15 Free Outdoor Activities For Kids That Will Get You Out Of The House

If you are in need of a few free, outdoor activities for your kiddos, you’ve come to the right place!

This list will not only get you out of the house but will encourage your kid to keep exploring the world around them.

15. Adopt a Tree

This is a perfect opportunity to grab a group of kiddos to take a walk to your local park or forest. Have kids bring a notebook and pencil to take notes on which trees capture their attention and why. As you take a walk through the forestry, encourage the kids to observe the signs of winter on and around the tree. A bonus idea? Have them sketch their favorite tree when it’s time for a snack break for the kids.

14. Ice Painting

All you need for this activity is food coloring from the pantry! Grab a few ice cubes from the freezer (or safely procure a few icicles from your own property) and toss them in a plastic container. Squeeze a few drops of food coloring onto the ice, hand over your kids a few paintbrushes from their art bin, and BOOM! A magical art project that will keep them entertained for quite some time. Sit out on the sidewalk and let them paint their creations for the neighborhood, or have them sit on the porch and paint on construction paper.

13. Pinecone Bird Feeder

Create a pinecone birdfeeder to learn more about all the different types of birds that stay in your area. This does require purchasing birdseed, which is a few bucks but can easily be substituted with fruit from your fridge! Start by tying a string around the pinecone. Then mix peanut butter with cornmeal and oats. Use a spoon, or your fingers, to spread the mixture onto the pinecones. Finally, pour some birdseed onto a plate and roll the peanut butter-covered pinecones in the seed until they are completely covered. Hang the pinecone birdfeeders in a tree and watch the birds (and squirrels!) as they visit.

12. Hot Chocolate By The Fire

Ah, a classic cup of cocoa in the gorgeous winter snow! All you need is a few Swiss Miss packets and a couple of mugs to make this cozy memory. If you have a fire pit and wood, treat your kiddos to late afternoon fire where you share stories while sipping on warm and delicious cocoa. Be sure to bundle up and bring plenty of blankets!

11. Create A Nature Collage Book

Creating a nature collage book is great fun for all ages. Go on a walk either at your local park, forest or backyard and ask your kids to collect twigs, leaves, and rocks that they want to add to their collage. Bring along some colored pencils and have them draw a tree or any winter animals that they find. Have them write down observations of the objects next to their pictures. How do they smell? How big are they? What do they feel like? When you get back inside, have your kids discuss their discoveries and talk about the object that excited them the most. 

10. Plant Bulbs

If you have a green thumb, this activity is for you! And while this activity is not 100% free, bulbs can be purchased for an affordable $10 or so for a pack. Be sure to first clear away snow and loosen soil, if possible. Next, scratch in bulb fertilizer, followed by placing the bulbs on top of soil. Last but not least, Cover with 2-4 inches of aged mulch or finished compost. For a more in-depth how-to, click here!

9. Sledding

Sledding – a classic winter activity that will bring heaps of laughter and plenty of smiles!

“We always have a blast going sledding at local hills for free or sometimes even in our yard. We have sleds that have lasted for a few years now that our kids love,” Buffalo, New York-based Alice Anderson, founder of the pregnancy and parenting website Mommy to Mom, tells Parents. “We each fill a thermos with hot chocolate made from home and grab some snacks to bring for when we take a break.”

8. Tracking Wildlife

This activity is a fun option if your little explorer is curious about the world. Be animal detectives for a day and go outside hunting for wildlife tracks. Together, you can solve the mystery of “Who made those tracks?” which can also help kids with their observation skills. “Clues” you can look for are prints, feather marks, and yes, even scat. And before you go, make sure to rent out a tracking book from your local library so as you and your little one adventure on, the two of you can check which critter left what mark.

7. Snowman & Snow Angels

You can’t go wrong with creating a snowman or snow angels! This is a simple activity into which you can bring your creativity into! Try making a family of snowmen and use a range of accessories like sunglasses, ties, and maybe even a silly hat! The sky is the limit. And when it comes to creating snow angels, time your kiddos to see how many they can make in under a minute.

6. Volunteering

This activity truly costs nothing but absolutely means everything. Volunteering not only teaches kids empathy but also directly helps others in need in your community.

Fo Alexander, certified personal finance educator (CFEI) and founder of Mama & Money, a personal finance platform for moms, tells Parents. “You can spend time serving food at a local soup kitchen, playing with puppies at a shelter, organizing a winter clothes drive, or even donating their pre-loved toys to kids in need,” says Alexander. “Whatever you choose to do, know that you’re teaching your kids how to be positive world citizens.”

5. Free Days At The Zoo

A brisk walk through the zoo can be entertaining for both parents and kids alike! Be sure to check with your local zoo’s website to see if they have any free days. If not, be sure to check in with your local library as they may have some deals as well.

4. Bird Watching

An activity that can be done from just about anywhere, it’s a perfect opportunity to play “I Spy” as the birds fly in and out. In addition, it can also be a very peaceful activity where you as a family, you watch the birds flutter on by.

3. Photo Walk

Grab your family camera or purchase a few, low-cost disposable cameras and take a walk in your backyard, local forestry or park. Be sure to encourage your little ones to take a photo of things that fascinate them as they walk through mother nature.

2. Build A Snow Obstacle Course

If your kiddo has a lot of energy to burn, this activity is for you! An obstacle course can be crafted out of snow or a few summer items from the garage! A hula hoop, a rope, and even pool noodles can be used in this outdoor race!

1. Hiking

When in doubt, walk it out! Find your local forestry, pack up some trail mix and hit the ground walkin’. Your kiddos will not only get in some exercise, but you’ll all be able to soak in the sites!


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