49+ Unique Ideas for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer (2023)
It’s the little things! Make it the best parenting summer ever with these tips for structure and activities to do with kids in the summer!
My husband and I have talked about this so many times…we had tons of fun together before we ever had kids, we are enjoying our family now, and there are a million and one things we want to enjoy together when we are older and don’t have kids at home anymore! Summer breaks and vacations apply to ALL SEASONS of life! In the meantime, I hope these tips and ideas are helpful for activities to do with kids in the summer!
FYI: While this post is geared toward my current season of life, I think it applies to really young families as well as empty-nesters! There are so many ways to enjoy every season of life.
I will start this whole blog post by saying that I DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS AND I AM NOT A PARENTING PRO!!!
Actually, very, very, very far from it.
As I was sitting with my summer calendar, thinking about my family and what I desire this summer to look like, I decided to write a blog post. I can’t be the only mom who looks at 10-12 weeks of summer, sometimes thinking it sounds like forever and mostly thinking that it’s going to fly by so fast.
How can I ever make the most of it?
Most summers, we plan for a big vacation, along with the occasional family reunion and kids’ church camp. This summer, we do have a big family adventure planned and we are all very excited to do a big RV road trip! Also, our summer church youth camp is always a priority for our family.
However, some summers we have smaller trips throughout the year, leaving a lot of the summer wide open.
Then, this year, there is the added dimension that our oldest is taking her first missions trip. It is a big reminder that after just a few more summers, she will be off to college and her life is going to expand so much!
That left me thinking that I want to be extra intentional about our long summer days. Maybe I’m the only one, but it can be easy to fall into a trap of just floating through each day, only for them to disappear in a blink!
For our family, it has been an intensely busy school year and I am welcoming the thought of slow, even sometimes lazy, summer days.
I can already tell you that there won’t be enough of them! Haha!
I am also welcoming the thought of special, intentional time as a family…right at home.
Who better to tell me what our family summer should look like other than my own kids?
How do I entertain my kids all summer?
Ask them to make some lists and help you out! You can even set a budget, time limits for activities, or other age-appropriate boundaries to help kids have realistic expectations.
Here are my kids’ top 5 requests:
Harrison, Age 9
- Family game night
- Summer camp
- Pool day
- Go to the library
Addy, Age 13
- Go to the Beach
- Go School shopping
- Swim in the pool
- Family game night
- Eat homemade Ice Cream
Payton, Age 15
- Have friends over
- Go bowling
- Picnic at the park
- Outdoor movie night
- Family weekend getaway
What are good summer activities for kids?
Here are some other ideas we came up! Maybe these can offer some inspiration for your family as you create your own summer bucket list!
- Weekly service project
- Volunteer (older kids) for a local VBS or organization
- Miniature golfing
- Enjoy smores with friends
- Board game tournament
- Make handmade cards to send to friends or family
- Have a lemonade stand
- Clean out toys and have a garage sale; put the funds toward a family trip or activity
- Visit a local museum
- Pick up fresh craft supplies at the dollar store
- Make an old-fashioned slip-n-slide with the hose!
- Make homemade ice cream
- Host a bingo night with friends
- Learn to play a new song on an instrument
- Pick a kids’ space that needs a refresh and work on it together
- Have a lego masters competition
- Learn a new skill and practice it consistently
- Take an online painting class together as a family
- Work on a home improvement project together as a family; teach the kids new skills as you go
- Choose a historical documentary series (age-appropriate) to watch
- Start a family or friends book club for the summer
- Memorize Scripture verses together as a family- turn it into a fun game
- Make a scavenger hunt inside or outside (or both!)
- “Make your own pizza” night
- Make a photo book or scrapbook of vacation memories
- Enjoy a one-on-one “date” with each child
- Visit a state or national park within easy driving distance
- Attend a budget-friendly local community theater musical or concert
- Build an epic blanket fort!
- Buy a new game and learn it together as a family
- Get a big puzzle for everyone to work on throughout the summer; leave in a common gathering space
- Choose a classic chapter book and read a few pages each night
- Set random acts of kindness goals for everyone in the family to do each week
- Watch old family videos together
Tips for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer (2023)
Tips for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer
#1: Outdoor Time and Activities
Here in Florida, it truly gets too hot sometimes to play outside. Thankfully, we have a pool and when that gets too hot (because sometimes the water legit gets uncomfortably warm!), we head to the beach. My goal is to have one beach day each week and some time in the pool several times a week, even if it’s just for a short swim, a little sunshine, and good exercise!
Tips for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer #2: Mystery Mondays
Our family used to do this every Monday. Robb and I would decide on an activity for the evening, even if it was really short and simple. As the kids have gotten older, homework, tutoring, and extra-curricular activities have really gotten in the way. I want to bring this back for the summer months when we don’t have all those distractions!
Here are some ideas we have enjoyed for our Mystery Mondays:
- Picnic at the park
- Local restaurant
- Trip for ice cream cones or a 99 cent Frosty at Wendy’s
- Game of Uno
- Look at “old” family pictures or videos together
- Shopping trip at the Dollar Spot
Tips for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer #3: Create Family Routines and Clear Expectations
Overall, our family tends to thrive under some reasonable structure. One of our children, in particular, has some unique challenges and having routine is super important.
Honestly, I thrive the most with some routine as well, so I’ll be sitting down with our family and discussing some specific routines that we all agree upon for the summer, with lots of room for flexibility and adjusting depending on what we are doing for the day!
What can kids do when bored at home in summer?
Call me old-fashioned, but I usually have a mental list ready to go for a quick answer to this question in the summer! If my kids are bored, they know they are always welcome to jump in and be a helper around our home. That knowledge has pretty much ended the “I’m so bored” game for our family! Haha!
However, it is important as a parent to know that boredom is actually a very healthy thing for children sometimes. Part of their growth and development is to figure out ways to entertain themselves.
Here are a few ways you can help with summer boredom:
- Have a “boredom” box for younger children with clearance finds, thrifted, or inexpensive “new” items.
- Create a bin of all the odds and ends from the school year’s projects. This is great for free art time!
- Create a routine; this really helps with boredom overall!
- Make a list of practical life skills that your children need to develop, age-appropriately, of course. For example, practice sewing on a button, making a sandwich, folding laundry, washing the car, following a recipe, or organizing a shelf. Younger children (preschool) can really benefit from practical life skills like buttoning, zipping, folding washcloths, putting away non-breakable dishes, pouring or spooning beans from one bowl to another, or even sorting items into like kinds.
- There’s always chores!!! Let’s take a look at why chores are so beneficial for children and how to NOT view them as punishment or a negative thing.
Chores and Children
Chores are also something that we implement in our family. It is my opinion that I am not raising just children, but also raising them to be adults who love God, show kindness to others, and have a strong work ethic. We feel that all begins at home, so mixed into our summer fun are regular chores as well. Chores are an excellent way for children to learn not only how to work, but also teamwork, time management, and the value of doing a job right the first time. Important stuff!!!
Tips for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer #4: Create Intentional Personal Time and Space
I doubt I’m the only parent who starts to feel like my kids are breathing down my neck sometimes! And you know what? They can feel the same about their parents and siblings.
Two of my children really do well (just like their mother!) with having some quiet time each day to spend by themselves. As part of our daily routines, we will pencil in a little time each day where everyone can just do their own thing without feeling guilty or selfish or unkind. I think it will be valuable for the kids just as much as it will be for Robb and myself! We did this, though not routinely, during lock-down times and it was really helpful for all of us!
Moms, I think it is really important that we set aside some intentional time, guilt-free, to just be. This is something that I have NOT made a priority over the years. My “quiet time” most often becomes “getting as many things done around the house as I can while everyone is occupied” time. I am not proposing laziness, but rather a healthy balance of work, play, and rest.
Tips for Activities to Do With Kids in the Summer #5: Schedule Several Weekend/Day Trips
There are SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN FLORIDA that we have never explored! Summer can be an awesome time to explore around your local and state areas. Granted, Florida is a really big state, but there are so many things within two hours of here that we always say we will do “someday.” I plan for this summer to be our “someday” and fit in a few of those!
Perhaps your time or budget doesn’t allow for a big, fancy vacation. That’s okay! Make it a family challenge to find as many free adventures as you can around your area!
On the way to the beach where our family likes to go, there is a tiny museum. I always think it looks so cute and even the kids have commented that we should stop “someday.” I’m determined that we are going to stop there this summer!
Perhaps you don’t have vacation time to take the typical week-long vacation. That’s okay too! You might be surprised at what an amazing staycation your family can enjoy from Friday at 5:00 p.m. to Sunday evening, even just staying right at home! Plan some fun games, activities, get special snacks and groceries ahead of time, and enjoy swimsuits and pjs all weekend long! (This is on my summer bucket list too!)
So there it is…
It’s not profound or fancy. But the longer I am a wife, mom, and teacher, the more I am becoming aware that many memories are built on the simple things. That saying “Enjoy the Little Things” sounds so cliché, but there is a lot of depth to it that I am looking forward to intentionally exploring this summer!
For more ideas of family-friendly activities, games, and toys, you can shop my storefront HERE!
You may also enjoy these summer-related posts:
- 5 Things You Need for a Beautiful, Cozy Summer Bedroom
- 5 Simple Things That Look Good on Your Summer Mantel
- How to Make Summer Styling Affordable in Six Simple Ways
- How to Decorate Outdoors On a Budget: 55 Best Ideas
- How to Create an Outdoor Dining Space: 5 Easy Tips
- How to Make Coastal Farmhouse Decorating Easy
P.S. I hope there has been a little something in this post that can be helpful to you during this summer season! I am also linking up some favorite toys, activities, and games that our family enjoys, in case you need to refresh your supply this weekend like I did!
And someone follow up with me on August 1st and make sure we made it to that tiny museum!