Things to do In London with kids
Published on
January 4, 2020
Last updated
March 1, 2020

50 Family Outdoor Activities - outside things to do for kids and adults

Finding things you can do with your family outdoors is usually limited by the Great British Weather, but for those of you who are sometimes willing to don a mac, grab a brolly and go out regardless, we’ve compiled a list of 50 of the best things to do with your kids outdoors. We’ve tried to keep the list inexpensive and accessible, so there should be no excuse for not getting outside!

  1. Go for a hike

Regardless of where you live, you can always get out and enjoy a family walk. If you're in a town or city, head to the nearest green space and explore it thoroughly, if you're outside of town, just get your boots on and go. Want to know the best routes to take, head over to the Ordnance survey website and buy a map of the area you're planning to explore, it'll show you all of the paths you could take!


  1. Get on your bikes

More than 2 million of us in the UK own a bike, but even if you don't, you can easily hire one from a local shop, or by using a public bicycle scheme such as Santander Cycles (popularly called Boris Bikes) in London. Just remember to grab a helmet before you head out!


  1. Camp in your garden

If you're lucky enough to have a private or communal garden with relaxed rules, then why not spend a night beneath the stars? The best bit about camping in your garden is that you'll have all of your home comforts nearby, so if it does get a bit chilly, you can always nip inside for a mug of hot chocolate.


  1. Have a water fight

Many a fond childhood memory is formed with a good old-fashioned water fight. Either grab a hose or fill up balloons with water and head outside and let battle commence! Just be careful of passers-by, you won't be popular if there are civilian casualties! 


  1. Go on a boat trip

One thing we're blessed with in the UK is water and lots of it. Whether you brave the waves and take a trip on the open sea or go for a more leisurely meander up a river or a canal, it'll blow away the cobwebs and give your kids some fantastic memories. 


  1. Take a dog for a walk

Dogs always brighten up a walk and will undoubtedly give your kids something extra to occupy themselves with when you're on your stroll. If you don't have a dog then ask a friend or family member if you can borrow theirs, people are usually happy for someone to give their four-legged friend some exercise, just make sure you remember some bags for the poo!


  1. Play football

Football is one of the most accessible sports there is- all you need is a ball, a space big enough for a small pitch, a couple of jumpers or jackets for goalposts and you're away! Get down to your local recreation ground and have a good kickabout, you'll soon work up a sweat, and the kids will love it.


  1. Go to a playground

Playgrounds and parks are a surefire way to have a great day, not only will your children let off some steam, but there are usually ample benches for parents to take a break! Use this website to find your nearest free park.


  1. Feed the birds

Encourage your kids to hang up bird feeders in your garden (high enough to avoid the local tabby that is) and be rewarded with regular visitors. Want to really go the extra mile? Why not find out how to make your own bird feeder and have your children help you with it. To find out how to attract birds to your garden, read this article from the BBC.

Feeding the birds is a good activity to do with your family
Birds feeding in a garden.


  1. Play nature bingo

If you Google "Nature Bingo" you'll find hundreds of downloadable and printable calling cards, ready to use. Simply print a few of the ones you take a fancy to and get outside and start playing. Whoever spots all of the animals and plants first gets the pleasure of shouting "BINGO".


  1. Fly a kite

Flying a kite is one of those timeless outdoor activities you can do with your family, and it doesn't need much wind if your kids are happy to run about! Even if you don't have a kite, you can easily make one by following a guide like this.


  1. Roller skate

Unleash the inner 80s in you and get your kids into roller skating. While not one of the most popular activities anymore, there is usually a shop or two in most towns and cities that'll be able to kit you all out.


  1. Tidy the garden

Young children love to copy their parents, so what better for them to do than tidy the garden and get it all looking tiptop. You all get that much needed time outside, plus the garden will look great for it.



  1. Play Pooh Sticks

First mentioned in the House at Pooh Corner, thus the name, Pooh Sticks is a simple game where you stand on a bridge over running water, with each player dropping a stick and watching the subsequent race unfold. 



  1. Take bark rubbings

A favourite with children and parents alike, get your crayons at the ready and take bark rubbings. You can take a rubbing by placing a sheet of paper on top of the bark and using the wide part of a crayon to rub over it. For tips on how to take bark rubbings visit the Woodland Trust's website.


  1. Go on a garden safari

Your garden will have a lot of interesting creepy crawlies living in it, so why not take your children on a garden safari and get to know them a bit better. You'll find worms, woodlice, centipedes and plenty of spiders! Just be careful as you go not to disturb them all too much.


  1. Visit a country park

Your garden will have a lot of interesting creepy crawlies living in it, so why not take your children on a garden safari and get to know them a bit better. You'll find worms, woodlice, centipedes and plenty of spiders! Just be careful as you go not to disturb them all too much.


  1. Have a picnic

We all love our food, and most of us enjoy being outside too, so combine the two and enjoy a nice family picnic. Pack up a hamper and head out to the countryside. Short of places to go? Have it in your garden and invite the neighbours and their little ones too.


  1. Visit a working farm or farm shop

Kids invariably love animals, so why not visit a farm shop or better yet, a working farm. It'll bring to life everything they've seen in books, and you can be sure that you'll all be making animal noises all the way there and baaaaac

k. 

Visit a farm with your children
Cows on a farm.
  1. Take wildlife photos

These days, our phones are so good at taking pictures you don't need an expensive camera! While you're on your garden safari or playing nature bingo, take photos of what you find, at the very least they'll serve as memories, or for the less trusting among you evidence of a successful BINGO.


  1. Play nature eye spy

This is a simple one, head outside and play nature eye-spy! The kids will love nothing better than telling you a letter, you guessing for half an hour, just to find out that it was something beginning with an altogether different letter entirely. 


  1. Go stargazing 

You don't need to be an astronomer or have a telescope to go stargazing, all you'll need is some warm clothes and a clear sky. To give yourself the best chance of seeing constellations, head somewhere that doesn't have a lot of light pollution and also check out the moon phase ahead of time. The less moon there is, the less light pollution it will give off!


  1. Explore with a torch

Going for a walk at dusk or dark is a surefire way to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing. "What was that?" "Did you see that?" "I think I heard a bear!" are all perfectly rational expressions during a nighttime stroll! 


  1. Go fruit picking

Pick-you-own, may not be as inexpensive as it used to be, but it's still an excellent opportunity to get outside. You and your family will have a lovely time stuffing your faces with fruit, while adding every other berry to your punnet! Shhhh, it's a secret ;) And we wonder why it costs so much! 


  1. Get a paddling pool

Go and buy a paddling pool and cool down throughout the summer. Every family should have one, and if you complement it with a couple of rash vest or wetsuits, you'll extend its usage right through into Autumn! Just remember to empty it and move it once in a while to stop your grass from being destroyed!


  1. Go to the beach

We're blessed to have beaches all around us in the UK, and you're likely no further than a couple of hours from the nearest one. Get on a train or a bus, take a bucket and spade and enjoy some much-needed family time at the seaside. 


  1. Go to an outdoor gig or festival

This may not be a free option, but during the summer there are countless family-friendly festivals and concerts taking place around the country. Use Eventbrite to find upcoming events near you and treat yourself and the kids to an entirely new experience.


  1. Plant some wildflowers

We all know that bees and other pollinating insects are in decline and are facing a difficult time, so why not help them out and brighten up your garden by planting some wildflowers. Not only will you be doing your bit for the local ecosystem, but you'll also invite loads of new visitors into the garden, who I'm sure won't mind you taking the odd picture here and there.


  1. Wash the car

Adults tend not to enjoy washing the car, but kids love it. Use this to your advantage and get them scrubbing! Just make sure you don't leave them to do it alone. Otherwise, you'll end up doing it yourself again anyway.


  1. Create a treasure hunt

Children love a good treasure hunt, and with a bit of forward planning, you can show them how they are meant to be done. Get riddle writing and stash some clues around the house or the local area. Be sure to make it difficult, but not impossible to solve! 


  1. Build a den

Building a den in the local woods, or even in your back garden is a great way to get your kids active. Send them off hunting for suitable materials and then construct something fit for a King or Queen. Here's a guide to den building by the National Trust!


  1. Dig for worms

This one is most likely best for younger children, digging for worms is a brilliant way to teach your little ones about the environment and your local habitat. Children often have the habit of wanting to befriend or worse, eat the worms they find, so as long as you're prepared for that, you should be fine.


  1. Go to the zoo

Zoos are both educational and a fantastic day out. Your kids will love to see all of the exotic animals they've seen on TV in real life. It may not be the cheapest day out, but it's a surefire winner in our opinion. To keep the cost down, why not take a picnic along to avoid the often overpriced canteen lunch you'll otherwise be subjected to!


  1. Get a sandpit

Bring the beach home with you (not literally, that's illegal) with a sandpit and enjoy this pretty much weatherproof addition to your garden. Your children will be out in all conditions building and playing, the question is, are you ready for persistently sandy kids?

Sandpit in garden
Sandpit with childrens' toys.


  1. Skim stones

Finding a body of water and skimming stones is a timeless classic that you absolutely have to teach your children. It'll take a while for them to get it, and you may need a few visits, but when they do crack it, they'll be counting each bounce with glee.


  1. Play hide and seek

Another classic is hide and seek, granted you can play it inside too, but playing outside gives you so many more hiding options. Hide and seek forces your children to get creative and where you all can end up can be hilarious. 


  1. Blow bubbles

Make a DIY bubble wand or buy a cheap one from the shop and get outside and blow some bubbles. Adults tend to love seeing massive bubbles just as much as kids, so don't be surprised if you amass a small crowd, assuming that is that your bubbles are epic!


  1. Plant vegetables

Teaching your children where their food comes from is an invaluable lesson. It will hopefully show them the value of patience and care. They'll need to look after the seedlings all the way to maturity, before being able to reap the rewards of their hard work. 


  1. Create a mud kitchen

Messy play is always great fun! Take some old pots and pans outside and create a mud kitchen with the kids and pretend to whip up all sorts of cuisines. Keep an eye on the smallest of them though to ensure make-believe doesn't result in some earth eating!


  1. Make a bee hotel

Bees need a place to live, and with the ever-increasing urbanisation of our towns and cities, we need to make space for them. Build a bee hotel in your garden by following this guide, and you'll not only be rewarded by the visitors you attract, but you'll also show your children how important it is that we care for nature.


  1. Host a mini Olympics

On your marks, get set, GO! A mini Olympics with your children and some of their friends is a surefire winner! Want an indoor activity to do leading up to the big day? Get your kids to help you make winners medals and even national flags if you have a chance! The more realistic you can make it, the better the event will be. 


  1. Go fishing

Fishing is one of the most popular sports in the UK, and you'll find countless coarse fishing locations near to you. Simply Google, where's suitable for fishing nearby or head over to the Angling Times website where they list some of the top places.


  1. Make a bow and arrow

Making a bow and arrow isn't too much of a difficult task for you to do with your children. If you're not sure how read up on the process before teaching your kids. They'll be boasting in school the following week of just how cool their parents are with this one! 


  1. Plant sunflowers

Planting sunflowers and looking after them until they are HUGE is a great activity to do with your family and a brilliant lesson in how if we care for something, it can thrive. What's more, you'll attract all sorts of pollinators into your garden and give the birds some much-needed food come late Autumn.


  1. Build a dam

While it's best to have a running water source for a dam, there's no reason why you couldn't construct one in your garden using your paddling pool, for instance as a reservoir. Dam building can be challenging, but the combination of building plus water makes this a children's' favourite. 


  1. Host a dance party

Invite other families over and host a dance party! You can dance literally anywhere, and it'll be sure to put smiles on everyone's faces. Be DJ for a day and enjoy, while everyone else lets their hair down.


  1. Explore the woods

Most of us have some woodland nearby, get out there and explore it. Regardless of the season, the canopy from the trees will give you protection from the elements as you go on your adventure. 


  1. Set up a lemonade stand

Set up a lemonade stand to help others cool down and to give your kids some extra pocket money. They will learn how a small business operates, and you never know, you could have a little Alan Sugar amongst you.


  1. Find shapes in the clouds

Lying on your backs, picking out forms of animals or people in the clouds is a hilarious way to pass the time. There are endless possibilities, and what comes out of your children's imagination will undoubtedly be brilliant.


  1. Go on an open top bus tour

Show your children the local area, or another from a new perspective with an open-top bus tour. You'll all learn something new and have a fantastic day out!

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