26 Summer Activities for Kids: How to Have Fun With Your Family All Summer
Want to infuse some exciting new activities into the mix?
At My Kids’ Adventures, we’ve got you covered. There’s still plenty of fun to be had this summer (or any time of year).
We’ve searched the Internet for fun, exciting activities to do together this summer and listed our favorites below.
In this article I’ll share 26 fun summer activities for kids, from awesome art projects to zooming ziplines that’ll turn any day into a fun family adventure.
Why Have Summer Adventures?
Family adventures build memories that last a lifetime, and there are so many different ways to have fun together: building things, cooking, crafts, creative play and exploring the great outdoors to name just a few.
Your kids will love to spend time with you and you’ll have the chance to talk, play and maybe even learn something new about them.
Find something here to fit any amount of time you have, from quick games you can play in a few minutes to projects you can work on all summer.
Here’s an A to Z list of things you can do, make or plan with your family this summer.
Art projects are great to do together. You can create art any time, any day with whatever amount of time you have. There are so many choices!
It’s a collaborative art project—you draw the frames and have your kids fill them in. Or vice versa.
If you’re looking for something more involved, take a look at some of Crystal Foth’s art adventures.
Her Monet photo project is a great summer activity that incorporates nature, the summer sunlight at different times of day and a cool technological effect. Put it all together and you and your kids will become modern-day impressionists.
Go bowling in your backyard, at the park or on a camping trip. Bowling is much more fun when you make your own pins!
For another slant, make up your own rules. Decide them as a family or take turns coming up with game ideas. It doesn’t even have to be a traditional bowling game. Put the pins in different formations. Divide into different teams, where each team only hits pins of a certain color.
Encourage your kids to use their imaginations and come up with their own games.
Take a piece of wood (two if you want a hard layer of plywood) and then attach smoother wood to the top. Spray with chalkboard paint and you’re good to go.
You and your kids will be ready to create whenever inspiration hits.
Divide up the meal or shop and cook everything together.
Choose a theme either by cuisine (Mexican, Italian, American, Asian), color (what would you cook if you only made food in the same color?) or topic (what would you choose for dinner with the movie Frozen as the theme?).
Jazz it up with table settings and decorations. Don’t forget dessert!
Experiments aren’t just for science class. They can be lots of fun at home, too!
Our friend Steve Spangler has lots of great ideas for making science fun!
Want a long-term summer project your kids will remember forever? Make a fort.
An actual wooden fort is a lot of work, but it’s a project that involves the whole family and can be enjoyed for years.
For something shorter-term, try this quick and simple cardboard fort option.
Build a mini-golf course of any size or complexity inside your home, in your yard or at the park. You can vary it for any age and get the kids involved in creating their own obstacles.
It’s an activity everyone will enjoy.
When you create a golf course at home, it stretches your creativity. Use what you have at home to build different challenges. And change the course every time you play.
Grab some old newspaper, pull out a few materials from your craft drawer and see what kind of hat you and your kids come up with!
I: Iced Treats
What’s better on a hot summer afternoon than iced treats you make with your kids?
Choose a recipe that exists or mix and match flavors to make your own.
As a bonus: these are much healthier than store-bought popsicles, so you can indulge a little more often.
There are lots of possibilities if you want to make jewelry with your kids.
Want to make a day of it? Go to the beach, pick up shells and make jewelry from your findings. It’s an activity and craft all in one!
Go fly a kite. It’s even more rewarding when you make your own kite together.
Check out this video from Kidspot for an easy way to make a kite.
L: Lemonade Stand
Every kid should try a summer business. The most traditional is to open a lemonade stand. It’s even more fun when you make it a family project.
For more inspiration, here are lemonade stand tips from the Huffington Post.
Instead of going out to the movies, make your own movie.
Gather the family, come up with a story and yell “Action!” Okay, perhaps I skipped a few steps, but you get the concept.
Is animation more your kids’ style? Make a stop motion movie using LEGO bricks or clay for your characters!
Use your noodle in more ways than one.
These pool noodle activities inspire creativity. Plus they don’t need any water.
Make a noodle stick horse, play noodle wicket ball, construct a marble chute and more. Then you can play with them all you want.
O: Outdoor Games
Remember all those games you played outside as a kid? So does Mashable. The site compiled 15 classic outdoor games, including tag, red rover, hopscotch, Simon says and freeze dance.
Play games with your kids and trigger memories of happy times from your childhood.
Want more? Here are some outdoor games from My Kids’ Adventures.
There are all kinds of puppets you can make with your family.
Parents magazine has a wonderful video explaining how to make a sock puppet.
When you’re done making puppets, put on a play.
Remember the show Kids Say the Darndest Things? So do parents. And siblings.
Sit down together or spend part of your next road trip talking about cute things your kids say, funny toddler-talk words you remember from their younger years or “famous” mom- or dad-isms—those things that always seem to come out of your mouths. Every family has them and it’s fun to recall them together.
Then, compile the quotes into a book. If you want, include quotes from grandparents, friends and other relatives.
Illustrate it by drawing or taking photos. It’ll make a wonderful summer memory book.
Want to try something fun and different? Have a rodeo in your backyard.
Experience the joys of a rodeo you create yourselves. It’s much more manageable than cleaning up after horses.
What kid doesn’t like to make and play with slime? And parents, ‘fess up—you love it too.
Here are five slime recipes, including one for edible slime.
Have a messy, gooey afternoon adventure. Don’t worry, parents. We’ll never tell.
T: Treasure Hunt
A treasure hunt is the kind of adventure that’s different every time you make one.
For a twist on the traditional treasure hunt, kids make a hunt for parents, while parents design one for them.
Or depending on the age of your kids, divide into two teams, and one team creates the indoor hunt, while the other plans one outside.
U: Upside Down Cake
An upside down cake is a fun dessert to make.
If you want to introduce your kids to baking, an upside down cake is a good start.
If you don’t have time for an actual vacation, go on a staycation in your hometown.
There are plenty of things you and your family can do to explore your hometown: be tourists, go through museums, visit family and friends.
Even if you just take a couple of staycation days throughout the summer, you’ll have a fabulous time making memories.
W: Water Park (in Your Own Backyard)
Avoid long lines at the local pool or water park. Make a water park in your backyard.
This is part obstacle course, part water play and all fun!
Grab your swimsuits, sunscreen, your kids and head outside.
X: Build a Xylophone
Music is a wonderful tool for development and creative expression.
When was the last time you played with a yo-yo?
Get a yo-yo for each member of the family, learn tricks and then teach each other how to do them.
Check out 2013 yo-yo contest champion Janos Karancz.
For some people, yo-yoing is serious business. It’s cool to watch and fun to do.
If your house wasn’t already the coolest one on the block, it will be now!
Some Final Thoughts…
Whether your adventures are inside or outdoors, summertime or another season, what’s important is to do things together and connect as a family. No matter how you spend your time, you’ll certainly have fun.
Try to spend a little bit of quality time as a family every day. Have a meal together a few times a week. And go on lots of adventures.
To keep those moments fresh in your mind, take lots of pictures and write stories about your family adventures. And on a cold day, take a look at the photos and reread the stories. Memories of the summer will keep you warm all winter long.
What did you think? What types of things do you like to create with your kids? What is your favorite summer activity? Please share your ideas and any pictures in the comments.
Images from iStockPhoto.
Debra Eckerling is an editor at My Kids Adventures. The creator of Write On Online, a website and community for writers, Debra helps individuals define, plan and achieve their goals. Other posts by Debra Eckerling »