Are you wondering what to do this summer to keep your children busy and out of your hair? It can be hard to think of exciting things to do during summer. Summertime is a great time to bond and create memories with our children but it is often a feat to figure out what to do for fun. We came up with this list of things to do for free or inexpensive in the summer to help you have a memorable summer.
I have a created a list of 100 things that are very do-able to do with your children. No more worries. You can print this list or bookmark it on your computer and you will never run out of ideas for fun things to do with your children, whether they are young or old. I have put items on here that can be great for the whole family and some that are more age specific. Do you have all young children? We have some ideas for you. Do you have teenagers, we have some ideas for you. Do you have both, we have some ideas for you.
We have divided the list into four categories: activities geared towards younger children, activities geared toward older children, thrifty ideas for the whole family, and fun places to go with the whole family.
Summer Fun Ideas that are Geared Towards Younger Children (Around Ages 2 – 10)
- Play in the sandbox: Children can play in the sand for hours if you let them! If you are lucky and live close to a beach you can go to the beach and play in the sand but for those of you who are not so lucky, either a sandbox in your backyard or at a park works just great. Building a sand castle is always a fun activity. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Set up a tent: This is a very fun thing to do with your children. If it is too hard to go on a campout and bother with all the work that comes with it, no worries, you can simply set up a tent in your backyard or in your house for a day of fun! One night I wanted something fun to do with the kids but it was late and we just had a little time. I didn’t want to be lame and just have them go to sleep after reading them some books like normal. So what we did was we borrowed my sister’s tent and we set it up and read books. It wasn’t much more work besides putting up the tent but ended up being a lot of fun! The kids who were to young to sleep in it slept in there own beds.
- Draw with sidewalk chalk: It is a lot of fun to create artwork with the whole family. It is nice to be in the sun and work together to create an art piece. There are so many things you can do with chalk. You can trace each others outlines or you could even make it look like a crime scene and have fun making a sidewalk chalk story. You can play tick-tack-toe, make a hopscotch board, play marbles, or many other fun games. That is just a few ideas to get you started! You could also go to a friends or family members home and leave them a cool art work on their sidewalk for when they get home!
- Go to a playground: Sometimes the simple things are the best! Take your children and go to a park and let them play on the playground. If you really want them to like you play with them on the playground too and it can be really fun for everyone involved. You could always go with some neighborhood children and their mothers. This could give you some adult time to socialize with other mothers who are in a similar situation. It can be hard to find time to spend with your girlfriends this is an easy solution for that!
- Make some play dough: Play dough is a lot of fun to play with. It can entertain a child for several hours and it is even better when the parents take the time to play with their child. It can also be a lot of fun to make your own play dough and choose the colors you would like.
- Build a fort: It is always a good time when building a fort is involved. Use sheets, blankets, couch cushions, pillows, table, chairs, couches, cardboard boxes, etc. Once you have the fort built you can do whatever you want; read books, take a nap, watch a movie, play a game, etc.
- Make cheerio / fruit loop necklaces: Anything that has to do with cereal is a great activity! You can make some right before going to a church meeting, grocery shopping and then the kids will have something simple to munch on!
- Have some relay races: There are many relay races that can be done with the little kiddos. You can do the egg relay, three legged race, a water relay, etc. Also, the nice thing with relay races is you can make it up and do whatever you want and can usually do a relay with things you already have.
- Play hangman: Hangman is a simple game and is a fun way to learn letters and how to spell. Spice it up by instead of just using paper you could use sidewalk chalk or a whiteboard!
- Create a painting/ finger painting:You can get a canvas if you want it to be nice or just use a regular paper to create a painting and then you hang it up on the wall in your home. Everyone could do their own or the family could work together to create one large painting. There is also finger painting that can be really fun for the children. It can get messy but is manageable just make sure to use washable paints with the younger children.
- Play tag: It seems like all of the children I know really enjoy playing tag. It doesn’t require any props or toys, it is just you and your kiddos running around getting energy out. There are also many different versions of tag such as freeze tag, lava tag (play on a playground and you can’t touch the ground aka the lava unless you are it), missionary tag, etc.
- Make sock puppets and put on a play:Making puppets is a creative way to spend your time but you could always use some puppets you already have to put on a play. Get everyone in the family involved; even if they are just in the audience. It could be fun to put on a puppet show for some friends in your neighborhood or for the grandparents.
- Run through the sprinklers:Turn on the sprinklers in the front or backyard and run n’ jump over the sprinkler to enjoy a refreshing and exciting experience. Repeat as many times as desired. 🙂 I have some fond memories doing this with my siblings it was always fun on extra hot day that we couldn’t go to a swimming pool!
- Make and fly a kite:With your children you could make some kites to fly and that would be really cool to have custom made kites made with love. If you worried about the kite flying properly and are more excited to fly the kite than skip making your own and fly a kite. It works best on a somewhat windy day and so this activity can end up being somewhat spontaneous which is fun sometimes!
- Play dress up:Most children love to dress up and pretend they are someone else but imagine how much fun they would have if you played dress up with them!
- Make a craft:There are so many crafts that can be done for young children for fun and also for educational purposes but I can’t even begin to suggest ideas in this post or you will be reading for days. If you are having a hard time thinking of good crafts I would stay tuned because we have some good posts planned for crafts! Also you can find all sorts of good ideas for crafts on Pintrest!
- Play with bubbles:Outside or stay inside whatever your preference and blow bubbles with each other. It is fun to see the children having fun and laughing with one another!
- Color in a color booking:Pull out the crayons or markers and a coloring book and color with your children.
- Do a science experiment:Not only are science experiments a great way to teach your children something new during the summer they can also be very fun. They will enjoy it and probably learn more of the hands-on experience than giving them a worksheet to do.
- Play with Legos:Legos are a classic toy that is very fun and versatile. There are so many things that can be built with Legos. Your new challenge is to see how many different things you can make with Legos!
- Sing songs together:Singing songs can be a fun and exciting thing, educational, or calming. You could also write your own song with your children if you want!
- Get down and play on the floor:Let’s forget all the bells and whistles. Just get on the ground with your children and you might be surprised how much fun you can have just by getting down at there level on the floor.
- Play with dolls or action figures:Remember the days when we didn’t need any extravagant plans? Playing with dolls or action figures with your children is a great way to use your imagination and creativity.
- Make bean bags and play with them:Bean bags are really simple and easy to make. All you have to do is get two pieces of fabric that are the same size that you want your bags to be (have fun picking the scraps of fabric you want to use!) sew three sides of the bag with the two pieces aligned, put the beans or even rice or corn in the bag and sew up the fourth side and you are done! You can play all sorts of games, use a box or bin to toss them in, have a relay, etc. Have fun with it!
- Play with a ball:Find a ball and get with your child/children and roll it around, throw back and forth, kick it, hide it, etc. This is a fun way to do something simple and fun for the children.
Summer Fun Ideas that are Geared Towards Older Children (Around Ages 8 – 18)
26. Go for a hike: You can go on a hike to so many places, depending on where you live. We live near the mountains and so there are an endless number of places to explore. I put this one in the older children category because it is generally easier and more enjoyable to go on a hike with a little bit older children that can handle walking long distances but it just depends on your children and there are plenty of leisurely places you could go with the little ones.
27. Go on a bike ride: You can find a trail near your home or just roam on the streets together. You can just ride around or have a destination. Biking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with varying levels and difficulty.
28. Go rollerblading: Rollerblading takes more skill and so it would probably be harder for a younger child to learn but this can be a great activity for the parents and older kids. Cruise around town on your blades together. Trust me – lots of fun!
29. Make some jewelry: I am no expert in the least when it comes to making jewelry but this is why I love tutorials and blog posts that help me learn how to do things like this! Make some nice jewelry or some play jewelry it is your choice!
30. Learn how to make a quilt: Find someone who knows how to make quilts and ask them to help you learn how to make a quilt. It can be a great time to spend with a mother, grandmother, or friend!
31. Learn how to do pottery: I have always wanted to learn how to make pottery. Here we have have a local store where we can make the pottery and then paint afterward. It looks super fun and I would love to bring older children with me.
32. Build a model airplane: This could be a great father/son activity. Building a model airplane can be a great bonding experience with people working together to build something awesome. This would also help build hand-on skills.
33. Learn how to can fruits/ veggies: After you have successfully grown a garden take the things you have grown and can them. You can quickly build up your food storage with healthy fruits and veggies. This is a great way to teach your children about hard work and self reliance.
34. Make your own shirt:You could make tie dye shirts which can be really fun or use iron on objects to create a shirt. There is also paint that is made for shirts. Go to your local craft store to find all of your options. This can be fun to do right before a holiday, concert or other event.
35. Play ultimate Frisbee:Pull out the Frisbee on a nice warm day and go outside. You can get people to play a real game or just get outside and throw it around, either way it is fun for both you and the children!
36. Have a mud fight/ flour fight: Sounds messy? Oh yeah! That is the best part! Sometimes it is fun to let loose and just have some fun! For a mud fight either go somewhere you know there is mud or make your own mud with dirt and water. Haven’t heard of a flour fight? It is simple, give everyone playing a long sock you don’t have a pair for, and fill it with flour. Then you hit one another with the sock. It makes the other person all floury and is a lot of fun. You can also use crushed up chalk if you want something colorful.
37. Play jump rope: Teach your children how to play double dutch or regular one rope jump rope. There are a lot of fun rhymes and games you can play with the jump rope too!
38. Play four square: Do you remember playing this game in grade school? You have four people in at a time in their own squares, then you throw a bouncy ball (I remember using a kickball type but soccer ball or other ball would work too!) There are many rules and I can’t quite remember them but no worries did you know there is a site with all the instructions (Google is everyone’s best friend :)) Here is the site: http://www.squarefour.org/rules basketball
39. Play basketball: No need to think too hard of a fun activity, just grab the basketball and find a hoop and you are set. There are so many fun games that can be played with a basketball! My personal favorite is HORSE or PIG. Here is a link that explains how to play horse http://www.wikihow.com/Play-Horse-%28the-Basketball-Game%29
40. Make a lemonade stand: Want to do something fun and help the kids learn a little about hard work? Set up a stand (can just be a little table and chairs) and make a sign. You could also sell other things to the people in the neighborhood. You could just give treats out for free to all the people in the neighborhood that come by and make their day.
41. Have a YouTube video watching party: Have you ever been with a group of people and one person mentions a YouTube video, you watch it and then you end up watching 20 or 30? Take the time to sit down with your family and show them your favorite YouTube videos and give them the chance to show you some of their favorites. This can be a good way to learn more about what your child is most interested in.
42. Write someone a letter: There are so many people you could write a letter to and/ or draw pictures for. Write a letter to a friend you miss that you haven’t seen in a while. Write a letter to a grandparent or other relative. There is also the more modern and quicker way of emailing someone but it is not as fun as physically getting something in the mail from someone you love!
43. Create a sculpture: There are a lot of different materials you can use to create a sculpture. It could be stone carving, matte board (harder than you think), wire, or even soap. There are a lot of possibilities with the type of material or combination. It all just depends on what you want to achieve. Go for it and don’t hold back!
44. Play water balloon volleyball: The whole family can make water balloons together and it is always a classic to play water balloon volleyball and then when you get tired of playing the game you can bust out in a water balloon fight creating lots of fun and laughter!
45. Play a game of volleyball: Volleyball is a fun sport to play with the family. It kind of requires a lot of people to be fun but get some friends over and their kids and that will make for a good time!
46. Play a game of kickball: Gather a group of family and friends to play a game of kickball! You can use a baseball diamond, cones, or even just shoes for the bases.
47. Do each others hair and have a fashion show: This one is more geared towards the girly girls but doesn’t have to. Pick outfits for each other and do each others hair and makeup and then have a fashion show to show off the new looks. You could go shopping at Savers or Salvation Army and then have a fashion show. It can also be fun to dress up and then go to a mall or other public place!
48. Make origami: There are a lot of things that can be made with paper. Look up the ways to make origami online or in a book from the library and have fun simply folding paper!
49. Do a career searching day: Do your children seem to be interested in a lot of different things and not sure what they want to be when they grow up? You can help by taking a day and go around the places that they are interested in. If they want to be a doctor see if the hospital or local doctor will let them watch a for while, if they want to be a teacher see if you can take them to a classroom. This will help them to see what they want to do for a career!
50. Take them to a sports event: Sitting through a sports event as a young child could be boring and so this is why I put it on the older children list. If your children are interested in sports take the time to bring them to sporting events locally and professional ones. This can be a great time to bond with each other!
Summer Fun Ideas For the Whole Family
51. Make a home video/ music video:
There are a countless amount of home videos you can make. You can pick one of your favorite songs and make a fun music video. You don’t need to sing well you could even just lip sync. You can be serious or goofy. There are plenty of other things you can make a video of. Just record your children in every day life or plan a script and make a more structured one. As far as the possibilities go they are endless! Be creative and share with all your friends!
52. Write a story and draw the illustrations:
Write a story about anything you would like to with your children. You can adapt to the age group of your children. Write it together and then have everyone take a couple of pages and draw the pictures that correspond with a specific page! You could do this as an educational book where you learn about something new as a group and then create a book or you can be as creative as you want and write a new fantasy or fictional book. Once again the possibilities are endless!
53. Plant a garden:
Planting a garden with flowers or veggies can be a great experience with children. You can teach them about growing your own food to get more fresh fruits and veggies and save money on groceries. You can then learn how to preserve and find fun healthy recipes for your new food.
54. Make Homemade Ice Cream:
Homemade ice cream is so delicious and very fun to make! It can be very fun to experiment with your families favorite flavors. There are several different ways to make homemade ice cream. I suggest searching the internet to find a way that fits your needs. You can use fruits, nuts, chocolate, candies, go crazy!
55. Go on a bike ride:
There are so many fun places to go on a bike ride! If your children are too young either buy, rent, or borrow a trailer or seat attachments. One of my favorite things I have done is to rent tandem bikes for a couple of hours and go on a ride up the canyon!
56. Go on a walk:
Walks can be very relaxing and rejuvenating. It gives you a chance to talk to the people you are with, without all of life’s distractions. I love walks because they help me de-stress and be refreshed for my to do list when I get back.
57. Make cookies:
Who doesn’t love a good cookie recipe? There are so many different recipes for cookies. What is your favorite? I really like no bake cookies and peanut butter! Yum! Alright, if you are adventurous and a little silly here is a story of what I did once when I was in college and would love to do it again. With my roommates (four of us) we made a batch of just plain ole cookie dough, a really large one or a double batch. Then we divided the dough into five parts. We each took one of the parts and put whatever we thought would taste good and created our own cookie. We are talking some normal things like peanut butter, chocolate, etc to extremely odd, to whatever happens to be in your fridge. The cookies differed kind of by personality and it was super fun to see what everyone came up with. We then cooked them, including the fifth part we made normal chocolate chip cookies so we could have good cookies if our made-up ones didn’t turn out. In the end two of them were edible, one was surprisingly good and the other well lets just say even the cookie monster wouldn’t have wanted them…yeah that bad.
58. Have a water balloon fight:
Get out the water balloons, or not, and just use cups, bowls, etc and have a nice friendly water fight!
59. Have a picture scavenger hunt:
A picture scavenger hunt is when you make two or more teams and you have a list of objects or scenes you go around town trying to get a picture of. When you are done you meet back at home and laugh at the fun pictures that were taken. You could also draw a picture of what you see.
60. Have a dance party:
Turn on some music and get on your feet and dance! Dance like no one is looking!
61. The quarter game:
Okay here is another one you probably heard of but it is hilarious. What you do is take a quarter or even a penny and glue it to the cement on a side walk in a park wherever you want. Generally high traffic places are more fun. Then, you watch people walk by and try to pick it up. It is really funny to see. This is what I would call a goofy prank or joke you can do that doesn’t hurt anyone.
62. Put on a play:
Does your family like plays or acting? Well, then you should put a play together and show family or neighbors the result. You can have actors/actresses, makeup artists, behind the scene crew. You can make it has big or small as you want.
63. Have a bonfire:
Having a bonfire is always a blast. Break out the Smores and/or Starbursts. (Just put Starburst candy on a stick and roast it until it gets bubbly, so good!) Tell stories, sing songs, or just talk!
64. Make pizza/ fruit pizza:
Pizza is very fun to make you can make a large one or a mini one for each person to make for themselves. Fruit pizza is a great treat. They can be very fun and creative to make.
65. Have Christmas in July:
Who says you can’t have Christmas twice a year? Decorate, party, sing. You already know what to do, you do it every December, just do it in July!
66. Have a BBQ:
As a family or with family and friends get together play a little soccer or football and eat hamburgers and hot dogs!
67. Have a collective dinner:
Okay this one is fun to do every once in a while. For a collective dinner you go to several different (probably fast food) places and buy one item that you want and bring them all together to make a meal. For example you might buy a pizza, french fries, orange chicken and ice cream. So you run around making a dinner from all of your favorite places to eat for one meal!
68. Make something for an important leader or group:
There are so many leaders and groups that do so much for each of us in our lives. Show your appreciation to someone, who has changed your life and make them something or write them a note.
69. Talk and tickle each other
There are can not be anything better than just getting the whole family together to talk to each other. And to make it really fun start tickling each other! Simple but the best memories!
70. Play a board game:
Here is the default activity my family always goes to when we either don’t have much time or want to go anywhere but still want to have fun.
71. Play hide and seek:
I am pretty sure everyone knows how to play and that it is fun! Everyone hides except one person who tries to find everyone.
72. Play sardines:
Have someone hide and then everyone else goes to find them and hides with them till everyone finds them! Who doesn’t love this childhood game? But no one said you have to be a child to play!
73. Have an outdoor movie night:
Take out or rent a projector to watch a movie outside! Bring blankets, pillows, snacks and friends to have a good time outdoors without having to go far!
74. Make a piñata
Make or buy a piñata! Who doesn’t love candy! Well, it is fun to do paper mache and choose what shape or character you want to create. Then fill it up with the families favorite candies!! Win win!
75. Put a surprise together for a friend:
It is always fun to surprise a friend. You know what they would like best! Be creative and have fun with it. You can make a difference in other peoples lives!
Summer Fun Ideas of Places to go With the Whole Family
76. Go to a shopping center
77. Go to the zoo
78. Go to the aquarium
79. Go to a museum
80. Go to the dollar store
81. Go to a concert/play
82. Go on a scavenger hunt
83. Go to the beach or to the mountains
84. Go for a swim
85. Go visit dad at work
86. Go to a parade
87. Go to a ropes course
88. Go to an airport and watch the airplanes
89. Run in a 5K or 10K
90. Go to a farm and visit the animals
91. Go to a local state fair
92. Go on a road trip to a neighboring town
93. Go stargazing
94. Go to a duck pond and feed the ducks
95. Visit a rest home/ home care facility
96. Go to the library
97. Have a picnic
98. Go to an amusement park
99. Visit a historical site
100. Go bowling
Enjoy your summer! Feel free to add ideas in the comments!