21 Backyard Adventures for an Exciting Summer at Home

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 17 June 2024
  • 7 minute read
21 Backyard Adventures for an Exciting Summer at Home | The Health Sessions

We all know that getting some fresh air and sunlight makes a feel a little more clear-headed and refreshed, while being surrounded by greenery soothes us and supports our wellbeing in so many ways. Not to mention that a natural change of scenery can be a welcome distraction if you have to spend a lot of time at indoors.

But heading into nature isn’t always easy if you have MS, inflammatory bowel disease or migraine. Thankfully, you can still boost your health and happiness if you have an outdoor area attached to your living area.

It doesn’t matter if you have a colorful garden, a porch ideal for slow afternoons in the shade or a small urban balcony, spending time outside can be a wonderful source of fun and relaxation. But if you don’t have the energy or mobility to be very active, sitting in the sun or shade could get a little boring.

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of ‘backyard adventures’ to add a sense of excitement to your staycation. Whether you’re looking to recharge or have some accessible fun, you’ll find some outdoor activities that can be adapted to your energy level.

So enjoy the outdoors with these 21 backyard adventures for an enjoyable summer at home! 

This article contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own.

21 Backyard Adventures for an Exciting Summer at Home | The Health Sessions
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1. Set up a cozy spot outside and create your own seasonal reading challenge. From the comfort of your hammock or lounge chair, go around the world through books, pair a non-fiction and fiction book about an interesting topic or check out the hottest reads of the season at Modern Mrs. Darcy or Everyday Reading,

2. Have an outdoor game tournament. Gather family or friends, get some low-energy, crowd-pleasing lawn games like Giant Jenga, jeu de boules, sticky darts, Kubb or Connect 4, and get competitive!

 3. Enjoy outdoor cooking or eating al fresco. Fire up the grill, get out your camping stove or experiment with a pot tripod over a campfire. If that’s too complicated, you can simply shake things up a little by eating breakfast on the balcony on a summer’s day or having a picnic on the grass.

4. Go green and support your local wildlife in easy-to-maintain ways. Attract bees and butterflies with pollinator-friendly potted plants on your patio, drop a native ‘wildflower bomb’ in the garden, create a DIY bird feeder in the winter, or provide water for hedgehogs and frogs.

5. What’s better on hot days than splashing with water? It doesn’t matter much if you chill in an inflatable pool, relive your childhood memories by running through the sprinklers or just have a soothing foot bath on the balcony; cooling down with water brings out the kid in everyone.

6. Don’t want to run inside any time you feel thirsty or want a snack? An outdoor bar cart will instantly make your outdoor hangout feel fun and glamorous! Check out these non-alcoholic cocktail recipes to channel some tropical vibes.

7. Have fun with your (grand)kids. Get creative with chalk on the sidewalk, blow bubbles, play in a small sand box or bring out the kinetic sand – any low-impact activity that brings you all joy.

21 Backyard Adventures for an Exciting Summer at Home | The Health Sessions
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8. Take your creative projects outside. Nothing too taxing or messy of course, but artistic activities like water coloring,  photography, shadow tracing, making flower arrangements or a seasonal wreath actually lend themselves really well to be done outdoors.

9. Get active – gently. If you have enough space, play frisbee or badminton, work your core with a hula hoop or practice your basketball skills. Got more energy? Jump rope for a few minutes (with as much rest in between jumps as needed) or bounce on a (mini) trampoline.

10. Host a simple but elegant high tea party. Set a (side) table with your finest china or coziest tea cups, have a selection of (iced) teas and indulge yourself with (store-bought) sandwiches, quiches, scones and of course some delicious sweets.

11. Grow herbs in the garden, window sill or hanging on the porch to add a punch of flavor and health-boosting nutrients to your meals. If you have more basil, parsley or rosemary than you can eat, check out these tips to preserve and freeze fresh herbs, or make herb-infused oils and herb salt.

12. Hot day ahead? Get up early to watch the sunrise and make time for self-care rituals, whether that’s prayer, journaling or stretching. Have an extravagant breakfast on your porch, terrace or rooftop to enjoy some outdoor time before it gets too warm.

13. Bring the summer fun to you, if you can handle socializing but need to stay close to your bath room/a quiet bedroom to retreat/all your medical equipment. You could have an outdoor movie night, get that festival vibe by playing guitar by the fire pit (without bothering the neighbors of course), make your own pub quiz or even host a silent disco. It’s also fun to have friends over for an ice cream bar party for some easy entertaining.

14. Go all in on flowers. Aside from enjoying their beauty, you can use (dried) flowers to level up your wellness game. Soak in floral bath salts, make your own potpourri, sip some soothing chamomile tea and fall asleep easily with this DIY lavender bed spray.

21 Backyard Adventures for an Exciting Summer at Home | The Health Sessions
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk via pexels.com

15. Camp out in your own backyard. Set up a tent (with help if needed), roast marshmallows, play flashlight tag and tell each other ghost stories. The good news is, you’re super close to home in case your symptoms play up unexpectedly.

16. Add a touch of magic to your outdoor area. Build your own fairy garden, paint rocks and hide those happy stones in your neighborhood or liven up your fence with outdoor decorations. And what’s cozier then having a string of fairy lights on your porch in winter or hearing the wind chime on chilly days?

17. Relax to the max. Roll out your yoga mat on the lawn for a series of sun salutations, install yourself on your day bed to listen to audiobooks, or do some easy gardening to clear your mind.

18. Study your natural surroundings up close throughout the seasons. Find yourself  a so-called ‘sit spot’ where you go time and time again to nature journal all the tiny changes happening during the year. It’s also fun and educational to play ‘backyard bingo’ with your family, where you try to spot and tick off all the animals in your area. You can take up bird watching or join national initiatives to count birds, bees or butterflies for preservation reasons.

19. Seek out experiences of awe. Research shows that being in awe boosts our mood, increase our satisfaction with life and even improves our physical health. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to see the Mona Lisa or visit majestic mountains to reap this benefits. Stare up at the sky at night and feel infinitely small and grandiose at the same time. Sit outside and engage your five senses – feel the breeze on your skin, hear the birds chirping, notice the smell of freshly cut grass and watch the flowers bloom. Train your mind to look for everyday beauty by making one photograph a day of something pretty around you.

20. Learn or do something new. Novelty activates dopamine, the feel good hormone that brings you pleasure as well as the motivation to act. So add some excitement to your day by picking up a new outdoor skill, like identifying edible plants, tying knots or basic repair jobs. To preserve your limited energy, you could also sit down in the sun and learn a few words of Italian, browse cookbooks to try a new cuisine, listen to a different genre of music or watch a TED talk about an interesting topic.

21. Head outside after dark. Make a bonfire (safely), catch fireflies and look up at the stars to see if you can identify any constellations. Perform a full moon ritual if you want to deepen your spirituality. For extra fun, you could even get glow sticks for a treasure hunt in the garden, play ‘museum night guard’ or get creative with a camera with an extremely slow shutter speed to make flashlight art.

No matter how big or small your outdoor area is, you can create your own ‘backyard’ adventure to experience a sense of fun and excitement despite your limitations. Which one of these fun outdoor activities will you try this summer?

You can find more inspiration in ’38 Staycations Ideas for a Happy Holiday at Home’ and ‘Nature Therapy: How to Get in 120 Minutes of Outdoor Time with Chronic Illness’.

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