75+ Summer Activities For Kids

More than 75 summer activities that you can do with your kids.

Is it summer break for your kids yet? This time of year moms, like me, start scouring the internet, looking for activities to keep their offspring preoccupied during the summer months.

Maybe you don’t want to feel like they’re relying on you for entertainment, but there are days… so. many. days. when everyone is cranky, they’re all fighting, and they just can’t get it together… that’s when it’s great to have a list of activities to pull from.

Most of these activities are free or cheap, but not all. Many don’t require your participation, though I’m sure your kiddos would LOVE for you to play with them, or build toothpick structures with them, for a few minutes. I’m sure you’ll find at least a few usable ideas in this list of summer activities for kids.

You may have heard all these ideas before, that’s ok. In the heat of the moment when you have no idea what to do, and chaos is  closing in, it’s nice to have a written out list to pick and choose from to help you make a quick decision.

Print off the full list here: 75+ Summer ActivitiesFor Kids

  1. Play a board game- Candy Land, Trouble, Scrabble, and The King of Tokyo are some of my favorites!
  2. Read a chapter book- Spend a few minutes reading one out loud to them, or have them read quietly alone.
  3. Take a day trip- pick a spot on the map that you can get to within a couple hours, and go! Explore the town, hit up a park, read the historical markers… you don’t have to spend money if you don’t want to, just the gas to get there.
  4. Go fishing- I realize this won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a fishing family, go for it!
  5. Movie on the lawn– do a Google search for your town + movie on the lawn and see if anything is coming up. A lot of communities will have at least a few showings over the summer, and they’re generally family friendly. Just don’t forget bug spray and a flashlight!!
  6. Do a service project– Pinterest will be your BFF for this one! Assign them a project, or encourage them to come up with a plan on their own. This is a good list of ideas to help your kids brainstorm ways to make an impact in your community.
  7. Have them make bucket lists- this is a great way to get to know a little more about your kids, if they’ll let you see it. Have them write down (or tell you) at least 10 things they want to accomplish in their lifetimes.
  8. Follow the coin- take a walk or drive, and go where ever the coin leads. Heads is right, tails is left. Where will you end up? –Note: do this in an area you’re pretty familiar with so you don’t end up somewhere you feel uncomfortable, and take something to protect yourself, just in case.
  9. Sign up for a subscription box- There are a ton of fun subscription boxes for kids now!
  10. Visit a local museum– smaller, less known museums can be really interesting!
  11. Make a bird feeder– toilet paper tubes + peanut butter + birdseed…Bam! (This will probably be messy… my advice would be to send them outside with the supplies if possible.)
  12. Learn a new skill- Have them check out a library book or watch a YouTube tutorial that will teach them something useful. Maybe they can make dinner one night, learn to sew, count in another language, or play piano!
  13. Go Bowling– a lot of bowling alleys let your kids bowl for free during the summer! Call yours and ask if they have any deals or discounts.
  14. Set up an obstacle course- It can be as elaborate or easy as you want it to be. Use what you have on hand.
  15. Putt-putt anyone?
  16. Play catch- grab a ball and a couple mitts and send them outside to play together, or pitch a few with them.
  17. Make smoothies– this one is pretty good, or you can grab a bag of frozen mixed fruit at the grocery store and splash a little oj in the blender.
  18. Have them tell you 1 thing they’d like to know more about- show them how to find the answer, and then wait for them to tell you what they found out. (Ask them questions to encourage them find out even more.)
  19. Go to the library- obviously you can check out books and videos there, but most libraries have awesome activities going on. Ours has Maker Space on Wednesday evenings… my science-minded boy LOVES  it when we can go to those! They’ve also had a black-out poetry night where kids where given newspaper clippings, pages from old books, etc., and make their own peoms by blacking out the words they didn’t want to use. The words left on the page was the resulting peom.
  20. Go to a baseball game- hometown kids leagues are generally free or reasonably priced. If your kids don’t play baseball or softball see if any of their friends do, and go cheer them on!
  21. Tell them stories about your childhood
  22. Do a scavenger hunt
  23. Fire Drill– Your kids have a fire drill at school once or twice a year so that everyone knows what to do if there was a fire, but would they know what to do if it happened at home? Set up a fire drill. Tell them where to go, what to do if they’re the only ones who show up (ie, don’t go back in the house to see if anyone is coming out), what should they do if the doorknob is hot or if they wake up and there room is filled with smoke, stop-drop-and roll, you know… all the stuff. Don’t just talk about it, walk through the motions with them.
  24. Pop a tent in the yard- stuff it with pillows and blankets and go camping without leaving home! This was one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid. (Sleep in there with them if you don’t feel comfortable having them in the yard overnight alone. Or let them sleep in the living room, just using the tent during the day. You know your children and your situation best.)
  25. Make Popsicles– Pour juice or yogurt into some 3 oz. paper cups and freeze. Before they’re fully frozen be sure to insert a Popsicle stick into each one (or use spoons…whatever you have on hand.) If you’re super fancy, you can buy Popsicle molds.
  26. Have a garage sale treasure hunt- Give each child a certain amount of money and hit the next yard sale. It doesn’t have to be much, but it can be fun to see who got the coolest item with the amount they were given to spend. (Set whatever ground rules you need to.)
  27. 3-legged races- this is a fun one to watch!
  28. Have a bonfire- unless your children are old enough to handle fire on their own, you’ll have to supervise this one.
  29. Visit a farm- go pick-your-own-…(whatever happens to be in season). This is a great activity to take up some time, get you all out of the house, and leave with a sense of satisfaction that you did something productive.
  30. Build with toothpicks and marshmallows- or gum drops if you can find them this time of year. We’ve tried both, and the gum drops seem to make a better base. See who can build the tallest tower!
  31. Have them join a club- or make their own. You’ll have to do a bit of research so you know what you’re getting yourself into before you make a commitment. Decide how much effort you want to put in as the parent, how often you’re willing to tote them to meetings, etc., and then look for something that meets the needs of your family.
  32. Find them pen-pals- do they have a distant relative or friends of the family who have moved away? Encourage them to write letters back and forth over the summer.
  33. Fly a kite- You can usually get them pretty cheap at Wal-Mart or the dollar store, or you can make one at home. Again… Pinterest has some fun looking tutorials, but if you’re looking for the basics, try this one, using a trash bag. (Seriously, how did I survive before Pinterest?! I think I go there before Google most of the time! 75+ Summer Activities For Kids
  34. VBS- Vacation Bible School is so much fun for elementary age kids. Plus it gets them out of the house for a couple mornings for a week, and they’ll get to make friends, do fun crafts, play games, and have snacks!
  35. Paint the sidewalk with ice-cubes– this will be more fun for the younger crowd.
  36. Participate in a summer reading program- usually the local library will put this on, but you can do a Google search to find some fun alternatives as well.
  37. Catch lightning bugs– or fireflies… whatever you call them.
  38. Teach them how to make friendship bracelets– the cost of the string for these is usually about a quarter per color, and each skein will make 2 or so bracelets. That’s pretty cheap for a craft project! Plus, if your kids enjoy it, it will keep them preoccupied for hours!
  39. Target Practice- Set up tin cans, plastic containers, or anything else you have lying around, and let the kids practice hitting the targets with their nerf guns or water guns.
  40. Set them loose outside with hula-hoops
  41. Doughnut on a string- tie one of those mini chocolate doughnuts that you can buy in a bag at the grocery store to a string, and hang it from a tree. Hang one for each child at face level, and have them try to eat it while holding their hands behind their backs. (Be careful if you use the powdered ones, the  powder can be inhaled if they take a quick, deep breath.)
  42. Draw them a hop-scotch or 4 square board on the side-walk- show them how to play, and then let them have at it.
  43. Paper bag puppets- give them each a paper bag, and whatever craft supplies you have on hand, (crayons totally count) and let them create their own characters. Maybe you’ll raise a ventriloquist!
  44. Knock down cans- Save the cans from dinner, rinse them out, and then let them set them up like at a carnival and take turns trying to knock them down when throwing a bean bag, softball, toilet paper roll… or any other thing you have lying around… at it.
  45. Cereal Mosaic- give them a piece of card stock, some Elmer’s glue (the liquid kind), and fruit loops and let them create. Maybe turn on some music to inspire their artwork.
  46. Backyard Water Park- Set up a slip- n’- slide if you’ve got a nice hill, or turn on the sprinkler. This can keep my kids busy for hours, so I have to be mindful to make sure they’re not getting sunburned or overheating.
  47. Go bird watching– check out a book about different species of birds and ask your kids how many they can identify on your next walk. (Or just send them in the yard or have them watch from the windows if you can’t get away.)
  48. Make a collage- Give them old magazines, news paper, and junk mail, and let them create collages of things they like. If you have older kids, encourage them to make a vision board. This can be a really great tool if they have goals they want to accomplish over the summer. A visual reminder everyday can help them maintain motivation to get it done.
  49. Watch a documentary- There are usually some interesting ones on Netflix and Hulu.
  50. Make up a game
  51. Play online educational games- find websites you trust, and let them play math games, keyboarding games, etc. They think it’s fun, but it’s keeping their brains sharp. Just keep an eye on the time if you’re worried about screen time… I know mine would be content to play all day and it would be really tempting to let them so I can get some things done. (No judgments here either way..your kid, your rules!) Do keep in mind that some games have a chat feature. Be very clear with your children about your rules for playing online. It’s so easy for predators to use this feature to groom future victims.
  52. Chores- This isn’t necessarily fun, but it is an activity nonetheless. Make a list of some things you’ve been putting off around the house, and assign each kid one or two. Many hands make light work so they say. You should be able to enjoy your summer too!
  53. Play with tangrams-tangram is a Chinese puzzle made of shapes. You can purchase foam shapes relatively cheaply from Amazon, or you can find printable ones online to cut out. Either way is fine, but let your kids play with them however they’d like.
  54. Read a biography
  55. Play store- Help them remember how to count with change and how to count back. Playing store a couple times over the summer will help them retain that info, so they take it with them into the next school year. If your kids are older, don’t play store, have them find a few things to sell and walk them through the process of determining value/worth, and how to sell them.
  56. Learn to code- This is another online activity, but you kids can start with the basics from Scratch. My eldest loves coding, and I think it’s a great skill for him to learn.
  57. Memorize a passage– It can be anything you want them to learn. A piece of poetry, the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, a portion of Scripture…the possibilities are endless.
  58. Print off drawing prompts- This is great for kids who like to color and draw, but don’t feel like they’re very talented or don’t know what they want to draw. I probably don’t need to say it by now right? Pinterest will help you find some pretty fun ones.
  59. Do a small house project- have something you’ve been putting off for awhile? Maybe sprucing up the lawn with some new flowerbeds, or redecorating the entryway? Have the kids help you while you have them home. Ask for their opinions, even if you don’t use them, and make it fun.
  60. Story game- start a story and have everyone take turns adding details to it. It can feel really awkward at first, but it can be pretty fun if you get into it. And don’t worry about making the details perfect or intriguing… the story will go in a different direction than you anticipated anyway, so just have fun!
  61. Cereal box puzzles- this is another activity for the youngsters, but you can make the pieces smaller to make it more challenging for your bigger kids.
  62. Surprise ice cream run- Don’t tell them where you’re going, just pile everyone in the vehicle. I doubt they’ll care if it’s Cold Stone or McDonald’s, especially if they don’t expect it at all.
  63. Wash the car- beat the heat and clean the car in the process! Grab the hose, a bucket, and some suds, and let everyone help.
  64. Build a fort
  65. Play Red Light Green Light- or Mother May I? or similar games
  66. Upcyle– challenge your kids to look around the house to find items that aren’t being used and turn them into something new. (Make sure they know to ask your permission before they begin their transformations though! They may not realize that your great-aunts tablecloths have been put into storage until the risk of spilling is no longer an everyday occurrence.)
  67. Picnic Lunch- Pb & J and carrot sticks just taste better outdoors on a blanket, don’t you think?
  68. Dress up
  69. Have a fancy dinner- have your kids plan a fancy dinner at home. Give yourself a night off cooking and let them handle it. Dress nicely, maybe light a candle or two, even if they ask you to order a pizza for them, it can still be a special not-so-special occasion.
  70. Do some nature journaling- give them each a little spiral notebook and make a nature journal. Have them draw pictures of the things they see outdoors, record things like the weather or how many animals they saw that day, they can take tree rubbings or press flowers, whatever they find interesting in the outdoors.
  71. Challenge your children to bless others- maybe make it into a type of contest. Perhaps the person caught doing the most nice things gets a sticker, or an extra slice of watermelon with dinner.
  72. Crosswords or sudoku puzzles- they may not be ready for the ones in the newspaper just yet, but you can get puzzle books with the magazines at most stores, or you can print them off online for kids too. You probably know where I suggest you look, so I won’t even say it.
  73. Donate to a food pantry- check your cupboards for things you don’t think you’ll use before they expire. Put your kids in charge of checking the dates. You don’t want to donate anything past the date, or with a date coming up soon. You can also challenge them to see who can buy the most nutritious foods to donate with a set dollar amount, for older children and teens.
  74. Skype- let your kids chat with a friend or relative for a few minutes via video chat
  75. Have a cook out- don’t forget the s’mores!
  76. Pick wildflowers- you can show your children how to press them.
  77. Exercise- have your kids do some workouts. Jumping jacks, crunches, easy yoga, running, and riding bikes are all great ways to burn some energy.
  78. Play restaurant- let your kids take your orders and give them some dishes to pretend with. My sister, cousins and I all had a blast doing this at our Grandma’s house growing up! (Waitressing was way less fun when I was actually getting paid for it in high school though. Weird.)

I hope these suggestions for summer activities are helpful to you and will provide your family with wonderful memories. See anything that should be on this list? Let me know by visiting my “Contact Me” page!