35 Fit, Fun and Mostly Free Activities for Kids

Growing up in the 80’s, it wasn’t hard to be active. Because social media didn’t exist and phones didn’t have call waiting, if I wanted to see my friends, I ran around the neighborhood to find them. If I couldn’t wait to share a big girly secret, I would walk miles to tell my gal pals or show up at their camp activities.

Today, kids of all ages (and I’m speaking of myself, too) often use technology as their main tool to socialize and communicate. As a result, we don’t have as many opportunities to be active as we once did. While I do enjoy the conveniences and pizzazz of our multi-media lives, I want to be sure to instill a love of activities filled with personal interaction for my son. In an effort to practice what I preach, here is a list of activities to keep a kid (and his mother) fit while having fun. We’ve updated this list from a few years ago, knowing that with COVID-19 restrictions, many families are still looking for interactive activities to enjoy together.

My nine-year old and I shared some of our favorites from the list below on WTNH-TV Newschannel 8.

35 Fit, Fun & Mostly Free Activities for Kids

1. Go to the local high school track and run races

2. Go to trails or a playground and ride bikes with a picnic in tow

3. Have a fitness scavenger hunt. Tape fitness activities to scavenger hunt items (Do five push ups then find the next clue.)

4. Start a garden; weed and plant together

5. Play tag through the sprinklers

6. Swim in a lake or ocean or even get a backyard plastic pool

7. Bodyboard in the small waves

8. Hike at a nature center, arboretum or small mountain

9. List favorite fitness activities on index cards and put in a box. Each family member pulls one card out of the box after each night (i.e. play catch, go for a walk, etc.)

10. Buy kites (and fly them)

11. Sign up for a virtual 5K race with a kids race prior

12. Create a mini-Olympics with age appropriate activities

13. Play basketball, baseball, soccer or other favorite sports outside

14. Play lawn bowling

15. Go to a driving range or create your own putt-putt mini-golf in the backyard

16. Go ice skating

17. Visit a zoo (if open) or find a nature walk to look for insects and wear pedometers to see how many steps taken

18. Go fishing

19. Take a family karate class

20. Create an obstacle course with hula hoops, swing sets and tunnels

21. Play Wii, Xbox or other sports driven video games

22. Play Tag, Follow the Leader, Hopscotch, Four Square, the Hokey Pokey and Simon Says

23. After a rain (or during, if we’re daring), go puddle jumping

24. Create a new music playlist and have a dance party

25. Find a good family yoga or kids class on You Tube

26. Skating and scooting – rollerblade and scooter together

27. Play frisbee – young kids can use the soft ones

28. Jump rope

29. Play laser tag

30. Play ping-pong push-ups (Whomever loses has to do five pushups.)

31. Host a water balloon fight

32. See if a local fitness center has outdoor classes or offers video ones

33. Find an outdoor climbing wall

34. Clean the house race – set a timer and see who can clean their room the quickest

35. Play outdoor BBQ games like horseshoes, shuffleboard or a bean bag toss

What are your favorite summer activities to keep your kids active? 

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Here are a few tools to add to your summer activity arsenal:


35 Fit, Fun & Mostly Free Activities for Kids

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  1. Watching Days of our Lives counts, right?!

  2. Caryn Sullivan

    Absolutely…if you are watching it while on the treadmill or doing jumping jacks during the commercials.

  3. They are opening a new trampoline gym park in Trumbull. They have one on Long Island and it is so fabulous. Guaranteed to tire your kids out ( and you too- lol)

  4. Caryn Sullivan

    Thanks Alecia. That is great news. I’ve read that rebounding is not only great exercise but terrific for the lymph system. It’s a healthy activity not only for kids, but us, too.

  5. Go for a walk or bikeride or scoot around your neighbourhood.

    Also, just dump them in the backyard and see what they come up with on their own :-)

  6. Caryn Sullivan

    Love it. The creativity of kids often exceeds that of adults. My 5-yo suggested planting our little herb plant near the bushes last weekend. We did it…and now will see what happens. I didn’t expect gardening together to be such an active and fun family experience. The great big bonus is now that he helped me plant, he is invested in seeing them grow. He now waters them daily.

  7. This is such a great list! It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and get bored doing the same things over and over. Pinning!
    Lauren recently posted…Art: It’s Not Just for Kids!

    • Thanks Lauren for Pinning the post and stopping by. I’ve learned so much over the past year. I laugh at some of what I thought I was doing right…or what I liked. I’m excited to see how much changes in Year II. Thanks for the support over this past year, too.

  8. I love this – all good suggestions. One of the reasons why I hit the road with the kids every summer is to get away from technology. And it’s sooooo hot in Atlanta, they hate being outside. We do spend a fair amount of time in the car – but we match it with walking/hiking/swimming. But there’s no Wii, computers, or Tivo!
    Allie recently posted…Before You Hit the Road This Summer

    • I’m glad you like the suggestions. I love that you take road trips to get away from technology. Two nights ago the power went out on our road. It was really nice to see everyone try and read by candle/flash light. I think we should try and instill that once a week. The calmness of the dark technology-less night.

  9. We love mini golf, roller skating at the rink that hasn’t changed since the 1970s, and keeping in shape for ice hockey season by running around and skating when we can.

    (What are the odds that you and I both came up with 35 activities on our “this summer…” FTSF post?! I think that’s cool!)
    Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom recently posted…Experienced Bad Mom’s Guide to School-age Summer Fun

    • Great minds think alike….35 is such a random number, but significant, right??? I have to say that I don’t think we have a roller skating rink in a 60-mile radius. It’s such a shame because I have soooooooo many fun childhood memories at the rink. Happy Summer to you.

  10. I miss the 80’s! We do a lot of swimming and kicking the ball around at a playground although it’s really hot and humid here near DC. We’ve never hosted a water balloon fight but that sounds fun!
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…I Hope I Get This Summer Right

    • If you miss the 80’s…I hope you watch “The Goldbergs” on ABC. It’s hilarious and the props and scenery reflect the decade exactly. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I hope you create your own water balloon fight this summer. Enjoy.

  11. Ah! I want to be a kid again and do ALL of these. What fun! Super list.

    • Thanks. Glad you stopped by and enjoyed the list. Summer vacation started for us today so I’m super excited for a fun-filled summer.

  12. Another great list of summer ideas! Kites…now there’s one I haven’t done in years and will be new to our daughter. Fun!
    Lisa @ The Meaning of Me recently posted…Library Day – How to Get Your Kid’s Nose Stuck Inside a Book

  13. I really like this ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. I remember once as a kid where my friend and I made a huge mud castle our backyard. It was a gigantic mess but I loved every second.
    We lived right next door and didn’t even have a fence. It was so-o much fun. I miss those days!

    • That sounds like fun. I, too, miss those days, too. We would all ride our bikes for miles or run several blocks to a nearby park and stay for hours. I’m sure it also seemed simple because we had few worries as a child.

  14. sharlette

    nice love all of them ideas

  15. Fun ideas! When I was a kid, I loved riding my bike. Now, I like to walk in the park :)
    Akaleistar recently posted…I’m Not A Nurse But I Played One On TV

    • I used to live near Central Park and LOVED walking int he park, too. So zen…and could take my mind anywhere outside of my own life. :)

  16. This is a well-rounded list! I grew up in the 80’s too and I remember the screen restrictions being so different, because there weren’t as many options. Just one fuzzy TV for five kids to share for a half hour a day! ha! I used to climb a lot of trees.
    I will do these things on your list. We do have two ice skating arenas near us, which is awesome. Mini golf is a family favorite, as well as family bike riding and hiking.
    Tamara recently posted…I Second That Emotion.

    • Thanks. I love ice skating, too. Lately we’ve either been biking or scooting…one of us bikes and the other scoots or runs. It’s anything goes during the summertime and I love it.

  17. Great list! Swimming is like the easiest way to get in some exercise. Luckily, my kids are like fish so we do an awful lot of that.
    Jen recently posted…The Happy Now Blog Link- Up # 18

    • We just started swimming a lot more since Kyle finally learned how to really swim. He’s so proud of his new skills and it really now IS exercise for him. Thanks.

  18. These are all wonderful ideas. I miss having a pool nearby, the kids use to love walking down to the pool during the summer in SC. I love the clean the house race idea! My brother and I actually would play that ourselves, without my parents prompting us. :D

  19. agree with you. social media make children nowaday more passive. i wish i could be a child again to do all of these. wonderful ideas, thanks
    carol recently posted…How to Use Nursing Pillows

    • Keep me posted. Please share here or on our social media channels what you like/don’t like. I love to hear how other parents and kids embrace fitness or an active lifestyle. I do remember fondly the days of playing “Kick the Can” for hours. Only 1 of my friends had an Atari and we couldn’t all play at once, so at least half of us still ran around the house. Those were the good ‘ol days, right?

  20. Wow. Such a nice post. I’ve got lots of interesting ideas for this weekend. Thanks a lot for sharing. Enjoy your weekend too :)

  21. Thanks for this great collection!
    These activities are really interesting and no kids can reject!

  22. Hello, Caryn! We are going to take your list and do as much activities as we can! I bought a couple of kites for my children yesterday. I hope they will like them! Do you think I should buy a kite for me and join, or let them have fun by themselves?
    Deanna recently posted…Best wind kites of 2017 – Find yours today! Bonus: Save up to 86%.

    • HI. I’m so sorry for the delay. I just switched over my email accounts and I must have missed some notifications. YES, you should definitely get into the action with flying kites. I find that when I participate in the activities, my heart just soars. I laugh more and find my kids enjoying the extra engagement. We went puddle jumping last fall together and all got filty dirty. We belly laughed all the way home and it was so much fun. If kite flying wasn’t there thing, keep trying until you find something that you all enjoy doing. We hike a lot…mostly short hikes in not so scenic areas. But, it gives us the time to be disconnected from technology and enjoying each other.

  23. Great list. Reminded me how I used to go fishing with my cousin when I was a kid in Ukriane. Mind you, we actually ate the fish! Hope to be going with my two girls when they get older. Got some good ideas. Thank you!
    Nat recently posted…Best Baby Carrier for a Small Mom

    • Thanks. What a sweet memory. It’s amazing how life is so meaningful when we share our traditions and hobbies with our kids. Have a great weekend.

  24. Hey, great article! It’s very nice to share the passion with kids. I personally love gym and we are planning with my wife to have kids this year. I’ll definitely introduce them to sports!
    Brian recently posted…10 Best Pre Workout Supplements for Women (2017 Edition)

  25. Great list. Kids might want to try Pickleball. It is becoming more and more popular among younger players. The USAPA even recently created a Junior Association to promote the sport for kids and more and more parks are converting idle tennis courts (as tennis declines) into new pickleball courts…so really with just a simple paddle and ball it’s a great (and inexpensive) way for kids to try a new sport, keep active and it’s a fun family activity.
    Pickleball Portal recently posted…Pickle-ball vs Pickleball Paddle vs Racquet or Racket

  26. Kids are naturally drawn to playing outside and there are numerous benefits of outdoor play: it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. Playing actively outdoors also increases flexibility, fine and gross motor skills, and is related to the development of a wide variety of physical skills, including those involved in sports.

    • Yes. Yes. Kids are drawn to play outside and I love helping my son find ways to be active in nature. Although, living up north, we have to improvise and find some activities indoors for those months, too. Happy Holidays.

  27. This list covered basically everything. Although for people going for the water balloon fight, Zuru Bunch O Balloons can be a time saver, you can fill 100 balloons within 60 seconds with it.
    Abby recently posted…40+ best outdoor toys for 12 year old boys and girls!

  28. A good post once again. Kids love to play outside and the activities you have listed are perfect for all kids.
    best slim car seat 2018 recently posted…9 Best Narrowest Car Seats and Infant Convertible Car Seats 2018 Review

  29. Wonderful list of activities. Moms should encourage kids to do outdoor activities which is good for health. I am totally against indoor activities like tablet and mobilephones.

  30. You don’t have to go abroad to have an adventure, the UK is home to some breath-taking national parks that you and the kids can walk, run, skip and leap through. With trees, puddles, mud and a variety of terrain, these locations are idea for practising physical literacy skills and developing a love of activity.

    Michael John

  31. Great post with some wonderful ideas for the summer!
    Genie recently posted…Cheap Baby Strollers with Car Seat for the Family on a Budget

  32. Great website thanks for sharing.

  33. These are for the most part superb thoughts. I miss having a pool adjacent, the children use to love strolling down to the pool amid the late spring in SC. I adore the clean the house race thought! My sibling and I really would play that ourselves, without my folks inciting us.

  34. Great post Really heart touching! missing my passing life
    I wish if I would child again!
    Waiting for your next post.

  35. It’s a wonderful list of activities. Kudos.

  36. I have been previously exploring on-line above 3 hours these days, nonetheless Irrrve never discovered any kind of exciting document such as your own. It can be wonderful really worth sufficient in my situation.. Climb Mt Kilimanjaro with East Africa Travel – East Africa I think, in case all webmasters and blog writers made excellent material when you almost certainly does, the online world may very well be additional helpful than ever.

  37. Julie Matek

    Thanks for all these great ideas! I will definitely use them:)

  38. Absolutely great ideas. We usually spend long summer holidays, and after the third week it’s just hard to find any new interesting activities for kids
    Frank recently posted…Best Eight Things to do in Budapest

  39. Mini golfing is my favourite sports after pickleball and you mentioned it very rightly anyone can enjoy it during summers.
    pickleball paddles for control vs power recently posted…How to Correctly Replace a Pickleball Paddle Grip?

  40. Great tips . I really like them. these tips can keep kids outdoor all summer . Thank you for sharing with us.

  41. Great list. I and my wife recently taking out our kiddo to the nearby club available for Pickleball. He started playing and instantly loved it and later I and my wife also started playing the sports and it’s the best time we all 3 spent together. My wife and my kid have been pushing me to start fishing and I saw you mentioned that too so may be we will putting our hands into fishing too
    Evan Pat recently posted…Pickleball Paddles: The Only Guide You Need Before Buying Another Paddle

  42. Great list. Kids might want to try Pickleball. It is becoming more and more popular among younger players. The USAPA even recently created a Junior Association to promote the sport for kids and more and more parks are converting idle tennis courts (as tennis declines) into new pickleball courts…so really with just a simple paddle and ball it’s a great (and inexpensive) way for kids to try a new sport, keep active and it’s a fun family activity.

  43. Mini golfing is my favourite sports after pickleball and you mentioned it very rightly anyone can enjoy it during summers.
    pickleball paddles for control vs power recently posted…
    Best Pickleballs Paddle recently posted…Best Composite Pickleball Paddle September 2021 | Latest Review

  44. Best list of activates to do in summer. These suggestions will help keep kids outside throughout the summer. I am also one of the profound player of Pickleball. I love playing any kind of sport to remain fit and happy. My favorite game is Pickleball which I can play with anyone. So is my interest in this game I also a blog about Pickleball to make people know more about it.

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