We love us some outdoor fun and adventure. For some of us, that might not be much further than our backyard. For others, this means venturing out into nature to get moving and having fun as a family. Whatever you choose, there are plenty of games and outdoor activities that will make for a fun and lighthearted weekend.
Kids used to spend most of their free time playing outside after school. But with hundreds of TV stations, games and websites available at their fingertips, your children would probably be perfectly happy to spend their free time sitting still. These lifestyle changes can have a massive impact on our kids' physical and mental health. If you have multiple children, it can be challenging to find activities for different ages, so we’ve rounded up a bunch of activities you can do outside to help you find the perfect fit.
It may sound boring to some, but walking is one of the best forms of exercise that kids and their adult friends can get. It’s especially helpful for kids that are not used any form of physical exertion and for parents of any age and level of physical fitness.
Walking is a very general term and can include a lot of things. It can range from an easy stroll through your local park to hiking up a mountain. Kids as young as two can go out for a simple walk with a parent, but you should probably hold off on more ambitious hikes until your kids are five or six. Either way, it's a great opportunity to see the world, get in touch with nature and stay in shape. Walking and hiking can be beneficial for balance, coordination and leg strength, while building self-esteem, family bonding and creating environmental awareness.
If you want to spice up your walk to motivate your kids, you can combine the activity with a little mission. Depending on the season and location, you can pick flowers or try to find mushrooms. Or you can collect items like pinecones, sticks, shells and rocks that and put them in a decorative glass jar. Over time, the glass jar will be filled up with pieces of nature and family memories.
Pretty much every kid remembers learning how to ride a bike. You started off with training wheels and a parent holding the back of the bicycle seat. But soon enough, you were on your way. Maybe you biked to school every day or crossed through the woods in the afternoons. Whatever it was, it was probably your first experience of independence and freedom.
Besides being a lot of fun, bike riding is a great form of exercise. Kids can start on a plastic, three-wheel tricycle as young as age two. At five, parents can introduce a two-wheeler with training wheels. Once your child has mastered that, the training wheels can come off after a few months. For safety reasons, kids shouldn't ride multispeed bikes, mountain bikes or bikes with hand brakes before they're nine. Kids under the age of eight shouldn't be heading out into traffic by themselves. Try your driveway, the nearest pedestrian zone or bike paths through a park instead. Biking will improve their coordination, balance, cardiovascular fitness and leg strength, while building your kid’s self-esteem, discipline and a sense of community, especially once they start learning how to navigate traffic.
Once your kid has developed solid bike skills, you can go on bike tours through your favourite local park to get ice cream or tackle dirt paths in the woods. Just make sure to adjust your bike tour to the age and skill level of all family members to avoid disappointment. After a winter in the garage or basement, your bikes will probably need a good check.
Roller skating and rollerblading are still some of the most popular activities for kids today. If you’re worried about bruises and boo-boos, there’s plenty of amazing protective gear out there that will keep your kids safe when they’re zipping around on skates.
Kids with well-developed motor skills can generally start rollerblading as young as four or five years old. Before you invest in all the gear, it might be worth taking them to a lesson with a professional first. Ideally, they can provide the skates and protective gear for a first lesson. Protective gear should include a helmet, elbow pads, kneepads and wrist guards. Some basic skills to master include breaking and falling. There will be quite a bit of that, so it’s crucial to learn how to fall safely. If you're feeling brave, you can join your little ones. Skating is great for balance, coordination and muscle strength and it will give you and your kid a ton of self-esteem and freedom.
Flying kites is a great family activity, because it can be suitable for all ages, especially when you live near an open field or beach. Whether you want to build a kite yourself or get a high-tech one that you can assemble and steer with precision, it's always exciting to work in unison with nature, feel the wind on your arms and see the wonders of aerodynamics at work. Flying kites is great for coordination and will teach your children a lot about what humans and nature can accomplish when they work together.
Hide-and-Seek with Flashlights
This game is an exciting twist on classic hide-and-seek, and it works best if you have a backyard or a local park nearby. Wait until the sun sets and give each kid a flashlight to play hide and seek at dusk. This isn't for the faint of heart and is only suitable for kids from the age of seven or eight, but a great way to build self-esteem.
Few things are more fun on a hot day! What’s your weapon of choice: water balloon or water gun? If you want a more elaborate setup, you can build an obstacle course in your backyard or garden, with places to hide and duck for cover. For some friendly competition, why not invite the neighbours and create teams? Who can keep a dry spot on their body? It can be a great community-building exercise and spark your kid’s imagination. It's also great for hand-eye coordination and aim.
Wash the Car
Need we say more? Use a mild detergent and you can even do this with your littlest ones.