even if the bright city lights keep most stars hidden from view, the few that you can see are enough to create a special evening outside as a family. A good stargazing app is able to identify stars and planets as you point your phone’s camera to the sky.
Our Favorite: Telescope for Kids
If your children are older and able to stay up a bit later, consider attending a local star party. Often sponsored by local astronomical societies or universities, a star party is an educational program held after sunset where you and your child look through telescopes, chat with amateur astronomers, and experience the night sky like never before.
Do you need to get out of the house but prefer to do something low-key? Then pack a picnic lunch and head over to the local airport to watch airplanes take-off and land. You can scope out a good viewing spot in advance by researching airport parking options before leaving the house.
Hint: Sometimes the best location is at a nearby park or business center just under the approach to the airport’s main runway. And if your child is an airplane enthusiast, try downloading one of these aviation apps to enhance the experience.
Did you know that one-in-five children don’t know where their food comes from? A recent study in Britain revealed that 41% of children under eight don’t know where eggs come from. Another 29% thought cheese grew on plants.
Help your children connect with their food by visiting a local pick-your-own farm. There are many online directories of farms that welcome visitors during peak-season to harvest their own bounty from the fields. Prices are usually about the same as what you would pay at the grocery store, but the quality is much better and the positive impact will last a lifetime.
If your family is anything like mine, there are those who love camping and those who do not. Fortunately, there is a way to satisfy both sides of the divide: backyard camping.
Our Favorite: Backyard Tent for Kids
Set up a tent on the grass, lay out the sleeping bags, and grab a few flashlights. The fun really begins after the sun goes down. And after the diehard campers have finally fallen asleep, the rest of the family can quietly sneak back into their comfy beds.
Sidewalk Art Gallery
If you are looking for a way to occupy your children outside without packing up to leave, then how about have them create a sidewalk art gallery? All you need is a package of sidewalk chalk.
Our Favorite: Sidewalk Chalk
Using the squares of sidewalk out front, or drawing some ‘frames’ on the back patio, have the kids create one picture per square. Help prime their imaginations by suggesting a theme for the gallery, such as The Four Seasons, Jungle Safari, or Under the Sea.
Most children love to get dirty. But us moms prefer to keep the mess to a minimum. What about a project that lets the kids get dirty while making something beautiful the whole family can enjoy? Head over to your local hardware store and purchase a terra cotta pot, some potting soil, and a few small plants.
Our Favorite: Kids Gardening Tools
The experts in the store’s garden center will be able to help you select inexpensive, easy-to-care-for plants that will be happy in their new ‘home’. When you’re ready to start planting, lay out some newspaper over the work area to make clean-up a breeze.
The Wrap Up:
We hope this article has inspired you to get outside and try something new with your family. With a little time and imagination, you can easily turn these ten ideas into a summer full of family fun – and all without breaking the bank.
What other outdoor things to do outside with kids does your family enjoy?
We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below.