Feeling cooped up inside? Yeah, us too sometimes. Especially over the last year or two!
If you’re struggling to get your kids away from the video games or just simply feeling a little bored, there are tons of super fun activities that you can do with your kids in the backyard to get them outside and having fun.
Exploring in the backyard is not only a lot of fun, but is also great to get your kids some exercise, learn about the outdoors, and soak up some good ole vitamin D!
Here are our favorite creative backyard activities for kids. We’ve organized them by the play features you may have in your backyard and added tons of other DIY projects and games at the end too. Let us know what you think! Do you have any other activities that you and your kids love? Send us a message and we’ll add it to the list. Happy exploring!
- On the playset
- In the sandbox
- On the jungle gym
- In the treehouse
- On the trampoline
- In the bounce house
- On the bike, scooter, or electric car
- Other fun games
- Other DIY projects
On The Playset
Have a playset or swing set in your backyard? Try these activities.
Adventure Role Play
Your playset is the perfect setting for your kids to go on a grand adventure. Are they explorers coming across new lands? Pirates? Train robbers? Set the scene for them and let their imaginations run wild!
Monkey Bar Hanging Contest
If you have monkey bars on your playset, a hanging contest is a fun way to get your kids to challenge each other and work in some fitness too. See which one can outlast the other and record your longest times to keep track of your backyard world records!
Monkey Bar Pull Ups
Okay, now we’re getting into more fitness. See how many pull ups your kids can do on the monkey bars and track their progress over time! Kids are so competitive that they will want to beat their own records again and again.
If you have dual slides, see who can get down the slide the fastest! Incorporate some fun props like a potato sack to speed up or have your kids do funny poses as they go down the slide to capture some great photos.
Nothing beats a classic game of tag and your playset offers the perfect setting for it. Watch your kids have so much fun as they run through the slides, ramps, swings, and other play accessories trying to tag each other.
Your playset is also a natural obstacle course! Design a “course” for your kids to go over, under, around, and through all the different elements of the playset and time their laps. Whoever has the fastest time wins!
This one is a mainstay for any playset with swings on it. See how high your kids can swing or how far they can jump off the swing (provided there is a safe landing zone of course).
Have your kids channel their inner Simone Biles and hold a backyard gymnastics contest! You can use the monkey bars, balance beam, and of course the soft grass in your yard to have a super fun afternoon at the Olympics.
Super Soaker Battle
Hot outside? Nothing beats a good ole fashioned water gun battle! Load up the super soakers and go to town with your kids on the playset. You can give them shields too and whoever soaks the other one gets a point!
The playset can still be fun in the winter too provided you are taking care of it. If it’s a winter wonderland outside, have a snowball fight on the playset! You can play king or queen of the castle and have one kid occupy the playset while the others battle to overtake the kingdom with snowballs.
In The Sandbox
Exploring in the sandbox can bring a kid’s imagination to life. Here are some of our favorite activities.
Build a Sandcastle
This activity seems like a no brainer. But, you can get really creative with it too! See who can construct the most beautiful sandcastle and have your neighbors come over and be the judges.
The sandbox is a natural construction site. Grab a few toy dump trucks and start hauling, digging, and building your own little town! You can even have a big pile of rocks or gravel next to the sandbox to act as the stone yard.
Mine for “Gold”
Grab a little toy sifter or one from the kitchen and pour sand through it to pan for “gold.” You can even bury small toys, rocks, or other fun surprises for your kids to find on their own. Your kids will love the thrill of finding a cool rock or something else that you planted.
On The Jungle Gym
If you have a jungle gym in your backyard, there are so many possibilities for adventure games and obstacle course combinations. It all really depends on which play elements you have on your jungle gym.
If you have bars, have a hanging contest!
If you have a balance beam, try hosting a race across or who can knock the other person off first!
There are so many possibilities with jungle gyms, try designing your own obstacle course too.
In The Treehouse
Treehouses and forts are where imaginations run wild. Here are some super fun ideas to get you started.
Your kids are a crew of pirates who have just overtaken the largest ship in the Caribbean! Explore from the top of the fort, have pretend sword fights, and talk with funny accents – your kids will have so much fun!
If you have a sliding pole in your treehouse, this is the perfect opportunity to pretend you are firefighters answering the call of duty! Slide down the pole and have the hose ready to put out a pretend fiery blaze on the side of your garage or house.
The treehouse is just the right setting for stargazing at night. Even if you don’t have a telescope, head out there and try to point out all the constellations you can. Your kids will love learning about the stars.
Lunch time? Plan a picnic in the fort or treehouse! Grab a basket, blanket, and lots of other goodies to eat outside and enjoy the sunshine.
On The Trampoline
Trampolines are so much fun for kids to jump around on and burn some energy.
See how high each of your kids can jump! Remember to be safe and just have one child on the trampoline at a time during an activity like this.
Monkey In The Middle
“Monkey in the middle” is a really fun game for kids to play on the trampoline because the person in the middle can jump to try and intercept the ball! It makes the game a lot tougher and a whole lot more fun. If you’re unfamiliar with this game, check out the rules here.
Throw some balls onto the trampoline and pretend they are hot lava! When your kids start jumping around the balls will go flying everywhere and you have to jump to avoid touching them. This game is really fun and you can keep adding more balls to make it even harder. Here’s a video on how to play.
“Bombs away” is another fun trampoline game for you and your kids to play together. All you need is a ball! Stand outside the trampoline, yell “bombs away!” and throw the ball inside the trampoline safety net, and the first kid to get hit three times by the ball loses. Here’s a quick video demo.
Four Corners is a classic game and really fun for kids to play on the trampoline. Have one person be “it”, cover their eyes and count to 10 in the middle of the trampoline, then everyone else goes to a corner of the trampoline. After the counter reaches the number 10, they point to a corner and all of the kids hiding in that corner are out of the game! The last person left in the game wins. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to play.
Read our article on fun trampoline games for more ideas!
In The Bounce House
Have a bounce house or renting one for a big party? Try these fun games.
Marco Polo gets turned up a notch when you play inside a bounce house. That’s because the seeker can feel other people moving around! Your kids will dive, duck, jump, and maneuver all around the bounce house to avoid getting tagged and have a lot of fun doing it.
Speaking of tag, this game is also a lot of fun inside the bounce house. It’s close quarters so the person who is “it” changes frequently and keeps the game really fun and entertaining for all of the kids.
The bounce house is a pretty safe place to wrestle, so suit up! There are cool sumo suits you can buy or you can just strap some pillows around your kids to simulate a sumo match. Just remember to establish the ground rules beforehand!
On The Bike, Scooter, or Electric Car
Outside of going for a ride around the neighborhood, there are some cool games that your kids can play with each other and friends.
Use cones or other markers to make a course through the backyard and driveway and have time trials for each of your kids. See who can beat who and track their progress over time!
Cops and Robbers
Cops and robbers is a really fun game of chase that is even more fun on something like your bike or electric ride-on car. Have your kids switch up roles after they catch each other and you can even create a pair of fake handcuffs to stick your kids in “jail” in the garage or corner of the yard!
Other Fun Games
Try these creative games too in your yard! Your kids will love them.
Freeze tag helps promote cooperation and getting your kids better at listening to directions. It is also a lot of fun! You can play this game in the open area of your backyard or around your playset or other fun backyard elements. If it’s been a while since you’ve played freeze tag, here are the rules.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is always a lot of fun for kids and parents to play around the backyard. Especially if you have a lot of trees or other things you can hide around!
Four square is a great driveway game that gets your kids moving and helps them practice their hand-eye coordination and thinking skills. And you can play with more than four people too! Just have the rest of your family and friends waiting in line to get subbed in when someone hits the line or goes out of bounds. Here are the rules.
If you have some sidewalk chalk handy, hopscotch is a great game to get your kids’ creative juices flowing and get them active. Design different square combinations, obstacles, and “courses” to increase difficulty and creativity.
Sharks and Minnows
Sharks and minnows is a great game for large groups of kids. Have a few designated sharks who stand in the middle of the yard and the rest of the minnows try and cross to the other side of the yard without getting tagged. If they do get tagged, those minnows become sharks. You can also play with soccer balls to make it even more challenging! Here is more on how to play.
Wizards, Trolls, and Goblins
This is a really fun game that is basically a mix of “rock, paper, scissors” and tag. Sounds fun, right? Here’s a video on how to play.
Australian Rules Kickball
Play some kickball…but backwards! Australian rules means you run the bases backwards which introduces a fun and silly element to a classic game that your kids will love.
If you have a big yard, dodgeball is always a fun game to break out. Spice up the rules with catches to get players back in and give out awards for the best catch or throw after the game! Remember to use softer balls too so you don’t nail anyone in the head with a basketball or something.
Potato Sack Race
Races are always fun to have in the backyard and racing from one end to the other in a potato sack makes it a whole lot more interesting. Bring this state fair game to your backyard and your kids will love it.
Playing outside is all about exploring and nothing gets kids exploring more than a good ole scavenger hunt. Make a big list of things to spot in the yard, tasks to do, and items to find. Incorporate riddles and clues to exercise your kids’ minds too. The first kid to finish wins!
Identify the Wildlife
Nature is full of so may interesting plants, animals, and phenomena. Explore around the backyard with your kids and try to identify all of the wildlife around you! You can use a mobile app like PlantSnap to help identify plants that have you stumped.
Other DIY Projects
Itching to start a new project in the yard? These DIY builds are a lot of fun to experience with your kids and even more fun when you’re all done.
Build Your Own Obstacle Course
Sure, it’s fun to design an obstacle course around your playset or jungle gym. But designing your own obstacle course with random stuff from around the yard and house? Now that is a lot of fun. Use old tires to run through, build a slackline to walk across, or line up some stones to jump across the yard. The possibilities are really endless.
Plant a Garden
While this activity is a bit more tame, it is equally or even more rewarding. Teach your kids how to build a garden and care for plants. Before you know it, you’ll have some lovely flowers or some delicious herbs and tomatoes to incorporate in your next meal.
Hopefully these ideas have sparked some creativity of your own and inspired your kids to go have some fun outside. Have any other ideas? Drop us a line.
For even more inspiration, read our list of kids’ backyard ideas and kids’ small backyard ideas that involve everything from play equipment to fun DIY ideas.