Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities For Active Lifestyles

There are plenty of family-friendly outdoor activities for kids of all ages. You can start with the basics like a nature walk or creek stomping, a bug hunt with a clipboard and paper or a photo safari.

Team activities like capture the flag help build cooperation skills while letting kids have a little friendly competition. Other great team-oriented outdoor activities include a community bike wash and paintball.

Exploring Nature Trails Together

Hiking is a great family activity that helps kids develop an appreciation of the natural world and strengthens their endurance. It also encourages them to observe their surroundings, apply undivided attention and recollect information they gather on the trail.

To make your hikes more engaging and educational, try a nature scavenger hunt. Before the hike, work together to create a checklist of items that kids can find in nature, such as leaves or animal tracks. You can even take the list one step further and turn it into a journal.

If your kids need a little extra encouragement to keep going on a long hike, invite a friend or another family along. It’ll give them someone to challenge and talk with while keeping them motivated to complete the trail. You can also play games to pump-up your family’s energy and encourage them to get more involved.

“Fun and Fitness in Parks and Playgrounds

Getting kids involved in physical activities that improve their heart health, muscle strength and agility can be as simple as visiting your local playground. Running, playing tag and climbing on the playground equipment are low-cost outdoor activities that provide plenty of fun for children of all ages.

Other inexpensive, family-friendly outdoor activities include hiking, biking or nature walks. Exploring scenic outdoor locations can help reduce stress levels for the entire family and boost moods for everyone.

Other enjoyable, free-to-play outdoor activities include playing croquet, paper airplanes and hopscotch. Organizing a friendly competition on who can build the best sandcastle is another fun outdoor activity that allows children to get creative and exercise their muscles. For a unique experience that offers both active and relaxing elements, try taking the family on a kayak trip down a river. Taking a leisurely stroll while viewing the wildlife below will make for some wonderful memories as well.

Cycling Adventures for All Ages

For adventurous families, cycle tours offer an incredible opportunity to explore new lands and immerse themselves in local culture. Cycle tour operators that cater to families typically have an array of cycling options suited to the ages and abilities of all family members, including children’s bikes, trailers, and seats.

If you’re planning a cycling adventure with young kids, choose routes with minimal car traffic (rail trails and paved bike paths are excellent options). It’s also a good idea to bring along extra snacks and water in case the ride takes longer than anticipated.

Delinda Hood has been leading Adventure Cycling tours since 2016 and loves the shared comradery that comes with this form of travel. Her favorite tour experience was her self-contained Route 66 trip, though she says her dream tour would be one without a specific destination. When she’s not on the road, she enjoys clementines and a good pushover.

Water-based Excursions and Aquatic Fun

Water activities are fun and provide children with a chance to get some vestibular movement in a safe and supervised setting. These movements help kids develop sensory processing abilities that they can later apply to land-based activities.

A classic ocean activity, beach rock pools (or tidepools) can keep kids occupied for hours as they search for crabs, snails and other sea creatures. They also get a close-up look at the amazing world beneath the surface of the ocean.

For something a little more active, try body surfing or even boogie boarding on the waves at your local beach. There are also a number of water-based excursions that can be arranged for school groups. In Skien, for example, students can learn about maritime history by exploring the wavy waters of the Telemark Canal aboard MS Telemarken.

Gardening and Outdoor Projects Together

Kids can make an outdoor arts and crafts project fun by using natural materials, like leaves, twigs, and flowers. They can also make nature collages by painting and drawing on a large piece of paper or canvas. It’s important to choose a sunny day for these activities, as kids will need plenty of sun to dry their creations.

Family gardening is a great way to bond while learning about plants and how they grow. Whether they are planting vegetables, herbs or their favorite flower, children will love seeing their hard work pay off over time. You can even encourage them to attract wildlife by creating simple bird feeders or a hummingbird garden.

If you’re looking for a way to get active as a family while having some friendly competition, try a friendly game of a hula hoop-off or an obstacle course, or a basketball free-throw competition. A good old fashioned water fight with some super soakers is always a winner, too!


Spending time outdoors with your kids is one of the best ways to keep your family healthy, happy and connected. The benefits of fun outdoor activities for children extend far beyond boosting their coordination and social skills.

Take your kiddos on a nature walk to observe the natural world around them, or add a scavenger hunt element to a simple outdoor adventure. If your budding biologist is fascinated by creepy-crawlies, turn a simple nature walk into a bug hunting experience that will support their observational skills.

If the weather is brisk, pack up some kites and head to an open field for a game of classic kite flying. This is a great way to let your kids release their energy, challenge each other and have fun. This outdoor activity also encourages ‘risky play,’ which is an important part of a child’s development and allows them to develop their resilience in the face of challenges.

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