Cabin Fever? 6 Ways to Get the Kids Outside This Spring

Even before COVID, it was nearly impossible to drag your kids away from their smart devices. Now more than ever, finding ways to mix it up can be difficult when the idea well starts to run dry. 

Worry not! Here are 6 twists on classic ideas that will help inspire fun outdoor activities to get everyone out of their beds and into the lovely spring sun.

1. Scavenger Hunt


two kids staring at a map


The whole point is to get out of the house, but you can do this in your backyard or play the chauffeur to different locations. As with any of the following activities, you have complete control over how much effort you put in. So, you can leave clues in the form of riddles, hide physical objects, or give hints as to where your kiddos should head to next.

If you’re the driver, this can also be a fun way to explore different regions or hit several venues. But it’s your world, and your kids are just living in it! 

Dora could guide your adventure, or maybe Indiana Jones will lead the way. Feel free to get creative with your expedition! For example, if any holidays are coming up, it’s easy to orient your clues or prizes around a theme:

  • Easter: Egg hunt
  • St. Patrick’s Day: Search for the pot of gold
  • Halloween: Murder mystery
  • Women’s Day: Celebrating inventions or discoveries by female innovators
  • Christmas: Clues with Elf on the Shelf, 25 Days of Clues
  • Hanukkah: 8 days of clues

2. Drive-in Movie


drive in movie theater


For adults, it’ll be a nostalgic throwback to simpler times. For kids who have never experienced a drive-in movie theater, it can be a seriously exciting new endeavor. Look around for your nearest drive-in movie theater or check out one of the newly popular pop-ups!

Depending on your local regulations, you can go all out and set up a comfy camp with some chairs and blankets (if your vehicle trunk allows, you can do this inside your car too – just as cozy!). 

Want to stay in your own backyard? Buy a projector! Just find a neutral wall or set up a white sheet for your screen. The possibilities are endless, and it can be as elaborate or simple as you’d like.

Note: If you’re in the Los Angeles area, there’s the iconic Hollywood Forever Cemetery (currently showing films at the Greek).  

3. Picnic


three kids having a tea party


An oldie but a goodie. Hear us out before you write it off as “been there, done that.” You probably live close to at least a handful of parks, so you have your choice of venues. However, you can add a twist by incorporating a theme.

Take a look at the list of themed picnics below:

  • Tea party simply requires a cute setup of sweets and sandwiches. The aesthetic is the important thing, after all! Grab a few dainty tea cups from your local dollar store or Amazon. Or, keep it rustic and charming with mason jar glasses. If you aren’t looking to make everything from scratch, you can just provide an assortment of fun snacks from Trader Joe’s or your preferred grocery store. Dressing up is optional but highly encouraged!
  • Dim sum dining pairs perfectly with a picnic. With tons of small dishes, it almost seems like Chinese cuisine and picnics were made for each other. Grab dim sum takeout and plate each dish. You can provide tea as well! This is also a perfect occasion to whip out a Lazy Susan charcuterie board. To go the extra mile, print out a dim sum stamp card and allow your kids to stamp them. 
  • A day in Paris calls for a simple but elegant picnic. For kids, French fries may be enough, but you can haul out the charcuterie board, grazing table, fancy Lunchables, or whatever you like to call it. With mostly fruits, cheeses, meats, and crackers, it’s simple enough fare that any kid should enjoy the finger-food spread. But you can also bring along a baguette to build your own sandwich and sparkling cider for a more filling feast.
  • Paint and PB&J is a kid-friendly take on painting while sipping on Pinot. You’re welcome to the adult beverage, but bringing the kids outside to draw inspiration from nature can be a wholesome, creative activity. Parks, lakes, beaches, and more can be great spots to set up shop for the day.

4. Camping


kids playing at a campfire


There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors. That’s exactly why there’s been such a resurgence in outdoor activities and an increase in national park visits during these long quarantine months. 

Explore the campgrounds near you and check out the availability to take your family on a true adventure. Springtime in full force is absolutely stunning and can cater to a wide variety of activities, with something to catch the attention of every kid (and kid at heart!):

  • S’mores
  • Stargazing
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Birdwatching
  • Picnics
  • And more (incorporate the previously listed ideas during the trip)!

But this doesn’t always have to be far from home either. For those with a backyard, you can explore the outdoors without leaving the comfort of your home turf. Pitching a tent regardless of the location will be an exciting enterprise for little ones!

Or, head to the beach or lake to experience a host of the same or similar activities. Hunt for seashells, watch some whales, or explore tidepools. Water or mountains—whatever floats your boat.

5. Food Tour


two kids playing with exotic fruit


While worldwide travel may be on hold, there’s no reason not to keep expanding your kids’ palates and introducing them to new cuisines. 

The Dine-In Option: If you like to have more oversight in your children’s diets or want to keep costs low, you can try cooking new recipes from different cultures or countries yourself. This may also be a fun activity for you to explore different styles of cooking or even involve your kids in the process. 

Where does the outside activity come into play? Set up stations in your backyard or different tables at the park, and allow them to travel to different regions! As they travel from beverages to appetizers to dessert, they can explore gastronomy while enjoying fresh air and getting Vitamin D.  

The Take-Out Option: This is a great way not only to explore all the restaurants you’ve been wanting to try but also to support local small businesses! Try a different cuisine once a week or month to have something to look forward to on a regular basis. 

Go all out with décor, or get educational and share information about the respective culture or cuisine’s history! 

Whether you opt for a beach or hang out in the backyard, take-out tastes better under the glow of a beautiful sunset. As you try new restaurants and broaden your culinary horizons, you just might find a new favorite meal or take away go-to! 

6. The Dine and Drive Challenge

two teens playing rock paper scissors


Even the grumpiest teenager will eventually leave their room for sustenance. Here’s another food-oriented activity that will fill bellies, fix cravings, and leave everyone satisfied.

Have all the family members play rock-paper-scissors to decide who will get to pick the restaurant you’ll be heading to for each part of the meal:

  • Beverage
  • Appetizer
  • Main Course
  • Dessert

To prevent any arguments in families larger than 2 people, as soon as one person wins a round, they should not participate in the following rock-paper-scissors rounds. This way everyone gets to pick something that they want, and everyone goes home happy. 

Snacks and more stops can be added as long as the tummy space allows for it. Close the food delivery app, hop in the car, and dig in! 

Seize the Spring Day

Whatever activity you pick, don’t forget:

  • Wipes 
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Appropriate footwear

And, most importantly, have fun!