There’s no time like summertime! And playing, exploring, and adventuring all summer long is what childhood dreams are truly made of. Make this summer one for the books with these at-home summer activities for kids.
RELATED: Not ready for big kid summer games? Here is my summertime toddler list.
Let’s be real, whether you have young toddlers running around or big kids home from school, these summer days can sometimes drag on for us parents. Between the long hours of daylight and more free time, it’s time to fill your summer activity list with fun ideas to keep your whole family having fun with outdoor activities right at home!
Keeping your kids busy, excited, and cool in the summer heat does not have to be complicated or expensive. Create summer fun and special memories in your own backyard with these 20 summer activities for kids!
What will your kids DO this summer?
Take the guesswork out of your days with the Summertime Bundle.
- Startup Guide creates your summer routine.
- Activity cards have easy activities.
- The PDF calendar puts your plan in place.
Summer at home does not have to be boring.
When school lets out, kids all over are excited to be home all summer! But for parents, this can easily correlate to exhaustion. How will we fill our days? Everyday? All day? Yes, you may have a summer road trip planned, but how will you fill the days in between? Just because the days may seem long, remember that these days are precious! Even though school schedules and activities may shift and change, you can still create a daily schedule for the summer to keep your kids on track, prepared, and ready for daily fun!
Experts say spending time outdoors in nature is so important for kids. It can boost their curiosity, independence, creativity, and their play skills. And there are so many simple and creative ways to encourage play, have fun and stay cool in the summer heat without breaking the bank.
RELATED: Looking for ways to get your kids excited to spend time outside this summer? Check out our list of favorite Outdoor Toys for Kids!
What types of activities can you do at home in the summer?
Being home all summer is what kids dream about all year long. Being able to spend endless hours focused on play is finally what kids thrive on. (It can feel hard to get going) There are so many activities for kids that you can do in the summer at home that are fun and practical, and simple to do!
RELATED: Looking for a way to explore your neighborhood this summer? Encourage your child to begin learning how to ride a bike. Here is a list of the Best Bikes for Kids for every age and stage!
20 summer activities for kids
Keep your kids playing, moving, exploring, and learning all summer long with these summer activities for kids! From messy backyard fun to indoor games, we’ve got something for everyone in your family.
OUTDOOR SUMMER ACTIVITIES
There’s nothing like running outside to burn off that cabin fever that has built up all year! Try out some of these outdoor summer activities for kids to burn off that energy and boost your child’s gross motor skills right in your backyard.
Get your kids moving, playing, and laughing outside with this larger-than-life chalk board game you can draw up in just a few minutes!
What you need: Chalk, cardboard box, white paper, markers
What’s playing outside in the summer without a little mess? How about a whole lot of mess? There’s nothing like playing outside in the summertime mud; this open-ended playtime will let your child’s imagination run wild!
What you need: Dirt, water, outdoor containers, scoops
Your kids will love this outdoor scavenger hunt that lets them explore nature and learn about all of the incredible sensory items right in their own backyard!
What you need: Cardboard, contact paper
A fabulous outdoor game for toddlers and preschoolers that will get your kids moving, dancing, and having lots of fun!
What you need: Chalk & music
The Best Backyard Obstacle Course for Kids (Happy Toddler Playtime)
Wondering how to burn off all of your kid’s energy? Simple answer: let them climb, run, jump, and hop with this ultimate backyard obstacle course. Set it up by simply using items available in your yard to challenge your child’s gross motor and thinking skills!
What you need: Chairs, tables, cardboard boxes, table, slides, balls
Indoor Summer Activities
Whether you need a break from the heat or rain, you can still have fun inside during the summer months!
Have leftover popsicle sticks from last week’s summer shindig? Grab a handful and set up this easy color-matching activity game for your toddler that strengthens their fine motor skills.
What you need: Egg carton, popsicle sticks, markers, painter’s tape, scissors
Looking for a little quiet time? Pull out your basket of cookie cutters and let your kids trace and color different shapes, numbers, and letters as they create simple and colorful artwork.
What you need: Cookie cutters, white paper, crayons
Baseball is one of those quintessential symbols of summertime! Draw up this quick and easy dice baseball board game for your kids to play when you need some time inside, away from the heat or rain.
What you need: White paper, markers, counting bears, jumbo dice
DIY Soda Bottle Terrarium for Kids (Team Cartwright)
This is a fun activity for your kids to create and set up for all those bugs they catch outside this summer!
What you need: 2-liter bottle, scissors, soil, rocks, sticks, water, seeds
Here’s another idea for using up those leftover popsicle sticks this summer. This popsicle sticks shape building activity is a great STEM idea for preschoolers and big kids who are looking to build and create on an indoor day.
What you need: Popsicle sticks, wooden blocks, magnetic tiles, yard dice, playdoh
Summer Craft Ideas
Get crafting outside with these fun outdoor arts and crafts projects this summer.
Your kids will love this outdoor art activity this summer! With a little bit of prep work, you will get to sit back and relax as your kids stay extra busy creating and mixing colors in the summer heat!
What you need: Squeeze bottles, corn starch, baking soda, food coloring, white vinegar
Outdoor art is just the best! The mess is contained, so the cleanup is simple. This nature mural art project will keep your preschooler interested in exploring their surroundings while practicing fine motor skills as they glue their findings onto their mural.
What you need: Cardboard, glue
This quick and crafty art activity will keep your kids interested, involved, and engaged in retelling The Watermelon Seed book (one of our favorite summertime reads)!
What you need: Black pom poms, paintbrushes, paint, The Watermelon Seed book
Tissue Paper Firefly Craft for Kids (Powerful Mothering)
Make these adorable tissue paper firefly crafts with your toddler or preschooler this summer to teach them about summertime bugs and get them excited about looking for these magical insects.
What you need: Construction paper, scissors, glue, googly eyes
Water Pistol Painting (Messy Little Monster)
A fun outdoor art project that will be sure to cool your kids off as they spray and create one-of-a-kind art!
What you need: Paint, water, water pistols (or spray bottles), cardboard/paper/canvas
Summer Sensory Activities
Summertime is the ultimate time for toddlers and preschoolers to explore and play with sensory fun! Why? Because there’s rarely any mess to clean up. So it’s a win-win for everyone. And remember to stock up on all your outdoor sensory play supplies before summer begins.
How to Make Sand Slime (Little Bins Little Hands)
This fun DIY summertime sand slime is a simple hands-on activity to do with your kids that will double as a sensory bin material for endless hours of sensory bin playtime fun.
What you need: White PVA school glue, liquid starch, water, sand
Ice and Lemon Summer Water Play (Messy Little Monster)
Sip on a glass of lemonade while your kids play with this refreshing summertime sensory bin that will cool them off as they scoop, pour, and play!
What you need: Sensory bin, lemon, ice, water, tongs, ladles, scoops, cups
Create and explore all kinds of new colors in this beautifully fun neon water sensory bin that will cool your kids off in the summer heat while they strengthen their pencil grip.
What you need: Sensory bin, water, squirt bottle, food coloring, cotton balls
Spark your kid’s mathematical minds as they measure and compare with this water play sensory bin activity that is perfect for a hot summer day outside.
What you need: Sensory bin, water, water pitcher, painters tape, food coloring
Your preschoolers will love playing with sea creatures in the water while they practice their scooping and pouring skills with this sealife-themed sensory activity.
What you need: Sensory bin/table, water, ladle, food coloring, treasure chest, sealife items
Summer Water Activities
Splashing around outside is the epitome of summer fun! Cool off this summer with all types of water games and activities for your toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids!
Your kids are sure to stay cool on a hot day with this cute alphabet ice activity that will strengthen their little hands and improve alphabet letter recognition.
What you need: Sensory bin, muffin pan, squirt bottles, lacing letters
How to Make Sponge Bombs (Big Family Blessings)
If you have not made sponge bombs, do this now! These sponge bombs are simple to make and will leave your kids with endless hours of water fun to beat the heat this summer.
What you need: Sponges, scissors, hair elastic/rubber band
Another simple and fun idea to cool your kids off this summer that will keep them busy as they create and explore new colors while they mix and paint ice cubes.
What you need: Sensory bin, ice, shower liner, paint squeeze bottles
Toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids will love this STEM activity combining building, thinking, splashing, and zooming all those Hot Wheels cars outside.
What you need: Hot Wheels Car & Mega Track Pack, Hot Wheels cars, water
Water Balloon Pinata (Red Ted Art)
Cool off with this hysterical outdoor game on a hot day as your kids combine water balloon play with pinata fun as they jump, move, and swing at these water balloon pinatas.
What you need: Water balloons, water, string, stick
Keep summertime light and easy for everyone!
Soak up the summer with your kids this season with these silly and fun outdoor activities, games, and play. Having your kids home all summer does not need to be overwhelming or boring. Let go of rigid schedules, encourage lots of outdoor play, and kick back and treat yourself to a much-deserved mid-day iced latte (or spritzer) with these outdoor summer activities for kids. Happy summer!!!
Spend time this summer with your kids relaxing and playing. Keep your toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids busy with outdoor activities, indoor games, art projects, sensory play, and good old-fashioned water play!
There are many ways to entertain your kids at home during the summer. Encourage messy outdoor play, get creative with summer-themed arts and crafts projects, and let go of busy schedules.
Spending time in nature is essential for children as they learn to explore, take on adventures and play! All of this outdoor time will spark their curiosity, creativity, and independence and encourage them to take risks!