21 Fun And Easy Outdoor Activities For 5-10-Year-Olds To Try

Karen Gordon
May 02, 2024 By Karen Gordon
Originally Published on Mar 07, 2024
Edited by Anusuya Mukherjee
Fact-checked by Joan Agie
A mix of families engaged in joyful outdoor activities.

Outdoor activities are not just pastimes for children but are crucial for their all-round growth. Including outdoor recreation in their routine provides a harmony of physical exercise, sensory stimulation, and pure delight. In a digital era where screen time is increasing, introducing children to the pleasures of the great outdoors is essential for their rounded development.

Through outdoor activities, children learn to appreciate nature's splendor and hone life skills that the classroom can't impart. The sheer variety of no-prep activities means that every day can introduce a new adventure, catering to different interests and energy levels of kids aged five to ten years old.

Engagement in outdoor play nurtures a unique blend of appreciation for the outdoor environment and the development of pivotal life skills. It provides children with a canvas to paint their adventures, whether in the totality of their backyard or within the communal spirit of local parks and biking trails.

Each setting offers a fresh palette for outdoor fun and learning.

The convenience of no-prep activities encourages even the busiest families to integrate these healthy habits into their lifestyles. This fosters a family culture where the great outdoors is seen as an expansive playground and a vital teacher for children.

Unstructured Outdoor Play

Parents and children enjoy playful moments together outdoors, emphasizing the joy of outdoor activities

Encouraging kids to play outdoors is one of the simplest, yet most beneficial activities for their physical and mental development. Outdoor play doesn't require elaborate preparation; it's about letting kids use their imagination to create games in a natural setting. This freedom helps enhance their social, gross, and fine motor skills.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a fantastic outdoor activity that offers a unique way to engage with the natural environment. Not only is it excellent physical exercise, but it can also improve balance and boost mental health.

With equestrian centers providing guided tours, riders at different levels can safely enjoy this dynamic form of outdoor recreation. Also, it fosters a special bond between rider and horse, enriching the experience with a sense of companionship and mutual trust.

Bike Around Your Neighborhood

Parents guide their child in biking through a suburban neighborhood, embodying the essence of family outdoor activities

Biking trails can be found in almost every community and are a fun way for kids to gain confidence in their physical abilities. Biking also promotes independence and is a cool activity to enjoy on a hot day, just remember to bring plenty of water!

In addition, cycling paths offer a scenic escape, allowing young riders to explore and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them.

Visit An Amusement Park Or Play Mini Golf

For those looking for more structured fun, visiting an amusement park or playing a round of mini golf can provide a full day of entertainment. These activities allow for family bonding and are a fantastic way for the whole family to engage in the joy of the great outdoors.

Plus, they cater to a range of ages, making them ideal for family members of all stages.

Explore The Local Or National Park

A visit to the local or national park offers ample opportunities for unstructured play and organized nature activities. From educational programs to simply observing wildlife, parks are a treasure trove for young explorers.

Not only do park visits encourage physical activity, but they also open the door to environmental awareness and a deeper appreciation for the natural world's diversity and beauty.

Create An Obstacle Course In Your Backyard

Children navigate a backyard obstacle course with parents' help, celebrating family fun in outdoor activities.

Setting up an obstacle course is a great way for kids to test their physical capabilities and have outdoor fun. You can use everyday items like chairs and ropes, using elements that will challenge their gross motor skills.

This setup not only encourages healthy competition and physical fitness but also sparks creativity as kids navigate and improvise through the varied course elements.

Stargazing: Explore The Night Sky

On a clear evening, there's nothing quite like looking up at the night sky. This awe-inspiring outdoor activity can spark an interest in astronomy and provide precious moments for children to spend time with family while breathing in the fresh air.

The stars also offer a natural show that can inspire deeper conversations about the universe and our place within it.

Paddle Sports: Canoeing, Kayaking, And Paddleboarding

For those near water, paddle sports can introduce children to new kinds of physical exercise in a natural setting. It's a peaceful way to explore the environment and can be an exciting experience for the entire family. It cultivates teamwork, coordination, and a connection with the aquatic environment, enriching the outdoor experience with each stroke of the paddle.

Whitewater Rafting

For the more adventurous families, whitewater rafting is an exhilarating activity that combines physical activity with the thrill of navigating rapids. Guided tours are available to ensure safety while offering an unforgettable outdoor experience.

This robust activity not only pumps up the heart rate but also strengthens bonds and fosters a collective sense of achievement as families navigate the thrilling river waters together.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Three children participate in a scavenger hunt in a park, showcasing the joy of outdoor activities

Construct a basic checklist consisting of ordinary nature items one might encounter outdoors, such as a smooth stone, a pinecone, or a feather, and encourage children to embark on a treasure hunt to locate these objects.

This straightforward and engaging activity not only fosters children's observational prowess but also fuels their innate desire to explore and discover the wonders around them.

It's a practical and delightful approach that marries discovery with learning, while the children immerse themselves in the joy of exploration.

Shadow Tag

Shadow tag offers a playful twist on the classic game of tag by having players aim to 'tag' their peers by stepping on their shadows instead. This inventive version not only enlivens the traditional game but also adds a layer of strategy that's ideally suited for bright, sunny days when shadows are most distinct.

It’s a creative way to engage children, encouraging them to think and move quickly in a fun, active challenge.

Sidewalk Chalk Art

Sidewalks and driveways can transform into canvases for children's creativity when armed with chalk. They can unleash their artistic side by crafting vibrant artwork, scribing playful messages, or sketching hopscotch grids that double as a blueprint for active play.

This simple activity not only fosters artistic expression but also encourages physical movement and social interaction as children share and display their colorful masterpieces.

Park Clean-Up Race

Family participates in park cleanup, blending environmental care with fun outdoor activities.

Challenge children to see who can collect the most litter within a specified timeframe. Arm them with gloves and bags, and maintain careful supervision to ensure safety.

This activity instills a sense of environmental responsibility and a connection to the community's well-being. Also, it initiates a conversation about the impact of waste and the importance of maintaining clean, green spaces for all.

Bug Hunt

Motivate children to carefully catch and then release insects, giving them a magnifying glass for an up-close examination. This hands-on activity cultivates a sense of wonder for the uniqueness of the natural world, instills respectful insect-handling practices, and underscores the value of life in all its forms.

It’s an interactive way to deepen their understanding of biodiversity and the role small creatures play in our ecosystem.

Leaf Rubbings

Guide children in creating leaf rubbings by placing foliage beneath paper and shading the surface with crayons or pencils to expose the intricate shapes and vein patterns of the leaves.

This easy and enjoyable art activity bridges the gap between creative expression and natural exploration, allowing kids to discover the delicate details of plant life while crafting their own botanical art.

It’s a tactile way to appreciate the diversity of leaves and can lead to further discussions about the different types of trees and plants around them.

Cloud Watching

Children lying on a hill, gazing at the sky, embody the simplicity and joy of outdoor activities

Invite kids to recline on the grass and gaze up at the drifting clouds, inspiring them to harness their creativity as they point out various shapes and figures in the sky. This tranquil pastime not only stimulates imaginative thinking but also serves as a subtle educational moment to converse about meteorology and the different cloud formations.

It's a serene way to cultivate observational skills and instill a sense of wonder at the vastness and beauty of the Earth's atmosphere.

Garden Helper

Engage children in gardening by letting them tend to the plants, be it through watering, weeding, or sowing seeds. Such participation is not only a hands-on method of learning about the lifecycle of plants but also instills a sense of responsibility toward nurturing living organisms.

Additionally, this interaction fosters an appreciation for sustainability and how cultivating your own food can benefit both your health and the environment.

Flashlight Tag

Transform evening playtime with a game where 'it' wields a flashlight to 'tag' others in the cloak of night. This version of tag is ideal for those long summer nights, promoting vigorous outdoor play that enhances coordination and quick thinking. It brings an added dimension of excitement and challenge as players navigate the playful shadows under the starlit sky.

Nature Walk Bingo

Before heading out, quickly draw or list items commonly seen in your area (such as squirrel, red flower, pine tree, creek, bird nest) on a piece of paper to create a 'bingo' card. Each child gets their card, and as you walk through your neighborhood or a local park, they can mark off the items they spot.

The first one to get a complete row wins. This activity encourages observational skills and makes a simple walk more engaging.

Rock Balancing

Children balancing rocks on a riverbank, showcasing concentration and joy in outdoor activities.

Challenge children to find and stack rocks to create towers. This can be done in any outdoor area where rocks are abundant.

Rock balancing requires concentration and patience, and it helps develop fine motor skills and a sense of balance. It also teaches children about the physical properties of different shapes and sizes, and it can be a very calming, zen-like activity for energetic kids.


How can I encourage my children to engage in outdoor activities more often?

Start by making outdoor time a part of your family’s routine, and choose activities that the whole family can enjoy. Show your enthusiasm for the great outdoors, and your kids will likely follow suit.

Are there outdoor activities suitable for kids on a hot day?

Absolutely! Activities such as swimming, paddle sports, or even setting up a sprinkler in the backyard can be refreshing and fun ways to keep cool while staying active.

How can outdoor activities benefit my child's mental health?

Being in a natural environment can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase attention span. Outdoor activities also foster a sense of freedom, creativity, and improved social interactions.

No matter the choice of outdoor activity, the ultimate goal is to get kids moving, learning, and having fun. Whether it’s through outdoor play in your own backyard or engaging in activities like paddle sports or horseback riding, the health benefits and joy that come from spending time in the great outdoors are immeasurable.

It's up to you as caregivers to provide these opportunities for your children and join them in creating lasting memories.

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Written by Karen Gordon

Bachelor of Arts specializing in History and Politics, NCTJ Postgraduate Magazine Journalism - PTC accreditation

Karen Gordon picture

Karen GordonBachelor of Arts specializing in History and Politics, NCTJ Postgraduate Magazine Journalism - PTC accreditation

With a passion for creative and engaging content, Karen is a skilled writer and editor with a bachelor's degree in History and Politics from Queen Mary, University of London, and a postgraduate degree in Magazine Journalism from Harlow College. She thrives in fast-paced environments and has a talent for producing high-quality content across various topics. Karen holds a degree in history and politics and a postgraduate qualification in journalism, which have equipped her with the necessary skills to write compelling news, wellness, and health-related articles.

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Fact-checked by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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