21 Cheap and Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

Are you looking for cheap and fun outdoor activities for kids?

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it is almost summertime. As the days get longer and brighter, I like spending more time outside with the kids.

Benefits of Outside Play

Playtime is an essential part of a child’s development. It allows them to explore, be creative, and, most importantly, learn. This is a time for children to be free and explore their surroundings. It is a time for children to learn. They learn through exploration, being creative, and using their imagination.

The benefits of outside play are plentiful. Playing outside provides a chance for children to exercise and explore. Furthermore, outdoor play provides an opportunity to learn about nature and the world around them. It also fosters social skills and fosters creativity.

Here are some ideas for cheap and fun outdoor activities to do during your outdoor playtime.

Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

Soap Play

Playing with water and soap is every child’s dream! At least it’s my kid’s dream! Take different buckets or even a baby pool- whatever you have available, fill it with water and some soap and have them play with the bubbles and suds! It’s super fun, and they get clean while they play.

Then, rinse them off with the hose or pop them in the bath to get the soap off. This is such an easy and cheap outdoor activity for kids.

Water Play

You don’t need a fancy water table for your kids to have fun playing with water outside. Set up a few buckets or containers with water. (You can use an empty baby pool to make it easier to contain). Let the kids have fun with this great outside activity that has basically no prep!

Water Fight

We all know what this is! If you have water guns, you already know how to do this, but if you don’t take some empty spray bottles or empty soda bottles, use those to have fun! To use the soda bottles- fill them with water, cover them, cut some holes in the bottom of the bottle, and use it by squeezing it as you aim it at someone.

Spray Chalk

Coloring with chalk is super fun, but using spray chalk is a new twist on an old favorite! You can use this recipe: Spray Chalk to make different kid-safe chalk sprays. It is fun to use and easy to clean off.

Huge Bubbles

We love bubbles!! If you can, get a big bubble mix to make giant bubbles in the yard. You can pour the mixture into buckets and either buy or create your giant bubble wands.

This can be a multi-faceted activity and science experiment with the kids experimenting with different materials to use as bubble wands—some ideas to get you started: wire hangers, sticks, ropes, or plastic piping. So, get googling and get experimenting.

Water Balloons

The classic never disappoints! Fill up balloons with water and play around. You can throw them at each other, play catch, poke small holes, and pass them around; the ideas are endless.

Chalk Mosaic

If you have a good, flat pavement area, then you can get creative with chalk! Take painter’s tape and make a big square. Then, put smaller pieces of tape inside to make a mosaic. Direct the kids to color each area a different color. When you remove the tape, you will have a cool chalk mosaic.

Every Kind of Tag

Tag is the quintessential game for kids. Everyone knows how to play it, and everyone has fun. There are so many variations to the game of tag, and you can play all of them (not all at once!).

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

Your backyard is a veritable treasure chest of fascinating things to find and explore. How do I know? Because all outdoor areas are! You can use one of my outdoor scavenger hunts or make your own and have your children learn all about insects, plants, and things they can find in their backyard!

Water Balloon Pinata

Water balloon pinata is a party game that is played with a pinata filled with water balloons. The goal is to hit the pinata with a water balloon and cause it to break, releasing the water balloons. The game is played by dividing the players into two teams. One team is designated as the “water balloon team,” and the other is designated as the “pinata team.” The pinata team will fill the pinata with water balloons and hang it

Pool Noodles Obstacle Course

Pool noodles are a great way to create a fun obstacle course for kids. They are inexpensive and easy to set up. You can also make them into a fun obstacle course for adults if you are looking for games that adults can join in as well.

Nature Walk

A nature walk is a great way to spend time outdoors and explore nature. It’s a great form of exercise, and it’s a good way to get some fresh air. You can go for a walk by yourself, or you can go with a group of friends.

To make your nature walk a bit more fun, check out 8 Ways To Entertain Your Kids On A Nature Walk.

Analyze Plants and Animals With a Magnifying Glass

Children are often curious about the world around them. They are always looking for new ways to learn about the world and how it works. Grab a magnifying glass and send your explorers outside to analyze and examine plants and animals. 

Look at veins and the tiny hairs on the leaves and search for other interesting features on plants. When examining an animal, a magnifying glass can be used to see the scales on the skin, the hair, or other defining features. Not only is this a great outdoor activity to do with your kids, but it’s super educational!

Basic Ring Toss

Ring toss is a game that has been around for generations. It is a game of skill and can be played by people of all ages. The object of the game is to toss rings onto pegs.

The game can be played with two or more people. You can buy a ring toss game, or you can be super frugal like me and use soda bottles and paper plates or cardboard with the middle cut out – and it’s a zero-waste hack, too!

Have a Picnic

A picnic is a super fun way to spend time outdoors! First, pack up some food, drinks, snacks, pillows, and blankets. Then, set up a nice little picnic spot in your house or backyard! Picnics are always a lot of fun and much more relaxing than a typical formal meal at a table.


Gardening is a handy skill, and it can be a lot of fun to get into the dirt. You can start a little vegetable, herb, or flower garden, depending on the space you have. If you have a lot of space, everyone can have their little plot to grow what they want as well! Gardening is a great way to show your kids how patience, hard work, and perseverance can pay off in big ways!

Build a Fort Outside

Building a fort outside is a great way to spend time with friends and family and create memories that will last a lifetime. You can either take some sheets that can get dirty and possibly ripped and have your kids collect sticks or other materials to make a fort, or they can use old cardboard boxes to make a haven for them to play and hide.

Not only will it be fun to build, but they will have hours of fun playing inside it, too.

Ride Bikes and Scooters

Riding bikes and scooters for fun is a great way to spend time with friends and family. Scooters are great because they are easy to carry around and can be used on sidewalks and bike paths.

Take Pictures of Flora and Fauna

If you’re looking for a good way to explore and document the natural world, consider giving your kids a  camera. Have them take pictures of items that they see that pique their interest. Close-ups of plants and flowers can be particularly interesting.

Afterward, you can put together a slideshow or try to remember which picture was what. Who knows? You may have a budding photographer on your hands.

Water Relay Races

Water relay races are a fun and competitive way to get a group of people to work together. If you have a few kids, arrange a few really races that all involve water. For example, have them try to carry buckets of water and pass them to the next person without getting too wet.

Read Some Books in the Sunshine

Yes- I absolutely love reading, and I encourage my kids to read as often as possible. Take a nice book for yourself and have your kids pick a book out for themselves too, and get outside and get reading! Lay a blanket down on the grass and enjoy reading in the great outdoors! Maybe you will even learn something new!

Cheap Outdoor Activities for Kids

Summer has a lot of days that you have to fill with things to do with your kids. Being outside is a great way to get your kids off their screens and enjoy some cheap and free activities! Enjoy your summer, and enjoy those memories!

Looking For More Awesome Kid’s Activities?

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

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