Feeling bored and hankering for a bit of fresh air? Then you’ll definitely love these fantastic weekend outdoor activities for families of all ages.
If you’re tired of seeing your kids locked eye-to-eye with their electronics or want to get them way from the boob tube (aka the TV), then look no further than these kid-friendly weekend outdoor activities for families.
Begin by doing the following:
- Review your family schedule. Break out of the habit of trying to do too much and focus on one activity at a time. Show your kids that you are making them a priority.
- Schedule family time. Calendar in your family just as you would, say, a doctor’s appointment. You’ll be more likely to keep this time “sacred” if you make it a priority.
- Family fun time. Get input from all family members and try to do a little bit of everyone’s suggestions once in a while.
Then, if it is appropriate, make this time “phone-free time” which means putting aside your electronics to focus on each other. I know, I know, we need our phones for emergencies, but how can one communicate when everyone is always “attached” to an electronic device?
If you want to know what is going on in your family, turn off the electronics, or at the very least put the phones on mute until after family time.
Take Your Family Outdoors with These Family-Friendly Activities
Most of the activities listed below are appropriate for variety of ages and all offer enjoyment over a number of seasons.
This activity is perfect for kids of all ages. Some families even form vacations around this activity. The fun is in finding hidden objects using a GPS device. This is also an international favorite too. Something to think about when your children get older and they want to travel abroad.
Never geocached? Check out GeoCaching for Idiots. This book provides essential tips and tricks for finding caches, no matter your age or your skill level.
2. Horseback Riding
Besides hiking, riding horses rank up there as a definite family favorite. Try a day ride or a weekend at a Dude Ranch. Just be sure to wear helmets.
3. Animal Tracking
This is a great family activity that not only teaches kids about nature, it also gives them an appreciation for the great outdoors. To start, it’s as easy as walking outside your door or taking a short trip to a local stream where you’ll be guaranteed of finding tracks of all sorts.
Not sure what prints belong to which animal? Here is a super kit that will make even the youngest explorers a scientist at heart: Animal Trackers
4. Scavenger Hunts
Everyone loves a good scavenger hunt. You can hide different objects around the yard or check off a list of naturally found ones. For the younger kids, try an A-B-C Alphabet Scavenger Hunt at the Zoo. It’s a great way to learn and be entertained at the same time.
And, don’t forget annual Easter Egg Hunts. Great fun for all ages.
RELATED: Easter Egg Hunts Ideas
5. Collect Seashells
Kids love looking for shells, so make time for collecting some the next time you make a visit to the beach.
One of the best places to collect shells is on an ocean beach. My favorite is Captiva Island in Florida. You’ll be in shell nirvana. So many shapes, sizes and types of shells.
Don’t forget to bring along a few extra large storage containers to fill with your new-founded treasures and be sure to pack the sunscreen.
Make it a learning experience with this handy book: Florida’s Seashells: A Beachcomber’s Guide.
RELATED: DIY Seashell Candelabra
6. Collect Rocks
Who doesn’t love pretty colored rocks? And, depending upon where you live or travel, you might even find some super keepers like pyrite, quartz or even diamonds.
But for the majority of finds how about starting a family-centered rock garden It’ll become a beautiful mosaic that will constantly reminds your family of all of those special times you spent together as a family.
7. Dine al Fresco
Make your mealtime one your family won’t forget by taking it outdoors. If you have a firepit, grill your meats and treats this way.
Or pack some sandwiches and boxed drinks and you are ready for a picnic of your life! Enjoy the outdoors in a variety of seasons and settings. Better still, make it an adventure, like including a bit of geo-caching, swimming, hiking and more, what a great memory that will be!
Remember: you can picnic anytime of the year and, of course, S’Mores are a must!
Activity Note: If you are wondering what to bring to a picnic, check out these handy articles: What to Pack for a Picnic – Handy Checklist & Food Ideas and 24 Hot Winter Picnic Tips and Food Ideas.
8. Blow Bubbles
Now this might sound elementary, but not so. There are varying degrees of complexity with which one can blow bubbles. Not sure where to start? Check out this handy article: Homemade Bubbles Recipe.
9. Carry Out a Service Project
Including service projects as a family not only builds bonds but also empathy for those in need. I’ve done this for most of my parenting life with my own family and this way of thinking and living has actually rubbed off on my kids. They love to do service projects because they feel like they are definitely making a difference while at the same time creating opportunities to interact with anothers.
One fun activity is making May Day Flower Cones. These can be filled with almost anything (flowers included). Or you can volunteer at a local community center. There’s definitely a plethora of other places–just ask around and soon you and your family will be helping others in no time at all!
10. Get Fit Together
Start a family fitness program during your weekend time. This is the greatest gift a parent can give a child–a healthy body. So take this family time and get outside, play some active games and have fun. Not only will your kids bodies be humming but yours will too!
My favorite item is the ball. Kids of all ages can’t get enough of them. Plus, you can get involved in a number of activities that are “ball” inspired. Check out this fun article, too: 4 Easy Beginner Exercise Ball Workouts You Can Do at Home.
11. Game On
Create a family game night that includes all of your families favorite outdoor games. What’s not to like about healthy competition and laughter among those you love.
Here are some of my favorite games to do outdoors:
This bowling game is perfect indoors or out. Just set up the pins and bowl away!
The original Jenga is definitely family-worthy, so let’s kick it up a notch with this outdoor must-have.
12. Take a Trip
No, this isn’t American’s Lampoon’s version of a “Summer Vacation.” But there’s something fun when traveling as a family. Just keep things in perspective, as not everything will be happy-go-lucky. Cranky kids (and adults) aside, the memories will outlast even the worst that a vacation together can muster.
One of my favorite fun places to do a day trip is the beach. It’s as easy as packing the right gear for a day of fun in the sun. Check out this article: 15 Must-Have Summer Beach Essentials.
13. Fun Reads
Take time to read together. Just break out the blanket and settle in with a good book. There are so many wonderful books (too many to list), that would be great to read during this time. From adventure to mystery and more–you just can’t go wrong.
Your kids will enjoy sitting beside you while you read to them–or if they are older–have them readaloud. It is a wonderful way to bond with your kids, plus there’s an additional caveat: the possibly of your children becoming life-long readers themselves.
Share family stories. “I remember the time when…” There’s nothing like listening to the stories of days gone by. Kids learn by these stories but more importantly they’ll learn that they are a part of a much larger family and that is special in itself.
14. Grow a Garden
Grow a garden. Whether it is a clay pot or an acre lot, sharing the gift of gardening is a healthy gift indeed. Kids love getting their hands dirty and will relish the opportunity to learn about the environment around them.
15. Make It a Movie Night
Bring the theatre to your home by preparing all of the “theatre greats” like nachos, hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels and cheese and even pizza.
Throw in some Swizzlers or Thin Mints and a soft drink (or even milk) and you are ready for one great flick night. Start it off with a cartoon (lights on) and then get everyone settled with pillows, blankets and pjs and turn the lights off for the main feature. Now that’s a star-studded evening!
Here are two great articles to get you started in the right direction for a drive-in feel that sure is to glean you memories galore: 8 Great Tips to Host a Backyard Outdoor Movie Night and DIY Outdoor Movie Screen.
16. Put on a Talent Show
Talent shows are great way to hightlight the hidden (and not so hidden talents) of your family members. Get everyone involved to do at least one act.
You will definitely see the lights in your kids eyes as they “ham” it up. Don’t let them have all the fun. Share your talent, too! Who says that the kids should have all of the fun? Not!
So what are you waiting for? Make some time for what matters most in your life and be the guiding presence for your kids. You’ll be glad you did.
For more great weekend outdoor activities for families and travel ideas, be sure to check out my Pinterest Board: Travel Tips and Destinations from Wisconsin Homemaker, these fun Wisconsin destinations: