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63 Fun Family Summer Activities to Try

53 Fun and frugal summer activities for children

Ah, summer. Sunny days, grilling out, and fireflies at dusk. So why come up with a list of summer activities? Isn’t activity what we’re trying to take a break from?!

The truth is, summer can make us parents a little anxious. Despite the abundance of great weather for being outdoors, the delicious seasonal produce, and the wonderful long days, it inevitably happens … kids start to get bored.

At least my kids do!

The Summer Slump … and What to Do About It

Ever hear this a few weeks into summer?

“Mom, I’m boooored.”

“There’s nothing to do!”

And when you respond that there are plenty of chores …

“But that’s no fun!”

In a way, I get it. Bubbles have been blown, the chalk is all used up, and we’ve been to the library many times. (Plus chores really are not much fun!)

When the summer slump hits it’s the perfect time to put together a simple list of fun summer activities. The kids usually help me brainstorm, and we change the list a bit from year to year as our kids get older.

Post the list in a visible place, and look there for some inspiration the next time you hear “I’m bored!”.

Summer Activities for the Whole Family

Here’s our “best of” summer activities list, with a few new ones added each year. Of course, the kids suggest more than a few things that aren’t realistic (“buy a horse” comes to mind), but with a little redirection they come up with some really great ideas.

The best part? Most of these are free or very low cost.

If your family is the competitive type, check out this adventure points system. Kids love it!

Our Summer Bucket List

  1. Hike a new trail.
  2. Create a nature scavenger hunt (or try letterboxing!).
  3. Visit a nearby nature center.
  4. Camp in the treehouse.
  5. Finally go check out the state parks near our house that we’ve never visited.
  6. Have a water fight in the backyard (use sponges, not balloons, to avoid choking hazards and plastic waste).
  7. Make a button whizzer (the old-fashioned version of a fidget spinner!)
  8. Go to a matinee or drive-in movie.
  9. Pre-make a bunch of frozen meals for friends who are expecting babies.
  10. Enroll in my favorite online cooking course for kids (and reap the rewards all year!).
  11. Take bubbles up a notch: put bubble solution in a kids’ pool and use a hula hoop to be inside a giant bubble!
  12. Make a (healthy & homemade) lemonade stand.
  13. Catch fireflies.
  14. Make popsicles from fruit and chia seeds.
  15. Have a luau for neighbors and friends.
  16. A projector + outdoor wall = outdoor movie!
  17. Have a picnic.
  18. Get in on the fairy garden craze. (Challenge: Make as much as we can from natural materials!)
  19. Stay up late and try to find constellations.
  20. Go wildcrafting for herbs and plants with our local expert.
  21. Go fishing and learn how to clean the fish.
  22. Visit a local museum (these are usually free) and research the history of our town.
  23. Play frisbee.
  24. Play outside in the rain. (I bet we all have a great childhood memory of doing this!)
  25. Turn on some oldies and have a dance party in the living room.
  26. Make a slip and slide in the backyard.
  27. Go to a baseball game.
  28. Play wiffle ball in the backyard.
  29. Make homemade ice cream.
  30. Learn how to make simple origami.
  31. Finger paint outside.
  32. Draw with sidewalk chalk.
  33. Have a puppet show.
  34. Make necklaces with homemade clay beads.
  35. Make a bird house.
  36. And a bat house.
  37. Visit the fire station.
  38. Go to the zoo.
  39. Play in the sprinklers.
  40. Visit a retirement or nursing home and make cards for the residents.
  41. Learn how to score a baseball game.
  42. Go to the lake.
  43. Try out the free kids’ workshop at Home Depot.
  44. Learn new card games.
  45. Have a backyard campout.
  46. Teach kids how to jump rope (and practice it myself … yikes).
  47. Make some healthy ice cream sandwiches.
  48. Take a nap! (Maybe in a hammock?)
  49. Fly a kite.
  50. Build a fort.
  51. Play Capture the Flag.
  52. Climb trees.
  53. Join the library’s summer reading club.
  54. Make paper airplanes and race them.
  55. Let the kids plan and cook dinner.
  56. Pick an empty wall in the garage or porch (or if you’re brave, in the house!) and paint a family mural.
  57. Play flashlight tag.
  58. Learn how to crochet or knit.
  59. Try an online class from and learn a new skill (many are only $10).
  60. Learn to walk a slackline (and let kids take healthy risks).
  61. Find a makerspace.
  62. Go to a fruit farm U-pick (supporting our organic farmer) and make homemade freezer jam.
  63. Play outside in the rain.

And the list can go on!

What additional fun summer activities does your family love? Are there some good ones that I left out? Share below!

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