Looking for things to do with the kids this summer? From making daisy chains to summer scrapbooks, here are 50 Superb Summer Activities for Kids, helping to keep the little ones from under your feet, and the bigger ones from climbing the walls! Better yet, lots of these are free!
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From beach trips to baking to bubbles and more, these ideas are sure to go down a treat with kids of all ages!
We’ve compiled a free checklist for these summer activities so you can work your way through them and keep track of all your favourite family fun! You can download the outdoor activities checklist here.
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Summer Activities for Kids
#1. Go On a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a great free way of entertaining the kids and a much loved activity in our house.
Download our free backyard scavenger hunt and let them loose in the garden, or for something a bit different to do outdoors, try our free Sound Scavenger Hunt to download and enjoy while you are out in the forest or woods.
#2. Growing Fun
Gardening with kids is great fun – they love to get mucky and see the result of their work. If you have room, why not assign them their own flower bed and help them plan out their planting? Or give them their own pot/planter. Herbs and salad leaves are quick to grow, and most kids enjoy eating what they have grown! Here’s how to grow your own pizza garden.
#3. Make a Bird Feeder
Make a bird feeder and install it in the garden, and then watch the bird show from your window.
#4. Fly a Kite
There is bound to be a windy day over the summer holidays, so have your kite at the ready.
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#5. Go for a Cycle
Strap on the helmets, grab the bikes, and go for a cycle. You can head out in your local area if you have cycling nearby or pile the bikes in the car and head to a forest or park where it’s safe to cycle. Don’t forget your helmets!
#6. Make Your Own Frisbees
Gather old lids and decorate them by painting them or colour them using markers. Then admire your artwork as they soar through the air.
#7. Have a Teddy Bear Picnic
If the weather is good, get the kids to host a teddy bear’s picnic out in the garden. If the weather is not favourable, you can still do the picnic indoors.
#8. Go to a Playground
Going to the playground is a great way to get the kids active outdoors. Most towns have a local playground, but for a change, why not try a different playground in a nearby town?
Pack a picnic and make a day out of it and throw in some surprise treats you can all share to boost energy levels after all that swinging, sliding, running, jumping, skipping!
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#9. Make Music
Get all your instruments out or make some cheap versions, using kitchen utensils (most popular in our house are pots, wooden spoons, tins, spatula) and make some “music” – check out our tips here.
#10. Play Dress-Up
If you’re willing, let the kids loose in your wardrobes and gather their own ensemble. I’m sure you will have some good laughs watching the little people dress up like the bigger ones.
#11. Collect Caterpillars and Bugs
A favourite of my son’s but not so much mine, he loves to gather snails, worm, caterpillars and anything else he can catch, and rehome them in old jam jars or similar containers. He loves to feed them grass and watch them run around and explore their new surroundings.
Download our free Big Bug Scavenger Hunt List and enjoy while you are out in the garden or on a family walk in the woods.
#12. Learn a Secret Code
Learn how to write in secret code, then send messages to your friends.
#13. Get Out those Board Games
Nothing beats a good old game of Snakes and Ladders, Bingo or Monopoly. Here are 10 of the Best Family Board Games.
#14. Go Fishing
Pack a picnic and while away an afternoon fishing at a lake or river. Gear the day/expedition to their level, and assume they will want to get wet, and look for everything else but fish! However, can be a great way to spend time with your child, and you might even bring home dinner!
Fishing nets on the beach are ideal for catching crabs in rock pools, and a lot easier too!
#15. Make Play Dough
Children will adore making play dough and they will have fun exploring different food colourings to give the dough that lovely vibrant colour. Better still it’s non-toxic, cheap and easy to make.
- Mix together 1 cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt and 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, then add a cup of water and mix until smooth.
- Add a dash of food colouring followed by 2 tablespoons of oil and cook on a medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough forms a ball.
#16. Make Daisy Chains
One of life’s simple pleasures and part of childhood memories. Put a small slit in the stem of a daisy, with your nail, and thread a stem of another daisy through it, and repeat to extend length. “Fashion” into necklaces and bracelets, or challenge the kids to see who can make the longest.
#17. Do Some Painting
Cover the table with newspaper sheets and get out the poster paints or watercolours and some paper and have an art session at the kitchen or dining table. Marble painting is also great fun.
All you need is a plastic holder/tray or square basin, add your sheet of paper. 2/3 colours of paint, and a marble. Allow the kids to move the box around to create their designs.
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#18. Make a Time Capsule
You can use a time capsule to place your predictions in, or your hopes of a certain project. A time capsule can be as simple as a shoe box full of items reserved (or even forgotten) on a high closet shelf until a later date.
Keep in mind that creating a capsule for unveiling at some future date is really a two sided adventure involving both you and those who will uncover it once again (perhaps even your future self). Make sure that the items you select will add the element of surprise and discovery for those who open this curious treasure chest of history. Here’s how to make a time capsule with kids.
#19. Make a Letter Book
Let the kids take a picture of or draw something that starts with each letter of the alphabet and create an Alphabet Letter book with their photos or drawings.
#20. Play Tag in the dark
This is great fun for older kids on a summer’s evening. Send them outside with torches to play tag or chase in the dark. Cue lots of giggles and running around!
#21. Enjoy Outdoor Games
Get your kids playing outdoor games – they might need a little bit of instruction to get them started, so have a look at our 20 great childhood games for inspiration.
Also here are some obstacle course ideas for kids guaranteed to get them active and having fun!
#22. Help in the Garden
Let the kids get stuck in and help you out in the garden, with these 10 garden chores they will enjoy doing.
#23. Make Your Own Jewellery
Gather various pasta shapes such as fusilli or penne and dip them in paint to colour them. Once dry, thread them through string or wool to make bracelets or necklaces. Make some for your friends too!
#24. Make a Volcano
Making a mineral bottle volcano is a classic science experiment that doubles as a great excuse to make an explosive mess (so it is recommended that you do this outside!)
You will need a 2 litre bottle of soda, e.g. Diet Coke, and a packet of Mentos or Skittles.
- Position the 2Lt bottle outside and open it.
- Unwrap a whole roll of Mentos (or Skittles). The goal is to drop all of the Mentos into the soda bottle at once, which is trickier than it sounds! The best way to do this would be to drop them all simultaneously through a funnel with a mouth that is wide enough to allow the Mentos to pass but small enough to fit inside the neck of the bottle.
- If you don’t have such a funnel, make a paper tube the size of the bottle neck, place an index card over the bottle mouth, place the tube over the hole, fill it with Mentos, and slide the card out. You can also loosely sellotape the entire roll of Mentos together and drop the whole stack in at once.
- Once you drop the whole packet in, you need to RUN!! If done correctly, you can create eruptions of up to 18 feet!!
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#25. Wash the Car
It might not sound like fun but the kids will love it, especially small kids who love messing with water. Let them have a bucket or dish of water & cloth or sponge each, and scrub and rub till your car shines. They could even do a neighbourhood car-wash.
#26. Bake Some Treats
Most kids love to bake, with the promise of a sweet treat at the end! We have lots of recipe ideas in our food and recipes section, to give you some inspiration, like these yummy lemon buns, these breakfast berry muffins, or chocolate chip cookies.
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#27. Make Tie-Dye Clothes
If your child is tired of their boring white socks, why not have a tie dye day? You will need white clothing, bucket, water, various dyes, rubber bands, rubber gloves to protect your hands. How you fold and secure with rubber bands, helps determine the pattern that results. Best to start with lightest colour, if using more than one, and follow dye instructions carefully.
Expert Village has a good video to get you started making a tie dye spiral design:
#28. Play Cards
Remember the card games you used to play as a child? Why not teach your kids how to play some of these fun card games for kids?
#29. Make Sun Shadows
You will need
- selection of nature items e.g. leaves, twigs, flowers
- Some construction paper – darker colours work better.
What to do:
- Find a sunny spot outside late morning. Arrange the items on a sheet of paper.
- You might need a stone for each corner to keep it from blowing away if it’s breezy.
- Leave the paper for several hours in direct sunlight.
- The sun will fade the construction paper, it will create silhouettes where your items are located.
#30. Go to the Beach
A favourite summer day out for my family is a trip to the beach. We collect shells while we are there and bring them home to paint and make wind chimes out of them.
Or collect some stones and paint them when you return home to make some garden decorations. We have lots of fun ideas with these 50 Interesting Things to do at Beach with Kids.
#31. Make a Photo Album
Dress up in your costumes and assume the persona of your character. Pose for photos together and on your own. Pull plenty of funny as well as scary faces and capture them all on a camera. Then choose your favourite ones to print and make your own album.
#32. Try Nature Activities
Let the kids try some fun nature activities, when you are on a walk, or even at home in the garden. Lots of ideas in our 15 Fun Nature Activities for Kids or these 10 Fun Nature Activities for Kids in Their Own Garden.
#33. Build a Den or Fort
Build a den out of the sofa cushions, chairs, clothes rack with a blanket draped over or create a fort out of a big cardboard box with packing tape to hold the sides together.
Outdoors, let your kids make a camp outdoors, using old blankets/duvets, cushions and the garden chairs for props. Or gather some sturdy poles and use some tarpaulin as a roof.
#34. Make a Scarecrow
Remember Worzel Gummidge? Well why not recreate him in your garden with your kids? All you need is some sticks (to hold the scarecrow up) some old unwanted clothes and cotton wool (or more old clothes and socks to stuff his body with).
You can stitch him together quickly or use glue if you would prefer. Let the children name him and if the activity is enjoyable for all, why not make an ‘Aunt Sally’ to accompany him? See how to make this simple scarecrow.
#35. Blow Bubbles
Blowing bubbles should lead to giggles! Use different blowers for a range of bubbly fun. Challenge the kids to try and make some really big bubbles or try some bubble painting – find out how to make your own bubble mixture here.
You could also have have some fun at night with these glow in the dark bubbles.
#36. Summer Olympics
Round up a gang of kids and hold your own summer Olympics in your garden with obstacle courses, long-jump, and novelty races like 3-legged, sack, and egg and spoon.
Compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, and make award ribbons out of cardboard and wool. Hours of fun and exhausted kids guaranteed!
#37. Make Summer Scrapbooks
Make summer scrapbooks, so they can look back at their summer and see all the great things they did. Use photographs, and information gathered from day-trips, like leaflets, ticket stubs etc.
Encourage them to do drawings of special day trips made. They can even add their own pages using craft paper, and decorate with glue, sparkles etc.
#38. LEGO-Building Contest
Most houses have lego, so why not spent a day having a lego-building contest. Pick a theme e.g. vehicles, single coloured blocks etc. and let them loose constructing.
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#39. Make a Playlist and Host a Disco
On iTunes, Spotify, Audiolizer, Google Play Music or we7 you can create your own playlists of your favourite songs. Why not pick 5 songs each that you all like, to add to your playlist, then put it on shuffle and have a Mini Disco in the house?!
Move back the furniture, and get moving – why not try best and worst dancer competitions, and get everyone to try the Can Can and limbo dancing.
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#40. Play Buckin’ Broncos
Equipment per team:
- 1 hat
- 1 cowboy belt, holster and gun
- 1 chair
- 18 inflated balloons
How to Play
- Divide the group into teams. A chair is placed about fifteen to twenty feet in front of each team.
- On ‘Go’, the first person on each team puts on the hat, cowboy holster and gun and places a balloon between his knees.
- He proceeds in bowlegged fashion to the chair, where he places the balloon on the seat and rides the ‘bronco’ until it ‘breaks’. He returns to his line, passing his hat and belt to the next cowboy.
- The game proceeds in this relay fashion until all broncos have been broken.
#41. Go Swimming
Create your own waves in the pool and lap up the freedom the water brings. Better still head to a waterpark if there is one near you. Splashing, slides and lots of smiles! Here are Tips for Summer Water Safety for Kids.
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#42. Plant Flowers
Choose which flower seeds you would like to plant. Sunflowers are a favourite with kids as they grow very quickly and are very easy to grow. Or try something edible like salad leaves or cress.
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#43. Sand Play
Kids love to mess around in the sand, particularly if it’s in your back garden. Even if you don’t have a sand table, it’s easy to make your own using a large shallow plastic container, and some play sand. Just remember to cover when finished, to keep the cats away! Read our 23 Sensational Sand Play Ideas for inspiration.
#44. Skim Stones
Apparently skimming stones is a skill! Look for small flat stones at the beach and try flicking your wrist as you let the stone go. See whose stone can do the most skips.
#45. Go Camping
Weather permitting, camping is great fun and a chance to “become one with nature”. Many fond memories are created sitting around a camp fire telling jokes or scary stories and watching the stars at night. Don’t forget to roast some marshmallows- yum!
#46. Take a Day Trip
Take a day trip to a historic town or to a local attraction. Or take a walking tour around your own town, see if you can spot any unusual buildings or features you might not have noticed before.
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#47. Make Water Fun
If the weather is warm, most kids love playing with water, or having water fights. Turn on the sprinkler and let the kids jump through it, or small buckets make perfect containers for “soaking the enemy”.
Alternatively, fill up some water balloons and let the kids get wet. Younger ones might enjoy “painting” things with water – either pictures on ground, or get them to “paint” the shed or fence.
You can easily make a slip ‘n’ slide, with strong refuse bags or large plastic sheet, washing-up liquid, and a hose…
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#48. Go to the Library
Aim to go to the library once a week. Check out books, join story time, and see if there is a reading club you can participate in. Most libraries participate in summer reading challenges, so check your local library for details.
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#49. Play Summer Bingo
We love this summer bingo we found on designdazzle.com, with thanks to Vanessa from Our Thrifty Ideas. Just download your free printables, and enjoy some summer bingo fun!
#50. Lemonade Stand
A lovely summer’s activity and a great way for your kids to learn about money. All they need is a table/box, sign, paper cups, jug, and lemonade. You could help them make homemade lemonade instead of buying lemonade.