Looking for summer activities for kids that are awesome but in no way complicated? Welcome. This list of easy, fun, and engaging outdoor activities to try this summer is perfection.
What are the best summer activities for kids?
Hello, summer. We’ve been waiting for you.
We’re ready for outdoor fun, sunshine memories, and the simplicity of summer life. We’re ready for summer activities.
Summer activities for kids does not have to mean “Pinterest projects that take hours to set up, look great in photos, but do absolutely nothing to keep the summer clock from ticking backwards.” Those activities are (pardon me) the worst.
I don’t want to spend my summer crafting ideas.
I want quick, easy, tried and true ways to keep the kids active, busy, and playing. I need fast summer activities designed to grow play – not grow my skills as a crafter.
RELATED: What about summer toys for kids? I have the most comprehensive list for ages 1-12.
What can kids do in the summer?
Of course there are camps. But those add up.
Vacations are awesome, but same thing: the costs and resources are high.
If you have kids at home this summer, easy summer activities for kids are a life line.
But there’s a secret to kid activities that you need to know.
Free Summer Camp at Home
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EASY FUN FOR FAMILIES ALL SUMMER LONG
The secret about summer activities you need
Summer activities with kids are not required. They aren’t mandatory. They aren’t something kids have to do or the summer will be a bust.
Summer activities can be a tool.
A powerful parenting tool to access when summer days drag, someone needs help, the day needs a reset, you’re tired, the kids are tired, or everyone is just tired of the same old same old.
Those are the moments I reach for a summer activity. I don’t set them up to be Pinterest Parent of the Year. I set up activities on days I need help. These are my best summer tools.
It also means I’m not doing an activity each day with my kids and that’s awesome. Not every day needs help.
25+ summer activities for kids
Potions are a staple here. I have soaps, shaving cream, corn starch, baking soda, and vinegar at the ready for kids to use. This occupies kids like you wouldn’t believe.
This is a hero. Let kids paint plastic toys, then have them rinse it off with water and scrubby brushes (that’s right: it’s a two for one activity and it’s GOLD).
Berry Basket Water Table
Do you have a water table? Do you have kids who love berries? You need to be saving those containers for an amazing water table supply.
Have some old flowers or dying ones? Let the kids make “flower soup.” This is the second requested activity in my back yard (number one: potions).
Nature Cutting Bin
Doing some yard work? Save the trimmings for the kids and let them practice their cutting skills. Seems simple? It is. And kids love it.
Dried Marker Activity
Cleaning out the art closet this summer? Don’t toss the markers, yet! Try this unique way to make a colorful water table.
Kids love their names. Give the people what they want and let them make a giant name art piece with some large paper or cardboard.
Blow your kids away with this non-Newtonian substance: it’s part liquid, part solid and totally awesome. Plus: it’s just cornstarch and water.
Old socks + water bottles + bubbles = the coolest summer activity that your kids will ask for one repeat. Good thing we all have about a million single-socks lying around…
Baking Soda and Colorful Vinegar
Talk about easy but looks pretty. It’s a box of baking soda and vinegar dyed with food coloring. It’s not rocket science but it sure is fantastic.
Paint a Box Cake
Tired of painting projects that only last a few minutes or take kids just seconds to finish? Try having them paint a box cake instead. This activity takes DAYS to finish.
Cotton Ball Splat
This is EPIC: Fill a cotton ball with paint and smack it with a fly swatter. Genius right? This is on my list of summer activities to try with my own kids.
Frozen Pom Poms
Have you ever frozen pom pom balls? It’s pretty awesome. Put these in the freezer today and future you will be delighted.
Another great option for future you: freeze paint. The directions are simple and the effect is amazing. You’re kids will love it.
Shaving Cream Sensory
Messy? Yes. Awesome? Totally. The stuff summer memories are made of? THIS IS IT. Setting this up and saying this “yes to mess” is unforgettable for your kids.
10/10: Paint a bull’s eye and toss sponges at it. No sponges? Use water balloons. This has been a summer tradition here since 2016.
Tape Resist Art
Giant tape resist art? Yes. Please. This larger than life activity is perfect for one kid or a group. And the end result is really cool.
Water down some paint and put it in a spray bottle ASAP: this activity is the best and makes the coolest art.
Bubble Foam Water Table
Have you made foam? It’s just tear free soap and water, but whipped together and it’s amazing. I highly recommend making a batch for the water table.
A classic. Let kids (toddlers especially) practice their water pouring skills on a summer day. It’s easy and viral for a reason.
Ice Cube Painting
Don’t dump out the cooler of ice! Let kids paint it. Use water color or washable paint: it’s awesome no matter which paint you use.
Obsessed with this idea to make water balloon “pinatas” for kids. What a fun twist on a party game!
Wash the Cars
Make a mud bin and an adjacent car wash for kids. This takes seconds to build but becomes a recurring activity throughout the summer.
You don’t need to own a fancy mud kitchen to have the same impact, effect, and fun for your kids. This simpler and temporary set up brings just as much learning, play, and joy.
Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Turn remnant pieces of chalk into really cool chalk paint. It’s such a great use for the little, unusable pieces.
LEGO Kiddie Pool
If your child is a fan of LEGO baths, try tossing their bricks in the kiddie pool. Bringing an indoor toy outside AND putting it in water: it’s a recipe for success.
Stop dyeing water with food coloring: Use washable paint instead. The result is a more brilliant, opaque color and it’s so much more inviting.
Frequently Asked Questions
You let them learn to do a lot of the entertaining themselves. Support as needed with ideas and things like activities, but the bulk of self-entertainment must shift back from parents to kids (as it had for generations before us). It is the child’s job to figure out what to do. These summer activities in this list are ones I use when I need help getting the kids reset for the day: if a child is “bored,” I typically refrain from setting up an activity so they aren’t relying on me to entertain them.
Depends on the kid, their abilities, and the activity. Instead of thinking only about the child’s age, consider their abilities and interests. Is this an activity they’d like? Would it be safe for them? Then give it a go!
I do! I have a free summer camp at home program that you can use with the whole family with activities and ideas for toddlers to 12 year olds. It’s a great (free) program.