These 30 backyard family activities help you have fun outdoors with your children in a way that is easy and fun!
Ever get the “Mom, I’m bored” line from your kids? Boredom is often the gateway to greater use of the child’s imagination, and saying “I’m bored” in our house usually receives the answer, of “go play outside. . . build a fort, climb a tree, watch a bug. . . or something like that.” Two hours later, that kid will come back in and say, “Mom, come see what I built/did/saw!” And, it’s usually pretty fantastic.
The Backyard Is An Ideal Place For Learning And Fun!
There are sooooo many things that can be done in your very own backyard, whether it is big or small.
Here are 30 different ideas to help you get started.
30 Backyard Family Activities Your Family Will Love
- Find your “favorite” tree in your backyard (or the neighbor’s backyard), and study it and how it changes through the year. So much can be learned about seasons, and even animals that inhabit trees from one single tree.
- One Square Foot. Pick an area of your yard, mark it off, and have the child stay right there and see what happens in that spot over the course of 15 minutes or so. What bugs will he see? What different plants can he see in his space?
- Spend time gazing at the stars/constellations and learning about them. There are some wonderful, free apps that can help you with this!
- On a hot day, run through the sprinkler!
- Plant flowers together in flower beds or flower pots. Give your kids their own section to tend and weed on their own! They will probably love the idea of helping with the planning as well!
- Hang up a bird feeder and keep it filled. So much joy can be found in watching backyard birds come take their fill.
- Hang up a hummingbird feeder as well!
- Are you living in an apartment? You can still study birds from birdseed/breadcrumbs on your balcony. Charlotte Mason was known to say that much can be done with Sparrows.
- Plant a vegetable garden, or plant a few veggies or herbs in a pot! This can be done on an apartment balcony, too! Then, watch as sprouts and then baby vegetables appear! So much joy and wonder in this!
- Plant flowers outside your house that attract bees and butterflies. A quick Google search will bring up lots of ideas for building a backyard habitat.
- In the fall/winter/spring months, spend time planning next year’s garden together. This will help the kids be more excited about it when it comes time to plant!
- Hang a simple swing from a mature tree in your yard! This can be as simple as a rope and a scrap piece of wood for a seat! There is nothing quite like swinging from a tree. . .so calming.
- If you live where it snows, take advantage of that! Make snow forts, have snowball fights, build snowmen. You can even build a snowman bird feeder!
- Study snowflakes under a magnifying glass or microscope, if you have one.j
- Keep a family Calendar of Firsts. A notebook that you keep track of what blooms when throughout your year. Before you know it, your kids will come running in the house saying, “Mom!!! I just saw the first Bird’s Eye Speedwell! You have to write it down!”
- Throw a frisbee or football in the backyard
- Hang a hammock between two trees.
- Build a tree fort together.
- Purchase and care for your own flock of backyard chickens! Nature study and responsibility training combined!
- Have a sand box or place kids can dig. It keeps them busy for hours!!!
- Build paper boats and float them in a creek/pond/or large container of water. Or make a boat out of twigs with Victoria’s nature craft idea!
- Climb a tree and read a favorite book.
- Make a huge pile of fallen leaves and jump in them!
- Have a picnic on an old quilt or blanket
- Read a story aloud together outside!
- Tell your kids to run to a certain part of the yard, look at everything there carefully, and then come back and tell you all about it!
- Count how many different kinds of birds come to your bird feeder.
- Pick a bouquet of flowers or produce from your garden to share with your neighbors.
- Find a bug and watch what it does!
- Gather twigs and other small nature items to make a fairy house.
Hopefully these ideas will help you keep the little people in your life happy and occupied!
More Resources For Family Nature Study
Support For Your Homeschool Nature Study
We’ve heard from families that they were reluctant to start a nature study plan, but, they found that having a focus each week actually helped them to stay regular at getting outside. It also helped them be better at taking a few minutes to learn about an object they encountered, even if it wasn’t the original aim for getting outdoors.
We make it easy with resources you can use at your own pace and on your own schedule. Or, you may choose to follow our annual nature study plans closely and have everything at your fingertips.
Amy Law is wife to Jeremy, and mom to three. They homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s principles, and love to spend lots of time in nature! You can often find them hiking the beautiful trails of their beloved Tennessee hills, while Amy attempts to capture the beauty of it all with her camera lens.