50+ Fun Summer Ideas For Families

Blowing Bubbles

This summer will be unique with more of us enjoying staycations and the kiddos may or may not be on board. It’s time to get creative! Many of these activities are fun for the whole family to share. So join in!

  • Pick your own. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, veggies, or flowers and get picking.
  • Plant a butterfly or hummingbird garden, or create a backyard wildlife habitat.
  • Grow fresh herbs in containers. Use old coffee cans, milk jugs, mason jars, plastic cups, or anything else you have around the house. Keep your herb garden on a patio or windowsill.
  • Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark, and leaves to create a dwelling fit for Thumbelina.
  • Look for shapes in the clouds. Put a blanket in the grass and stare up at the sky. Take turns talking about what you see in the clouds.
  • Go bird watching. Take photos and keep track of your sightings. Use an app or guidebook to identify feathered friends.
  • Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party.
  • Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out non-permanent colors, braids, or a spiked, gelled look.
  • Build a fort. Put pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard.
  • Make a time capsule. Have each family member write down something they are grateful for and open it on Thanksgiving.
  • Play a card game. Choose from crazy eights, spoons, go fish, or even poker. Take your pick.
  • Hold marble races. Use an old pool noodle as the track. Simply cut it in half, making two tracks of equal length. Then, race the marbles down the tracks to see who has the fastest one.
  • Make paper airplanes. See whose airplane goes the farthest.
  • Get an origami book and fun paper. Create fun animals and shapes. Give them to friends or family members as gifts.
  • Play charades. Turn all the summer drama into a game.
  • Break out your movie collection or use Netflix. Have a movie marathon complete with popcorn.
  • Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make it a family project. Work on it all summer.
  • Set a goal and complete a home project. Whether it is cleaning the garage, organizing the basement, or redecorating the spare bedroom, find ways to let the kids help.
  • Visit a historic house or farm. Learn how times have changed and what people back then lived without.
  • Pack a picnic. Plop down to eat it just about anywhere such as a free concert, at a playground, or in a state park.
  • Eat fair food at home. Grab some recipes for corn dogs, funnel cakes and lemonade and make an afternoon of it.
  • Take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip exploring the sights.
  • Visit a local farmers’ market. Feast on the fruits and veggies of the season and enjoy a few locally made treats.
  • Make a baseball day. Play catch in the backyard, make hotdogs and watch Field Of Dreams.
  • Daydream. Make a bucketlist of all the things you’re going to do when things are back to normal.
  • Matinee movie day. Plan out a Netflix afternoon.
  • Watch a concert. Many artists have full-length shows on YouTube.
  • Play Day. Have the kids write a play and act it out, costumes and all.
  • Go to a flea market or garage sale. See if the kids are better negotiators than you.
  • Make milkshakes. Make an afternoon of it with several flavors of ice cream.
  • Take a garden gnome with you. Head out for local drives and take pictures with your gnome in different locations. At the end of the summer, create a scrapbook with his photos.
  • Build your brain. These brainteaser games can help.
  • Get a book of riddlesSee if you can stump each other; then write your own riddles.
  • Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.
  • String beads. Beading projects can be as simple or complex as you choose.
  • Press summer flowers. Make a pressed flower picture with waxed paper.
  • Create a summer mural. Stretch a long piece of white craft paper across a wall in the basement, garage, or the back of the house and create a family mural. Include hand-drawn, painted, or colored pictures of your summer activities. Work on it all summer, adding to it little by little. 
  • Collect rocks and paint them. Turn them into pet rocks, garden ornaments, or gifts for family members.
  • Hold a photoshoot. Plan different outfits and poses and take pictures outside or around town. Older kids and teens can then edit the photos on a computer.
  • Decorate your walkways with chalk. Use regular sidewalk chalk or make your own using cornstarch, distilled vinegar, and food coloring.
  • Play with clay. Then bake your creations to make them permanent.
  • Make playdough creations. Then rip them up and do it again.
  • Keep a summer sketch diary. Take turns sharing your sketches at the end of the summer.
  • Put on your own dramatic performance. Write a script, make costumes, or just do a little improv.
  • Make music. Make your own instruments or play traditional ones. Record your musical creations if you want.
  • Have a water gun race. Put a hole in the bottom of two or more plastic cups and thread string or yarn through each one. Secure the ends of the yarn to a starting point and an ending point. Use full squirt guns to shoot water into the cups so that they race along the string. The first cup to the finish line is the winner.
  • Slip ‘n slide. This classic will be great on a hot summer day.
  • Play outside. Take the drawing table, toy box and a blanket out back.
  • Go fishing. In many states, kids can drop a line in without a license.
  • Paddle a canoe. Look for a local park that offers canoe rentals and spend a little time out on the water.
  • Teach the kids to skip stones. Turn it into a competition.
  • Make good use of nearby parks. Pack a picnic
  • Have a bubble gum bubble blowing contest. See who can blow the largest bubble without it popping.
  • Take a hike. Choose a route near your house or take a drive to a more distant park.
  • Set up a badminton net. Have a family badminton tournament or use the net to play volleyball with a beach ball.
  • Play HORSE. Use your basketball hoop or one at the park to play a challenging game of HORSE. With little ones, set up a mini basketball net next to the real one.
  • Hold a hula hoop contest. See which family member can hula the longest.
  • Have a water balloon baseball game. Use a plastic bat, a bucket of water balloons, and old towels as bases and you are all set.
  • Climb trees together. Of course, do this only if the kids are big enough; and you are brave enough.
  • Take bike rides for fun. Either leave from your own house or drive to biking trails.
  • Fly a kite. Make your own kite or buy one at the dollar store. Spend a few hours flying it in an open field.
  • Run in the yard. Play kickball, frisbee, tag, and other outdoor games. You could even create your own summer Olympics.
  • Play croquet on the lawn. And try boccie too.
  • Host an outdoor movie night. Rent or borrow a movie projector and show a movie on a white sheet draped across PVC pipe in the backyard. Or,use the side of your house as the screen. Bring sleeping bags, air mattresses, and pool rafts out as the seating and enjoy the show (with popcorn of course).
  • Stargaze. Make a party of it.
  • Listen to an audiobook under the stars. Your library probably has a great collection of classics and newer titles.
  • Watch a sunset. And tell them what happens to make the colors change.
  • Camp in the backyard. Pitch a tent and bring out the sleeping bags. Sleep as a family under the stars.
  • Go to the drive-in. If there isn’t one nearby, look for one near your vacation spot. Every kid should go to the drive-in at least once!
  • Have a bonfire. Roast marshmallows and hot dogs. Make s’mores.
  • Create a treasure hunt. Do it on your own property or around town. Change things up a little and make it a photo scavenger hunt where the kids need to take photos either with their phones or disposable cameras of various things on the list. Examples might include: Take a picture of a flower. Take a photo of something red.
  • Skype with grandparents or other relatives. Talk about your summer plans and adventures.
  • Have a luau in the backyard. Make flower leis. Play Hawaiian music. And serve tropical foods and drinks.
  • Create and bake your own pizzas. Kids will enjoy picking their own toppings. They can help prep by shredding cheese, washing mushrooms, chopping veggies and so on.
  • Let the kids cook dinner. Encourage them to plan the menu and shop for ingredients. Then allow them to cook dinner for the family. Supervise younger kids, but allow teens to go it alone.
  • Make ice cream. Turn it into ice cream sandwiches or enjoy it on its own.
  • Make fresh lemonade or sun tea. Enjoy it on the front porch with some homemade cookies.
  • Teach the kids how to make your favorite childhood treat. Let them add their own twist or variation to the recipe.