We totally get it: You’re tired and overwhelmed and keeping your kids entertained is a next-level challenge because #pandemicfatigue is real. Thankfully, we come bearing 25 great ideas for summer activities for kids. Whether you try one or two of our out-of-the-box suggestions, attempt to cross off a BINGO line on our printable chart or try to check off all items on this summer bucket list, we guarantee these at-home activities are the perfect mix of fun, imagination and affordability.
Click to print off our BINGO summer-fun list!
1Start summer with s’mores dip.
2Hold a “Minute to Win It” games marathon.
When hide-and-seek and scavenger hunts aren’t cutting it, “minute to win it” games—where you set a one-minute timer and have to complete a task—are a hit with kids of all ages. Choose your favourites from this list of 30 ideas (we highly recommend adding Marshmallow Toss to the mix) and let the mini-games begin.
3Instead of sidewalk chalk, make sidewalk paint.
We love an old-school summer activity as much as the next parent but stepping outside the box can yield exciting results. This three-ingredient sidewalk paint mixture goes on thick, rinses off easily and allows kids to paint the pavement with brushes. Follow these steps:
- Add ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp cornstarch to a container
- Mix in a little less than ¼ cup cold water
- Whisk until fully mixed
- Add food colouring and stir
- Repeat for other colours
4Create rainbow scratch art.
When you’re stuck at home and need a fun activity to hold your child’s attention for more than 20 minutes, try scratch art. Have them draw a colourful crayon picture on a sheet of paper, paint over the image with a mixture of three parts black tempura paint and one part dish soap, let it dry and scratch off the paint with a coin. Click here for the full instructions.
5Play a few rounds of water-balloon baseball.
Break out the water balloons, grab a lightweight bat and get ready to swing. This game can be played with designated rules or as a free-for-all game of water-bomb chaos. You decide!
6Watch (educational) TV.
Every parent needs a rainy-day game plan. Our suggestion? Watch Emily’s Wonder Lab. Available on Netflix and YouTube, the series explores the wonders of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) with at-home experiments kids will love.
Shop Popular Science Toys
7Whip up skillet mac ‘n’ cheese.
You can play all the fun games and plan all the exciting activities you want, but summer vacation isn’t complete without a bowl of homemade mac ‘n’ cheese. Get the kids to help measure the ingredients and grate the cheese to make a delish skillet for your next movie marathon.
8Make a nature-inspired self-portrait.
Markers, shmarkers. Head outside and task your little ones with collecting rocks, sticks, pinecones and other natural materials. Lay out their finds on the ground or table and get them to construct a face. Be sure to snap a photo of them next to their portrait once it’s complete.
9Embrace your inner TikTok-er and record a family dance video.
Even if your littles aren’t old enough to appreciate the awesomeness of TikTok family dance compilations, they’ll love shimmying with you. Try one of these eight routines—there are varying difficulties and options for every age range—and hit record.
10Assemble a COVID time capsule.
It’s a fact: Life has been weird for a while. Still, documenting this wrinkle in time is a great way to help kids remember their pandemic experience. Tuck photos, letters and objects in a box and set a date in the future when you’ll open it.
11Go big with gigantic bubbles.
File this idea under cheap-and-easy fun. Making enormous bubbles is every kid’s dream summer activity and the ingredients (like glycerin, cornstarch and baking powder) in this recipe ensure they’re hard to pop. Choose an overcast day for best results and prepare to get soapy.
12Paint pour on canvas.
When you need a fun indoor activity that encourages creativity, mix pouring medium with multiple colours of paint and pour them over a canvas to make swirly art. Cover your craft space with garbage bags or a tarp, gather your supplies and follow these steps to start creating. Don’t have pouring medium? Elmer’s Glue is a great substitute.
13Build a bird feeder—but make it fancy.
It’s basically a universal truth: Everything is cooler when made from Lego. Have kids collect pieces from around the house, decide whether you’d like to hang the feeder or mount it and start building! Consider gluing pieces together to keep rain out.
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14Plan a Yes Day.
A “Yes Day” involves saying yes to everything… but that could get a little dangerous. Instead, give your littles a list of cool activities—think: fort-building, movie-watching, cookie-baking and scavenger-hunting—and let them choose a pre-determined number of their faves.
15Nosh on Cheesy Chicken Nachos.
Some days just call for comfort food. This family-friendly dish is easy to make with kids and will please even the choosiest eater. The recipe takes just 10 minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking time.
16Launch a pressure bottle rocket.
Trust us, making a pressurized rocket out of a pop bottle is a grade-A summer activity for kids. Science-loving guys and gals will see Newton’s third law of motion in effect (every action causes a reaction) and watching the bottle launch is flat-out awesome. This one’s best done with mom or dad’s help—for safety’s sake!
17Mix up homemade slime.
A crazy-cool fluid that’s both solid and liquid, Oobleck is easy to make with water, cornstarch and food colouring. Kids will love that different amounts of pressure completely change the way it feels. To make Oobleck, follow these steps:
- Add 1 cup water to a bowl
- Pour in some food colouring
- Add 1 cup cornstarch
- Mix with a spoon
Don’t put it down the drain. When you’re all done with your Oobleck, seal it in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash.
Shop Popular Pre-Made Slime and Kits
18Build an adorable gnome home.
Behold, the outdoor activity that will keep your child playing (independently!) for hours. All they need to start building a “gnome home” is a selection of pint-sized twigs, pebbles, leaves, mosses and flowers, an active imagination and—you guessed it—a totable gnome.
19Eat fruit skewers with dip.
Who doesn’t love fruit on a stick? This delicious snack is easy to assemble with the help of littles and the lemon dip adds a perfect dose of creaminess. (Quick Tip: Dunk fruit and freeze it for an ice cream–like treat!).
20Make raindrop art on a rainy day.
Need a fun indoor activity to hold their attention for at least 30 minutes? Have kids get creative with watercolour paints or washable markers on paper towel, printer paper or cardstock. Place their creations in the rain for at least 10 minutes and remove them when the colours start to blur and swirl.
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21Craft paper airplanes and a target.
Take launching paper airplanes to the next level with an easy-to-make target. All you need to create this all-ages game is a large poster board, paper, a paper clip, an elastic band, scissors and a marker.
22Craft your own paper spinners.
Equal parts cool and captivating, DIY paper spinners are a standout indoor activity. Start with cardboard and paper circles glued together, then get creative as you decorate exterior circles. Make holes to thread the twine through, knot and spin!
23Spice up lunch with ham-and-pepperoni pinwheels.
Any food that resembles pizza will almost always win little ones over, including these tortilla pinwheels. Your kids will love helping you make them because they take just 10 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook. Guaranteed, they’ll be gone in a flash!
24Build DIY wind chimes.
Most parents like the idea of planning fun activities for kids at home, but let’s be honest: The follow-through can feel exhausting. Thankfully, these eight homemade wind chimes are easy to construct and require materials you likely already have on hand.
25Go old-school with Charades.
We love a good play-anywhere game and Charades is a crowd-pleaser. Write down a variety of easy-to-guess ideas (this list can help!) to play at home or download an app and have it ready for your family’s next extra-long car ride.
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