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Fun Summer Activities for Kids

Apr 30 | What Different Can Do

Whether you work from home, are a stay-at-home parent, or work outside of the house, you need a go-to list of practical summer activities for your kids to keep them busy—and learning—during the dog days of summer. Otherwise, you run the risk of them getting too much screen time, which we all know is not good for their mental or physical health.
Below is a list of 100 summer activities for kids that will keep things fun and enriching, courtesy of Not only will you never be short on ideas, but you’re also sure to find something that will work for your family—no matter your child’s interests and preferences.
Whether you turn these ideas into your summer bucket list, or you just pick a few of your favorites, you will make some great memories along the way. The key is to slow down and enjoy the summer months with your family.

Nature Summer Activities for Kids

Take advantage of long sunny days by exploring the natural world—just don’t forget the sunscreen and the bug spray! Here are some of our favorite ways to spend time outdoors.

  • Go bird watching. Take photos and keep track of your sightings. Then, use an app or guidebook to identify feathered friends.
  • Grow fresh herbs in containers. Use old coffee cans, milk jugs, mason jars, plastic cups, or anything else you have around the house to plant your herbs. Once complete, keep your herb garden on a patio or windowsill and watch them grow.
  • Look for shapes in the clouds. Put a blanket in the grass and stare up at the sky. Then, take turns talking about what you see in the clouds.
  • Make a bird feeder. Watch birds visit your yard and add to your list of bird sightings.
  • Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark, and leaves to create a dwelling fit for Thumbelina.
  • Pick your own plants. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, veggies, or flowers and get picking.
  • Plant a butterfly or hummingbird garden. Create a backyard wildlife habitat and watch these fascinating creatures enjoy it all summer.

Rainy Day Activities for Summer

When the weather keeps you indoors, there’s still plenty to do. Here are some of our favorite kid-friendly summer activities for a rainy day.

  • Break out your movie collection or use Netflix. Have a movie marathon complete with popcorn.
  • Build a fort. Put pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard to create a hideaway of your child’s dreams.
  • Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make Lego castle-building a family project. You can even add to it or work on it all summer.
  • Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party.
  • Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out non-permanent colors, braids, or a spiked, gelled look.
  • Get an origami book and fun paper. Create fun animals and shapes and give them to friends or family members as gifts.
  • Have breakfast in bed. Take turns being the server and the served.
  • Hold marble races. Use an old pool noodle as the track. Simply cut it in half, making two tracks of equal length. Then, race the marbles down the tracks to see who has the fastest one.
  • Make a time capsule. Have each family member write down something they are grateful for and include a special item in the time capsule. Then, store it away until a designated date. You can open it as early as Thanksgiving day or as far off as high school graduation.
  • Make paper airplanes. See whose airplane goes the farthest or create other contests.
  • Play a card game. Choose from crazy eights, spoons, go fish, or even poker—take your pick. Or buy a board game for the family to enjoy.
  • Play charades. Turn all the summer drama into a game.
  • Rearrange the furniture. Give the kids graph paper and have them draw out a plan first. Then, get to work moving furniture around.
  • Set a goal and complete a home project. Whether it is cleaning the garage, organizing the basement, or redecorating the spare bedroom, find ways to let the kids help.

Local Sites for Families to Visit

Summer is ideal for a few staycation experiences. If you have friends or family visiting, bring them along to see what’s special in your area.

  • Eat at the counter of a diner. Let the kids enjoy fried food and milkshakes.
  • Find a free concert near you. Kick back, enjoy some tunes, and nurture their love of music.
  • Go to a demolition derby. Expect to see some major crashes.
  • Go to a flea market or garage sale. See if the kids are better negotiators than you.
  • Go to a carnival, county fair, or amusement park. Not only should you enjoy the rides and entertainment, but you also should eat cotton candy, elephant ears, or something really sugary at least once this summer! Local families might want to visit friend of Camp Southern Ground Fun Spot America Atlanta in Fayetteville, a family-owned business that shares our mission of celebrating people and making memories.
  • Pack a picnic. Plop down to eat your picnic just about anywhere such as a free concert, at a playground, or in a state park.
  • See a dramatic performance together. Whether it’s a puppet show in the park or a touring Broadway show, enjoy seeing the performance as a family.
  • See a matinee. Find a bargain movie house and enjoy an afternoon at the movies.
  • Take a garden gnome with you. Take the gnome’s picture at each destination you visit. At the end of the summer, create a scrapbook with the photos.
  • Take a road trip to a nearby city. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip exploring the sights.
  • Take in a minor-league baseball game. The parks are super family-friendly, and there’s always a fun giveaway or chance to win a prize.
  • Visit a historic house or farm. Learn how times have changed and what people back then lived without.
  • Visit a local farmers’ market. Feast on the fruits and veggies of the season and enjoy a few locally-made treats.

Summer Activities for Kids that Exercise Their Brains

Avoid the summer slide by keeping kids thinking and learning while school is out. Here are some great ways to exercise those brain muscles during those summer months.

  • Build your brain. These brainteaser games can help.
  • Get a book of riddles. See if you can stump each other; then write your own riddles.
  • Get the summer homework done. Not exactly fun, but you’ll be happy to get these assignments out of the way.
  • Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.
  • Interview an older relative. Write out your family history or even create a family tree.
  • Join a summer reading club at your library. Or create your own reading club, keeping a list of all the books read over the summer. It’s a great way to nurture a love of reading.
  • Master a new skill together. Learn to juggle, play the harmonica, or sew.
  • Read a chapter book aloud. Plan to read a chapter or more a night. You can even read a whole series together.
  • Show the kids that science is fun. Try doing experiments with your kids or visit a science museum together.
  • Write and illustrate a comic book. Make it a group effort or let everyone do their own.
  • Write in a journal each day. Allow older teens to create a bullet journal if they prefer. Then, at the end of the summer, share selections with each other about the highlights of summer.

Artsy Summer Activities for Kids

If your child loves DIY or has an artistic flair, get out those craft kits you’ve been saving, or try one of these artsy summer activities. Even kids who are not particularly interested in art will enjoy getting a little creative from time to time.

  • Collect rocks and paint them. Turn their painted creations into pet rocks, garden ornaments, or gifts for family members.
  • Create a summer mural. Stretch a long piece of white craft paper across a wall in the basement or garage and create a family mural. Include hand-drawn, painted, or colored pictures of your summer activities. Work on it all summer, adding to it little by little. Hold an “unveiling” party for relatives at the end of the summer.
  • Decorate your walkways with chalk. Use regular sidewalk chalk or make your own using cornstarch, water, and food coloring.
  • Keep a summer sketch diary. Take turns sharing your sketches at the end of the summer.
  • Hold a photoshoot. Plan different outfits and poses and take pictures outside or around town. Older kids and teens can then edit the photos on a computer.
  • Make music. Play traditional instruments or make your own. Record your musical creations if you want.
  • Make playdough creations. Make your own playdough to mold into creative shapes. Then rip them up and do it again.
  • Play with clay. Then bake your creations to make them permanent.
  • Press summer flowers. Make a pressed flower picture with waxed paper.
  • Put on your own dramatic performance. Write a script, make costumes, or just do a little improv.
  • String beads. Beading projects can be as simple or complex as you choose.

Summer Activities for Kids that Promote Exercise

Staying active and moving every day is important for your child’s growing body. All you need is a little space and sunshine for these activities that get kids moving.

  • Build a water blob or a slip ‘n slide. Use plastic sheeting and duct tape to create large plastic pillows (or water blobs) filled with water. Set the blobs up in the yard and allow kids or teens to hop from one blob to another. Or use a plastic tarp and a garden hose to create your own slip ‘n slide.
  • Build an obstacle course in the backyard. Pretend to be America Ninja Warriors and see how quickly you can each get through the course.
  • Climb trees together. Of course, do this only if the kids are big enough, it’s safe—and you are brave enough.
  • Fly a kite. Make your own kite or buy one at the dollar store. Spend a few hours flying it in an open field.
  • Go fishing. In many states, kids can drop a line in without a license, but you want to doublecheck just to be sure before the fish start biting.
  • Have a bubble gum bubble blowing contest. See who can blow the largest bubble without it popping.
  • Have a water balloon baseball game. Use a plastic bat, a bucket of water balloons, and old towels as bases and you are all set. Play the traditional way or create some water balloon games of your own.
  • Have a water gun race. Put a hole in the bottom of two or more plastic cups and thread string or yarn through each one. Secure the ends of the yarn to a starting point and an ending point. Use full squirt guns to shoot water into the cups so that they race along the string. The first cup to the finish line is the winner.
  • Hold a hula hoop contest. See which family member can hula the longest.
  • Jump rope. Take turns jumping alone or use a larger rope to jump together. You could even try singing a few rhymes as you do.
  • Make good use of nearby parks. Go to your local park’s website. Print the schedule of activities and hang it on your refrigerator.
  • Paddle a canoe. Look for a local park that offers canoe rentals and spend a little time out on the water.
  • Play balloon tennis. Gather a balloon, paper plates, and painting sticks and you are all set. Attach the sticks to the paper plates to make the paddles and use the balloon as the ball. This is a great activity for indoor or outdoor play.
  • Play croquet on the lawn. And try bocce ball too.
  • Play HORSE. Use your basketball hoop or one at the park to play a challenging game of HORSE. With little ones, set up a mini basketball net next to the real one.
  • Play miniature golf. Go to a local course or build your own course on the driveway.
  • Play outside in the rain. Smell the rain on the pavement; splash in puddles; make mud pies.
  • Run in the yard. Play kickball, frisbee, tag, and other outdoor games. You could even create your own summer Olympics.
  • Set up a badminton net. Have a family badminton tournament or use the net to play volleyball with a beach ball.
  • Take a hike. Choose a route near your house or take a drive to a more distant park.
  • Take bike rides for fun. Grab your bikes and leave from your house or drive to biking trails.
  • Teach the kids to skip stones. Turn this fun pastime into a competition.

Nighttime Summer Fun

Arm yourself with bug spray and you’re ready for an evening in the night air. Here are some ideas for enjoying an evening outside.

  • Camp in the backyard. Pitch a tent and bring out the sleeping bags. Sleep as a family under the stars.
  • Catch lightning bugs. And then watch them flicker away into the night.
  • Go to the drive-in. If there isn’t a drive-in in your town, look for one nearby or at your vacation spot. Every kid should go to the drive-in at least once!
  • Have a bonfire. Roast marshmallows and hot dogs. Make s’mores.
  • Host an outdoor movie night. Rent or borrow a movie projector and show a movie on a white sheet draped across PVC pipe in the backyard. Or, use the side of your house as the screen. Bring sleeping bags, air mattresses, and pool rafts out as the seating and enjoy the show (with popcorn of course).
  • Listen to an audiobook under the stars. Your library probably has a great collection of classics and newer titles.
  • Stargaze. Invite friends and make a party of it under the stars.

Summer Activities for Kids and Their Friends

Staying in contact with friends or family over the summer is important for your child’s social and emotional health. Gather cousins, neighbors, or school friends your kids miss seeing and do something fun together. Here are a few of our favorite ways to spend time with others.

  • Bake cookies for an older neighbor. Deliver the cookies with a heartfelt note or picture.
  • Create a treasure hunt. Hold a scavenger hunt on your own property or around town. Change things up a little and make it a photo scavenger hunt where the kids need to take photos either with their phones or disposable cameras of various things on the list. Examples might include: Take a picture of a flower. Take a photo of something red.
  • Have a backward day with friends. Wear your clothes backward. Eat dessert for breakfast, breakfast for dinner, and even try talking backward.
  • Have a cookout in the backyard. Make a burger bar where kids can choose their own toppings, or set up a “make your own sundae” station. Put on some tunes and maybe have a bubble machine blowing in the yard.
  • Host a board game night. Have a kids’ game table and an adult one too.
  • Invite kids’ friends for a sleepover. Let them stay up late, watch movies, play games, and eat snacks.
  • Meet friends at the playground or the pool. Make these playdates a regular occurrence to strengthen the bonds they share.
  • Organize a neighborhood garage sale. Allow the kids to make some extra cash by selling their old stuff.
  • Go on Zoom or Skype with grandparents or other relatives. Talk about your summer plans and adventures.
  • Visit a nursing home or retirement community. Play games, sing songs, or have lunch with the residents.

Cooking Projects for Kids

With summer’s slower schedule, let kids take on some cooking projects. Not only are you imparting a valuable life skill, but it also expands their interests in different types of food. Here are a few examples of summer cooking projects for kids.

  • Create and bake your own pizzas. Kids will enjoy picking their own toppings. They can help prep by shredding cheese, washing mushrooms, chopping veggies, and so on.
  • Let the kids cook dinner. Encourage them to plan the menu and shop for ingredients. Then allow them to cook dinner for the family. Supervise younger kids, but allow teens to go it alone.
  • Make fresh lemonade or sun tea. Enjoy a cool drink on the front porch with some homemade cookies or sell it at a lemonade stand.
  • Make ice cream. Turn your creation into ice cream sandwiches or enjoy it on its own.
  • Teach the kids how to make your favorite childhood treat. Let them add their own twist or variation to the recipe.