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.
This bucket list of fun summer activities for kids (and adults, too!) can help guide you through the summertime “I’m bored, mom!” blues. Invite children 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 summer!
Fun Things to do in the Summer
Our summer bucket list is filled with some of the best classic summer activities for kids and includes a few new and unique summer ideas. We may have only 33 summer activities for kids on this list–but it 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’ll bet you can help your children check at least a few of these activities off their summer bucket list each year. While some of the summer ideas, such as scavenger hunts, children like to enjoy yearly.
33 Fun Summer Activities for Kids
This summer activity guide includes fun summer crafts and summertime activities for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy. So 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 grab it HERE–> Summer Bucket List.
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 these fun 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 the backyard, 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.
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 help a garden grow—no sense planting flowers, fruits, and vegetables without tending them. One of the easiest ways to help a garden grow is by watering it. 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? 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 and shells
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 make sure that it is not dangerous or against the law to take whatever you found from wherever you found it. 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 or paint 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.
Painting rocks is another fun summer craft for kids and adults. After you have collected a few rocks on a nature hunt, invite children to paint them. Learn more about rock painting HERE–> How to Paint Rocks & Rock Painting Ideas.
6. 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 it easy to hunt for natural materials common in your area or biome. Using a nature sensory card also makes it possible for 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.
7. Run barefoot through the sprinklers
Summer vacation wouldn’t be complete without playing in the sprinklers. Invite your children to run barefoot through the sprinklers. We have put together a collection of water-wise sprinkler play tips to help you conserve water while having fun with this classic summer activity for kids.
8. Enjoy outdoor summer sports, fun summer activities, and local summer events
Hike, bike, swim, surf, waterski, wakeboard, skate, boulder, climb or enjoy any other fun summer activity that you love until you drop from exhaustion. Spend as much time as you can at a beach, lake, creek, or pool, and don’t forget to skip a few rocks while you’re at it.
Another fun idea is to attend a summer sporting event. Being a spectator at a sporting event is a classic outdoor summer activity for kids and adults! Take the whole family to at least one summer sporting event, such as a swimming or baseball game this year.
Or, get outside and join a softball or soccer league or any other team summer activity offered in your area. Of course, ultimate frisbee has always been one of my personal favorites!
9. Create a summer nature table and sensory bin
Encourage the kids to use what they find to make a summer nature table. Many items are waiting for you and your child to discover in your backyard, but we encourage you to look in other areas too.
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 the region or area they live in. Another fun tabletop sensory play bin with a summer theme is a beach fairy garden filled with play sand.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Play outdoor 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
15. 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 create mandalas is another fun summer activity to try on the beaches and shores from the ocean to the woods during summertime.
16. 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. There is always something new to explore, from large bodies of water to small tidepools and creeks with small nooks and crannies.
17. Go on picnics
My daughter and I often eat a picnic lunch in our backyard during the warmer months. We also enjoy picnics in the park and taking a pit stop out in nature for a quick bite while hiking in the woods. Whether in the backyard, at the park, or on the beach, we encourage you to take the time to enjoy a few picnics as a fun summer activity.
18. 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.
19. Enjoy a fair
Local city, state, and county fairs are another fun outdoor summer activity for the whole family. Check your local listings for a summer fair in your area.
20. Pick berries
One of my all-time favorite summer activities when I was young was berry picking with my brothers. Click on the link to learn our berry foraging tips and how to find a berry picking farm near you this summer!
21. 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 land.
22. 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.
23. Make Summer Crafts
Making summer crafts is a classic summer activity for kids, and adults, too! Enjoy the summer crafts with your children over the summer break to unwind and connect.
- Felt flower lei necklace
- Real flower nature crafts
- Rainbow suncatcher ideas
- Easy 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 craft
- DIY butterfly tree
24. Swim, play with and ride on water
There are so many fun ways to play with water in the summertime. If you live near a beach or plan to visit one, please look through this list of safety tips–> Beach and Ocean Swimming Safety. Here are a few more summer water activities and ideas:
- Play in the sprinklers.
- If it rains in the summer where you live–> play in the rain!
- Have a water balloon fight or water soaker war.
- Enjoy any of these pre-made and DIY Sand and water table ideas for kids.
- 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, waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, or kite surfing!
25. 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.”
26. Read a Book
Reading books is a classic summer activity for kids. Visit your local library 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 Chapter Book Series is a great chapter book series for both first-time readers and reading aloud to children. Please look at a list of our favorite read-aloud and chapter books for kids HERE.
27. Experiment with science, STEM, and STEAM activities at home
Kitchen counter and backyard summer science activities can keep the kids busy learning through play over the summer break. 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
28. 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 even need to fish for fish–toddlers and preschoolers can practice fishing with magnets long before they ever touch 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 good to go! Learn more about this cool summer science activity HERE–>Magnet Fishing for Kids.
29. Have 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.
30. Have fun at summer camp
Send your children off to camp or enjoy summer camp at home. Click on the link to learn more.
31. Watch a Sunrise and a Sunset
Take time out of your busy summer to enjoy at least one sunrise and at least one sunset. You may even want to try staying up all night. 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!
32. Enjoy stargazing
Take the kids to an observatory or spend a summer night backyard stargazing. Another great time to spend time looking up at the stars is on a family camping trip.
33. Write to a pen pal
Here’s a classic summer activity that children can do in a classic retro or new and updated way. Send homemade cards, notes, and letters to a pen pal via snail mail the old-fashioned way–through the local postal service, or email a buddy in your town–or somewhere far away.
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 in the summer with kids can keep children busy all summer long.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!Summer Bucket List