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Summer Fun Ideas & Activities for Families

Summer Fun Ideas & Activities for Families

Summertime is the best time of year! There are so many fun things you can do as a family. From swimming and camping to visiting amusement parks and zoos, we’ve got you covered. So get out there and enjoy the warm weather!

The summertime can be a great opportunity to get out and have some fun with your family. There are many different activities you can do together, from swimming and camping to visiting amusement parks and zoos. No matter what you choose, make sure to take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy spending time with your loved ones!

If you’re a parent, you’re probably looking for ways to keep your kids busy and out of trouble this summer. Screen time is great, but it’s not good for their mental or physical health in the long run. So we’ve put together a list of fun activities for them to do.

This list can help you and your kids fight off summertime boredom. Many of these activities are fun for the whole family to share, so don’t be afraid to join in!

You can use this list as a Summer Bucket List, or just choose a few favorites to try out. You’re sure to make some great memories your kids will remember for years. Remember to slow down and enjoy this time with your family.

There are so many activities that are perfect for summer. You can break them down into categories to make it easier to choose. Here are some of my favorites.

Nature Activities

Summer days are long and sunny, so take the opportunity to explore the natural world around you. And don’t forget your sunscreen!

Go birding

Use an app or a guide book to learn about the birds around you, then try to get a photo of them as you find them. It’s a great learning activity that kids will love!

Grow fresh herbs in containers

Teaching kids how to grow their own food is a great way to teach sustainability and give them ownership over something. Here are a few posts to help you learn more and prepare for the fun!

Look for shapes in the clouds

This is a favorite of kids everywhere. Lay down a blanket in the backyard and search the skies for the funniest clouds. Let kids tell you what they see, and enjoy watching the clouds go by. You can even create a Weather Watcher so they can monitor the weather each day.

Make a bird feeder

This is a great companion to bird watching and may even help you entice some birds closer to home! You can make your own bird house from a milk carton or get a premade birdhouse kit from your local hardware store!

little boy holding up a book about birdhouses

Make fairy houses

Help your kids gather moss, rocks, sticks and leaves to create a mini fairy house! The kids will really enjoy the creativity, and maybe you’ll even catch a fairy!

Go berry picking

There are tons of farms and gardens where you can pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, vegetables and more. You can even try scavenging through the forest to look for wild berries. Just be sure you are certain they are edible, and wash thoroughly before eating!

Plant a butterfly garden

Research the best flowers and plants to attract butterflies, then watch them as they flutter by.

Rainy Day Activities

It’s always fun to go out and dance in the rain, but more than likely you’ll want to stay warm and dry inside. Those are the days you will want to have a good batch of rainy day ideas on hand!

Have a Movie Marathon

Sometimes you just need to grab a blanket and some popcorn and spend a day watching your favorite movies.

Build a fort

Use old cardboard boxes, plastic bins or pillows and blankets to build a fun fort. See how big you can make it and enjoy the laughter and smiles that are sure to come. If you want to really challenge yourself, build an actual fort in the backyard out of cheap construction lumber or reclaimed wood.

two boys reading in a homemade blanket fort
young boys looking through the cracks in a homemade club house

Build a Lego castle

If you have a lot of Lego bricks, clear off a spot on a table or the floor, and get busy trying to make the biggest Lego castle you can. This can be done in a day, or you can leave it up and add to it all summer! Maybe save it for rainy days to come.

Create an at home salon

Let the kids go wild with fun new hairdos. Add some non-permanent colors, spike their hair up high, or create an elaborate style with lots of accessories. Let them style your hair or do your makeup. Just maybe don’t let them near any scissors!

Camp inside

If outdoor camping is rained out, or you just want to have a laugh, grab your sleeping bags and camp on the floor! Consider it a family slumber party!

Try tie-dye

Get a simple tie-dye kit and some white t-shirts in your kids’ sizes and go to town! Make different designs, and let each kid decorate their own. SO much fun!

boy holding a recently tie-dyed shirt while it is still wet

Get an origami book and paper

Grab an origami instruction book, some fun square paper, and practice the ancient art of paper folding. Go for the simple shapes first, then move on to more complicated designs.

Have breakfast in bed

Surprise the kids with breakfast in bed, or let them make a simple breakfast for mom or dad to enjoy. For something different, have LUNCH in bed!

Create an at home tattoo parlor

Use a washable marker to give the kids fun tattoos, then let them try it themselves. If you have tattoos of your own, let them add to them or color them in.

Make a marble run

Grab an old pool noodle, cut in half lengthwise, then place marbles in each side to see which one is fastest!

Visit the library

There’s nothing on earth like reading with your kids, and if you can foster their interest in books early, you’re on to a winner!

two toddlers excitedly perusing books at Salt Lake City Library

Make a time capsule

Grab an old plastic kitchen container or a cool wooden box. Have each family member write down a memory or something they’re grateful for. Then gather photos, mementos or even a small thumb drive, and add them all into the container. Store it away or bury it in the backyard, then pick a date in the future to open it back up.

Make paper airplanes

Grab whatever paper you have on hand, and see who can come up with the best airplane design. Take them outside to throw them, seeing whose airplane goes farthest.

Play a board game

There are tons of great family games to play. Build up your collection, and grab one for a rainy day.

boy sitting across from a scrabble board

Rearrange the furniture

Change the way the living room is set up, or get each child to clean their room so they can rearrange it. Have them create a plan, then help them execute it.

Become a tourist!

Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore your city. Find all the cool restaurants, parks, and historical sites. Even getting out to explore the neighborhood can be a lot of fun!

Pull up at the counter of a diner

There’s something so fun about eating at the counter/bar of a restaurant instead of at a table or booth. Grab burgers, fries and a milkshake for an authentic experience.

Find a free concert near you

Most cities have some sort of summer series of free concerts. See if you can find a schedule, and pick one or several for your family to attend.

Go to a demolition derby

Big cars crashing into each other? What could be more exciting for a kid??

Have a picnic

Pack a picnic basket full of finger foods and a few drinks, then head out to a local park, playground or outdoor event. Enjoy eating in a new environment. Just don’t forget to clean up after yourselves!

dad and three children on a picnic

Go to a flea market or garage sale

One man’s trash is another’s treasure, as they say. Give the kids a budget, and let them find their own personal treasure. Bonus points if you can teach them how to negotiate, too!

Go to a local carnival or county fair

Fried foods, funnel cakes and fun rides. You’ve got everything you need to experience a TON of fun all in one place.

Visit amusement parks

This summer activity is perfect for families who love thrills and spending time together. Just make sure to follow safety guidelines and have fun!

three boys posing in front of a fountain at Lagoon Amusement Park in Salt Lake City

See a matinee

Going to the movie theatre early in the day gets you bargain prices. This is especially great for bigger families. There are also tons of dollar theaters that show older films that have already had their larger theatrical releases, and you can try and find one of those to save even more.

Take a doll or figurine with you

Grab a doll, stuffed animal, or even a garden gnome, then head out on your adventures. Wherever you stop, take a photo of the doll. At the end of summer, you can create a scrapbook of all the doll’s adventures!

Visit the zoo

This is a great summer activity for families with kids of all ages. It’s a fun way to learn about different animals and their habitats. Plus, it’s a great way to spend a day in the sun!

boys staring at an elephant in a zoo

Take a road trip

There’s nothing more fun (or more stressful!) than a family road trip. Pick a cool destination (not too far away if you have little kids), then hop in the car and head out. State parks, lakes, or cool attractions are great for these trips. Start small, then build up to longer journeys.

Take in a sports game

Find your local major or minor league team, and get some ticket for the whole family. Enjoy all the cheering and excitement that comes with professional sports.

Take in a parade

Summer is full of fun parades. The fourth of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day and some state holidays have great opportunities for catching a parade. It’s fun for the whole family.

young boy waving arms in the air at a parade

Visit a historic site

There are so many cool places to see, and every town and city has historical buildings, homes and heritage sites. Look them up online, then head out to see what you can learn.

Visit a local farmers’ market

Buy some fruits, veggies, meat or art at your local farmers’ market. Support local businesses, and enjoy trying some great new products.

Get Creative

Arts and crafts is always a winner, any time of year, but summer has some awesome benefits when it comes to getting creative.

Collect rocks and paint them

Go on a walk or hike to find the smoothest medium-sized rocks you can. Then bring them home and use some craft paint to paint designs on them. Then keep them, add them to your garden or leave them around the neighborhood to bring smiles to faces.

Decorate with chalk

Sidewalk chalk is cheap and easy to use at every age. Grab a bucket of colored chalk, and have your kids decorate the driveway or sidewalk in front of your house. It’s so fun to find the awesome designs they come up with!

Keep a summer sketchbook

Give the kids a small sketchbook, and have them draw all of their favorite things they experience this summer.

Make music

Grab an instrument or make your own, then make beautiful music together. You’re going to want to grab a camera to record the finished masterpiece!

young boy playing an acoustic guitar

Make homemade playdough

Make your own playdough and let the kids go wild. Create fun sculptures, interesting faces and more!

Make homemade snow

Create winter in summer with our homemade Magic Snow. It’s just two ingredients you can find at the dollar store, and it really keeps the kids happy.

Put on a play

Write a script, make costumes, or just do a little improv. Make sure to clap and give them a standing ovation for all their hard work!

Get Outdoors

Get the kids moving with this outdoor fun.

Go swimming

This is a classic summer activity that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot day. If you don’t have a pool, head to your nearest beach or lake. Just make sure to put sunscreen on your kids before they get in the water!

dad and kids in a backyard pool

Go camping

Camping is a great way to teach your kids about nature and how to appreciate the outdoors. It can be as simple as pitching a tent in your backyard or going on a hike.

Build an obstacle course

Use old tires, rope, chairs, balls, and other easily accessible items to create a cool obstacle course. Let the kids compete to get the best time.

Climb trees

This one is for big kids only, and you should make sure the trees are allowed to be climbed.

Fly a kite

Flying a kite is a rite of passage in summer. You can get one at the dollar store, build one yourself, or order one online. Then have the time of your life trying to get that thing in the air!

Go fishing

Check your state laws, but many don’t require children to have a fishing license. Make sure you are following all the rules for your area.

Have a bubble gum bubble blowing contest

Teach the kids to blow bubbles, then measure to see who can make the biggest bubble!

Have a water balloon fight

Fill up your favorite balloons with water, then let the kids go wild! Place them in a bucket for ease of use, and make sure you clean up any mess left behind so birds don’t eat the broken balloons.

Hold a hula hoop contest

See who can keep the hoop up the longest. You can have different age groups, or even make it a family contest.

Play tag

A summertime classic, you can never go wrong with a game of tag.

Play frisbee

Frisbee is such an easy game to play, and it’s great for all ages. Just make sure you have a good place to play without any obstacles.

Play T-Ball or Baseball

Get your kids interested in sports by signing them up for T-ball, Coach Pitch, or Little League. They’ll enjoy being part of a team, and the whole family can come cheer them on.

young boy posing at T-Ball

Ride bikes

Riding bikes is a summertime staple. Make sure everyone has a helmet, and go explore your neighborhood or find a new place to ride.

Scavenger hunt

Make a list of items, then send the kids out to see who can find them all first. You can do this indoors or outdoors. Get free printable scavenger hunts here.

Skip rocks

Find a pond or lake, and see who can skip their rocks the furthest.

Jump rope

Get the kids moving with a game of jump rope. You can even have contests to see who can jump the longest or make the most creative patterns.

Squirt gun fight

This is always a summer favorite. Set up some rules, like no shooting people in the face, and let the kids go crazy!

Water balloon toss

Divide into teams, then see who can toss the balloon back and forth the longest without dropping it.

Play in the sprinklers

Turn on the sprinklers and let the kids run through them to cool off.

Make homemade ice cream

Making your own ice cream is a summer tradition. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want, but the kids will love helping out and eating the final product.

Make Jello popsicles

An easy summer treat, Jello popsicles are a favorite with kids of all ages. You can buy molds or use small Dixie cups.

Jello & Kool-Aid Popsicles outside

Make a giant bubble

You only need a few ingredients to make giant bubbles. The kids will be amazed at how big they can get!

Roast marshmallows

A summer must-do, roasting marshmallows is always a good time. Make s’mores, or just eat them plain. Either way, the kids will love it!

Star gaze

Get away from the city lights and try to find some constellations. You can print out a star chart or use an app to help you find them.

Set up a badminton net

Set up your badminton set, then have a family tournament, or use the net to play volleyball with a beach ball.

Take a hike

Find a trail near home, or go farther afield to find the perfect route for you and your kids. It can be so much fun!

father and three children hiking at Timpanogas Cave

Take a bike ride

Riding bikes is a summertime staple. Make sure everyone has a helmet, and go explore your neighborhood or find a new place to ride.

Skip stones

Go to a lake, pond or river, and see who can skip their rock the farthest.

Get out at night

Grab some bug spray, and get ready for some evening and night time fun. Kids get so excited experiencing life after dark, and it’ll be a ton of fun.

Have a backyard campout

Set up a tent if you have one, otherwise grab your sleeping bags and sleep under the stars! If you have a trampoline or a nice hammock, it can be tons of fun to sleep there all night.

Catch lightning bugs

Gently catch each bug in your hands, making sure not to squish it. See how it lights up. Let them go, or place them in a clear jar with plenty of holes in it to make a lantern. Once you have enough, you can let them go again.

Go to the drive-in

If you’re lucky enough to still have a drive-in movie theater nearby, take advantage of it! It’s such a fun summer experience, and the kids will love it.

Have a bonfire

Roast marshmallows and hot dogs over a fire. Make s’mores.

Host an outdoor movie night

Hang a sheet up outside, and use a projector to show a movie. Invite neighbors and friends. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Listen to an audiobook under the stars

You can get free audiobooks from the library, or buy them online. Then listen to them under the stars. It’s a fun summer activity, and it’s great for when the kids are getting antsy at night.

Get Friendly

Invite friends, cousins, or other family over for some fun, or go and visit those who are lonely.

Bake cookies for a neighbor

Everyone loves getting baked goods, so surprise a neighbor with some summer cookies.

toddler looking excitedly over a batch of homemade gingerbread men

Have a treasure hunt

This can be as simple or complicated as you want. You can hide things around the house or yard, or even make a map and send the kids on a real life pirate adventure!

Get backwards

Pick a day to be backward day. Wear your clothes backwards, eat breakfast for dinner, and brush your teeth with the opposite hand. It’ll be a fun summer day!

Have a cookout

Invite friends and family over for a summer cookout. Make sure to have plenty of burgers, hot dogs, and other summer staples. Create a burger bar with tons of toppings. Don’t forget dessert!

Host a sleepover

Invite friends over for a summer sleepover. Play fun summer games, make s’mores, and have a ton of fun!

Set up a lemonade stand

This is a summer classic for a reason. Make some delicious lemonade, set up a stand, and see how much money you can make!

Meet friends

Summertime is the perfect time to get together with friends. Go to the playground, go swimming, or just hang out.

Organize a neighborhood garage sale

Get together with your neighbors and have a summer garage sale. It’s a great way to declutter and make some extra cash! It’s also a great way to bond with your neighbors!

Video call with grandparents or other relatives

If you can’t be with your loved ones in person, give them a call! It’s the next best thing to visiting in person.

Visit a nursing home or retirement community

Summer is the perfect time to visit your local nursing home or retirement community. The residents would love to have some young visitors, and it’ll be a fun summer activity for you and your kids!

Get Cooking

Cooking is a great summer activity, especially if you make some summer themed recipes! Try our Pina Colada Cheesecake, Strawberry Brownie Cheesecake, or if you’re really adventurous, a copycat Hawaiian Spam Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

Create and bake your own pizzas

Making your own pizzas is a great summer activity, and it’s also a great way to get the kids involved in cooking. Let them choose their own toppings, and then bake them up in the oven.

Let the kids cook dinner

This is a great summer activity, because it’s a chance for the kids to get involved in cooking. And, it’s a great way to teach them some basic cooking skills. Let them choose a simple recipe, and then help them make it.

Make sun tea

Sun tea is a summer classic, and it’s so easy to make! Just put some tea bags in a pitcher of water, and set it out in the sun for a few hours. Add some lemon and sugar, and you’re good to go!

Teach the kids how to make your favorite childhood treat

This is a great summer activity, because it’s a chance to share your favorite childhood memories with your kids.

No matter what summer activities you choose, make sure to enjoy your time together as a family.