Fun Summer Activities: 12 Things To Do With Your Kids In Summer

fun summer activities - feature

Summer is here and while we all know kids don’t need to be constantly entertained, some fun summer activities are definitely a must! Keep reading for 12 fun AND affordable activities you can do this summer right at home!

Fun summer activities are a must for making family memories! Summer is a time of endless possibilities, especially for kids. However, for many parents, the challenge lies in keeping their children entertained without breaking the bank. The good news is that there are plenty of fun and affordable activities that can keep kids engaged and excited throughout the summer months—all from the comfort of your home! In this blog I’m sharing a list of 12 creative and budget-friendly activities that will make this summer memorable for both you and your kids. Plus keep reading for a fun summer freebie!

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This blog is for you if…

  • You’re a stay at home mom
  • You have elementary aged kids who are home for the summer
  • You’re looking for affordable and fun summer activity ideas
  • You know playing in the backyard is just as fun as going out!
fun summer activities

Why Should You Plan Fun Summer Activities?

Although being bored during the summer and allowing kids to create their own fun is essential and great, there are many reasons why planning activities is great too, extending far beyond mere entertainment. Engaging activities help children develop vital skills such as creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork, while also keeping their minds active and curious during the long break from formal education. Moreover, structured activities provide a sense of routine and purpose, which can be particularly beneficial for those children who are always looking for something to do.

For parents, organizing these activities is an opportunity to bond with your children, creating cherished memories that will last a lifetime! It also presents a chance to model positive behaviors, such as resourcefulness and enthusiasm for learning, which can have a lasting impact on your child’s development. Ultimately, thoughtful planning of summer activities fosters a nurturing and stimulating environment where kids can thrive, explore their interests, and grow in confidence and independence!

Fun Summer Activities

I love summertime and I love when my kids are home from school! Below are 12 super fun summer activities you can do right at home. From a hot day to a rainy day, I’ve got you covered! Start making the sweetest memories this summer, eat too many popsicles, giggle everyday, go to bed late, and enjoy this time! Let’s dive in…

1. DIY Obstacle Course

Create an adventurous obstacle course right in your backyard or even your living room using household items. You can use chairs, cushions, hula hoops, and ropes to set up a course that will test your kids’ agility and coordination. This activity not only keeps them physically active but also stimulates their problem-solving skills.

What You Need:

  • Chairs
  • Cushions
  • Hula hoops
  • Ropes
  • Any other household items that can be safely used


  1. Set up a start and finish line.
  2. Arrange the items in a sequence that requires jumping, crawling, balancing, and running.
  3. Time your kids to see how fast they can complete the course and encourage them to improve their time.
obstacle course for kids

2. Indoor Camping

Transform your living room or a playroom into a camp site. This activity sparks creativity and provides a change of scenery without leaving the house. Set up a tent or make one with sheets and cushions, make some s’mores in the microwave, and tell stories around a “campfire” made of flashlights and tissue paper.

What You Need:

  • A tent or makeshift fort
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Flashlights
  • Tissue paper for the campfire
  • Ingredients for s’mores


  1. Set up the tent or fort in the living room.
  2. Arrange the flashlights and tissue paper to resemble a campfire.
  3. Enjoy making s’mores and telling stories or singing songs together.

3. Water Balloon Games

On hot summer days, water balloon games are a fantastic way to cool off and have fun. The games I have listed below are inexpensive and can be played in your backyard, a deck, or your driveway. Whatever you have space for, these games are sure to provide hours of fun!

What You Need:

  • Water balloons (reusable ones are a great option!)
  • Water
  • Buckets


  1. Fill the balloons with water and place them in buckets.
  2. Organize games like water balloon toss, water balloon tag, or a water balloon fight.
  3. Set some rules to ensure safety and fairness, especially if younger kids are involved.
Gift Science and Craft Subscriptions for Kids

4. Homemade Ice Cream

Making ice cream at home can be an exciting culinary adventure. It’s a delicious way to teach kids about measurements and following a recipe. Plus the end result is a tasty treat and no one can resist that!

What You Need:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • A resealable plastic bag
  • Ice and rock salt


  1. Mix the cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a resealable plastic bag.
  2. Place the mixture bag inside another larger resealable bag filled with ice and rock salt.
  3. Shake the bags vigorously for 5-10 minutes until the mixture turns into ice cream.
  4. Enjoy the homemade ice cream immediately!
ice cream cone

5. Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt can be a thrilling activity that encourages kids of all ages to explore their surroundings and think creatively. You can customize the hunt to suit different age groups too, making some easy with basic pictures, or creating a more challenging scavenger hunt by having your kids search for specific types of leaves, things of certain colors etc. Make it as challenging or easy as you want depending on how much time you have!

What You Need:

  • A list of items to find
  • Pencil/pen to mark off items
  • Small prizes (optional – but why not?!)


  1. Create a list of items to find around the house or yard (e.g., a red toy, a book with animals, a spoon, etc.).
  2. Hand out the lists to your kids and set a time limit.
  3. Offer small prizes for completing the hunt or for finding the most items.
fun summer activities

6. DIY Art and Craft Station

Set up an arts and crafts station where kids can let their creativity run wild. This can be a fantastic way to keep them occupied for hours while also developing their fine motor skills and artistic talents. The options for this activity truly are endless, you could do an arts and crafts station once or twice a week.

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Crayons, markers, and colored pencils
  • Glue and scissors
  • Recyclable materials (toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, etc.)
  • Paint and brushes


  1. Organize the materials on a table or in bins.
  2. Provide inspiration or themes for projects (e.g., making animals from toilet paper rolls or painting a summer scene).
  3. Let your kids create whatever they imagine and display their artwork around the house.
fun summer activities

7. Science Experiments

Turn your home into a mini science lab with simple and safe experiments. These activities are not only educational but also fascinating and fun. You can even do these experiments outside so there is less of a mess to clean up.

What You Need:

  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Food coloring
  • Balloons
  • Plastic bottles
  • Cornstarch and water (to make oobleck)


  1. Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcano: Combine baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring in a bottle to create an erupting volcano.
  2. Balloon Rockets: Inflate a balloon, tape it to a straw threaded on a string, and let it zip across the room.
  3. Oobleck: Mix cornstarch and water to create a non-Newtonian fluid that acts like both a solid and a liquid.
Kitchen Table STEAM

8. Backyard Picnic

A picnic can be a delightful way to change up mealtime and enjoy the great outdoors. You can involve the kids in preparing the food and setting up the picnic area. If you really need to get out of the house, you can take the picnic to the park and it’s still a free option, plus your kids will get a change of scenery and be able to play on the playground.

What You Need:

  • A picnic blanket
  • Sandwiches, fruits, and snacks
  • Drinks
  • Outdoor games (e.g., frisbee, ball)


  1. Prepare simple picnic foods together.
  2. Set up the picnic blanket in the backyard or a nearby park.
  3. Enjoy the meal and play some outdoor games afterwards.
fun summer activities

9. Movie Marathon

This one is perfect for a cozy, rainy day indoors. Transform your living room into a cozy movie theater for a movie marathon. Choose a series of movies or a theme for the day, and make it a special event with homemade popcorn, candy, and comfy seating.

What You Need:

  • A selection of movies
  • Popcorn and snacks
  • Blankets and pillows


  1. Select a series of movies or a specific theme (e.g., Disney classics, superhero films).
  2. Make popcorn and arrange snacks.
  3. Create a comfortable viewing area with blankets and pillows.
  4. Enjoy the movie marathon with your kids.

10. Gardening

Gardening is a wonderful activity that teaches kids about nature, responsibility, and patience. Whether you have a large backyard or just a small balcony, you can start a garden together. Creating a garden could be a wonderful way to watch your summer bloom and grow over the weeks.

What You Need:

  • Seeds or seedlings
  • Pots or garden beds
  • Soil
  • Watering cans


  1. Choose easy-to-grow plants like herbs, tomatoes, or flowers.
  2. Plant the seeds or seedlings in pots or garden beds.
  3. Teach your kids how to water and care for the plants.
  4. Watch the garden grow together and enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor.

11. Board Game Tournament

Board games are a classic way to have fun and bond as a family. Organize a tournament with different games to keep the excitement going all day long. Your kids are sure to be talking about this activity for weeks and months to come!

What You Need:

  • A variety of board games (e.g., Monopoly, Scrabble, Candy Land, Sorry)
  • A scoreboard
  • Small prizes (optional)


  1. Choose a selection of board games suitable for your kids’ ages.
  2. Set up a tournament schedule and keep track of scores.
  3. Play the games and enjoy some friendly competition.
  4. Consider awarding small prizes to the winners.

12. Reading Challenge

Encourage your kids to read more by setting up a summer reading challenge. This activity helps maintain their reading skills over the break and can be incredibly rewarding. If you’re not sure how to create this yourself, check out your local library, as they might have a summer reading challenge going on that you can sign up to be a part of!

What You Need:

  • A variety of books (from the library or home collection)
  • A reading log or chart
  • Incentives or rewards (e.g., stickers, extra screen time, going out for ice cream)


  1. Set a goal for the number of books/pages or amount of time to read over the summer.
  2. Keep a reading log or chart to track progress.
  3. Offer incentives for reaching milestones, such as a special treat or extra screen time.
  4. Create a cozy reading nook to make reading time special and fun.

Final Thoughts on Fun Summer Activities

Keeping kids entertained at home during the summer doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can provide a variety of fun and educational activities that will make this summer unforgettable for your children. From obstacle courses and indoor camping to science experiments and gardening, there are endless possibilities for adventure and learning right in your own home. So gather your supplies, set up your activities, and get ready for a summer filled with joy, laughter, and lasting memories!

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