Enjoy these 74 fun things to do in the summer with your kiddos. We’ll be on our sixth year of doing this in our household. These are not travel adventures, like we usually share, but easy and fun – free or cheap – ways to spend time together and make memories over the break. Most of these are outdoor activities. The ones that aren’t explicitly for the outdoors can easily be transformed.
Bring out a magnifying glass and use it to explore the miniatures in yard.
Build a fairy house.
Build a fort outside. Depending on your environment, this could be made of natural materials, or some deck chairs and blankets.
Camp outside. We don’t get to campsites much, but we still love camping in the back yard. Complete with campfire, hotdogs and smores.
Collect leaves or rocks, etc Whatever your little one is in to. Carry a bucket or bag and see how many things you can find.
Create a balance beam from an old 2×4 and some bricks for stability.
Diet coke and Mentos! World’s best science experiment.
Draw with sidewalk chalk in the driveway.
Eat ice cream. Eat it out, go buy some at the store, make it yourself….whatever it takes!!
Enjoy fresh squeezed lemonade that you make yourself. Something fun? Add strawberries.
Fill a spray bottle with water and have him spray the plants – every leaf!
Find a nearby pond and feed the ducks. Leave the bread at home – it hurts the ducks. Cracked corn is best. The ducks and the kiddos will love it.
Find a new playground. Go to one you have never been to before but have been meaning to get to.
Find all the colors of the rainbow on a hike, at the grocery store, or wherever you need to be. Talk about rainbows and their colors and see if you can find something in every color of the rainbow. Line them all up in the right order.
Finger- and foot-paint outside. Get a roll of craft paper so you can enjoy a long “walk.”
Fly a kite. Always fun!
Go berry picking. Strawberry picking is over soon, and blueberry picking is just around the corner.
Go for a bike ride. Either take your little one on your bike, or take him out on his own trike.
Go see an outdoor movie.
Go to a parade. 4th of July parades are just so fun! Better than watching one? March in it!
Have a backyard scavenger hunt. For small ones, the hunt may include only 3-5 items…print pictures (rocks, flowers, sticks, leaves) and tape them to a sandwich bag. See if he can fill it up!
Have a picnic. if you can’t make it to a park, just have one in the back yard.
Have a tea party – invite all your stuffed animals. Be sure to have sweet treats!
Have a water-balloon toss.
It may take some time to find a good one, but roll down a hill.
Jump in puddles. One day, at least one day, there will be rain. Don’t let this keep you outside (unless there is lightening).
Jump on a trampoline.
Learn new yoga moves under the shade trees.
Look under logs. Discover what is under there – spiders? rocks? worms?
Make a bird bath. Birds need water more this time of year when rainfall stops. Use a terra cotta dish. Paint it pretty, and cover with a non-toxic sealer.
Make a nature frame. Purchase a bare wood frame at Michaels. Glue objects you find on a walk or in the yard.
Make a nature table. Some people make one of these for the inside. I like to keep our outside. Any fun and interesting objects can be kept here for inquisitive eyes.
Make a piñata with paper mache and a balloon.
Make a pinecone bird feeder from peanut butter or honey and birdseed. Maybe buy a birdfeeder that you can hang by the window for all seasons.
Make and run in an obstacle course. Crawl through hoops, duck under yarn tied to two chair backs, run across a balance beam…let the course take you over the entire yard (into the front?).
Make dog biscuits – don’t forget a special cookie cutter.
Make fancy popsicles with fruit juice and small pieces of fruit.
Make garden stepping stones with marbles or other finds.
Make leaf prints from large and small leaves, using paint. Be light enough with the paint to be able to see the veins in the leaf.
Make masking tape paintings. Use a canvas, mask off a design, paint, then remove the tape.
Make milkshakes – peanut butter? Chocolate? Banana? All three!
Make mosaic artwork – vary the intricacy based on how old your kiddo is.
Make paper boats and send them down the creek near your house.
Make your own photo booth with props and backgrounds you create.
May play dough with fun colors and smells.
Pack a lunch for daddy and surprise him at work with a picnic.
Paint a birdhouse. They have cute bare wood ones at the dollar store. You can use them as gifts, or clear coat them and hang them near a window.
Paint a rock. Get some smooth flat stones (I once went to a landscape supply place and they gave me a bag of them for free) and wash them. Paint designs on them and then display them in the flower bed.
Plant seeds in a veggie garden. Peas and melons come up pretty fast! Help him water it every day and read The Carrot Seed in the mean time.
Play “Simon Says”, and call things like “crawl like a turtle” or “fly like a butterfly”
Play chase/tag. An old-time favorite that guarantees a nap for you both!
Play hide and seek outside. The possibilities are endless.
Play in the sandbox! Add some water to make it more fun.
Play in the sprinkler. Enough said.
Play red light, green light around the yard.
Play some outdoor mini-golf.
Play with worms. If you are not lucky enough to have some in your compost bin then you can order them on line. After you play with them, set up a worming factory or drop them in your garden.
Pretend to be the birds flying over head. Fly like birds, tweet like birds. Find the birds you hear singing. How many different ones can you find?
Purchase and release ladybugs into a flowerbed. Examine them, let them crawl on you.
Put ice cubes in the kiddie pool and watch them melt. Want even more fun? Color them different colors with food coloring before freezing – then watch the colors blend together.
Raise Butterflies. You can order a kit over the internet. What a fun long term project.
Read books in the hammock under a shade tree.
Smell flowers. Collect a bouquet.
Throw rocks into a stream.
Use masking tape to make a long winding road for your matchbox cards, either down the driveway or all through the house.
Visit a farmers market. There are some great ones in almost every neighborhood.
Visit a lake. You don’t have to travel far. Try a beach on Lake Allatoona or Lanier.
Walk the dogs – if you don’t have any, borrow some.
Wash your bikes – water hose and suds are a must!
Watch ants – follow a couple of them around for a while.
Watch the clouds – how many shapes can you find?
Watch the fireflies -just saw my first one tonight!!
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.