Skip to main content

NewFolks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

11 fun backyard activities that will keep kids entertained for hours

When the warm weather finally rolls in, you want to get kids outside and off the screens. Since every day can’t be an outing, the backyard is the perfect place for the kiddos to get fresh air, exercise, and have some fun. Kids will be kids, though, and as parents know, it doesn’t take long for the “I’m bored” or “there’s nothing to do” lament to make an appearance.

The key to keeping kids engaged outdoors is similar to inside. Have a few interactive kid-friendly backyard activities on hand that will keep the kiddos entertained for a while. In addition to swing sets and sandboxes, what are some other fun backyard activities kids of all ages will enjoy? Here are 11 fun ideas.

Green and orange pool noodles
Sophia Cole / Shutterstock

Pool noodle obstacle course

Pool noodles really are a handy backyard accessory and not just for the deep end of a pool. Always keep a bunch of pool noodles on hand because they are great for cool backyard games. With a few pool noodles, pencils as stakes, and duct tape if need be, you can fashion a backyard obstacle course the kids will have a blast crawling through, running around, and jumping over.

Castle creations

Let the imaginations run wild and make use of all those Amazon boxes in the garage by having kids create their own backyard castle. Kids can design their own castle from the boxes and even decorate with washable paint or markers. All you need is a hose or Mother Nature’s next rain to wash away the paint stains from the grass. Once the castle is finished, kids can play inside.


This popular backyard game is serious business for some adults. (There’s actually a pro cornhole league.) Outfit the backyard with a cornhole set for the kiddos to play with or make one of your own. All you need are beanbags and a laundry basket. For a more sophisticated target, cut beanbag-sized holes in the bottom of a box for a makeshift cornhole board.

Recycling bowling

Reuse 10 empty water bottles by recycling them as bowling pins. Set the bottles up on the deck or patio, and kids can take turns trying to roll strikes with a rubber ball or a plastic bowling ball.

Ring toss

Like cornhole, a ring toss is another backyard game that isn’t just fun at a barbecue. Order a ring toss set for the backyard or make one using pool noodles with pencils as anchors. Pick up a set of rings at a nearby dollar store or order a set online.

Brother and sister on a scavenger hunt
Erica Finstad/

Nature scavenger hunt

Kids love a scavenger hunt, and organizing one in the backyard is a snap. Give kids a list of items to find right in their own backyard. Easy-to-find nature scavenger-hunt items include:

  • Bird’s nest
  • Tree
  • Flowers
  • Weeds
  • Blade of grass
  • Rock
  • Leaf
  • Insect
  • Squirrel
  • Chipmunk
  • Bird
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Garden
  • Dirt
  • Cloud
  • Fence
  • Lawn chair
  • Sunblock
  • Branch
  • Stick
  • Feather

Backyard blanket fort

Whether inside or outside, blanket forts are cool and keep kids entertained for a long time. All you need to make a simple blanket fort are queen- or king-sized sheets, lawn chairs, weighted items for anchors, and a cozy blanket for a floor. Stock the backyard blanket fort with books and toys. Be sure to include a few snacks and water bottles or juice boxes.

Family in a tent on a camping trip
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pitch a tent

Like a backyard fort, camping out right in your own backyard has its perks, too. Use the family camping gear for a fun afternoon of backyard camping or pitch an inexpensive tent just for use at home on those “I’m bored” days.

Nerf battles

Nothing says backyard fun like Nerf blasters. Plus, it’s an activity that can appeal to everyone — even the teens will head outside for a Nerf battle. Keep a set of mini Nerf blasters on hand and always have plenty of darts. Kids and teens will definitely have a blast with these skirmishes on a sunny afternoon.

Water battles

Water balloons can be fun, but unfortunately, they’re gone in a flash. It actually takes much longer to fill them up than for the kids to use a whole basket. Keep the water fun spraying on a hot day with water blasters. Like Nerf battles, kids and teens will have a lot of fun splashing each other for hours.

Baby pool

You can do a lot with a baby pool in your backyard. Fill it with water and toss in some rubber duckies, buckets, and cups. If toddlers are hopping in the baby pool, be sure to have supervision. Fill up a baby pool with sand for a little taste of the beach right in your own backyard. You can also fill a baby pool with mini play balls for a homemade backyard ball pit.

Every day can’t be a family outing day, even in the summertime, especially when moms and dads work from home. Fun backyard games and activities can keep the kiddos outside in the fresh air and getting exercise while having fun. Outfitting your backyard with cool games is a lot easier than you think. With pool noodles, recycling, and empty boxes, you can turn your backyard into a wonderland that the kiddos will enjoy.

Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
10 incredible summer activities for kids that they’ll truly love
Be ready for summer fun with these cool activities
Kids reading outside on a summer day

Kids look forward to summer with so much excitement, but it doesn't take long for the boredom to set in. It can make busy parents feel like overworked cruise directors. You could have the best backyard on the block with a pool and still hear the often-asked question when school is out for summer -- what are we going to do today?

Even with camps and vacations, those dog days of summer can seem endless if the kiddos don't have anything to do. That's when the dreaded devices come out, followed by the lament that they just don't have anything else to do. Well, banish those smartphones and iPads because we've got a list of hot summer activities for kids to keep boredom at bay.
Summer activities for kids

Read more
The best outdoor games for kids – try these fun, classic activities
Cool activities to play outside with kids
Kids playing games outside

When the nice weather rolls around, there's nothing better than getting the kiddos outside to run and play. It can be difficult these days because getting kids off the devices is always a challenge. Another obstacle is often the dreaded announcement of being bored or there isn't anything to do outside. Well, as parents, we know that's certainly not true, especially when there are a whole host of outdoor games for kids.

Having an array of fun and engaging outdoor games is always a perfect pick for the whole family, whenever you're hosting a party or when the kiddos have friends over for a playdate. The wonderful thing about outside games is that they are timeless. They take adults back to their childhood, and even teens enjoy taking a page from their elementary school gym class days.

Read more
Liven up family game night with these crowd-pleasing board games
Grab any of these board games for your next no-screen night
Parents with children playing a board game

Other than everyone staring at their personal screens or staring together at the largest screen in the home, what else are you going to do to get the family together? While cleaning the house might be a tempting answer for the parents, having a collection of family board games on hand is the right answer. Make memories, have a few laughs, and see who will come out on top in a battle of kids versus parents when you have a family board game night.
Classics never go out of style
Let's start with old-school options, which will stick around for the foreseeable future and beyond.

Guess Who?
There is no age limit to Guess Who?, which is great if you have an age range in your family. While only two people can play at a time, you could turn it into a tournament to rotate everyone in. This is a great thinking game, as parents need to break the questions down for a small child to understand but have to work to ask more difficult questions to their older kids.

Read more