Fun Outdoor Projects for You and Your Family

by Heidi Raker

Make the most of your family time by making it more interactive. See our list of fun projects for you and your family to bond with.

A work-life balance may be difficult for families where both mom and dad work full-time. For many working parents, it's hard to find time to relax and enjoy fun bonding activities with children. Bringing the family together is easier than you think with a few simple approaches. Just as importantly, family fun creates lifelong memories and boosts everything from endorphin's to bonding skills.

Here are five suggestions to get you started on fun family projects.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Get your kids outdoors hunting for treasures in nature. Armed with a list of things to find, kids will be eagerly looking at their surroundings with more observant eyes. Your scavenger hunt can be simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Consider the location it will take place in, the number of players and how long you want it to be. The age of the kids matters most; younger kids may get frustrated if the items take too long to find whereas older kids enjoy the challenge. There are lots of possibilities for scavenger hunts. Here are a list of ideas to get you started on your own scavenger hunt:

Things to collect:

  • Pinecones, dandelions, seeds
  • Different leaves, flowers
  • Ladybug, a butterfly, ants or any other insect -- for careful observation only
  • Colored rocks, skipping stones
  • Something smooth or rough

Make a Sound Map

A sound map helps players become intuitive to the sounds of nature. Prepare to make two different sound maps using index cards or a piece of construction paper. One sound will be near a busy street and the other near a quiet and natural spot. Mark an X at the center of the map, indicating the location you are sitting in. From that moment on, close your eyes and listen to the sounds that approach.

When you hear a sound mark it on the map, as accurately as possible in the direction the sound came from. The mark you make should be interpretive of the sound you hear and not a literal depiction. In other words, more time should be spent on listening and less on drawing.

This game will help build an appreciation for you and your families surroundings.

All-Natural Work of Art

Your child can transform a photograph into all-natural work of art by using natural items found in your yard. Take a full-body photo of your child or recycle an old photograph, then print out the photo as large as you can (perhaps 8 ½ by 11 inches). With your child, collect leaves, bark, twigs, and flowers that can be found in your yard or local park and arrange them on the photo to create a collage. You can choose to glue them or take a photo of the new, collaged image and frame it.

This collage is sure to spark creativity and make use of the beauty of nature to create a unique arts and crafts project.

Stick Figures

Become one with Mother Nature by taking on this project. Simply gather fallen branches or sticks with distinctive features, such as knots or forks. Clean the stick and remove any loose bark. Cover the stick with white acrylic paint and let it dry. Let your imagination roam and paint your creature. You can add wacky features using yarn for hair or a tail. This project will allow time for you and your family to enjoy a walk, while searching the perfect branch for your craft time.

Picnic Basket Relay

Teams are split into pairs and must race against each other to the picnic basket (at least 25 feet from the start line). Teams will compete to set up their picnic first (lay down the blanket, setting up silverware, food etc.). Once a player finishes setting up, they have to rush to get everything back in the basket, run back to the start of the line and then pass it off to next player. The basket may include items such as plastic plates and cups, utensils, napkins, a tablecloth, a main dish, a favorite snack etc. Choose items that call for easy unpacking and the least messy. It is important to have a designated judge to signal if each person has successfully unpacked the basket and decide which team was quickest. This particular game may be best suited for kids 8 years and older.

Spending time outdoors with your family is a great way to bond and create lasting memories. Here are some fun outdoor projects you can do together:

    Plant a garden

    Create a family garden and grow your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. It's a great way to teach kids about where their food comes from and the importance of taking care of the environment.

    Build a birdhouse

    Building a birdhouse can be a fun and rewarding project for the whole family. Hang it up in your backyard and watch as birds make it their home.

    Create a fairy garden

    Create a miniature garden filled with fairy houses, tiny plants, and decorations. It's a fun project that encourages creativity and imagination.

    Build a treehouse

    If you have a sturdy tree in your backyard, consider building a treehouse. It can be a fun and exciting project for the whole family.

    Make a backyard obstacle course

    Create an obstacle course using items you have in your backyard, such as tires, cones, and ropes. It's a fun way to get active and improve your coordination.

    Paint rocks

    Collect rocks from your backyard and paint them with fun designs and patterns. You can even hide them around your neighborhood for others to find.

    Create a nature scavenger hunt

    Create a list of items for your family to find, such as a pinecone, a bird's feather, or a flower. It's a great way to explore nature and learn about the environment.

Remember to always stay safe and supervise children during any outdoor project. Have fun and enjoy the great outdoors!

Family Life: Fun Outdoor Projects for You and Your Family