51 Boredom-Busting Summer Activities for Kids

Fun in (and out of) the sun.

Summer activities for kids feature image

Summer days can be long and fun-filled from wake-up to bedtime, or they can be, well, just long. Here are 51 summer activities for kids that will keep them entertained and engaged outside, inside, and at the park.

Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids

Summer days are all about being outside. This summer, kids can work through the design process, get their energy out, or just enjoy being outside long into the night.

Make a bird feeder

Photo of bird feeder made with orange half

You can go simple, with half an orange and some birdseed, or get out the hammer and nails. Either way, making a bird feeder will engage kids through the design process. Once it’s hung up, take photos of the birds you attract to learn about each one.

Try it: The Spruce Crafts

Bike Obstacle Course

Boy riding bike- summer activities for kids

With a few pool noodles, some cones, objects from around the house, and a stretch of sidewalk, you can make a bike obstacle course. Have your kids research and plan the course, then build it themselves. All the neighborhood kids will want to get in on the fun!


Try it: Two Wheeling Tots

Sidewalk Chalk Jumping Maze

Chalk drawing on sidewalk of numbers

Create a 5×5 grid with numbers and a star in the center (like the photo above). Make sure the starting square is clear by writing it in a different color than the rest of the numbers. Then, fill in rest of the squares with numbers 1 through 4. To play, kids start on the “start” square. From there they jump the number of squares indicated by the square they are standing on. So, if they are standing on a number 2, they jump 2 squares in any direction. The goal is to land on the center star square.

Try it: Math Geek Mama

Clothesline Art Show

First, spend a few days making art to hang on a clothesline. Then, make invitations for neighbors and friends. Finally, host a day showing off your child’s art.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunt checklist

Help your kids see their backyard in a new light with a scavenger hunt. Get the printable from Doing Good Together or make your own list of things they can find. Older kids will enjoy learning how to explore farther from home with a list of things they can find in your neighborhood.

Try it: Green Child Magazine

Sidewalk Chalk Spelling Bee

Sidewalk chalk spelling bee- summer activities for kids

Draw a grid with 26 boxes, one for each letter of the alphabet. Then, whisper or shout a word to your child and have them hop from letter to letter to spell it. This is a great game for kids throughout elementary school—younger kids can spell their names and simple words while older kids can spell longer words.

Try it: Deceptively Educational

Make Your Own Giant Jenga Set

Large Jenga game- summer activities for kids

You’ll need 2×4 boards cut into 48 10½ inch pieces. Then, sand them smooth, decorate the pieces however you want, stack, and play.

Try it: Creative Green Living

DIY Sandbox

Kids playing in a sandbox

Image: Samantha Cleaver

Make your own sandbox with a bag of sand from the hardware store, a plastic storage bin, and toys. After your child is finished playing, close the lid to keep the sand safe.

Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe

People playing tic tac toe with frisbees- summer activities for kids

Level up a game of tic-tac-toe with a sheet, some tape, and a set of Frisbees.

Try it: Family Handyman

Hula-Hoop Hideout

Hula hoop hideout- summer activities for kids

String a Hula-Hoop from a tree and hang a sheet to the ground to create a space for reading or relaxing.

Try it: DIY Fun Ideas

Beanbag Toss

Backyard beanbag toss

Decorate paper plates and toss beanbags onto each one, racking up points.

Get the printable at Mod Podge Rocks Blog.

Hula-Hoop Croquet

Kids playing croquet with hula hoops

Cut Hula-Hoops in half for the wickets and use kickballs or soccer balls for the balls in a full-yard game of croquet.

Read the full directions at Crafting Chicks.

Outdoor Movie Night

Child watching outdoor movie- summer activities for kids

Hang up a white sheet for your projector, or bring a TV outside, and watch a movie under the stars.

Try it: Mom Advice


Download a free astronomy app at dusk and learn all about the night sky. You can also use an app to track satellites in your area including the International Space Station.

Bubble Break

Boy making large bubble with hula hoop- summer activities for kids

Bubbles are always a win. Create homemade bubble solution and use any combination of string, Hula-Hoops, and bubble wands to make bubbles.

Try it: The Nerd’s Wife

Summer Water Activities for Kids

When the sun comes out, so does the hose. Here are activities that require some water but can be done without a full pool.

Paint With Water

Kids painting driveway with water

Fill buckets with water and take sponges and paintbrushes and “paint” the driveway or side of your house.

Try it: Six Sister Stuff

Bubbly Ball Pit

Children playing in bubble pit- summer activities for kids

Fill a baby pool with water and dish soap until you have a nice lather. Add balls or bath toys and you’re set for an afternoon of fun.

Try it: Small Potatoes

Hold a Car Wash

Kid car wash

There are a few ways to keep cool with a car wash. Either literally wash your car with buckets and soap or get creative and make a car wash for your child’s play cars.

Try it: Mom Endeavors

Ice Paint

Fill long block-ice containers with paint, freeze, and paint on butcher paper. It’s the perfect way to paint outside on a hot day.

Try it: My Bored Toddler

Buy it: Ice Containers on Amazon

Water Target Practice

Boy playing with water gun- summer activities for kids

Line up empty cans or plastic bottles on a flat surface. Then, use water launchers to aim and shoot the cans down. 

Try it: Hands On As We Grow

Water Race

Cup race- summer activities for kids

Hang a piece of string from one end of the yard to the other. Then, run a cup along the string. The goal is to use water blasters to shoot the cup all the way across the string.

Try it: All for the Boys

Make Sponge Water Bombs

Create reusable water bombs using cut-up sponges. Then, play everything from hot potato to catch with the sponge bombs.

Try it: Inner Child Fun

Make a Boat

Boats made with sponges

Make a boat out of paper, an empty juice box, and an empty milk carton. Then, sail the boat in a kiddie pool. Check out all the ways to create a boat at Kids Activities Blog.

Try it: Kids Activities Blog

Erupting Ice Cubes

Boy playing with chalk

Combine cornstarch, baking soda, water, and food coloring. Mix and put into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. Use the chalk to draw on your sidewalk or driveway (wet the ground beforehand if you want). Once you’re done drawing, spray vinegar on the chalk drawings to see it erupt.

Try it: Kids Activities Blog

Spray Bottle Art

Girl spray painting- summer activities for kids

Fill spray bottles with washable paint and spray a sheet or large white poster boards. Or fill the spray bottles with water and spray over chalk art to see how it changes when wet.

Try it: KinderArt

Homemade Water Slide

Kids playing on a water slide

Set up a tarp on a slope in your yard and run a hose over it to create a flexible water slide.

Try it: Happy Hooligans

Indoor Summer Activities for Kids

Some summer days were meant for indoor fun. Here are activities that keep kids entertained, though some require close supervision.

Family Game Night

Have kids organize and host a family game night. Older kids will enjoy organizing a menu and planning for which games to play. The whole family will enjoy stopping for a few hours of friendly competition.

DIY Kinetic Sand

Person playing with kinetic sand- summer activities for kids

Start with slime, end with kinetic sand. Mix a cup of sand into a half-cup of slime to start, then adjust, adding more sand or more slime, until you have just-right kinetic sand.

Try it: Kids Activities Blog

Pool Noodle Javelin

Person playing javelin with a pool noodle

When it’s too rainy to go to the pool, put pool noodles to use by decorating them and using them in games like a javelin throw. Cut one pool noodle into a circle and hang it from the ceiling. Use the other pool noodle as a javelin.

Try it: Therapy Fun Zone

Make a Homemade Bouncy Ball

You can make bouncy balls with ingredients you probably have around your house … and a little bit of patience.

The Game of Ropes

Children climbing through string- summer activities for kids

To play this game, tape a series of ribbons, strings, or ropes from wall to wall along a hallway. Then, kids have to try to pass through them without touching.

Try it: Our Little Roses

Flashlight Games

Kids using flashlights

Once it’s dark, or on a particularly dark and stormy summer day, bring out the flashlights and see what fun you can have with shadow puppets, reading by flashlight, or playing flashlight tag.

Get more ideas at The Spruce.

Pool Noodle Marble Run

Cut a pool noodle in half and use a few other things you can find around the house to create a marble run.

Try it: Kid Spot

Play Floor Is Lava

Get all the pillows off the couch to create a Floor Is Lava challenge.

Marshmallow and Toothpick Buildings

House made from marshmallows and toothpicks

A pack of toothpicks and a bag of marshmallows and your kids are off and running to either work together and see what kind of structure they can make, or compete to see who can build the taller tower.

Try it: Artful Parent

Masking Tape Speedway

Making tape speedway

All you need to make a speedway is masking tape, some matchbox cars, and space to run up and down couches and around tables.

Try it: Prudent Penny Pincher

Make Fairy Houses

Fairy house

Use objects around your house to create a fairy garden in a small container with a little bit of dirt for the ground. Add flowers and seeds to grow a fairy garden. Or create fairy houses to put in your yard.

Try it: Living Well Mom

DIY Foam Paint

Foam paint on paper

Mix up some foam paint by combining equal parts shaving cream and glue in a plastic bag. Add food coloring. Seal the bag and squish it together until all the ingredients are mixed. Use a firm material like cardboard to paint by squeezing the paint out of the bag.

Try it: Dabbles and Babbles

Bubble Wrap Run

Boys running on bubble wrap

Roll out the bubble wrap and let your kids dance, jump, walk, and run across the wrap all afternoon.

Try it: Hands On As We Grow

Indoor Track and Field Day

Have your child jump as high as they can and record the highest spot they can reach. You can have them simply measure how high it was or have them determine how many inches, blocks, or LEGO bricks high they jumped. Do the same thing with indoor versions of the long jump, plank hold, wheelbarrow walk, and other events. 

Try it: Active for Life

Frozen Toy Dig

Child playing with toys frozen in ice

This activity requires some planning. Take a bunch of your child’s toys (plastic works best) and put them in empty tubs or bowls. Fill the bowls with water and freeze overnight. The next day, give your kids any tool they need—hammers, screwdrivers, spoons—to chip out the toys.

Try it: Active for Life

Build an Indoor Mini-Golf Course

Make an indoor golf course with anything that can direct a golf ball—blocks, pool noodles, wooden train tracks, toilet paper rolls, cardboard ramps, even the stairs can be part of the challenge.

Try it: Active for Life

Make Popsicles

Blender with fruit

If you have a blender, extra fruit, some juice, and Popsicle molds, you can make fresh-fruit Popsicles that will travel to the pool, park, or beach. Make this activity even better by going berry picking beforehand and using fresh berries.

Try it: Shelf Cooking

Make Your Own Play Dough

Homemade play dough

The recipe is simple:

  • 1 cup flour
  • cup water
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
  • Kool-Aid packet, food coloring, or other add-ins (optional)

Combine everything in a saucepan, let it cool, and knead it until it’s a dough consistency. Then, add glitter, figurines, or beads to create your child’s personalized play dough.

Try it: Fun Cheap or Free

Summer Activities for Kids Around Town

Keep these activities for when you want to get out of the house but still want to keep the kids learning and busy.

Fly a Kite

Homemade kite

If you have two sticks, a trash bag, and some string, you can make a kite. The only other things you need are wind and space to run!

Try it: Instructables

Do a High-Tech Nature Walk

Inaturalist seek app- summer activities for kids

Get inspired to learn more about everything you see with the Seek app by iNaturalist. Point the camera at anything living to identify it and learn more about it.

Try it: Seek by iNaturalist app

Have a Picnic

Sometimes a good old-fashioned picnic is the best way to keep kids entertained. Have them plan the menu (we recommend trying frozen PB&Js), then plan to spend the afternoon at the park as one of the fun summer activities for kids.

Nature Walk

Bracelet with leaves

Create a bracelet by turning tape inside out and wrapping it around your child’s wrist. Then, find a local trail or walk and see what they can collect on their wrist. When you get home, break out a magnifying glass to get a closer look.

Try it: AlphaMom

Play Classic Games

Got a bunch of kids and a wide-open space? Play classic games like Red Rover, Red Light/Green Light, and Mother May I.

Try it: Old-School Recess Games

Outdoor Photo Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunt sheet and camera

Grab a camera, a clipboard, and a printable from KC Edventures and see what you can find around your neighborhood.

Try it: KC Edventures

Make Leaf Rubbings

Leaf rubbing art- summer activities for kids

Fall is known for leaves, but summer is the best time to collect leaves and use crayons and paper to do leaf rubbings. The leaves are at their healthiest now, so the rubbings will come out spectacular. After you’ve made leaf rubbings, see what other textures you can create while at the park.

Try it: First Palette

Shadow Art

Boy tracing dinosaur with shadow

When the sun is just right, spread out paper or find a clear patch of sidewalk. Then, line up toys or other objects and trace the shadows to create shadow art.

Try it: Kids Activities Blog

Go on a Park Shape Hunt

Shape hunt in playground- summer activities for kids

Find a park with an interesting playground and see how many shapes you can find for one of the most fun summer activities for kids. Circle tire swings, triangles at the corner of stairs, and rectangle benches.

Try it: Buggy and Buddy

What are your favorite summer activities for kids on long summer days? Share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE on Facebook.

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Summer days can be long when kids say they're bored. Here are 51 summer activities that engage kids from sunup to sundown.