Studies have shown that spending time outside is good for your health. During the summer, when the weather is warm and the kids are out of school, it's natural to play around in the yard or take a dip in the pool.
But there's no good reason you should miss out on the benefits of the great outdoors during the rest of the year! There are plenty of fun activities you can do in every season.
I've collected a ton of excellent suggestions and divided them up into sections by season. Sprinkled throughout are some resources I've stumbled upon that should also prove to be helpful!
Photo by Flickr user Scooter Lowrimore.
Read outside. Pick up your book or e-reader, find a nice comfortable spot to sit, and get to reading! There's no need to stay cooped up indoors when you could be out getting some fresh air while you read.
Play in the rain. Spring is generally the wettest season, so if you ever find yourself with free time during a gentle shower, don't be afraid to get right out in the middle of it. Walk, run, skip, or dance through the droplets.
Jump in puddles. After the rain – or even during – splash around in some of the puddles that have formed.
Get a little muddy. If you're fine with having a mess to clean up later, why not squish around in the mud? Get your toes dirty, make a mud pie, or try several other fun activities from Hands On As We Grow.
Climb a tree. Get some exercise as well as a bird's eye view of your neighborhood!
Fly a kite. It's easy to be enchanted by kite flying at any age. Just make sure you find a nice, open field and go out on a breezy day for the best results.
Jump rope. This is one of my personal favorite outdoor activities. Use a short, single-person rope or find a longer rope so the whole family can get involved, alternating who's turning and who's jumping.
Tend a garden. Whether it's a single pot or an expansive garden plot, try your hand at growing something. It'll teach the value of hard work when you're later rewarded with beautiful flowers or tasty veggies to eat.
Photo by Flickr user Ruth Hartnup.
Have a picnic. Grab a blanket and a basket full of goodies and head outside for a picnic lunch! It could take place in the comfort of your own backyard, or you could venture to a nearby park.
Go geocaching. Geocaching is just like a treasure hunt, but on a global scale! Get everyone involved calling out directions and scouting out geocaches.
Make a bird feeder. This is a craft project that can provide plenty of enjoyment for your family – and plenty of food for a local bird family! This list from The DIY Dreamer includes several feeders that can be made from used or recycled materials.
Engage in pretend play. Encourage your children to stretch their imaginations and develop their minds through pretend play.
Create some art. Is your kid dying to get their hands on a paint set, but you're hesitant because of the mess it could make? Just pack up your paints and take them outside! There are loads of crafts or art projects your child could work on outdoors.
Host a clothesline art show. Once you've accumulated a collection of your kid's masterpieces, go ahead and put them on display! You can invite family and friends, serve refreshments, and make an event of it.
Play some outdoor Scrabble. Test your vocabulary skills, practice spelling, and have a blast through this oversized Scrabble game where your yard is your game board!
Brush up those math skills. Sneak some math lessons into your kid's day through games, pretend play, and more! Reading Confetti has some great ideas.
Do some science experiments. Feel free to get a little messy when you tackle these activities from My Craftily Ever After.
Photo by Flickr user Jeff Turner.
Go to the playground. Growing up we had a swingset in our backyard, and I spent countless hours out there, swinging until my little legs got tired. If you haven't got play equipment in your yard, just head over to a nearby park or playground and use theirs!
Ride your bike. Whether it's down the driveway, down the block, or around the neighborhood, bike riding is a fantastic way to pass the time during the summer.
Rollerblade or roller skate. If you've been blessed with impeccable balance and coordination (unlike me), roller skating is also a great way to get active.
Swim in the pool. Take a dip in your backyard pool, or hit up your community pool with your family.
Cool off with water activities. There are seemingly endless ways to have fun with water during those hot summer months. As a child, running through the sprinkler was always my favorite. Mommy Poppins has an awesome list of water games you could try, including setting up a water slide, playing with water balloons, and plenty of other creative ideas.
Play with sand. Climb into the sand box or make your own sand table for loads of fun playing in the sand – no beach required!
Blow bubbles. Simple pleasures like blowing bubbles and watching them float through the air cannot be beat.
Catch some critters. Summertime is when the bugs come out in full force – but that doesn't have to be a bad thing! Go digging for worms, or place a few ladybugs in a jar. Or if you live in a fairly wet area where frogs or toads are likely to reside, chase one down and see if you can catch it.
Photo by Flickr user Mads Bødker.
Play Hopscotch. Bust out your sidewalk chalk and draw up a Hopscotch board. Or, if Hopscotch isn't your thing, Nick Jr., Kids Activities Blog, and Baby Center have lots of suggestions for other games that involve chalk.
Have a party. Any excuse is a good one to throw a party! You don't need much more than good friends, a bit of food, and some sweet tunes to listen to.
Go on a themed walk. Themed walks are a popular choice for parents of young children. Nourish their growing minds and encourage their wonder about the world around them.
Play a game. You can't go wrong with classics like Tag, Hide & Seek, or Cops & Robbers. But if these get old, Wired has a few more ideas for you.
Go to the zoo. Load up the car for a day full of animal-spotting at your local zoo, farm, or animal park!
Play sports. It could be something simple like dribbling a basketball or kicking around a soccer ball, or you could get teams together for some kickball or Ultimate Frisbee.
Stargaze. Dust off your telescope and point it toward the night sky! Or you can simply lie down on the grass and admire the stars for their beauty – just remember to bring a blanket!
Play with sparklers. These are a safe (and legal!) alternative to firecrackers or fireworks, and they come in a variety of different colors. It's super fun to draw shapes or spell out your name with sparklers.
Catch fireflies. Once the sun goes down, head outside to look for fireflies! Watching them fly around and light up the night is mesmerizing enough, but you could also try catching a few.
Photo by Flickr user Abigail Batchelder.
Play in the leaves. Before you break out the rakes and tend to your yard, have a bit of fun jumping into piles of leaves or tossing armfuls into the air.
Collect fall leaves. You could use them to put together a scrapbook, to supplement a science lesson, or you could gather a few simply to admire them.
Go on a nature hike. Take a walk and marvel at the gorgeous fall colors!
Make a scarecrow. No matter if you have a garden that needs protecting or not, a scarecrow could be an amusing addition to your yard.
Play some football. With football season starting in September, why not toss the ol' pigskin around in your own yard?
Host a bonfire. Crisp fall weather is ideal for having a bonfire. Swap stories, warm your hands over the flames, cook some hot dogs – and don't forget the s'mores!
Go on a scavenger hunt. Make a list or draw up a treasure map featuring all the items you need to find. The autumn is perfect for this, whether you're searching for different natural objects or you want to hide the treasure under a bunch of leaves!
Photo by Flickr user Melissa Hillier.
Go camping. Take a trip to a campsite for a day or two, or pitch a tent in your own backyard!
Pick some apples. Apple-picking was a yearly tradition in my family. There was just something about it that made every September feel complete.
Get lost in a corn maze. Many apple orchards also include attractions, such as a corn maze.
Go on a hayride. These are truly a staple of the fall season, and haunted hayrides are great for celebrating Halloween with a scare.
Visit a pumpkin patch. Take a stroll through row upon row of bright orange pumpkins.
Carve a pumpkin. If you pick up a pumpkin of your own while out at the patch, carve it up and turn it into a Jack-o-Lantern for your family to enjoy. And, if you're really daring, cook up the seeds and have them for a snack!
Make apple cider. Personally, I think hot apple cider is the perfect drink for those chilly autumn days!
Put together an obstacle course. Host your own version of the Olympic games right at your own home. Each event can be tailored to the age level of your participants, and you could hand out small prizes at the end.
Photo by Flickr user mugurelm.
Go bird watching. Whatever feathered-friends you're looking for should stand out very clearly against the barren winter landscape or the white of new-fallen snow.
Look for animal tracks. Check the snow for outlines of prints and try to figure out what animal they belong to.
Have a snowball fight. There's nothing quite as satisfying as getting snow-covered and rowdy in a snowball fight – especially if there are no real rules. Just remember to bundle up first!
Make snow angels. Flop down in the snow, stretch out your arms and legs, and spread the snow around so when you stand up you'll leave the outline of an angel behind.
Go snowshoeing. This is a great way to play around in the snow that doesn't require any skill.
Build a snowman. I will admit, I always get that song from Frozen stuck in my head whenever someone talks about building a snowman. But it is true that coming together and working toward a common goal – like constructing Frosty – is a great way for your family to bond!
Go sledding. Grab a sled or some other form of makeshift vehicle and find a steep hill to go riding down.
Photo by Flickr user MIKI Yoshihito.
Build a fort or igloo. If the snow is wet, not powdery, it's ideal for packing together and building all kinds of structures!
Go ice skating. Go on a date and hold the hand of your partner to keep them from slipping, or bring the entire family for a fun outing.
Play some ice hockey. Lace up your skates and get a little competitive with a game of hockey. Depending on how rough you want to play, you might want to put on some protective padding before you hit the ice.
Hit the slopes. For any adrenaline junkies out there, going skiing or snowboarding may be your winter activity of choice.
Go four-wheeling. Fellow Goedeker's blogger Liz Carroll is a huge fan of climbing onto a four-wheeler and going driving in the winter months.
Try your hand at ice fishing. If you live near a body of water that's populated by fish, you aren't restricted to catching them when the weather's warmer. Haul out your supplies and try to snag a few after you've broken through the ice.
What would you say is your favorite outdoor activity? Feel like we left anything out? Let us know in the comments below!