19 Backyard Activities for Kids to Help Burn Energy

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19 Backyard Activities for Kids | If you're looking for fun DIY yard games you can enjoy outdoors with your kids year-round, we've got 19 ideas to inspire you! Whether you have toddlers or kids in kindergarten or elementary school, we've got easy (and cheap!) ideas you can enjoy in spring, summer, fall, and winter. From obstacle courses, to water games, to old school birthday party games, to outdoor scavenger hunt ideas, there are so many things to do to burn energy when cabin fever sets in!

If you’re looking for backyard activities for kids that help burn energy, you’re in for a treat! We’ve compiled tons of ideas to inspire you, with options for independent play, group activities, and family fun. Whether you’re hosting a playdate or neighborhood BBQ, enjoying a little family time outside, or in the midst of the 2020 pandemic and trying to come up with new and creative ways for your kids to blow off steam, I hope these backyard activities for kids prove useful to you!

1. MAKE AN OBSTACLE COURSE
I was first inspired to collect a list of backyard activities for kids about 10 days into the 2020 pandemic when I saw an old colleague of mine share a video on FB about an outdoor obstacle course he had created for his kids. It was still fairly chilly outside, which can be challenging when you’re looking for backyard activities for kids, so he created an obstacle course on his back patio. You can approach this so many ways, but he kept it pretty simple by drawing several large squares with chalk, and writing an activity inside of each. He included things like jumping jacks, leg lifts, running on the spot for 60 seconds, hula hooping, and jump rope, and the idea was for his kids to start at one end of the course and progress through it as quickly as possible. It was such an awesome idea!

2. ORGANIZE A SCAVENGER HUNT
Scavenger hunts are a great way to keep kids engaged and entertained, and you can make them as easy or complex as you want them to be. We’ve written an entire post about scavenger hunts with ideas for indoor and outdoor options, which you can read HERE.

3. BEACH BALL FUN
If you’re looking for simple backyard activities for kids that don’t require a ton of setup, blow up a few beach balls, toss them into the air, and see how long everyone can keep them airborne!

4. HULA HOOP PASS
If you’re looking for backyard activities for a group of kids, this is a great team building activity. Have everyone stand side-by-side in a line and ask them to hold hands. Place a hula hoop on the arm of the first person on one end of the line, and then challenge the kids to move the hula hoop to the other end of the line while continuing to hold hands. It’s fun and silly and a great activity for older kids!

5. PAINT WITH WATER
This is one of my favorite backyard activities for kids who are younger as it requires next to no setup, but always keeps my daughter occupied longer than I expect it to! Fill up a bucket with water, give your kids a set of different-sized paint brushes and let them ‘paint’ your back patio or driveway. This activity works best on really hot days as the water dries quickly, allowing them to create new masterpieces over and over again.

6. MAKE YOUR OWN SPRINKLER
Did you know you can make your own sprinkler out of a plastic bottle? Housing a Forest has all the details HERE.

7. SUPER SOAKER SPONGE BALLS
If you’re looking for backyard activities for kids to enjoy on hot and humid days, this super soaker sponge ball idea by Natural Beach Living is so much fun! All you need are a few sponges, some string, and a bucket of water, and your kids will be squealing with delight!

8. WATER BALLOON PINATAS
If you have a clothesline and clothespins (this clothesline set from Amazon is fairly inexpensive), water balloon pinatas is another great group activity for hot summer days! I first saw this idea on Paging Fun Mums, and I think you and your little ones will love it.

9. ORGANIZE A PICNIC
If you’re feeling cooped up and housebound, come together as a family and plan a backyard picnic to enjoy together. Challenge your kids to write out invitations for each family member as well as they’re favorite stuffed animals, and create a menu that includes all of your family favorites!

10. OUTDOOR WINDOW PAINTING
Grab some washable paints and paint brushes and ask your kids to decorate the outside of your windows or sliding doors. The colors will brighten up everyone’s day, and you can simply hose it off when you’re done!

11. MAKE A WATER BLOB!
This DIY water blob by Clumsy Crafter is high on my list of outdoor activities I’d like to try this summer. It looks like heaps of fun, and she makes it look so easy to make! I especially love her idea of adding glitter as I think that would make it extra fun.

12. TRAMPOLINE FUN
If your backyard is big enough for a trampoline, there are HEAPS of ways the whole family can have fun together while simultaneously helping to develop your child’s gross motor skills. Family Days Tried and Tested has a ton of trampoline activities to get your creative juices flowing!

13. FILL THE BUCKET
If you’re looking for backyard activities for kids that can be enjoyed independently or as a group, ‘fill the bucket’ is a great option to consider. All you need is one big bucket of water as well as a sponge and small bucket for each player. The idea is for each child to run to the bucket of water, fill their sponge, and then race back to their own bucket to squeeze as much water out as possible. The first person to fill their bucket wins!

14. RELAY RACES
Relay races are a fabulous way to get kids to work collaboratively, and they make for fabulous family fun as well. Check out this list of 45 ideas over on Kid Activities for a little inspiration!

15. BALLOON WALKING
Balloon walking is another great group activity to try at playdates and get togethers. Ask everyone to line up side-by-side and hold hands before placing a balloon in between the shoulders of each person. The object of the activity is for the entire group to walk in a line without any of the balloons popping or falling to the ground. It’s heaps of fun!

16. WHEELBARROW RACES
A list of backyard activities for kids wouldn’t be complete without an old school party game! Pair kids up in teams of 2, with one person lying tummy-side down on the ground. The person who is standing must hold their team member’s ankles and help them walk on their hands (hence the term ‘wheelbarrow race’) to the finish line. It’s surprisingly difficult to do, and a great way to encourage kids to work together as partners.

17. WATER BALLOON FIGHTS
Water balloons are something we enjoy as a family every weekend in the summer months, and Amazon sells ‘Bunch O Balloons’, which allow you to fill and tie 105 water balloons in less than 60 seconds. I’m serious! Invite your child’s BFFs over for a playdate, gather the neighborhood kids together, or enjoy a family water balloon fight like we do. The possibilities are endless!

18. INVEST IN A WATER TABLE
If you’re looking for backyard activities for kids who are younger that can be enjoyed independently, consider purchasing a water table. I speak from experience when I say that this small purchase will keep your little ones occupied for hours during the hot weather months! There are tons of fun water table accessories you can buy to go with it for additional fun, like this fishing set and this toy boat set.

19. SPRAY BOTTLE FREEZE TAG
The last item on my list of favorite backyard activities for kids is spray bottle freeze tag. I found this idea on Kids Activities Blog last summer and it’s pure genius as it gets kids moving while also keeping them cool during the summer heat, and it’s super fun to play as a family!

I hope this list of backyard activities for kids inspires you to find new and creative ways to get outside and have fun with your little ones all year long!

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19 Backyard Activities for Kids | If you're looking for fun DIY yard games you can enjoy outdoors with your kids year-round, we've got 19 ideas to inspire you! Whether you have toddlers or kids in kindergarten or elementary school, we've got easy (and cheap!) ideas you can enjoy in spring, summer, fall, and winter. From obstacle courses, to water games, to old school birthday party games, to outdoor scavenger hunt ideas, there are so many things to do to burn energy when cabin fever sets in!

And if you’re looking for more ways to have fun with your children, please follow our Kids board where we share all kinds of great ideas we find each day!



Gwen
Gwen
Gwen is a 40-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 9-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.