Go Outdoors! Free Ideas to Get Kids Outside

chalkIt’s almost time for National GO Day (Go Outdoors Day)! We are excited to be part of the GO Day event at the Dunes Learning Center in Indiana. (You could win a free copy of our new book, We Love Nature, if you happen to be in that area!) Then it got us to thinking about events, summer and getting kids active in general. We believe it should NOT cost a lot of money to keep kids active and happy this summer. So here’s our top 21 list of summer activities you can do for free! (Free as in using items you probably have hanging around your house anyway!)

  1. Have fun with chalk. We like the “chalk hammock” personally (as demonstrated by Ken).
  2. Go watch the baby geese or ducks. They’re everywhere. No need to feed ’em. Just watch.
  3. Invent your own game for the CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year. Your kid (6-12) could win $10,000.
  4. Turn on the sprinkler. Get the adults to romp through it to. Guaranteed it’ll put a smile on your face.
  5. Try a photo scavenger hunt. It’s like a regular scavenger hunt, plus you take photos of the items on your list.
  6. Make your own bubble solution with our simple recipe. It’s fun and easy.
  7. Go on a bug hunt. Get our those magnifying glasses and discover something new.
  8. Enjoy a night of star gazing. Completely free, and perfect for summer!
  9. Catch fireflies. When do start seeing them light up in your area?
  10. Make your own popsicles. Yep, we have a recipe for that, too, on our site.
  11. Go to a free show at your local park. Many have free movie nights, family nights, etc.
  12. Set up a tent. You don’t have to go camping to have fun in a tent. Pretend its your super hero headquarters or schoolhouse.
  13. Create your own backyard obstacle course. Time all the competitors to see who can go through it the fastest.
  14. Bike somewhere. When you have a destination (library, ice cream stand, friend’s house), it’s even more fun.
  15. Walk the dog. If you don’t have one, borrow one. You’ll make that dog so happy!
  16. Play a game of “Follow the Leader Hiking.” It’s just like it sounds. You go on a hike AND take turns leading.
  17. Make mud pies. This never gets old. And when it gets hot, you can cool your feet in the mud.

Do you have a GO Day in your area? Be sure to check out the GO Day website for participating locations.

Stacy is a gardener, birder, and naturalist, and the author of nearly 10 books, including The Kids' Outdoor Adventure Book, The Secret Lives of Animals, Project Garden, and 101 Plants You Can't Kill.

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