FUN & INEXPENSIVE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS: What’s a Kid to do this Summer?
Are you looking for fun activities for your kids this summer?
With coronavirus still an issue, we survived the remainder of the school year by substituting for teachers and schools to ensure our children continued to learn.
But now, we are deep into summer and everyone just wants to go back to ‘the way it was’.
What are our kids supposed to do this summer?
Activities are Limited
The reality of fear of physical interaction and proximity is real. Activities that used to happen like summer camp, birthday parties, public swim time and the like are all postponed or canceled.
At this point, it is truly family time as the risk of intermingling households is too great. Add on top of that face
masks, temperature checks and social distancing, the list of fun and entertaining kid activities gets smaller and smaller.
This is a tough pill to swallow for both kids and parents. Parents need a break from the double and triple duty they have been experiencing since the lockdown began and children aren’t meant to be shuttered behind closed doors; they need to socialize, explore and learn as part of their overall development into adults.
Depending on the location and child’s age, some communities have been creative and are providing virtual camps. Check your local community for options to visit the zoo virtually, learn how to cook virtually, practice your STEM skills virtually and even learn a new sport virtually. Virtual camps at least provide a bit of a break during the long, monotonous days of summer we are experiencing. And, as a bonus, they are more affordable than in-person activities and allow you to cast a wider geographic net of opportunities to participate in.
But what if virtual opportunities don’t work for you? Like it or not, we have to dig deep into our bag of tricks as a family to make sure our children are entertained and continue to grow and learn socially this summer.
104 Fun and Inexpensive Summer Activities for Kids
The website Care.com has a wealth of information on the situation we are all experiencing and they have provided a list of 104 activities you can do in and around the home as a family to bring some distraction and fun to an otherwise boring day.
Read through the list below and maybe one or more of them will bring inspiration to your household.
- Make some of these easy ice cream sandwiches.
- Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.
- Have a luau in the backyard.
- Make a twirligig paper spinner toy, and enjoy playing with it afterwards.
- Take a walk in nature and see how many types of birds you can spot.
- Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.
- Stage an A-to-Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter. Or try one of these other scavenger hunt ideas.
- Pick fresh berries.
- Go canoeing at a local lake.
- Fill one of these blank books with stories and illustrations.
- Clean up trash at a park in your neighborhood.
- Set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.
- Learn about the voting process and why it’s important to take part.
- Have a backyard campfire … or just use the grill!
- Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s’mores.
- Make homemade pizza.
- Go for a nature walk and make a collage from objects you find along the way.
- Head to a local creek or pond and look at the ducks.
- Make ice cream. You can even try using YayLab’s ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.
- Have a water balloon toss … or fight!
- Practice your origami skills and make construction paper crafts to hang from the ceiling.
- Go biking on a trail.
- Interview a grandparent or an older relative about what life was like when they were young.
- Plan a picnic at a local park — or in your backyard.
- Save this list of Coretta Scott King book award winners and try to read as many as you can throughout the summer.
- Create salad spinner art by placing circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.
- Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.
- Have a backyard sing-a-long around a campfire.
- Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
- Draw pictures and write letters to local seniors in nursing homes.
- Make a sidewalk chalk mural.
- Go ice blocking (sledding) on grass with a towel-covered block of ice.
- Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.
- Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.
- Read some slam poetry and then write some of your own. Speak your truth!
- Pretend to be pirates for a day — dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.
- Make an indoor “sandbox” using colored rice by mixing 4 cups of rice, 3 tablespoons of rubbing
- alcohol, and a few drops of food coloring and and letting it dry overnight.
- Get surprised and inspired with a Box of Happy, customized by age and interests.
- Turn the backyard into a carnival — set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.
- Check out a local museum you’ve never visited.
- Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).
- String beads into jewelry.
- Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.
- Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible.
- Make a magical DIY “stained glass” unicorn.
- Create leis with wildflowers.
- Go fossil hunting near a lake.
- Break out your baseball glove and start a game, sandlot style.
- Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.
- Set up a mini-golf course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.
- Make a sand art garden and plant a succulent.
- Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit — create
- the ultimate road trip.
- Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball. Or try one of these other backyard games for kids.
- Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.
- Have a tricycle race at the park.
- Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.
- Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.
- Run through the sprinklers.
- Blend your own smoothie — they’re good for you!
- Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.
- Paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When the creation dries, begin again.
- See how many summer craft projects you can complete.
- Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.
- Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
- Go horseback riding.
- Learn how to type.
- Make popsicles in small paper cups using fruit juices.
- Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).
- Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.
- Create a backyard circus — kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.
- Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
- Use an online tutorial and learn to sew, crochet or knit.
- Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.
- Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
- Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.
- Learn some easy magic tricks and put on a magic show.
- Visit a cave.
- Mark off all the local parks on a map — then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.
- Take in a fireworks exhibit.
- Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.
- Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
- Enjoy summer evenings with these games you can play in the dark.
- Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
- Gather around a fire and tell scary stories.
- Create three-dimensional buildings or structures using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.
- Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.
- Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.
- Create unusual s’mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, mini candy bars, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.
- Decorate something you love with these dish brush dandelions.
- Have a fancy tea party. Dress up and wear hats.
- Try these easy games you can play just using your hands.
- Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp and shaving cream.
- Go camping in the backyard or at a campsite.
- Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint and then wash it off in a sprinkler run.
- Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.
- Make puffy sidewalk chalk and get creative.
- Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.
- Learn how to play Frisbee in 15 different ways.
- Let kids brainstorm creative things to do with a boring brown paper bag — you’ll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.
- Learn some good jokes and put on your own stand-up show.
- Set up your own backyard water park.
- Learn fun jump rope songs and rhymes while improving your skills.