Despite what you may have seen on social media, making truly epic memories doesn’t require travel, stress, or expensive supplies.
In fact, many of life’s best memories will be made simply and stress-free, right in your own backyard.
They’re the peaceful early-morning breakfasts on the porch and the late-night board games under the stars. They’re the firefly catching, the s’mores making, and most importantly, they’re the people that make these moments shine.
Below you’ll discover simple but fun things to do outside in your backyard that will spark wonder in your kids and effortlessly bring your family together to create the smiles and laughter of a lifetime.
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Fun Things to Do Outside in Your Own Backyard
1. Investigate with a Magnifying Glass
Everything looks new and exciting up close, including flowers, bugs, rocks, leaves, and more! Observing things in a new way will also help your kids to build crucial scientific reasoning skills.
2. Go on a Treasure Hunting Adventure
Whether young or old, everyone loves the idea of discovering buried treasure. Bring the fantasy to life with a fun backyard hunt.
Simply bury a small trinket in your backyard or place it under a rock or flower pot. Then draw a map and let your kids try to find it.
Alternatively, you can do this activity scavenger-hunt style. For this method, you will write a list of clues and hide them all over your yard. Each clue will lead your kids to the next clue.
For example, one clue may be “Your next clue will make you laugh, find it where birds take a bath.” The final clue will, of course, lead them to the buried treasure.
3. Get Creative With Outdoor Chalk Photos
Take your family photos to the next level with an adorable sidewalk chalk background. With easy options like kids holding chalk balloons, umbrellas, or flowers, there’s no time like the present to snap a few cute pics.
Check out these 22 chalk art photo ideas for more inspiration.
4. Discover the Stars
While East TN hosts plenty of free stargazing events for the public, sometimes you just want (or need) to stay home.
Thankfully, you can DIY your own stargazing party using these free printable constellation cards, and you don’t even need a telescope to do it. Don’t forget the snacks!
5. Forage for Wild Food
Many common edible weeds like Dandelion, Plaintain, and Chickweed are plentiful in backyards throughout East TN. While most people typically try to kill these weeds, why not embrace them instead?
Of course, it’s important that you never eat anything if you don’t 100% know what it is. One of the most easily recognizable plants is dandelion, which makes it a great place to start.
Check out this list of dandelion recipes for a little inspiration.
If you want to branch out to other plants, this is the foraging book we have and I can’t recommend it enough. It has tons of pictures of each plant and delicious recipe ideas for everything.
6. Get Creative with Outdoor Nature Crafts
There’s no cheaper way to get crafty than by using nature items you can find in your own backyard. Check out our ideas for nature crafts here.
7. Experiment with Bubbles
Take your bubble blowing fun to the next level by experimenting with different types of DIY bubble wands. For example, twist pipe cleaners into a variety of shapes and see which one works best.
You can also test out various kitchen tools like spatulas and whisks. Maybe you have a strip of mesh or an old fishing net that will work well for the job. The options are literally endless.
A simple experiment like this is a great way for kids to practice their scientific reason skills without even realizing they’re learning.
8. Create a Backyard Obstacle Course
Use random things from your backyard to create an awesome obstacle course that will entertain your kids for hours.
While we’ve all seen those epic internet videos of parent-created ninja warrior courses, it really doesn’t need to be that fancy. Honestly, as long as it turns out mildly oaky-ish, your kids will probably still love it!
9. Paint Garden Rocks
Brighten up your backyard by painting some garden rocks. If you don’t want to keep the painted rocks for your own house, you can leave them around town to brighten somebody’s day, as part of the kindness rock movement.
10. Enjoy a Backyard Picnic
For no extra work, you can enjoy a meal outdoors. Simply take the food you were already planning to eat outside with a blanket or towel. Of all the things on this list, nothing is easier than this!
11. Dust off the Old Yard Games
This tried-and-true idea is one of the easiest ways to have fun outdoors.
Whether you like Ladder Ball, Kan Jam, or the more traditional Croquet, why not master the game with a fun family tournament. As they say, practice makes perfect!
If you don’t own any yard games, try bringing back classics like outdoor hide-and-seek and soccer.
12. Plant a Food Garden
While seeds are always available for purchase, we are lucky to have many sources for free seeds here in East TN.
Several of the local libraries now have seed exchanges. These exchanges allow you to pick up free packs of heirloom seeds to grow vegetables, fruits, and flowers in your home garden.
Once the plants have grown, you simply save some of the new seeds and return them to the library for someone else to use.
If that sounds like too much work for you, you can always try planting seeds from your grocery store produce. Just make sure the seeds are completely dry before you plant them in the ground.
More Ideas For Outdoor Backyard Fun
- Go camping.
- Catch fireflies.
- Watch the birds.
- Build mud castles.
- Create a DIY water wall.
- Look for shapes in the clouds.
- Build a bug hotel or birdhouse.
- Use a stick to draw mud pictures.
- Pay boardgames under the stars.
- Have a cooking lesson on the grill.
- Make s’mores on the grill or fire pit.
- Create DIY concrete stepping stones.
- Use water to paint designs on your fence.
- Run through the sprinkler or spray each other with the hose.