School’s out for summer…and you’re out of ways to keep your restless spawn from climbing up the walls. Don’t sweat it, friends: Our list of summer activities for kids includes everything from bowling to berry picking—just give it a once-over and you’ll have an arsenal of family fun ideas to use the next time your kid whines about having nothing to do.
50 Summer Activities for Kids (‘Cause Attentions Spans Are Short and Days Are Long)
1. Have A Picnic
If the summer heat is too oppressive for your tot, set up an indoor picnic instead.
2. Go To The Beach
We have it on good authority that the long days of summer go by in a blink of an eye when your kid is busy boogie boarding and building sand castles.
3. Play With Chalk
Hand your kid some chalk and head to the sidewalk so you can watch their inner Banksy emerge. Or when it rains, grab a KiwiCo Chalkboard & Glow Slime kit and move the fun indoors. They'll get to channel their inner chemist by creating chalkboard slime while you assist with doodling.
Whether it’s done at a community garden or in your own backyard, gardening is an excellent outdoor workout for kids and parents alike.
5. Fly A Kite
Bonus points if your kid crafts their own kite (and it actually flies).
6. Play in the sprinklers
Spare yourself the hassle of schlepping to the beach or pool and turn on the sprinklers instead for a low-maintenance way to enjoy a hot summer day.
7. Hook Up A Slip And Slide
Toddlers might be content to dance in and out of the sprinklers all day, but when it comes to big kid appeal, the slip and slide can’t be beat.
8. Set Up A Water Table
Fill up a water table and kick back with a cold one—your little kid is going to be occupied for quite some time.
9. Go To The Pool
Here are some of our favorite pool games to keep the kids busy while you sunbathe like a boss.
10. Take A Hike
Your kid has been complaining about being bored all day and you know you want to say it.
11. Blow Bubbles
Regular bubble solution can be hit or miss, but giant bubble solution will inspire oohs and aahs from kids of all ages.
12. Catch a movie
What better way to spend a sweaty summer day than in an air-conditioned movie theater with a bucket of popcorn and a kid-friendly flick on the screen?
13. Go Berry Picking
Find a ‘pick your own’ farm near you for a kid-friendly outdoor activity that involves sampling perfectly ripe seasonal fruit in a picturesque, sun-drenched setting.
14. Take an evening walk
Your kids are going stir-crazy, but the midday heat is just too much to handle. Opt for a sunset stroll and everyone will get some fresh air and exercise without the risk of heat stroke.
15. Catch fireflies
Fireflies, lightning bugs—call them what you want, but we’ve never met a kid who doesn’t think it’s fun to try to catch ‘em
16. Make Ice Cream
Kids of all ages will be more than happy to participate in a science experiment that produces their favorite frozen dessert.
17. Have A Backyard Barbeque
Your kids want to be running around outside and you want to enjoy a meal without turning your living space into the inferno. Fire up the barbie and everyone wins.
18. Go to a water park
It’s a full day affair that will likely cost you more than a slip and slide, but water parks are paradise for kids in the summer, so we think they’re well worth the investment.
19. Do Some Squirt Gun Painting
Load squirt guns with paint for a process art activity that’s seriously fun—just be sure the creativity takes place outdoors, ‘cause no one wants a little Jackson Pollock in their living room.
20. Go to the farmer’s market
Tomatoes, zucchini and berries…oh my! Yep, the farmer’s market is overflowing with fresh, seasonal produce all summer long. Snag the good stuff with a kid in tow and, by all means, rope the bugger into being your sous chef when it’s time to start dinner.
21. Have A Water Balloon Fight
Do yourself a favor and spring for a quick-fill system so you’re not tasked with filling and tying a bajillion balloons.
22. Go to the library
Here, an air-conditioned spot where kids can seek refuge from the sun and score a stack of boredom-busters, to boot.
23. Hit up the playground
News to no one: a trip to the playground is a winning idea whenever the sun is out.
24. Make a fort
Because your spare sheets haven’t seen that much action since who knows when.
25. Do Some Crafting
Psst: We know a whole bunch of seasonally-appropriate crafts that will entertain kids of all ages.
26. Go bowling
Family-friendly, air-conditioned fun that pairs well with tater tots, chicken fingers and beer (for the grown-ups, of course). Need we say more?
27. Play laser tag
A thrilling, fast-paced game that takes place in a climate-controlled indoor space and is fun to play again and again. Bring a group of kids for an afternoon of laser tag and you’ll be everybody’s hero.
28. Make Jewelry
Remember friendship bracelets? Well, the bored tween in your life is just dying to make one.
29. Paint Rocks
Attention toddler and preschooler parents: Those rocks your kid stuffs in his pockets every time you leave the house really do have keepsake potential.
30. Go ice skating
Hit up a year-round indoor rink with your kid for a sure-fire way to beat the heat and have (screen-free) fun while you’re at it.
31. Read A Book
An obvious choice for kids who just returned from a leisurely visit to the (blissfully cool) local library.
32. Lemonade Stand
An oldie-but-goodie for restless kids who would benefit from knowing the value of a hard-earned dollar.
33. Set Up A Car Wash
We’ll see your lemonade stand and raise you water play.
34. Learn a language
Encourage your kid to take on the challenge of learning a new language. There are a multitude of apps designed to make the learning process engaging and fun, and the self-esteem boost that comes from making progress is hard to beat.
35. Family Game Night
Bust out the snacks and bring the brood together over a lively game of cards or family-friendly board game.
When your child is tired of chasing fireflies around the yard, direct her attention to the sky for an even better light show.
37. Have A Scavenger Hunt
This engaging activity is a breeze to arrange—even more so if you phone it in with a ready-made game—and can go down indoors or outside, depending on the weather.
38. Go to an indoor playground
Not too keen on the thought of sweltering under the intense summer sun while your child shows you (for the hundredth time) how good they’ve gotten at the monkey bars? No problem—just head to an indoor playground with your kid and only one of you will break a sweat.
39. Do science experiments
When your kid is screaming for science instead of ice cream, you’ve officially won summer. Here are some kits to get your little Einstein started.
40. Visit a county fair
No matter where you live, we’re willing to bet there’s a fair or festival nearby.
41. Play Chess
This game of strategy has stood the test of time—namely because a) it makes you smarter and b) it never gets old. Find a local chess club or hook your kid up with a free online match for some brain-boosting fun.
42. Make Sushi
This edible craft will inspire your budding chef without heating up your kitchen. Best of all, it’s an excellent bonding activity when you do it together.
43. Learn an instrument
Don’t quote us on this, but we’re pretty sure that every single rock star found their calling when someone handed them an instrument on a long, boring summer day.
44. Build an obstacle course
Phys Ed is great and all, but when it comes to flexing those gross motor skill muscles before the school year begins, a DIY obstacle course will do the trick.
45. Have A Relay Race
There’s nothing boring about trying to hop from point A to point B in a potato sack and falling down in front of your friends.
46. Go fishing
We’re having visions of an excited child reeling in a whopper while a proud parent looks on. (Family scrapbook material, anyone?)
47. Listen To A Podcast
Check out these kid-friendly podcasts for an educational listening experience that will feed the imagination.
48. Go horseback riding
It might not be an everyday diversion, but horseback riding is a pretty exhilarating way to spend a summer afternoon.
49. Work On A Puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles boast a boatload of benefits for the brain; they’re also a pleasantly low-key way to while away the hours when it’s too damn hot to play outside.
50. Climb trees
Are you even a kid if you haven’t climbed at least one tree before the end of summer? (Answer: No.)