26 Summer Activities for Kids: How to Have Fun With Your Family All Summer

Do your kids have the summertime blues, complaining that there’s nothing to do?

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.

Do your kids have summertime blues? These fun summer activities for kids: awesome art projects to zooming ziplines; will turn any day into a 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.

Whether you play games, cook, create art, build a fort, open a lemonade stand or plan a staycation, you’re bound to have a great time!

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.

A: Art

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!

One way to express creativity as a family is with this DIY picture frame wallpaper from Artful Parent. It’s a fun way to let your kids draw on the walls without getting in trouble!

It’s a collaborative art project—you draw the frames and have your kids fill them in. Or vice versa.

wall art

Something that’s easy, inexpensive and not quite so permanent.

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.

B: Bowling

Go bowling in your backyard, at the park or on a camping trip. Bowling is much more fun when you make your own pins!

glowing bowling pins

Bowling is much more fun when you play it outside in the dark.

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.

C: Chalkboard

I love this outdoor chalkboard from Taysa at My House and Home.

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.

outdoor chalkboard

An outdoor chalkboard is very easy to make and will get lots of attention.

You and your kids will be ready to create whenever inspiration hits.

D: Dinner

Cooking is an excellent way to bond as a family. There are lots of kid-chef recipes out there.

Divide up the meal or shop and cook everything together.

family having dinner

A family dinner tastes even better when you cook the food together. Image source: iStockPhoto.

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!

E: Experiment

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!

bottles with colored water

Experiments can be so much fun that you won’t actually think of them as science!

Make pop bottle music, create goo or try the tablecloth trick. You just made dinner (above), so why not?

F: Fort

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.

fort frame

A fort is always fun!

For something shorter-term, try this quick and simple cardboard fort option.

G: Golf

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.

indoor mini golf

A tower and tunnel–what a challenge!

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.

H: Hats

Ever have crazy hat day at school or camp? Don’t wait for a special occasion. Make a hat, like one of these from Tip Junkie, or come up with your own style.

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!

party hats

Dump out your craft drawer and see what you can create.

Whether you make silly hats, hats for a party or a sun visor, you’re bound to have a creative time.

I: Iced Treats

What’s better on a hot summer afternoon than iced treats you make with your kids?

Watermelon blueberry ice pops and vanilla-orange freezer pops are just a couple of the recipes from Eating Well.

girl eating popsicle

Iced treats are perfect on a hot summer day. Image source: iStockPhoto.

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.

J: Jewelry

There are lots of possibilities if you want to make jewelry with your kids.

The Kids Activities Blog lists a variety of different jewelry crafts.

diy jewelry

There are lots of jewelry crafts for kids and parents!

Plus, Inhabitots has a unique method for making recycled jewelry.

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!

K: Kite

Go fly a kite. It’s even more rewarding when you make your own kite together.

Check out this basic kite tutorial from Talk Crafty to Me.


Check out this video from Kidspot for an easy way to make a kite.

For more kite designs, look at these kite ideas from Spoonful.

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.

Put a folding table up in front of your house or build a lemonade stand with these instructions from Lowe’s.

lemonade stand

Build a lemonade stand.

For more inspiration, here are lemonade stand tips from the Huffington Post.

Want something a little different than a lemonade stand? Try a photo booth business or find other kids’ business ideas at Entrepreneur Kids Academy.

M: Movie

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.

girl video taping

Let the kids do the filming. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Is animation more your kids’ style? Make a stop motion movie using LEGO bricks or clay for your characters!

N: Noodle

Use your noodle in more ways than one.

These pool noodle activities inspire creativity. Plus they don’t need any water.

tic tac toe with pool noodles

Pool noodles are just as much fun to use outside the pool. Maybe even more!

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.

Play classic outdoor games with your kids.

Want more? Here are some outdoor games from My Kids’ Adventures.

P: Puppets

There are all kinds of puppets you can make with your family.

These felt puppets from Momtastic are adorable and relatively easy to make, but do require some sewing.

Younger kids will love these sock creature puppets from Parents magazine. And there are always shadow puppets.


Parents magazine has a wonderful video explaining how to make a sock puppet.

When you’re done making puppets, put on a play.

Q: Quotes

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.

books

Collect quotes from members of your family and put them into a book.

Illustrate it by drawing or taking photos. It’ll make a wonderful summer memory book.

R: Rodeo

Want to try something fun and different? Have a rodeo in your backyard.

Dixie Delightscowboy party includes costumes, a ride ’em cowboy relay race, boot toss, steer roping, marshmallow shootout and more.

ride em cowboy

The ride ’em cowboy relay race was one of the rodeo activities.

Experience the joys of a rodeo you create yourselves. It’s much more manageable than cleaning up after horses.

S: Slime

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.

slime stretch

Slime is fun to play with, as well as fun to make.

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.

Make an indoor treasure hunt, outdoor adventure, anything goes. And then create your own prizes to find at the end.

young pirates with map

A treasure hunt can be different every time.

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.

Moms Who Think has a delicious pineapple upside down cake recipe, while Cooking With My Kid shares a good one for apple upside down cake.

child with apple

An upside down kid holding the apple for the upside down cake.

If you want to introduce your kids to baking, an upside down cake is a good start.

V: Vacation

If you don’t have time for an actual vacation, go on a staycation in your hometown.

child at zoo

Visit local attractions in your hometown. Image source: iStockPhoto.

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.

kids running in sprinkler

Your kids will love this water adventure. Image source: iStockPhoto.

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.

On the Live Well Network, Frank Di Leo shows Steve and Chris show how to build a backyard xylophone (video) that doubles as a hammock. Written instructions are here.

backyard xylophone

Build a backyard xylophone and share music with your neighbors.

If you want an easier alternative with a similar effect, build a sound wall, like this one from Asia on Fun at Home with Kids.

Or create an outdoor music station out of recycled materials, as Ann on My Nearest and Dearest did.

Y: Yo-Yo

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.

Z: Zipline

How Does She has an easy and inexpensive way to build a zipline in your backyard.

child on zipline

Make a zipline in your backyard.

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.

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About the Author, Debra Eckerling

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 »


  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks Debra! So many fun ideas–I especially like the Quotes one. We’ve got some doozies.

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    Thanks, Jen. You can tell I had fun writing it! Would love to see samples from your family Quote book!

  • EmilyQuestions

    Cool, Deb, these are great ideas – it could keep Kids busy all summer long!

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    And parenrs, too. :) Thanks, Emily.

  • http://www.fineartmom.com/ Crystal Foth

    Awesome article Debra! I love it and thanks for including me in the ART section :). I love how you used the alphabet with so many creative options! The chalkboard paint outside would be so much fun… need to do that one!

  • http://GuidedGoals.com Debra Eckerling

    Thanks, Crystal. And you are welcome. Your projects are so awesome – had to include you!

Check out the Parenting Adventures podcast with Michael Stelzner
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How to Create Glow-In-The-Dark Bowling In Your Home
How to Create a Backyard Treasure Hunt, Minecraft Style
How to Make Slime: 5 Easy Recipes
How to Entertain Your Kids for Hours With Adventure Tubs