Family Activity Ideas

Mother and daughter with golden retriever sitting on the green grass at the summer park

The kid-and-dog combo can be a winner, but often presents a number of challenges—for example keeping everyone happily occupied at the same time. One way to pull that off is to arrange games and activities that kids and dogs can enjoy together. Here are some ideas to get the fun started:

Make a play date. Get together with other parents and their kids, two- and four-legged. Depending on the age and temperament of both kids and dogs, this could mean interspecies play or an opportunity for kids to play while dogs romp with each other. Team up with fellow parents to share supervisory duties.

Go on an outdoor adventure. Both dogs and kids are natural explorers, so why not arrange an expedition? A hike on a nature trail or through a city park can be equally fun if you pretend to be intrepid explorers. Find and study plants, insects, or pond life, feed birds (where it’s allowed, of course), create nature art, or arrange a picnic in the open.

Build a homemade mini agility course in the backyard using hula-hoops, kids’ play tunnels, mini pools, poles, and whatever else you can think of. Get the kids involved and stage little competitions. Your dog and your kids will love it, and you get to enjoy how nice and tired everyone gets from all that fun.

Smaller kids? Opt for parallel activities. With younger children, you have to supervise at all times (for your dog’s safety as much as for your kid’s), but you can still have fun together. Make your dog a yummy Kong and challenge your kid to draw your dog or practice reading skills by reading a book to the pooch while she eats. Or have your child blow dog-friendly bubbles; your dog will love trying to catch them, especially if they’re bacon flavored.