No matter how old our kids get, we’re always on the lookout for age appropriate activities to keep them entertained.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of great family activities for all ages.
In this post, I take a look at suitable activities for different age groups, grouped by:
- School age kids
- Young teens
For each age group, I offer a list of age-appropriate activities split into indoor and outdoor options. Whatever age your children are, you’ll find inspiration for fun things to do as a family.
Activities by age group
There doesn’t seem to be a clear consensus about the specific ages for each group, so I’m making my cutoff points clear upfront.
Infant activities (0 – 12 months)
Newborn babies are unsurprisingly quite limited when it comes to the kinds of activities they can participate in.
During infancy, their focus is primarily on perceiving and learning about the world. Later, they’ll start using their body as a means to explore their surroundings.
Here are the age-appropriate baby activities for indoor and outdoor play.
- Lots of tummy time to build neck strength
- Have them listen to you sing or tell stories
- Dance to music while holding your baby
- Give them (unbreakable) mirrors to learn about reflections
- Have them spot and follow an object by moving it in front of their face
- Hang up objects they can kick while lying on their back
- Offer them age-appropriate toys to play with:
- Wheeled toys
- Pull toys with (short) strings
- Stacking and nesting toys
- Dolls and stuffed animals
- Simple puzzles
- Give them lots of differently textured objects to touch
- Bathtub play with squirting toys and plastic bowls
- Read books to them out loud
- Play peekaboo or make silly faces at them
- Give them containers and boxes with items inside
- Walk or hike with them in a baby carrier
- Rides on trains, buses, and other public transport
- Napping outside in the fresh air
- Sensory play with stones, grass, mud, snow, etc.
- Outdoor water play
- Visiting playgrounds
- Watching and catching soap bubbles
- Pointing together at stationary and moving objects
- Being in crowded places where they can observe the world
Toddler activities (1 – 3 years)
Toddlers enjoy physical activities that take advantage of their newfound ability to walk, run, and jump. They’re also starting to understand the concept of relationships and being part of a larger social group.
Have a look at this list of age-appropriate activities for toddlers, including indoor and outdoor examples.
- Bowling with e.g. plastic bottles and a ball
- Threading beads on a string or shoelace
- Stickers…stickers everywhere
- Construction toys with large pieces (like DUPLO or Mega Bloks)
- Sorting toys (by shape, size, color, etc.)
- Basic board games that focus on memory and matching
- Finger painting and drawing with crayons
- Wooden train sets like BRIO
- Assisting parents with cooking and cleaning
- Creating obstacle courses out of pillows, boxes, etc.
- Dancing and singing along to music
- Hide-and-seek (can also be done indoors)
- Treasure hunt
- Hike and collect stones, shells, etc.
- Draw with chalk
- Make hand impressions in the mud
- Splash in puddles
- Visit a petting zoo
- Grow a mini-garden together
- Throw and catch a ball
- Play hopscotch
- Throw your toddler up in the air
- Play in the sandbox
- Throw stones into water and watch the ripples
- Learn to ride a tricycle a run bike
Activities for preschoolers (3 – 5 years)
Preschoolers are making strides in complex language development and building social skills. They are better able to understand relationships between objects and how different small parts fit together into a bigger whole.
Focus on activities that help them grow these skills and prepare them for a more independent life at school.
- Role-playing toys like play kitchens and doctor sets
- Flashcards for learning numbers, letters, etc.
- Observation games like “I Spy”
- Following and copying games like “Simon Says”
- Guessing games like “Who am I?”
- Screen-free interactive toys
- Magnetic building toys
- Sensory toys like playdough and kinetic sand
- Simple board games
- Games that involve making up a story
- Painting and drawing (encourage this with drawing prompts)
- Make scrapbooks and collages
- LEGO and similar construction toys
- Water fights
- Make and race paper boats or planes
- Build a ball race track
- Make headwear or bracelets out of leaves, grass, flowers, etc.
- Help mow the lawn or take care of the garden
- Build a fort (or a sand castle on the beach)
- Active games like egg race or sack race
- Climbing obstacles and balance beams
- Outdoor yoga and gymnastics
- Rock stacking and balancing
- Collecting and categorizing objects (living / non-living, large / small, etc.)
- Garden camping
School age activities (6 – 10 years)
Kids of this age are maturing rapidly. They’re building essential group skills, from cooperating to resolving conflicts. They’ll be learning lots of new school subjects and developing hobbies and special interests.
Go for activities that encourage lots of interaction and learning, both for indoors and outdoors.
- Learning magic tricks
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Riddles & brain teasers
- Science experiments
- Arts & crafts kits
- Family board games (especially cooperative ones)
- Word games
- Educational shows & apps
- Reading and discussing books
- Advanced construction toys like LEGO Technic
- Family movie night
- Cooking & baking together
- Visiting museums
- Learning photography
- Trip to the zoo
- Building a snowman
- Outdoor yoga or exercise
- Building a treehouse
- Active games like tag
- Riding a bike, roller skating, etc.
- Camping in the woods
Activities for young teens (11 – 14 years)
They’re growing up too fast. Young teens know how to express complex thoughts and feelings. They have a well-developed sense of right or wrong and are likely very independent.
Your goal now is simultaneously finding ways to bond while giving them plenty of space when needed.
- Design Rube Goldberg machines out of household items
- Social games like charades
- More advanced board games
- Write letters to friends and family
- Start a book club
- Play music together
- Challenge each other with “question of the day”
- Explore the world using VR
- Encourage them to keep a diary or journal
- FaceTime with family and friends
- Share and discuss family history
- Look up and learn things together
- Schedule 1-1s with each parent
- Advanced puzzles and jigsaws
- Flying kites
- Long hikes or bike trips
- Frisbee, dodgeball, etc.
- Go to a theatre show or concert
- Visit theme parks
- Go bowling
- Sledding or skiing
- Build your own raft
- Super soaker fights
- Active games
Teenager activities (14+ years)
Just a step away from becoming adults. Teenagers are carving out their own place in the world and building a life outside of the family circle.
Keep finding ways to have fun together while respecting their need to be their own person.
- Play video games together
- Complex board games (both cooperative and competitive)
- Plan a themed dinner and have everyone dress up
- Learn new skills together
- Set up a projector for a proper movie night
- Learning card tricks
- Murder mystery games
- Trivia games
- Redecorating the house together
- Create vision boards
- Make a fun YouTube video together
- Laser tag or Nerf battle
- Escape rooms
- Go to the planetarium
- Attend science fairs
- Rowing or kayaking
- Play lawn games
- Go to a festival
- Take a road trip together
- Learn sailing, surfing, or paddle boarding
- Try new restaurants together
- Go to the movies
- Try bouldering, rappelling, or rock climbing
Put these age-appropriate activities to the test
That wraps up the list of 150+ activities by age. Have fun trying these out.
Do you and your kids have a favorite activity? Can you recommend something that didn’t make it on the list? Feel free to share in the comments!