101 Summer Activities for Kids

For busy parents, Summer is the season for keeping school-free children occupied. But how can you keep the kids from bouncing off the walls?

The answer – make a summer plan! Start thinking through ideas for activities now to avoid the kids being stuck indoors in front of a screen. With sunny and warm summer days just around the corner, take advantage of the weather by planning for new activities a few times a week.

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We’ve provided 101 fun things to keep your children busy – and keep you sane - to get you started. Need help getting through the list? Hire a summer nanny or babysitter and set them to task!


1. Make ice cream

2. Go canoeing at a local lake.

3. Build a sandcastle.

4. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using a self publishing tool. 

5. Forget cooking -- set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.

6. Clean up trash at a local park.

7. Have a back garden campfire...or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s'mores.

8. Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter.

9. Make homemade pizza.

10. Print out a list of the best recent children's books. Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as many as you can.

11. Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.

12. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.

13. Volunteer at a nature center.

14. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.

15. Have a luau in the backyard.

16. Visit the beach and collect shells.

17. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.

18. Visit a farmer's market.

19. Pick berries at a nearby orchard.

20. Have a picnic at a state park.

21. Take bread to a creek and feed the ducks.

22. Have a water balloon fight.

23. Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.

24. Go biking on a trail

25. Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.

26. Plan a picnic at a local park -- or in your backyard.

27. Set up a lemonade stand.

28. Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.

29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.

30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.

31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural.

32. Go ice blocking (sledding) in the grass with a towel-covered block of ice.

33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.

34. Visit a fish hatchery.

35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.

36. Pretend to be pirates for a day -- dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.

37. Make an indoor sandbox using coloured rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food colouring and let dry overnight.

38. Turn the backyard into a carnival -- set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.

39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.

40. Visit a museum you've never been to.

41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).

42. String beads into jewellry.

43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.

44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible -- see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.

45. Create lei with wildflowers.

46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.

47. Break out your baseball gloves and start a game.

48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.

49. Play crazy-golf -- or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.

50. Make your own coloured sand and create sand art.

51. Get a map of the UK and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit -- create the ultimate road trip.

52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball.

53. Visit an amusement park or water park.

54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.

55. Go zip-lining.

56. Have a tricycle race at the park.

57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.

58. Visit a fire station.

59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.

60. Go roller skating.

61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.

62. Run through the sprinklers.

63. Blend your own smoothie.

64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.

65. Batter up at a batting cage.

66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.

67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.

68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favourite recipes.

69. Go horseback riding.

70. Make popsicles using fruit juices.

71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).

72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.

73. Create a back garden circus -- kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.

74. Decorate bikes and have a neighbourhood parade.

75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.

76. Make paper flowers using different coloured tissue paper.

77. Go to a flea market.

78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organisation.

79. Visit a nursing home and read stories to residents.

80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.

81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.

82. Visit a cave.

83. Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks -- then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favourite.

84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.

85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.

86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.

87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.

88. Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.

89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.

90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.

91. Create unusual s'mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavoured marshmallows and white chocolate.

92. Have a fancy tea party.

93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter's tarp and shaving cream.

94. Have a backyard camp-out.

95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.

96. Visit a national park and help the kids practice their ranger skills. 

97. Go to a sports game.

98. Set up a tent in the back garden to use as a summer playhouse.

99. Take a free kid's workshop at stores like home improvement or interior stores. 

100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.

101. Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it -- you'll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.


Read Next: Garden Fun: How to Keep the Kids Busy During Summer 

Read Next: How to Help Your Children's Seasonal Allergies 

Read Next: 11 Tips for Flying with Toddlers 

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