19 Cheap (or Free!) Sidewalk Activities to Keep the Kids Busy

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Keep this list in your back pocket for the dreaded day when the “I’m bored” sentiments take over your otherwise inquisitive child. These sidewalk and driveway activities will get the kids outside and having fun as they include sidewalk chalk games, things to do with bubbles, new ways to use hula hoops and more. Your front yard has never seen this much action, we are sure of it!

photo: iStock

1. Make some bubbles. Whether you make your own bubbles or grab a giant bottle from the grocery store, bubble activities are super fun to do on the driveway. Check out this bubble maker that will blow the bubble for you (and keep you from passing out). 

2. Paint a pet rock. Paint and rocks are two ingredients that are easy to come by for outside activity. When your little artist is done decorating, follow our pet rock care guide how-to for her new pet and set up your rock crew in the front yard for all passersby to see. 

3. Learn to skateboard. This retro sport is back in style and we love that. Do a little research on the best-sized skateboard for your little groms and make sure you get them all decked out in safety gear before you build those driveway ramps. 


photo: Karolina Grabowska via pexels

4. Play with hula hoops. Who says you have to have moves like Jagger to have fun with a hula hoop? Check out these boredom-busting hula hoop games by Learn Play Imagine for inspiration—you’ll be amazed at the creative new ways you can play with one of the oldest toys imaginable.

5. Inspire your neighbors with sidewalk chalk. Writing messages like "good job!" and "I'm proud of you!" will bring a smile to your neighbors' faces as they walk by your house. 

6. Roll it out with a tricycle race. Ready, set, go! Riding bikes is an energy-burning outdoor activity for kids. From obstacle course to tag team follow our how-to on how to change up the track.

7. Get out the jump ropes. When it comes to the old-school fun that will leave you breathless—from both giggles and activity—there’s nothing that outdoes a round of jump rope. Check out these six games that work for every age and skill level to jog your memory of just how it’s done.


photo: S. Massey

8. Draw chalk art photo props. Is there a kid out there who doesn’t like seeing themselves in a silly photo? With chalk, you can create any backdrop you wish, and even draw your kids right into the pictures. Fourth of July? Add a top hat and walking cane and Sam becomes Uncle Sam!

9. Make a sidewalk chalk obstacle course. This is great for gross motor skills and you may even see the mail carrier giving it a try when you add a sidewalk chalk obstacle course in front of your house. Hands On As We Grow has great step-by-step instructions on how to set it up. 

10. Get out the roller skates. These are totally making a comeback this summer and we are pulling out our rainbow headbands for it. Order your little ones some roller skates and the safety gear to go along with them and teach them how to shoot the duck! 

photo: Shannan Rouss

11. Wash a car. This one is a win-win for everyone. Get out the bubbles and spray hose and get the minivan all shined up. Kids can even bring out their own toy trucks to join in on the fun. 

12. Make ice paint. We all love food on a stick, so why wouldn’t we adore paint on a stick, too? Just mix a little water with non-toxic paint and stick it in the freezer, either in solo cups or ice cube containers. Add a popsicle stick halfway through freezing, then pop the cubes out and you’re ready to go! This is a great activity for the driveway on a hot day. 

13. Have a water balloon fight. When the temperatures soar, so will the spirits if you’ve got a bag of water balloons handy. No balloons? No problem. Just turn the hose on and play water tag with the hose and give your front yard plants a drink. 

photo: Melissa Heckscher

14. Set up your hopscotch. This one will bring you back to your school days. Using painter's tape or chalk, set up hopscotch and get ready to play! 

15. Build your own tetherball. Get yourself a pole and an old tire and you'll be on your way to set up this fun activity. The DIY Network has the full scoop on what you'll need to get this mobile game set up in your front yard. 

16. Use the windows as a creative space. Washing windows just got a lot more creative. Give your kids brushes and spray bottles, and watch them paint, clear, and paint again. 

photo: Shannan Rouss

17. Set up the basketball hoop. Whether you opt for one installed above your garage or a free-standing hoop for the shorties, there are tons of fun basketball games that will get the kids moving. Check out this list from active.com that includes tons of ideas beyond HORSE. 

18. Paint with squirt guns. This is a fun way to use those old squirt guns you have around the house. Fill them up with chalk paint to paint the sidewalk or check out this idea from Fireflies + Mud Pies for making art that you can hang up on your fridge. 

19. Play boxball. This classic sidewalk game is a little bit like ping pong, using a large rubber ball. Slap the ball back and forth between sidewalk squares; the first person to reach 21 is the winner! See the rules here. 

—Kate Loweth, Nikki Walsh & Shelley Massey

Featured image: Karolina Grabowska via Pexels 


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