Here’s a bucket list filled with fun summer activities, including classic summer activities and a few new and unique things to do in the summertime.
Wondering what activities to do over the summer break or how to make a boring summer fun? Here’s a list of fun summer activities for kids (and adults, too!) that can help guide you through the summertime “I’m bored, mom!” blues. We even have a printable summer bucket list you can download and print to check each summer idea off the list. And this year, we have updated the list of summer activities and the printable bucket list to include even more fun summer ideas than the photo below. Invite kids from toddlers to teens to get outside, enjoy classic family fun, and spend time playing and exploring with friends with this list of fun things to do with kids in the summertime!
Fun Things to Do in the Summer
Wonder what to do when bored in the summer? Our summer bucket list includes some of the best classic summer activities for kids and a few new and unique summer ideas to try. The list of summer activities below is jam-packed with hundreds of ideas! There are a few ideas on this list of summer activities for children from toddlers to teens that you may want to make a tradition and do every summer, while others you may try once, if at all.
We like to think of this list of fun things to do with kids in the summertime as a childhood “summers” bucket list. You may not be able to do each of the activities listed in one summer, but I bet you can help your children check a few off their summer bucket list each year. While some of the summer ideas, such as scavenger hunts, children like to enjoy yearly.
Fun Summer Activities for Kids
What activities do people usually do in summer? This summer activity guide has the answers you need because it includes fun summer crafts and summertime activities for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy. Dare to try something new this summer!
We have a printable summer bucket list to go along with this article included inside one of our printable packs available HERE–>Home and School Tools for Kids.
Or, if you’re not interested in purchasing the entire printable pack, you can get the printable summer bucket list individually HERE–> Summer Bucket List. (We have updated it to include even more fun things to do in the summer, but you can still download and print the older version in the Rhythms of Play Learning Center. Both are pictured below.)
We hope you enjoy this list of fun activities to do in the summer with kids
1. Celebrate the Summer Solstice.
The summer solstice marks the beginning of summer on the Gregorian Calendar, while other parts of the world celebrate it as “Midsummer.” It usually occurs between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the Southern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs between December 20 and December 22. Learn more about the solstice and welcome the summer with the fun summer celebration ideas HERE—>Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas!
2. Build a sandcastle.
Make a sandcastle and check it off your summer bucket list! Whether at the beach or in a backyard sandbox, building a sandcastle is a classic summer activity for kids, young and old alike. Making sandcastles with my brothers is one of my all-time favorite summertime memories. Look at this list of sandboxes you can DIY or buy HERE–> Best Sandboxes. Or, hop over to see–> Sandcastle Building Tips and Ideas.
3. Help a garden grow.
Our spring bucket list includes “plant flowers” and “start a garden,” so we decided a fun bucket list idea for summer would be to help a garden grow. There’s no sense in planting flowers, fruits, and vegetables without tending them. Watering a garden is one of the easiest ways to nurture it and help it grow. Our little helper loves to water the plants in our home and garden so much she doesn’t even know it’s a chore. Read How to Raise a Helper for more information.
Need help getting started with gardening? Learn how to–> plant flowers, grow sunflowers, or start a fairy garden. (Start a fairy garden in a tree stump or a fairy garden with a beach theme, the options are endless!) Another fun idea is to teach kids how to plant tomatoes. Click on the links to read our “Gardening with Kids” tutorials.
4. Collect unique stones, shells, and other natural treasures.
Collecting items in nature is a fun summer activity for kids. Take the time to look for unique stones, shells, and other natural materials when outside, but please remember not everything belongs in your pocket or the pockets of our children.
Please ensure that it is not dangerous or against the law to take whatever natural treasures you find from wherever you find them. Once collected, we like to place the special items we find on our nature table in our fairy garden and use them to make arts and crafts with natural materials.
5. Stack stones and balance rocks
Stone stacking or rock balancing is a fun outdoor activity for kids and adults. Learn more about this fun meditative art activity and why stacks of stones should NOT be created and left everywhere in–>Rock Balancing.
6. Paint rocks (or hunt for them outdoors)
Painting rocks is another fun summer craft for kids and adults. After you have collected a few rocks on a nature hunt, invite kids of all ages to paint them. It’s also fun to go outside on a hunt for them. My daughter has found several painted rocks in parks and on local trails. See some of the painted rocks she has found, and learn more about rock painting HERE–> How to Paint Rocks & Rock Painting Ideas.
7. Go on a scavenger hunt.
Scavenger hunts are a classic summer activity for kids of all ages. Invite children on a simple summer scavenger hunt for toddlers and preschoolers, or encourage older elementary-aged kids and teens to look for the signs of summer.
You may also enjoy sending the kids out on a nature sensory bin scavenger hunt. Use the natural items they find to make a sensory bin or basket. Click on the links to learn more!
We also created a nature scavenger hunt with a sensory card to make hunting for natural materials common in your area or biome easy. Using a nature sensory card also allows toddlers to go on a scavenger hunt. You might also enjoy the bird scavenger hunt ideas in Birding for Kids HERE—>Bird Scavenger Hunt Ideas.
Another summer scavenger hunt idea for kids is scavenger hunts for shapes or colors. My daughter and I love looking for heart shapes out in the natural world. Please look at the video we made filled with them here–>Heart-Shape Scavenger Hunt.
8. Run barefoot through the sprinklers.
Summer vacation wouldn’t be complete without playing in the sprinklers. Invite children to run barefoot through the sprinklers on a hot summer day to enjoy this fun summer activity at home or at summer camp. We have assembled a collection of water-wise sprinkler play tips to help you conserve water while having fun in the backyard with this classic summer activity for kids.
9. Enjoy outdoor summer sports and fun summer activities.
Hike, bike, swim, surf, waterski, wakeboard, skate, boulder, climb or enjoy any other fun summer activity that you love until you drop from exhaustion. Here’s a list of several outdoor activity ideas you can try. Spend as much time as you can at the park, beach, lake, creek, or pool, and don’t forget to skip a few rocks while at it.
10. Create a summer nature table
Encourage the kids to use the natural treasures they find outdoors to make a summer nature table. Many items await children’s discovery in the backyard, but we encourage you to look in other areas too.
11. Make a sensory bin or bottle
Making a nature sensory bin for your nature table is another summer activity that is great for sensory development. It’s also easy to help children learn about their region or area. Another fun tabletop sensory play bin with a summer theme is a beach fairy garden filled with play sand. Or make a sensory bottle with the DIY recipes and how-to instructions HERE–> Calm Down Sensory Bottles 101.
12. Go camping.
Going outdoors with the family and using that expensive gear should be something we all do more than once yearly. We want to encourage you to get out there and enjoy your city, county, state, and national parks as often as possible with your children this summer. Learn how to build a campfire HERE–>Bonfire Safety Tips.
13. Create sidewalk chalk art
Here’s a fun summer activity for kids from toddlers to teens. Even adults enjoy creating sidewalk chalk masterpieces outdoors. Get out the sidewalk chalk and doodle to your heart’s content on the driveway, sidewalk, concrete patio, or playground. Or make chalk paint!
14. Paint with summer colors.
Invite children to paint with summer colors as a process art activity. Use watercolors, tempera paints, or chalk paint in any combination of summer colors to encourage your children to play with art materials and painting techniques.
15. Visit an amusement park.
Visiting an amusement park is a fun summer activity for kids and families. Take the kids to an amusement park near or far, big or small, over the summer break.
16. Keep a nature journal.
Make and keep a nature journal or notebook throughout the year. A nature journal is a place to record your thoughts, observations, and experiences with nature. Keeping one provides a rich opportunity to study the natural world. You might also enjoy looking through our favorite nature study supplies if you have a budding naturalist at home.
17. Play outdoor BAckyard summer games.
Playing games in the backyard or at your local park is another fun summer activity for kids. Gathering family and friends to play outdoor summer games is fun to do with kids in the summer. A few of our favorite backyard summer games are listed below.
- Ladder Toss
- Jumbo wooden stacking tower
- Bocce ball
- Giant wooden yard dice
- Jumbo pick-up sticks
- Ring toss
18. Create outdoor art.
Getting outside with the kids to create outdoor art is a fun summer activity. One of our favorite summer art activities is making shadow art. We even have a recycled chalk paint hack that you can use to make homemade chalk paint out of small, broken pieces of chalk.
Build an outdoor art table or mud kitchen to make outdoor art easy. Making mud pies and creating mud sculptures of all kinds is a great summer activity for kids with lots of sensory benefits for the developing child.
An outdoor chalkboard can provide an easy place for children to create art outdoors in the summertime. Click on the link to learn two easy ways to make a DIY outdoor chalkboard.
Another fun summer activity is rock balancing. Stack and balance rocks and stones and create other types of land art. Using natural materials to make mandalas in nature is another fun summer activity to try on the beaches and shores from the ocean to the woods during summertime.
19. Explore a shore.
Spending time exploring shores near and far is a fun summer activity for kids. Children can spend hours playing and learning on the shores of beaches and lakes. Something is always new to explore, from large bodies of water to small tidepools and creeks with small nooks and crannies.
20. Go on picnics.
My daughter and I often eat a picnic lunch in our backyard during the warmer months. It’s fun to make sandwiches and eat summer fruits in the backyard during the warm days of summer. And, of course, we also enjoy picnics in the park and taking a pit stop out in nature for a quick bite while hiking our favorite trails out in the woods. So whether you enjoy a picnic in the backyard, at the park, or on the beach, we encourage you to take the time to enjoy picnics outdoors with friends and family in the summertime.
21. Climb a tree or a mountain.
Climbing trees is a fun activity to do in the summer. Tree climbing is a risky play activity with many benefits for the developing child. Kids love the challenge of climbing trees, boulders, and rock faces of all kinds. Learn more about the benefits of risky play activities for kids HERE—> 15 Reasons to Climb a Tree.
22. Enjoy a summer fair or Carnival.
Local city, state, and county fairs and carnivals are other fun outdoor summer activities for the whole family. Check your local listings for a summer carnival or fair in your area.
23. go wild foraging and pick summer berries
When I was young, one of my all-time favorite summer activities was going berry picking with my brothers. But summer berries are only one of the edible items you are likely to find outdoors when wild-foraging. Click on the link to learn a few berry-picking and wild-foraging tips. You might also enjoy a book titled “Foraging with Kids” and a board game you can play with the kids called “Wildcraft.”
24. Build a fort.
I remember spending hours building forts with my brothers, both inside during the colder parts of the year and outside during the warmer months. Use fallen limbs, salvaged wood, and old sheets to build a fort in a tree or on land. Or, get creative and build a sturdy tree house made to last as a family DIY project this summer! A few more backyard fort ideas include growing a sunflower house or bean pole teepee.
25. Fly a kite.
Flying a kite is a classic summer activity for kids. Learn how to launch and fly a kite with our simple kite-flying tips and tutorials. We even have a list of DIY kites you can invite children to make for even more summer fun. Learn more HERE—>How to Fly a Kite.
26. Make Summer Crafts.
Making summer crafts is also a classic summer activity for kids and adults of all ages! Enjoy the summer crafts with your children over the summer break to unwind and connect.
- Flower crown craft
- Felt flower lei necklace
- Real flower nature crafts
- Nature Mandala Art and Craft Ideas
- Rainbow suncatcher ideas
- Felt flowers
- Sea glass suncatcher
- Fingerprint art magnets
- Mermaid Tail Sensory Bottle
- Beaded necklace or bracelet
- Popsicle stick boat
- Shell daisy
- Fairy houses
- Shell frames with handprint art
- Monarch butterfly peg dolls
- Butterfly sensory bottle
- Sunflower crown or tiara craft
- DIY butterfly tree
- Soothing Seashell Sensory Bottle
27. Swim, play with, and ride on the water.
There are many fun ways to play with water in the summertime on a hot summer day, and swimming in a pool is only one of them. If you live near a beach or plan to visit one, please look through this list of safety tips–> Beach and Ocean Swimming Safety. The list below has several more summer water activities and ideas to help you and the kids have a blast with water play:
- Play in the sprinklers.
- If it rains in the summer where you live–> play in the rain!
- Have a water balloon fight, wet sponge toss, or water soaker war.
- Enjoy playing and learning with a sand and water table.
- Visit a splash pad.
- Go to a pool.
- Play in a creek, lake, ocean, or sea.
- Try kayaking, canoeing, sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing, body-boarding, waterskiing, kneeboarding, wakeboarding, windsurfing, or kite surfing!
28. Go on a road trip or family vacation.
Vacations are a fun summer activity for the whole family. Every summer break should have at least one planned vacation, even if it’s a “staycation.” So plan to go on an adventure near or far with the whole family this summer.
29. Read a Book.
Reading books is a classic summer activity for kids. Visit your local library or favorite bookstore to search for your next favorite children’s book, or check out some of our popular booklists below.
- Books That Teach Kids Important Life Lessons
- Magical Alphabet Books for Kids
- Books That Help Kids Understand Their Feelings
- Best Fairy Tales for Children
The Magic Tree House is a great chapter book series for both first-time readers or parents, teachers, and caregivers to read aloud to children. You might also enjoy this list with our favorite read-aloud and chapter books for kids–>HERE.
30. Experiment with science, STEM, and STEAM activities at Home or summer camp.
Kitchen counter and backyard summer science activities can keep the kids busy learning through play over the summer break. Science, STEM, and STEAM activities are also fun things to do at summer camp. A few of our favorite summer science ideas for kids are listed below:
- Rock balancing
- Shadow art
- Rainbow science
- Human sundial
- Popsicle stick catapult
- Classifying rocks
- Homemade ice cream
- Making sun prints
- Color-changing flowers
- Magnet Fishing
- Shadow Science
- See-through rainstick
- Watercolor resist
31. Go fishing.
Fishing is a fun summer activity for kids and adults of all ages. Invite children to go fishing on a boat, shore, pier, or in the bathtub or backyard! In other words, you don’t need to fish for fish–toddlers and preschoolers can practice fishing with magnets long before touching an authentic fishing lure.
Fishing with magnets is a fun thing to do in the summertime, indoors or outdoors. All you need is a stick, some string, a magnet, and a bucket or a bathtub, and you will be ready to go! Learn more about this cool summer science activity HERE–>Magnet Fishing for Kids.
32. Enjoy a neighborhood block party.
Get out the BBQs, play summer games, make potluck dishes, and throw a block party with your neighbors this summer! Many towns and cities will permit you to block off residential streets for a few hours if you contact the right people and jump through the proper hoops. Contact your local city hall for more information.
33. Have fun at summer camp.
Here’s a classic summer activity for children of all ages. Send them off to summer camp or do fun summer camp activities at home. Click on the link to learn more.
34. Watch a Sunrise.
Take time out of your busy summer to enjoy at least one sunrise. You may even want to try staying up all night to see the sunrise. Every time my brothers and I tried it, we learned it wasn’t such a great idea the next day, but it sure was fun!
35. Enjoy a Sunset.
Watching the sunset is another activity that is a fun thing to do in the summertime. If you don’t have a good view of the sunset from your house, we encourage you to go somewhere that does. Beaches, restaurant patios, a mountain top or overlook, or a friend’s or neighbor’s front or backyard are a few options you can try.
36. Do some stargazing.
Take the kids to an observatory or spend a summer night in your backyard stargazing. Another fun way to spend time looking up at the stars is on a family camping trip. Purchase a good telescope, the Backyard Guide to the Night Sky, 50 Things to See with a Telescope, or another good book about constellations to make it easier to identify and see specific stars and constellations up close.
37. Write to a pen pal.
Today children can do this classic summer activity in a few different ways. Send homemade cards, notes, and letters to a pen pal via snail mail the old-fashioned way–through the local postal service. Or set up an email account and help them email a buddy or family member in your town–or somewhere far away.
38. Enjoy an Outdoor Concert or Music Festival
Another fun idea is going to an outdoor concert. Rocking out and listening to music in the park is a classic outdoor summer activity for kids and adults of all ages. Take the whole family to at least one outdoor summer concert or music festival this year to check this outdoor summer activity off the list. Or gather a group of friends to go with you.
39. Attend a summer Sporting event.
Being a spectator at a sporting event is another fun outdoor summer activity for kids and adults! Recruit your friends, or take the whole family to at least one summer sporting event this year, such as a soccer game, swimming meet, baseball game, etc., to check this fun summer idea off the list.
40. Go on bike rides with friends and family.
Riding bikes and going on bike rides near and far with friends and family is another summer activity not to be missed. Take the family for a ride to the park, through the park, to dinner, or down a beautiful bike path to enjoy this classic summer activity. It’s also fun to take the kids to a BMX or dirt bike park to have a shredding good time. And if you go for a bike ride at night, which we highly recommend, don’t forget the bike lights, colorful tire lights, and glow slap bracelets to keep safe, stay visible, and have even more fun!
41. Skip stones.
Skipping stones and rocks is another fun summer activity for young and old alike. Click on the link to learn how to skip a rock and more about the science of stone skipping. Can you beat the record number of skips?
42. Enjoy Family Board Game Nights.
Invite friends and family to the game table for a night of fun. Playing cards and board games is a summer activity for all ages to enjoy. So deal a deck of cards, get your favorite board game out of the game closet, or try a new and unique board game this summer.
43. Play with Bubbles and Balloons.
Bubbles, bubble wands, bubble machines, and playing with balloons in the summer can help keep kids busy and having fun in the backyard all summer long. Invite the kids to blow bubbles and play balloon tennis indoors and outdoors whenever you need something quick and easy to do.
44. Explore hiking trails near and far.
Hiking on trails near and far is a fun summer activity not to be missed. Invite friends and family to go for a hike on trails in your neck of the woods or somewhere new and exciting you’d like to explore. We use and recommend the AllTrails website and app (not affiliated, just sharing what I love) because it makes it easy to find local hiking trails and fun new trails to explore that fit your specific needs and fitness level wherever you travel.
45. Go to a Movie Theater or drive-in movie theater.
Going to the movies when temperatures soar is a fun way to beat the heat on a hot summer day. Going to a drive-in movie on a warm summer night is also fun if there is one near you.
46. Enjoy a movie in the park or movie night in your own backyard.
Watching a movie outdoors is another fun summer activity we encourage you to try. Go to a drive-in movie theater, enjoy a movie in the park (or at the pier), or attend a movie night in a friend or neighbor’s backyard. If you’d like to host a movie night in your own backyard, get a home theater movie screen with a projector and outdoor movie seating, and invite a few friends over for movie night.
47. Catch fireflies or butterflies.
If ever you hear, “I’m bored.” Send the kids outside to catch fireflies at night or butterflies during the day. If you want to try this fun summer activity, we recommend investing in a good insect and butterfly net. Learn how to catch fireflies–> HERE. And how to catch butterflies–> HERE.
48. Keep fit with a backyard obstacle course or outdoor ninja warrior gym.
A backyard obstacle course can be fun for the whole family (or neighborhood) to enjoy. If you don’t have a backyard obstacle course or outdoor ninja warrior gym, we recommend setting one up in the backyard to keep kids fit and busy from morning to night this summer. A basic slackline or zip line is also a great addition to your backyard play area and is lots of fun for kids and adults!
49. Visit a farmer’s market.
Going to the farmer’s market in the summertime is fun for the whole family. And some communities have additional farmer’s markets in the morning and evening during the summer months to make it easy to fit your schedule. So find a farmer’s market near you to check this fun summer idea off your bucket list.
50. Enjoy a craft fair.
Enjoy arts and crafts made by local artisans at a summer craft fair. Most cities and towns hold several summer craft fairs on the street or in community centers worldwide. So look for one near you, or enjoy a craft fair on your summer travels somewhere new and exciting.
51. Go bowling
Head to the bowling alley for some friendly competition to beat the heat on a hot summer afternoon. Invite friends or family to join you and make it a weekly summer activity, or join a bowling league for even more fun!
52. Bake Tasty Treats
Here’s another easy summer activity for young and old alike. Get out your favorite cake, brownie, or cookie recipe to bake some tasty treats for the whole family to enjoy this summer!
53. Play games at an arcade.
Going to a local video arcade to play games is another great way to have fun when it’s too hot to be outside. Pinball, Air Hockey, and Foose Ball are some of our family favorites. What’s your favorite arcade game?
54. Go for a Skate
Put on some inline or quad skates, or grab a skateboard to go for a skate. There’s nothing like going for a roll outside down the block, in the park, or on a beautiful path on a beautiful summer day. Or head to a roller rink, ice skating rink, or skate park in your city or town when the temperatures soar to beat the heat.
55. Visit a museum.
There are several different types of museums you can visit. Typically they house different types of collectibles or treasures, such as art, antiques, and other artifacts. Find a museum near you and schedule a visit or a guided tour.
56. Learn something new at a nature reserve.
A nature reserve is a wildlife refuge, sanctuary preserve, or conservation area protected because it contains important flora, fauna, or geological features of special interest. These natural sites are managed for purposes of conservation and to provide opportunities for education, study, or research.
57. Visit a Historic Site or Landmark.
Another fun thing to do in the summer is to visit a historical site or landmark, but you may have to travel to do it depending on where you live. Like visiting a nature reserve, this summer idea is another fantastic educational activity for kids.
58. Go to a zoo or petting zoo.
Going to the zoo or a petting zoo is a fun summer activity for kids of all ages. Visit your local zoo, or take a short drive to a nearby city that has one to check this fun summer activity idea off your summer bucket list.
59. Visit the library.
Going to the library is another great way to beat the heat on a hot summer day. Visiting the library helps create a love for reading and improves reading skills. Research proves that regular access to books makes you a better reader, and the library offers a wide range of books for different reading abilities and interests. So visit your local library to enjoy the extracurricular activities your local branch offers and allow children to immerse themselves in the world of books. Select books to read aloud and for your children to read independently to improve their reading.
60. Join a summer sports league or attend a sports camp.
Or, get outside and join a swim club, volleyball, softball, or soccer league, or any other team summer activity offered in your area. Ultimate Frisbee has always been one of my personal favorites, and my husband loves playing softball in the summer league.
61. Go to an ice cream parlor or frozen yogurt shop.
Take the kids to an ice cream parlor or frozen yogurt shop as a reward for finishing their chores or staying off screens. Or go as a special treat just for fun on a hot summer day!
62. Enjoy a game of hopscotch.
Hopscotch is a classic playground game where players toss a small object, such as a rock, bottle cap, or beanbag, into numbered squares outlined on the ground and then hop or jump through the spaces to retrieve the object. It is a popular children’s game that can be played alone or with several players and provides a physical and cognitive workout. To play, grab a stick of sidewalk chalk and draw hopscotch squares, or purchase this set with beanbags. Watch this YouTube video to see how to set up and play hopscotch.
63. Learn how to juggle or do tricks with a yo-yo.
Tired of kids on their phones, playing video games, or overusing other screens and can’t get them to go outside to play on their own? Invite them to improve their eye-hand coordination and self-confidence by learning to juggle or do tricks with a yo-yo. Both are skills that will provide a lifetime of fun. Purchase a beginner juggling ball set or a yo-yo with a yo-yo tricks book to get them started.
64. Jump rope.
Jump rope is another classic kids’ game played alone or with others. A jump rope is a great toy for physical fitness and cognitive development that can be used indoors or outdoors. If playing alone, buy a jump rope and challenge your child to learn basic jumping skills. And if you have several children who want to play jump rope, invest in a larger jump rope, show them a few jump rope games, and help them learn a few jump rope rhymes and songs.
65. Play cat’s cradle.
Challenge someone to a game of cat’s cradle. Cat’s Cradle is another classic children’s game perfect for those dull summer days. One player stretches a looped cord over the fingers of both hands to create the first figure, and the other has to insert his or her fingers to remove it and produce another figure. Here’s a cat’s cradle string and instruction book you can buy on Amazon to make it easy to play this fun game.
66. Go birding and enjoy backyard bird watching.
Birdwatching is a fun and educational activity for young and old alike. Enjoy backyard birdwatching, travel to the park, or head out into nature to look for birds with the kids. Learn more about birding and discover fun bird activities in birding for kids.
67. Find something unique to do in your city or town.
Last but certainly not least, find something to do that is unique to your city, town, or the area you live in. For example, you can visit a waterfall, a landmark, a pier, ride on a carousel or Ferris Wheel, attend a stage show or performance, etc.
Summer Bucket List of Fun Summer Activities
Get outside and enjoy classic family fun with any of these fun summer activities for kids. This list of classic summer activities and new and unique fun things to do with kids in the summertime can keep children busy learning through play all summer long.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!Summer Bucket List
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