Spending time with family is always a great idea, and what better way to do it than in your backyard? There are plenty of fun backyard activities for families to enjoy together.
From games to crafts to gardening, there’s something for everyone. Everything is relatively budget-friendly, too, by making your own or grabbing something in your price range.
Here are 31 fun backyard activities for families to try out! I’d love to hear your family’s favorite backyard pastime, or if it’s not listed below, please feel free to share your very own.
1. Scavenger Hunt
This classic activity involves creating a list of things to find or clues to solve around the backyard. It’s a great way to encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and exploration while having fun.
We’ve used this scavenger hunt starter pack in our earlier days of playing in the backyard to take the fuss out of planning the game.
Start simply, and once the kids get the hang of it or get older, advance into more challenging ideas.
2. Hop Scotch
Hop Scotch is a beloved standard outside game that involves hopping on one foot and following a pattern drawn on the ground with chalk.
It’s a fun and active way to spend time with family while improving balance and coordination. Start with the activity’s basics and then add the specific rules and boxes to make it more interesting.
The kids love it as the stakes continually get higher to complete the course, but don’t overdo it if you’re the one creating the new additions.
3. Backyard Camping
Camping in the backyard is a fun way to experience the great outdoors while still being close to home. Set up a tent, build a fire pit, and enjoy s’mores and stargazing.
The best part is if the weather goes south, everyone can head in, or if someone gets scared or can’t sleep outside, they can head in with you or your partner.
Backyard camping is a great way to introduce the whole idea of camping to youngsters, too, starting with low stakes.
This is one of the most fun quality-time activities to do with teens!
4. Outdoor Movie Night
Set up a projector and screen in the backyard and enjoy a movie under the stars. It’s a fun way to spend a warm summer evening with family and friends.
Set out a tarp or a couple of tarps to keep any blankets or more delicate blankets or pillows from dirt or grime outside.
Layering blankets, pillows, and seating options makes the experience more fun, but a simple blanket is just as fun.
This is also one of the best activities for kids birthday parties!
5. Flag Football
This backyard activity involves playing football with flags instead of tackling. It’s a fun way to get active and improve teamwork skills.
This pack of tear-away flags is a great deal. Flag-oriented sports opposed to full contact, have saved us so many tears, fights, and any other complications!
It’s still not a bad idea to structure and remind them of what’s okay and what isn’t during this version of the game.
Flag football is also one of the greatest outdoor games for teenagers!
6. Marco Polo
This vintage swimming pool game involves one person keeping their eyes closed and trying to catch others by calling out “Marco” while the others call back “Polo.”
It’s a fun and exciting way to spend time in the pool with family.
If you’re in a larger public pool, just make sure your chosen “Marco” doesn’t search too far away from the other members of the game!
Or try it out of the pool, in an open area, if one isn’t available to your family.
7. Star Gazing
This activity involves looking up at the stars and identifying constellations. It’s a great way to learn about astronomy while enjoying a peaceful night with the family.
Pair this with a conversation or lesson plan about astronomy! Giving the kiddos some contextual information can lead to even more curious learners.
Looking for the best free outdoor activities? This is it!
8. Lawn Bowling
Set up a bowling alley in the backyard with plastic pins and balls. It’s a fun and competitive way to spend time with family.
We started this for one of our birthdays and have bought this set to continue outdoor fun on any nice day of the year.
Oversized items are key here–it saves any hurt from the participants and anything in your backyard.
9. Have a Paint Fight
This fun and messy activity involves filling water balloons with paint and having a paint war in the backyard. It’s a great way to have fun while staying cool on a hot day.
Make sure to use a non-toxic, washable paint to keep yourselves and your surroundings healthy and safe.
A strict border system is useful during this game, too, so the paint doesn’t get into peskier places to clean.
10. Backyard Twister
This essential vintage game involves spinning a spinner to determine which body part to place on which color. It’s a fun and silly way to spend time with family.
In the backyard, there’s a lot more space for falling or stretching to that far blue that’s just a bit too far.
An immediately popular backyard game, the activity involves tossing bean bags onto a board with a hole in it. It’s a fun and competitive way to spend time with family.
This set is a pretty good deal if you want to buy one as warmer weather comes our way. Play one versus one or in pairs; the game is a lowkey activity that is strangely addictive.
12. Have a Picnic
Set up a picnic blanket and enjoy a meal outdoors with the family. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Make it themed, or pack any given meal into a basket and enjoy it in the backyard! Whatever your family is interested in doing.
13. Water Fight
This activity involves having a water battle with water guns, balloons, or buckets. It’s a fun and refreshing way to spend time with family on a hot day.
Prep work is key here–the more that is ready, the better for all participants in the thick of the water fight. This water balloon filler has saved so much time during our preparatory phase of this game.
14. Freeze Tag
A game we’ve all played, most likely, involves one person being “it” and trying to tag others, who then become “frozen.” It’s a fun way to stay active and improve coordination skills.
Other teammates who aren’t “it” can tag their “frozen” comrades to bring them back into the game. It’s a great active bonding activity by the nature of the game.
15. Make Smores
Another activity we’ve all partaken in some fashion or another. Roast marshmallows and sandwich them between graham crackers and chocolate for a delicious and fun backyard treat.
Sometimes, we like to grab different additions that will sit well in a smores–think peanut butter cups, slices of fruit, or even thin cookies! Take all the liberties here; it’s almost always a great turnout.
This is one of the most fun outdoor activities for boys!
16. Slip and Slide
Set up a tarp and hose and slide down it for a fun and refreshing way to cool off on a hot day. Wherever you choose to set it up, make sure there’s room to run up to it to slide across.
It seems too simple to work, but it really does the trick on those summer days. Add some fun pool toys to make it a little more fun for the kiddos.
This fun and easy-to-learn racket sport can get played in the backyard and is great for all ages. It’s a fun way to improve coordination skills and get some exercise.
Grab this kit to start! It’s a great way to spend an afternoon or evening with the family.
18. Outdoor Photoshoot
Set up a photo booth in the backyard with props and costumes, and take fun and silly pictures with family. It’s a great way to create lasting memories and have fun.
Use props or have a few options for background decor–whatever works for your budget–the idea is just to have fun with the concept.
19. Giant Backyard Jenga
This huge version of an essential and beloved game involves stacking blocks of wood and taking turns removing them without toppling the tower.
Playing with giant blocks in the backyard is a fun way to improve strategy and motor skills. Make your own with uniformly sized scrap wood, or grab this to try out the outdoor version.
20. Water Balloon Dodgeball
Active and refreshing, this game involves trying to hit others with water balloons while dodging incoming balloons. It’s a fun way to stay cool and get exercise.
Set up the boundaries and have a conversation about expectations to avoid any debates that may arise.
21. Obstacle Course
Set up an obstacle course in the backyard with ropes, cones, and other equipment and challenge family members to complete it. It’s a fun and challenging way to improve coordination and fitness.
Start with a basic course to gauge your kids’ ability to maneuver safely through the lineup before going all out on the setup.
This is such a fun weekend activity for kids of all ages!
This classic game involves pulling on opposite ends of a rope and trying to drag the other team across a line. It’s a fun and competitive way to spend time with family.
Again, set up boundaries, safe spaces for either team to fall into, and rules before starting. Also, a good thing is to remind your kiddos about the potential rope burn that comes with using a rope.
23. Do Yoga
Practicing yoga together in the backyard is a great way to improve flexibility, balance, and mindfulness while spending time with family.
There are great kid-oriented yoga videos on YouTube that follow storylines, modified fun ones, or just basic beginner flows.
24. Find Shapes in Clouds
This relaxing activity involves looking at the clouds and identifying shapes and figures. It’s a fun way to relax and use imagination with family.
We love doing this towards the beginning and very end of summer as the temperatures are regulating, and it’s nice to hang out in the grass lazily without it being too wet or scratchy.
25. Plant Something
Planting flowers or vegetables in the backyard is a fun and educational activity that can teach kids about nature and responsibility.
Pair it with a lesson or share educational information before getting out in the dirt.
Like the night sky, letting the kids have some basic information about the activity can help them be more motivated to participate.
26. Play Frisbee
This timeless game involves throwing and catching a Frisbee with family members. It’s a fun and active way to spend time together.
Start with softer fabric or material based Frisbees for the little ones to get the hang of how to throw and catch before leveling up to a plastic one.
27. Have a BBQ
Set up a grill in the backyard and enjoy a delicious BBQ meal with your family. It’s a fun and casual way to spend time together and enjoy good food.
Invite family, friends, or both to partake in the activity or keep it to just the immediate family. A BBQ is always a good afternoon spent outside.
28. Chalk Checkers
Draw a checkerboard on the pavement with chalk and use different colored chalk to play checkers. It’s a fun and creative way to play a classic game.
We started this game outside after one of our little ones learned to play during the winter and continued to be obsessed as the weather got warmer.
So we moved them outside to continue the habit.
29. Nature Painting
Use natural materials like leaves, flowers, and twigs to create paintings in the backyard. It’s a fun and creative way to connect with nature and create art.
Grab canvas, construction paper, or any other material that works for your family. There are endless ways to explore art with natural tools.
We even grabbed this paint roller to make nature prints.
Place the items down on the intended area for painting, and once in place, the roller paints the whole page–once everything is dry, pull away the nature items to reveal a cool print.
30. Bob for Apples
Classically synonymous with Halloween, bobbing for apples is a classic for a reason. Our kids get such a kick from sticking their heads into a bucket of water trying to retrieve an apple.
Fill a bucket with water and apples and take turns trying to grab apples with your mouth. It’s a fun and silly way to spend time with family.
31. Hide and Seek
This quintessential kid game involves hiding and seeking with family members. It’s a fun and exciting way to improve problem-solving and teamwork skills while having fun.
If boundaries don’t distinctly restrict your backyard, make them. There’s nothing worse than playing hide and seek, and someone has decided to hide just beyond the general area.