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Outdoor Activities for Kids

Looking to get your kids out of the house and off their devices to rediscover the world outside? Read here why that’s a smart idea. Plus, explore our list of outdoor activities for kids so we can help you plan an incredible summer!

Why Should Kids Play Outside?

Nowadays, between phones, tablets, smart TVs, and gaming consoles, indoor entertainment is endless. Sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into our screens and neglect the outside world. But there are infinite opportunities for fun outdoors, too! Plus, outside activities offer some additional benefits that you can’t get inside the house.

The benefits of being outside are many, and spending time outdoors can be amazingly advantageous for people of every age! But playing outside is an important part of childhood, and for good reason. Outdoor play benefits kids in the following ways:

  • Promoting physical health: Outdoor activities often involve some form of physical exercise, which always provides fantastic health benefits. Time spent soaking up the sun also helps our bodies produce Vitamin D.

  • Boosting mental health: Studies have shown that interaction with nature leads to impactful psychological benefits. Outdoor activities can help reduce stress, restore focus and attention, combat depression, and promote faster mental healing.

  • Encouraging imagination, creativity, and curiosity: When kids play outside, new stimulations and experiences contribute to healthy development. These experiences also foster curiosity and create questions, encouraging children to examine the science of the world around them. Nature is also known to nurture creativity, boost confidence, and inspire imagination.

Fun Outdoor Activities

If you want to get those benefits of outdoor activities for you and your kids, it’s time to head outside! Here are some awesome activities that are fun for the whole family!

Outdoor Games and Sports

You can’t go wrong with the classics! Some of the best games to play outside are timeless: hide and seek; red light, green light; scavenger hunts; or good old pretend games. Games adapted for your backyard, such as Lawn Twister, can also be a great hit!

Sports are also a perfect option for outdoor play, and inherently promote more physical activity. There are countless choices here, creating a great opportunity to tailor your activities to the interests of your kids and family. Some ideas for outdoor sports include:

  • Frisbee

  • Baseball

  • Soccer

  • Volleyball

  • Bocce ball

  • Basketball

  • Tennis

  • Disc golf

Arts and Crafts

Move your arts and crafts from the kitchen table to the great outdoors! Making art is a ton of fun for children, and doing it out in nature can add another level of excitement, creativity, and enjoyment. You and your child can tackle crafts such as:

  • Sidewalk chalk

  • Woodwork (bird houses, wind chimes, and more)

  • Crayon rubbings of leaves and flowers

  • Kites

  • Miniature boats

  • Flower crowns

  • Rock painting

Community Events

Keep tabs on local events for some fun (and sometimes free!) outside activities for kids! Organizations in your area may host events like movies in the park, bike parades, live shows, festivals, and more.

Water Activities

Take the family to your nearest beach, lake, or river for some on-the-water fun! Kids can enjoy a wide variety of water activities such as boogie boarding, paddle boarding, tubing, and swimming. You can also set up an inflatable pool or slip ‘n’ slide in the backyard to bring aquatic fun to you.

Nature Exploration

Get out in nature to let your kids explore the outdoors! Whether they’re traversing the furthest reaches of a National Park or your own backyard, they’ll love the opportunity to explore. Some great nature-based activities include:

  • Walks and hikes

  • Geocaching

  • Gardening

  • Picnics

  • Nature journals and observations

  • Camping or backyard camping

Camps for Kids

Finally, organized camps offer some of the best outdoor activities for kids. They’re specifically planned with children in mind and can combine so many of the benefits we talked about earlier—and more! Camps not only provide kids with time outside, but also introduce them to new social groups and teach them life skills.

Camps can also be incredible spaces for growth and healing, like Camp HOPE, which serves trauma-exposed youth. Here at Crisis House, we’re the San Diego affiliate for Camp HOPE America. We run a week-long camp in San Diego that helps youth exposed to trauma and domestic violence find pathways to hope and healing through an innovative camping and year-round mentoring program.

Our devoted team at Crisis House is passionate about fostering a safe, hope-driven community for campers and their families through coordinating a week of camp, followed by monthly activities exposing youth to different areas of interest such as nature, arts, and STEM to spark career goals and develop pathways to achieve those goals. Our youth and their family's pathways to healing and hope are at no cost to them. Participants are supported through donations and support like yours.

Last month, our leaders took kids kayaking in La Jolla, and in the first two weeks of August, they’ll be taking 55 campers to Camp Marston in Julian! We’re thrilled to provide these wonderful experiences and to help break harmful cycles of violence and build hope for a brighter future. If you’d like to help renew lives, consider sponsoring a child or volunteering with us!

At Crisis House, we’re leaders in critical services in East County, San Diego, administering programs for individuals and families experiencing domestic violence and homelessness. See our impact and help us reach those in need by donating or volunteering today! You can also sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop as we work to connect families, children, and individuals to crucial resources. Together, we can stop the cycle of domestic violence, child abuse, and homelessness, and empower people to renew their lives!

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