61 fun summer activities to keep kids busy over summer vacation

Fun summer activities: Kids painting and artwork of fish
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These boredom-busting summer activities incorporate fun, learning — or both!

When the kids are home from school for summer break, it can be challenging to keep them amused and occupied — especially if you don’t want them to spend every waking moment with an electronic device.

Here are more than 60 different things to do this summer to entertain the kids — and get some learning in, too — no smartphones, computers or game consoles required.

1. Travel near or far

Travel to teach your child about history and other cultures. Visit historical sites, take trips to museums and historical sites, and enroll in museum classes. Learn about different cultures by traveling to ethnic areas in different cities. And learn along the way by trying some educational car activities, such as listening to and discussing audiobooks.

2. Make family time into “field trips”

A trip to a local museum or zoo can become a mini-field trip — children learn well with hands-on activities. You can also make kids “geologists for a day” on a local area hike, or “spelunkers” at a cave.

Kids painting and artwork of fish
Photo by bondarillia/Envato
3. Create your own field day tournament

Rather than spending money on pricey sports equipment, reuse household items to create your own competitive events for your family. For example, set up a field hockey game using brooms as sticks and a tennis ball as a puck. Create your own shot-put using a resealable bag filled with dry rice or head to the neighborhood pool for some aquatic races. Make sure to hold a medal ceremony afterwards to celebrate everyone’s success.

4. Find educational outdoor activities nearby

Some city park systems or schools have summer programs that focus on nature study and the outdoors, augmenting your child’s science knowledge. Taking a family trip to an arboretum or a botanical garden teaches your child about the natural world. For the more adventurous, nature hikes provide exercise, adventure, and learning, especially if you bring a guidebook along.

5. Visit area businesses

Factories, farms, greenhouses, fire stations and any other place of business can be a learning site for your child. Call these businesses and see if they can handle family or small group tours. 

6. Host your own community run

Races are a great way to get your family moving outside, but the registration fees can add up. Gather a few friends and family and create your own fun run. You can use a nearby neighborhood track, or just mark off the course on the sidewalk around your house.

Kids running races color clipart from PrintColorFun com 1

7. Infuse learning into everyday routines

The simplest day-to-day tasks can help kids learn — without even knowing it. For example, encourage children to help doubling recipes to practice basic math. Writing about daily events allows children to tell a story — the story of them — and boost their vocabularies.

8. Read together

Maintaining or improving your child’s reading level is essential over the long summer months. Your local library may have a summer reading program, or, for younger children, story and reading hours. Even without special programs, your child can learn to revel in the joys of reading at the beach or in a hammock. Possibly the easiest and most rewarding summer activity of all. 

9. Incorporate arts and culture

Take kids to a local children’s theater or an art museum to expose them to their artistic side. Encourage kids to perform their own play or to draw and paint. In addition, local libraries are a gold mine of information. Get children their own library card and make it a regular destination year-round. 

10. See a play

Theatrical productions educate children and adults about a wide range of subjects, including language, history and poetry. Look for free or low-cost summer theaters, which often present Shakespeare and other theater classics. Before a production, read a synopsis of the plot together and discuss what will happen in the play. After the production, take some time to analyze the performance and answer your child’s questions.

Bounce around this beach ball
11. Play a board game

Have the whole family participate in a game such as Scrabble or Monopoly. Monopoly, for example, is a subtle way of being sure your child practices math skills when she or he is the banker or a rent-collecting proprietor of Atlantic Avenue and the Water Works. Scrabble, on the other hand, tests everyone’s vocabulary and spelling skills.

12. Set up a neighborhood play equipment swap

As they say, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. While your kids may be bored with the play equipment they already own, the equipment is brand new to others. Organize a play equipment swap in your neighborhood to give your gently used items a new home. Your family will also benefit by receiving some new toys and sports equipment to inspire them to get out and be active.

13. Have a backyard campout

Turn your backyard into a cozy campsite by setting up a tent, complete with sleeping bags and lanterns. Engage the family with campfire stories, games like flashlight tag, and end the evening by stargazing—use an app to help spot constellations and planets. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of home.

Camping coloring page from PrintColorFun com 11

14. Cool off with fun water games

Host a water balloon toss, set up a sponge bucket relay where teams compete to transfer water using only a sponge, or create a homemade water slide using a plastic tarp and a hose. For even more fun, make a DIY sprinkler by poking holes in plastic bottles and attaching them to a hose.

15. Organize a nature scavenger hunt

Create a list of local flora and fauna for kids to find in your backyard or a nearby park. Enhance the adventure with fun facts about each item, making it a playful and educational activity. Equip kids with a checklist and let the exploration begin!

16. Get creative in the kitchen

Help your kids make simple, no-cook recipes like smoothies, fruit salads, or homemade popsicles — perfect for hot days. Include kid-friendly cooking projects like making sandwiches or assembling wraps, and offer healthy snack ideas like veggie sticks with dip or yogurt parfaits. Cooking together is not only fun but also a great way for kids to learn about healthy eating.

17. Backyard bird watching

Set up a bird feeder and use binoculars to spot and identify local birds. Create a bird watching log to record different species and their behaviors, turning your backyard into a mini bird sanctuary.

Bird color clipart from PrintColorFun com 05

16. Have a picnic with a theme

Host a themed picnic, such as a “Teddy Bear Picnic,” where kids and their favorite plush toys enjoy snacks and games. It’s a fun way to enjoy the outdoors and indulge in creative play.

17. DIY obstacle course

Create an obstacle course in your backyard using items like ropes, tires, and cones. Challenge kids to complete it, helping them improve their physical fitness and problem-solving skills.

18. Outdoor art studio

Set up an outdoor art station with easels, paints, and crayons. Let children draw inspiration from nature and encourage them to create artwork based on what they see around them.

19. Dress up for historical costume day

Choose a historical period and have a costume day where kids can dress up and learn about life during that time. Combine it with relevant activities and stories to make history come alive.

20. Mini meteorologists

Teach kids about weather by setting up a homemade weather station with thermometers and rain gauges. Track weather changes together and learn about meteorology.

21. Go on a garden treasure hunt

Hide objects around your yard and garden and create a map with clues. Kids can follow the map to find treasures, learning about navigation and observation skills along the way.

22. Story-time theater

Put on a play in your backyard. Let kids pick a story to enact, create costumes and props together, and perform for family members.

23. Homemade science lab

Conduct simple science experiments using household items. Create a mini-lab where kids can learn basic scientific principles through fun and safe experiments.

24. Kite making and flying

Build kites from scratch using simple materials and then spend the day flying them. This combines creativity with physical activity and teaches about aerodynamics.

Kites color clipart from PrintColorFun com 2

25. Workout together with a summer fitness challenge

Create a series of fitness challenges for the family to do together, such as jumping jacks, sprints, and balance exercises. Keep a chart to track progress and celebrate improvements.

26. Go on a photography walk

Give kids a camera or use a smartphone to take a photography walk around your neighborhood. Teach them about different aspects of photography such as framing and lighting.

27. Rock painting project

Collect rocks and set up a painting station. Paint different designs and use the rocks to decorate the garden or as personalized gifts. It’s also fun to decorate them with inspirational sayings and distribute them around your community or area parks for neighbors to find.

28. Host an outdoor movie night

Set up a screen and projector in your backyard for an outdoor movie night. Let the kids choose the movie and serve popcorn and snacks.

29. Herb gardening

Plant an herb garden together. Kids can learn about different herbs, how to care for them, and eventually use them in home cooking.

Kids gardening with plants clipart printable 04 at PrintColorFun com

30. Recycled art project

Use recycled materials to create art projects. This teaches kids about recycling and creativity, and they can make anything from sculptures to functional items.

31. Yoga just for kids

Host a family yoga session outdoors. Teach simple poses and stretches that help with flexibility and relaxation.

32. Shadow drawing

On a sunny summer day, use toys or other objects to create shadows on paper laid on the ground. Trace the shadows to create unique artworks.

33. Jam out together

Organize a music jam session where kids can play instruments or make their own from household items — like a drum from an old tin can or a guitar from a shoebox and rubber bands. Learn about rhythms and enjoy making music together.

34. Make puppet crafts and put on a show

Create puppets using socks, yarn, and buttons. Kids can then stage a puppet show, crafting their own stories and dialogues.

35. Leaf pressing and art activity

Collect leaves of different shapes and colors. Press them in heavy books and use them later to create art projects like leaf rubbings or collages.

36. Create a sidewalk chalk gallery

Turn your driveway into an art gallery with sidewalk chalk. Encourage kids to draw their favorite animals, characters, or scenes.

37. Go on an insect safari

Equip kids with magnifying glasses to explore the garden and find different insects. They can learn about the roles these creatures play in the ecosystem.

Ladybug and beetle cute clipart image from PrintColorFun com

38. Design your own treasure bottle

Fill clear bottles with sand, small treasures, and glitter. Kids can use these as homemade sensory toys or decorative items.

39. Build a house! A bird house, that is

Build bird houses from kits or recycled materials. This is a great way to attract more birds and teach kids about wildlife care.

40. Learn about the science of bubbles

Explore the science behind bubbles by making homemade bubble solution and experimenting with different bubble wands.

41. Volcanic eruption experiment

Create a homemade volcano using clay, baking soda, and vinegar. This dramatic experiment is a fun way to introduce chemical reactions.

42. Learn about constellations and mythology

Study the stars by making constellation maps and learning about the myths behind them. Use a telescope if available for a closer look.

Star color clipart design from PrintColorFun com (11)

43. Recycled fashion show

Host a fashion show where kids can design outfits from recycled materials. This teaches creativity and the importance of recycling.

44. Clay sculpture day

Get some modeling clay and encourage kids to sculpt figures from their imagination. Display their creations in a home art show.

45. Make a backyard fairy garden

Create a fairy garden using small plants, pebbles, and fairy figures. Kids can design the layout and enjoy imaginative play.

46. Sunset painting project

Set up painting supplies in the backyard and paint the sunset. This activity encourages observation and artistic expression.

47. DIY sundial

Make a sundial using a plate, a pencil, and some stones. Teach kids about how people told time before clocks.

48. Homemade play dough

Make homemade play dough using flour, salt, water, and food coloring. Kids can mold and craft various shapes and figures.

49. Play with paper mache

Create paper mache bowls or masks using strips of paper and glue. This messy activity is great for sensory development and the more you can do outside, the better!

50. Have a wind chime workshop

Craft wind chimes using old keys, shells, or beads. Hang them up and enjoy the soothing sounds they make in the breeze.

51. Glow stick tames

Host a summer night of glow stick games like ring toss, glow stick hide and seek, or create glowing balloons for extra fun after sunset.

52. Build a fort

On those inevitable days when it’s too rainy or too hot, use blankets, pillows and furniture to build an indoor fort. This activity encourages creativity and provides a cozy spot for reading or storytelling.

53. Make your own planetarium

Create a DIY planetarium by poking holes in a cardboard box to mimic constellations. Shine a flashlight through to display stars on the wall.

54. Design nature bracelets

Use masking tape, sticky side out, around wrists and let kids attach small leaves, flowers, and twigs they find while exploring outdoors.

55. Ice block treasure hunt

Freeze toys in a block of ice and let kids excavate them using tools like spoons and little hammers, teaching patience and fine motor skills.

56. Have an old-fashioned game day

Introduce kids to games like hopscotch, marbles or jacks. These classic games develop physical dexterity and strategic thinking.

Kids play hopscotch in summer park. Outdoor game.
Photo by FamVeldman/Deposit Photos
57. Have an indoor bowling activity

Set up a homemade bowling alley using bottles filled with water as pins and a rubber ball. This game helps with coordination and family bonding. Combine this with pizza night to properly set the scene.

58. Origami workshop

Host an origami-making session, teaching kids to fold paper into different shapes like animals or flowers, which enhances their manual dexterity and concentration.

59. Bird feeder crafting

Create simple bird feeders from materials like pine cones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Hang them up and observe the birds that visit.

60. Have a cultural exploration day

Choose a country and spend the day exploring its culture through food, music, crafts and language — enhancing global awareness.

61. Make a family time capsule

Create a family time capsule with current photos, favorite toys, and letters. Decide on a future date to open it together.

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