Looking for some creative outdoor activities to do together as a family this summer? Whether you’re looking for relief on a hot day or looking for something frugal yet fun, this list will give you some creative and unique ideas for your next outing as a family.
How to make summer more fun as a family
When we lived in Germany, there was an incredible bike trail behind our house we would always go on. But every time we got to this one spot, my son would want to turn around. It was terrifying for him because the hill was pretty steep, and covered in gravel. Any kid’s nightmare.
We finally convinced him to try it, only to watch him have to worst wipe-out ever.
At that moment, I felt like a horrible parent. But looking back, I was proud that my son tried something new, even if it was scary. It took him a while to want to ride his bike again on anything other than flat roads, so we also had to force him a little into overcoming that fear, but it was a great lesson for all of us.
You can’t have these moments if you’re not going out of your comfort zone as a family.
When a child experiences something challenging, it’s extremely important in his or her emotional and mental well-being, that you are there to help them.
Family activities together are some of the most important experiences your child will have, so it’s important to make those memories good ones and not traumatic.
Finding things to do as a family can be difficult. It’s especially hard to get your kids to do something a bit more active and not just turn on a family movie and call it good. But what we found, is if we do something active together, it brings us closer than ever before.
Here is a list of creative and inspirational summer family activity ideas
1. Go on a family bike ride
If you don’t have bikes, this one can be a bit difficult. But riding bikes together has for us been an incredible time of healing, overcoming fears, and bonding for us. If you can’t afford a family bike shopping spree, keep your eye out for deals, or visit your local thrift store from time to time. We have found 5 incredible and quality bikes at Goodwill over time. Think about it — when kids get too big for one bike, families have to get a new one. You can find hardly used bikes at thrift stores that can save you LOADS of money.
2. Go hiking
Again, another active thing to do together that bonds through challenges and overcoming fears. Check out your local hiking trails here at trails.com
3. Do a family project
Whether that’s a garden, or refurbishing a piece of furniture, include your kiddos in the project. We decided to build a camping trailer as a family — check out the progress here.
Obviously, our 8-year-old can’t use the table saw, but there are things we include him on so he learns skills, develops confidence in seeing through a task, and bonds with us at the same time. Family projects can be an incredible way to emotionally nourish your child.
4. Go on small trips around where you live to understand your town’s history
It’s odd, but usually, where we live we never take advantage of it. In our town, we have this amazing tourist attraction called Garden of the Gods. We hardly take our son there because it’s old news to us. We recently started changing that, and our son loves to find new things to do in our town, and learn the history behind them.
5. Let each family member plan an entire day of what they want to do
This is an amazing activity that includes the entire family. What a three-year-old comes up with will be entirely different from what your teenager comes up with. Could be fun! You might have to set some guidelines, but let your kids be creative!
6. Build a shelter together in the woods and stay for a day — bring food to cook on a campfire
We are HUGE fans of this show on Hulu called Alone. It’s about 10 people who have to survive in the Canadian wilderness for as long as possible. They build these incredible shelters that gave me inspiration — wouldn’t it be fun to do that together as a family? If not for a night, but for the day? Build a little shelter together and see what happens!
7. Rent an Airbnb for a weekend getaway
Airbnb makes it SO easy to just book something and go. Do something different or spontaneous.
8. Make a meal together and eat outside once a week
Eating outside when the weather is good is one of our favorite things to do together in the summer. Better yet, making a meal as a family is incredibly bonding. There’s nothing better than food that will bring a family together.
9. Go on a picnic together
Getting into nature is good for the soul — and for the family. Pack a picnic, go to a park or somewhere and nature and eat together.
10. Make a summer bucket list together
At the beginning of the summer, it helps everyone involved to know what to expect from the long, no school-filled days. As parents, it can be exhausting being around your kids all day when you’re not used to it. The best thing you can do is pre-plan. Make a daily schedule as well as a weekly schedule. This will helps your children stop asking about what’s next as well as schedule some things that they personally would like to do.
11. Go apple or berry picking
This is done more in the later months when the fruit is ready for picking, but kids LOVE to do this sort of thing.
12. Go to seasonal or cultural events in your town
If you’re into being shoved and pushed around by crowds of people (not my thing) while also enjoying cultural events, then consider doing this!
13. Take a drive together to the mountains or beach
Sometimes getting out of the house is the best medicine, especially when kids get bored from not being at school. Taking a drive is a great way to just getaway. Pick a destination, or just drive!
14. Go to a sporting event
Our family isn’t sports fans, but I know this is a huge one for some families in the summer.
15. Make a scavenger hunt for your kids
This takes a little creativity on your part. Scavenger hunts can consist of many things. Pick a theme and go from there!
16. Go horseback riding
Horseback riding can be a perfect outing for a family. Just make sure your first time is a short ride — some people reading don”t like this until they’ve tried it, so be on the safe side and do a short trip first!
17. Go to a drive-in movie
If your town has a local drive-in movie place, it’s an awesome option for being outside while also enjoying a movie. I remember my first drive-in movie was The Lion King when it first came out!
18. Climb a mountain
Obviously, don’t do anything extreme unless you’re prepared for it. If not a mountain, at least go hiking somewhere and have an end goal at the end of the summer you all can “train” for.
19. Test drive an expensive car
This one can be fun to do with the kids. Just make sure they are on board, knowing that it is just a test drive!
20. Make a fire and cook your meals in it
Have you ever heard of Hobo Meals?
21. Visit the zoo
I semi-like the zoo. It makes me happy to see the animals and sad that they are confined to small spaces. Whether you’re a zoo person or not, I can guarantee your kiddos will love it!
The Adventure Challenge Book
Before you go, don’t forget to check out The Adventure Challenge Book Family Edition! Use code BIRD at checkout and get an extra 15% off! It’s full of new adventures that I guarantee you’ve NEVER done. Just scratch off the next activity and awaken bonding moments with your kids that will be forever memories.