kids outdoors

20 Fun Things To Do Outside With Kids

We’ve put together a list of 20 great ideas for local summer fun with the kids. From local pools and parks to outdoor jazz and movies, we think you’ll find something that your child will love this summer.

Haymarket Tour – FREE
If your child attended an LPS school in 3rd grade, they may have attended this tour (in person or virtually) as a field trip.  Pack a lunch, grab some good walking shoes, and have them share what they learned with you.  Don’t forget some money for a final destination stop at Ivanna Cone in the Creamery Building.

Explore UNL – FREE
Kids love spending time on college campuses.  Stop into a few public buildings and pique their interest in college life.  Be sure to peruse around Memorial Stadium, you never know what local celebrities you may run into down there.

Geocaching – FREE
Download the Geocaching app on your smartphone and begin scavenging.  A geocache is a small container that is logged and registered onto the app allowing you to participate in a worldwide scavenger hunt.  Many are hidden throughout Lincoln and the app will help you scout them out.

Lincoln City Pools – $$
Nothing beats an afternoon spent at one of Lincoln’s nine public swimming pools.  There’s a little something for everyone from slides to diving boards to tanning on the deck, so be sure to visit them all to find your favorite one.

Lincoln Children’s Zoo – $$
If you haven’t had the chance to feed a giraffe romaine lettuce leaves the size of your face, this is the place for you!  Recent renovations have made the zoo extra exciting with the addition of the giraffe barn, secret jungle, and other attractions.

Saltdogs Baseball Game – $$
The Saltdogs play many games throughout the summer at Lincoln’s Haymarket Park.  Choose seating that works for your family.  Tickets are as low as $9 for seating on the grass berm to enjoy a family-friendly game.  If your family likes fireworks, be on the hunt for Friday night tickets.

Catch Lightning Bugs – FREE
When I would visit my grandparents’ farm in Nebraska as a little girl, my cousins and I couldn’t wait to catch a jar full of lightning bugs to take inside for the night.  These fun and unique critters weren’t found in the south, and they’re a perfect late-night activity to do before bedtime.

Mini Golf – $$
Adventure Golf Center is a hit for outdoor putt putters.  With attached batting cages and snow cones, there’s something for everyone.  Prehistoric Putt is a great indoor option across town for those sweltering Nebraska afternoons.

Holmes Lake – FREE
Switch up your lunchtime by packing it up in a bag, grabbing a blanket, and having a picnic at Holmes Lake.  There are so many options of what to do afterward: play on the playground, feed the ducks your bread scraps, fishing, bike rides, or go on a nature walk around the lake.

Elementary School Playground Tour – FREE
Lincoln has 39 different elementary schools in LPS.  Make a bracket to compare each school’s playgrounds until you find the best spot for recess in town.  The best part will be doing the field testing, of course!

Trails – FREE
Lincoln has over 134 miles of trails to explore by walking, running, biking, scootering, rollerblading, and dog walking.  It’s a new way to explore our city by taking the “backroads”.

Trago Park – FREE
Trago Park has all of the essentials: a basketball court, playground, grassy area, and a walking trail…but what makes it extra special is the splash pad.  This is a great stop for those extra warm days where you want to play hard and cool off.

Outdoor Movie – FREE
If you can get your hands on a projector, set up an outdoor movie on your garage door or a large hanging bedsheet.  Complete the scene with lawn chairs, blankets, microwave popcorn, candy, and PJs of course!

Sunken Gardens – FREE
Take a walk through Sunken Gardens and marvel at the exotic and diverse plants and flowers.  This can be a quick walk-through or pack up some reading books to spend some time working on summer reading under the tree canopies.

Pioneers Park – FREE
Pioneers Park is a great place to spend the whole day.  There is a lot of land to discover and explore.  Some highlights include the playground, the Nature Center, and many hiking trails.  This is a great place to have your 4th graders share about their experience at Cunningham School (the schoolhouse is located there) and their learning about the importance of bison and buffalo in Nebraska history.

Jazz in June – FREE
The Sheldon Art Gallery hosts different jazz musicians each Tuesday night in June in their sculpture garden.  This is a family-friendly event, so feel free to pack up the wagon with kids, blankets, games, and dinner.

Robber’s Cave – $$
Robber’s Cave is Lincoln’s only underground attraction.  A local teacher gives tours to tell the tales about the, once sealed to the public, cave.  This is a great learning opportunity to discover more about Lincoln’s past.

Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center – FREE
There are over 4 miles of trails to explore this tallgrass prairie in Denton, NE, just outside of Lincoln.  There’s no shortage of nature for all to enjoy, especially for bird watchers, and supplements the LPS 4th-grade curriculum related to prairies.  Another great opportunity for your kids to teach you about what they learned in school.

Wyuka History Tour – FREE
There is much to learn about notable Nebraskans, architecture, and artifacts at Wyuka cemetery.  Download the “Wyuka Cemetery: A Driving & Walking Tour Guide” from their website and enjoy a shaded, self-paced, history nature walk in central Lincoln.

Friday Nights Live – FREE
Southpointe Mall hosts Friday Nights Live every Friday from 6:30-8:30.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy music by local Lincoln band, the 402.

More from the blog:

Setting Up Study Space

Setting Up Study Space

School is back in session for the year and with that comes a multitude of homework assignments and extracurricular activities. As this busy season begins for families, children can be found doing homework anywhere and everywhere: in the car before soccer practice,...

What is Sensory Integration?

What is Sensory Integration?

Children use their senses to discover and make sense of the world around them. Sensory exploration supports cognitive growth, motor skills, problem-solving and social interactions. However, you may have noticed that your child responds differently than expected to...

Screen Time vs. Green Time

Screen Time vs. Green Time

Most adults recall memories of summers spent riding bikes, running through the sprinkler and playing in nature. Times have changed. For kids today, there is no shortage of devices available for engaging in screen time—smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs. It’s become...