The Backyard is Where it’s At – Kid-Friendly Summer Fun Activities


We already know that this summer is going to be one for the books. We will tell our children’s children all about the summer we had to spend at home or six feet apart. Yes, I am sure as we ease back into the “new normal” more and more things to do will begin to fill our calendars, but until then we will be spending the majority of our hot summer days at home. So, those of us fortunate enough to have a backyard (these activities should work in any outdoor setting though) or outdoor space will need to take full advantage!

I’ve compiled a list of kid-friendly (perhaps a bit more geared toward toddlers since I have an abundance of those) backyard activities sure to fill the long days with the summer fun we thought we would miss.

Water Play

There is nothing more refreshing than playing with/in water during the hot summer months. No pool? No problem! These water-play activities don’t require one; just some toys, swimsuits, and maybe a hose.

Plastic/Inflatable Kiddie Pool

I’ve seen these anywhere from Kroger to Walmart for around $20-$30. Fill it up and let your kids splash and lounge. For extra fun through in some bubble bath and bath toys!

Water Table

My kids LOVE their water tables, and there is such a variety available. They offer hours of fun and your littles are sure to love dumping water around, filing up cups, and playing with plastic toys. 

Slip n Slide

This one holds a lot of nostalgia for me. If your kids are a bit older I think a Slip n Slide would be the perfect addition to your outdoor space.


My kids LOVE the sprinkler (or “sprinkle” as they call it). We recently had a blast dancing under it in our rainboots with our umbrellas. 

Squirt Gun Tag

Just like it sounds, hand out some squirt guns and turn it into a game of tag. If you get squirt, you’re out. Or, if you get squirt, you’re “it”!

Water Balloon Games

A water balloon toss is an oldie but goodie, but I have also seen (and can’t wait to try) water balloon pinatas! Tie filled water balloons to a rope and swing away using a plastic bat.

I also love water balloon baseball and water balloon volleyball! For water balloon volleyball you will need four people, a net and some beach towels. Set up the net and have two kids stand on each side holding a beach towel together. Use the beach towel to catch and toss the balloon back-and-forth over the net!


What busy mom doesn’t want help with her garden? Put those kiddos to work with you, or just incorporate a fun lesson into their time in the yard. They make children’s gardening toolsets and I highly recommend grabbing a set or two. 

Pulling Weeds

Teach your kids to identify the difference between a weed and a flower, and then let them go to town pulling them. They are spending time outdoors AND helping you out, mama. That’s what I call a win/win situation. 

Spread Mulch

This is a task I dread, so this year I am planning to let my toddlers help me spread it around. It’s a great sensory activity, too!

Plant/Pot Flowers

No one loves digging in the dirt more than a toddler. Grab a few extra pots and flowers the next time you visit the greenhouse. Let your kids plant pots alongside you; you could even have them paint designs on the pots beforehand. Then you have a super cute keepsake to spice up your outdoor space!

Water Plants

This is my daughter Lennon’s new favorite activity. She has her own watering can and walks around the garden watering my flowers. She also loves to make mud to then stomp in, so be forewarned about that. 

Identify Plants

Get a book of flowers/plants and send the kids around the yard and ask them to identify as many plants as they can.

Build a Bouquet

If you are a mom like me who doesn’t mind when her kids pick her flowers, then ask them to make homemade bouquets! Put them on display in the house and wait to see how proud they are of their work, or hand them out to loved ones.

Toy Wash 

Gather up all of the dirty outdoor toys (or even your patio furniture) fill up a bucket with suds and pass out the sponges. Have your kids scrub down all of their toys while you play Rose Royce’s Car Wash on full blast. What do I have on my to-be-washed list? Our Power Wheels Jeep, bicycles, wagons, and some lawn chairs!

Bug Stuff

You will need some supplies for this one. I bought a really cute Melissa & Doug bug-catching kit that came with a little cage, magnifying glass, tweezers, and a jar; but really you could use items lying around your house. A butterfly net would come in handy too. 

Send your troops outside to collect some specimens and see if they (or you) can identify what they are. It’s a great biology lesson too if you are into that sort of thing. I’m looking forward to collecting worms for fishing at the lake, and fireflies on hot summer nights.

For fireflies, use a mason jar to collect them and then poke some holes in the lid with a nail. Fill it with fireflies and watch the jar light up at night!

Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Put together a list of items for your kids to find in the backyard. There are a ton of options on Pinterest, or you can use this one by Toledo Moms!

Outdoor Obstacle Course

Similar to my Indoor Olympics obstacle course, but this time set it up outside! Incorporate jumping, climbing, and balancing. Time your kids to make it even more fun. 

Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk Chalk is all the rage these days. Draw beautiful pictures, write kind messages for your neighbors or chalk up a hopscotch course! I recently used the chalk on my garage door to make a photo backdrop and have received SO many compliments on it. 


You can always bring out the sports equipment, as well! T-ball, soccer, catch, or a game of horse are always fun outdoor activities. You could even create your own mini-golf course!


My kids LOVE bubbles, so we have a bubble machine, bubble wands, and bubble lawnmowers. One of my favorite inventions of life is a product called Fubbles. They are no-spill bubbles that even my one-year-old can use. 

Rock Painting

Collect some rocks on your next nature walk and paint them outside! You can turn them into ladybugs, flowers, peace signs; you name it. Once they dry, you can use them to decorate your garden. 


Hopefully, this is enough backyard fun to get you through at least June; after that, you are on your own (hahaha). We’d love to hear your ideas or see you tag Toledo Moms in your backyard fun this summer. Stay cool, mamas!

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Morgan Cranston
Morgan Cranston is a full-time working mom who has been through infertility, a high-risk twin pregnancy and is currently wrangling three-year-old identical twin girls and a one-year-old son. She lives in Sylvania with her P.E. teacher husband, children, and beabull Sonny. Morgan loves to write and share stories through her personal blog, Follow her on Instagram (@the_patientmom) for a mix of parenting advice and mishaps, fashion, adventures and fun. In her free time (what’s that?) she also enjoys red wine, beating everyone in Jeopardy, crafting, online shopping and SLOWLY flipping her house room by room.


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