Summer Activities for Kids: Fun, Learning, and More
Summer break from school can quickly turn into the “I’m bored” and “there is nothing to do” comments from your kids. Not with this list though! This list of the best summer activities for kids will provide everything that you need to keep your kids active and enjoying their break. They may even learn something from a few of these activities as well. Don’t worry though; we won’t tell them if you won’t.
So take a look through our suggestions and start finding the summer activities that are best going to fit your kids and family. Be warned though; with all of these fun activities, you may find a few neighboorhood kids as regulars in your backyard this summer.
Why not make use of those spare frisbees lying around the house and play some frisbee games? Fun games to play with a Frisbee include Tic Tac Toe (use a sheet or large branches), hit the bullseye, or frisbee golf (many parks have great courses). With a little bit of preparation, frisbee games could be a regular summer activity.
With not a whole lot of prep, you can provide hours of entertainment for your kids with an indoor or outdoor obstacle course. Martha Stewart offers a good obstacle course setup, but with a little creativity, you can make your own unique course. And, the course can be adjusted and rearranged as many times as you would like. This will help to keep the course fun and unique each time.
Summer Activity Bag
A summer activity bag is a customizable go-to bag full of things to do. For example, a child interested in crafts, could make a bag full of craft supplies, a child interested in science, could make an experiment bag, etc. Once the bags are made, the statement “I’m bored” can be answered with “pull out your activity bag!”
On a hot day, a good old fashioned sprinkler ‘party’ can be loads of fun, especially if there is no pool nearby. For even more fun add a slip and slide. And, if you play it right, you can spray your kids with a hose, and they won’t get upset at you for doing it, a win-win.
Camp in the Backyard
While camping out in the wilderness may not be realistic, a backyard campsite can be tons of fun. For an authentic experience try making s’mores over a fire pit, doing some stargazing, and catching some fireflies. And remember, if the ground gets too hard in the middle of the night your bed is only steps away.
Sidewalk Chalk Games
From four square to hopscotch there are a number of sidewalk chalk games that your kids can enjoy during the summer. The games can even be educational, as the No Time for Flash Cards blog demonstrates. So grab a big box of sidewalk chalk and let your kids start coloring up the driveway and sidewalks around your house.
If you have a child that loves to be artistic, rock painting is a creative way to paint. It is as simple as finding some flat, smooth stones and providing paint supplies. Before you know it, you will have a bunch of painted rocks featuring nature, animals, and whatever else can be imagined. If you need to, you can also buy smooth rocks to paint if you aren’t able to find any outside. Also, make sure to use acrylic paint as it is easier to apply and will require fewer coats.
Feed the Ducks
If you have a local park that features a lake filled with ducks and geese, spend an afternoon feeding the ducks and playing in the park. Kids will have fun as the ducks swim around in the water or come right up and eat out their hand. Also, turn this activity into a learning opportunity and look up the names of the different ducks on the lake. When feeding the ducks, cracked corn, oats, and bird seed all work well.
Depending on the time of the year and your location, there will be different berry picking options in your area. In the summer, most areas are going to have strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and more to pick. So take your kids to a berry patch and let them pick some of their favorite types of berries. They will get to see how a farm works, and in the end, you will be able to eat all the berries you pick.
A butterfly garden is going to be a project that kids will be able to keep coming back to throughout the summer. This means that it is really more than just one summer activity. And, while a little more work maybe than some of the activities on this list, all of the butterflies will make it well worth the extra effort. As a bonus, you will also be helping with pollination, making a difference for the planet.
Go to the Movies
As much as it is great to get outside and play in the summer, sometimes the best option is a kid-friendly movie. Also, many theaters offer special deals in the summer for kids as well. So find a couple of movies this summer that are worth seeing and then plan a day to the movies.
Make a Kaleidoscope
If you have kids that love making things and enjoy learning, making a kaleidoscope is going to be an excellent activity to do. This project doesn’t require many supplies either. The main supply item is an empty Pringles can, so your kids will also be able to eat chips while they do this project. This is a cool science-based activity that will provide for both fun and learning.
Splatter painting is going to appeal to the creative as well as those who like to make a mess. Best done outside and with old clothes, splatter painting can be fun, and also turn out some interesting art pieces as well. Would be artists are able to lay down painters tape on canvas in any design that they want, and from there it is splatter paint city. After all of the splattering is over, peel up the tape for some unique designs. Who knows, you may even end up hanging this piece of art somewhere in your house.
Make Tie Dye Shirts
It may not be the 1970s anymore, but making Tie Dye shirts is still fun! They are also relatively easy to make as well, just make sure that you have some old clothes on while making. This is going to be an excellent activity for both kids who love to create as well as kids that love messier activities. Also, after the shirts have dried, you have a shirt that can be worn for the rest of the summer.
Make Your Own Playdough
What is more fun than playing with playdough? How about playing with playdough that you also made?! This homemade playdough recipe is going to allow for super soft and squishy playdough that doesn’t stick and will last. Kids will have fun helping to make this playdough, and then have hours of fun after playing with it whenever they want to.
It doesn’t get much better than laying out on a blanket in the grass on a warm sunny day. So if it is nice outside, grab a blanket and look at some clouds. Identifying clouds can be a teaching activity, but it can also be fun just to lay back and find clouds that resemble different shapes. So maybe mix in a little bit of both the next time you have a beautiful day with lots of clouds out.
Play a Sport
You don’t have to have an organized league to play sports. Encourage your kids to play a sport in the backyard or take them to the park to play them. Whether it is throwing a football or shooting some hoops, there are a lot of options. Try teaching your kids new sports as well. This will allow them to get a head start on sports. And who knows? Maybe you will inspire them to become a professional athlete. Try recruiting neighborhood kids or friends for even more sports-related fun.
Fire Station Tour
There is just something about police officers and firefighters that draws kids in. So if you have a child that loves all things firefighter related, schedule a fire station tour. Along with this being a neat experience for your kids, this will also be an opportunity for a fun learning experience. Kids will be able to meet their heroes, see everything up close, and also learn how everything works.
Visit the Library
The library has way too many great free resources for you not to be regularly taking advantage of them. From books to movies to interactive activities, the library offers so much for kids. And best of all, the majority of what is provided is learning based. So on the next rainy day or day where it is too hot outside, head over to your local library to take advantage of everything that they offer.
Backyard Olympics may take a little bit more set up, but if done right, it will be an activity that is fondly looked back on. You can also base your games on sports that are in the Olympics, or get creative with the games. Depending on the size of your yard and number of participants, creating your own games will allow for more flexibility. Also, be sure to make some creative medals or awards for the winners to really add to the fun of backyard Olympics.
Make Your Own Pizza
For a delicious lunchtime kids activity, try having your kids make their own pizzas. This will allow them some creativity in the kitchen, and will also allow them to end up with a delicious lunch. With this activity being as easy as it is, it makes it an excellent kids lunch that can be used time and again during the summer. For some variation as well, try providing different toppings each time.
Visit the Park
Whether you have a large yard or not, a quality park just offers so much more. Also, there are usually other kids for your children to play with as well. So for playgrounds, open fields, bike paths, and more, make sure that you visit your local parks. Also, since you most likely have multiple local parks in your area, you can try out different parks to keep the experience fun and new for your kids.
A family picnic is an excellent way to get outside and enjoy beautiful weather. And, whether it is for snacks or an all-out meal, a picnic is still a fun activity. Also, for even more of an activity for your kids, have them help you with preparing the food for the picnic. They can help create different snacks or foods that they want to bring with them.
Even though this is listed as just one of the summer activities on this list, it is really more than that, as it is an activity that will last the entire summer. And, while a vegetable garden is going to require more effort than most on this list, it is a great way for kids to learn as well. Kids will be able to see how the gardening process works from start to finish and be able to enjoy the end product.
Visit the Museum
Museums are a great way to sneak learning in during the summer without your kids being any the wiser. With so many cool exhibits offered at museums, kids will be enthralled as they explore. So figure out the museums that are close to you and plan to visit them throughout the summer. Also, if you live close to Washinton DC or NYC, make sure you check out our lists of the best museums in DC and best museums in NYC.
Make Ice Cream
This sweet summer activity is perfect for a sunny day or a nice cool summer evening after dinner. It is also a crowd favorite because the end result is a tasty bowl of ice cream! Along with providing a great tasting bowl of ice cream though, kids will be able to learn how the whole process works as they can help make the ice cream. Don’t be intimidated either by the idea of having to make your own ice cream. It is easier than you think and will be a breeze to make following the instructions.
Summer Reading Tent
To make summer reading more enticing try making a summer reading tent. Kids will love reading and playing in their own little hideout. They will be having so much fun that they won’t even realize that they have been learning the whole summer. Also, check out our list of the best young adult books for some great reading recommendations.
Drive-In Movie Cars
For a fun take on movie night, try a drive-in movie night. Each kid will have a homemade ‘drive-in’ boxcar and will be able to ‘buy’ movie tickets and snacks with paper money. Kids will have fun designing and decorating their cars too. With the decorating and the movie night, it is really like two activities in one.
Water Balloon Fight
What screams summer more than a water balloon fight? Also, a water balloon fight is a great summer activity for large groups of kids. So if you have a large number of kids to entertain, this is a great option. And, if you don’t want to have to fill up a large number of balloons, trying using sponges. Sponges can be used over and over, rather than a one time use like a balloon. A full-scale water balloon fight with all of the neighborhood kids will quickly have you labeled the coolest parent on the block.
Volunteering is not only an excellent activity, but it is also a great teaching moment as well. And, with a variety of volunteer options to choose from as well, you will be able to find something that fits your kids. You can choose to volunteer at nursing homes, animal adoption agencies, and more. There are plenty of places that kids can volunteer.
Best Summer Activities for Kids Conclusion
There is no need to stay cooped up inside all summer when there are so many great activities to choose from. This list has provided 30 different options, but after reading this list, you have probably had a couple more ideas as well. So whether you use a summer activity off of this list or come up with an adaptation of one, get out and enjoy your summer.
If you do end up letting your kids use electronics this summer, make sure to visit our lists of the best apps for kids and best educational apps for kids. Both of these lists will help to make sure that your kids are learning while they play.
Do you have a summer activity for kids that should be on this list? Please feel free to share it below in the comments.