Summer fun ideas for families

Table of Contents

101 fun things to do with kids this summer

Try these 101 ideas for activities to keep kids from getting bored this summer and create memories that they’ll have for a lifetime (or at least for that first day of school when the teacher asks, “What did you do this summer?”)

Want help making your way through this list? Share this with your babysitter or nanny to do with your kids during the week.

  1. Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
  2. Volunteer at a nature center.
  3. Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.
  4. Have a luau in the backyard.
  5. Visit the beach and collect shells.
  6. Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.
  7. Visit a farmer’s market.
  8. Stage an A-to-Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter. Or try one of these other scavenger hunt ideas.
  9. Pick fresh berries.
  10. Have a picnic at a state park.
  11. Make ice cream. You can even try using YayLab’s ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.
  12. Go canoeing at a local lake.
  13. Build a sandcastle.
  14. Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.
  15. Set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.
  16. Clean up trash at a park in your neighborhood.
  17. Have a backyard campfire … or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s’mores.
  18. Make homemade pizza.
  19. Go for a nature walk and then make a collage from objects you find along the way.
  20. Head to a creek and look at the ducks.
  21. Set up a lemonade stand and raise some money for a good cause.
  22. Have a water balloon toss … or fight!
  23. Practice your origami skills and make construction paper crafts to hang from the ceiling.
  24. Go biking on a trail.
  25. Interview a grandparent or an older relative about what life was like when they were young.
  26. Plan a picnic at a local park — or in your backyard.
  27. Save this list of Caldecott Medal-winning kids books, and visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as many as you can.
  28. Create salad spinner art by placing circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.
  29. Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.
  30. Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
  31. Make a sidewalk chalk mural and invite the neighbor kids to join in the fun.
  32. Go ice blocking (sledding) on grass with a towel-covered block of ice.
  33. Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.
  34. Visit a fish hatchery.
  35. Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.
  36. Pretend to be pirates for a day — dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.
  37. Make an indoor “sandbox” using colored rice by mixing 4 cups of rice, 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of food coloring and and letting it dry overnight.
  38. Turn the backyard into a carnival — set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.
  39. Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.
  40. Visit a museum you’ve never been to.
  41. Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).
  42. String beads into jewelry.
  43. Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.
  44. Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible — see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.
  45. Create leis with wildflowers.
  46. Go fossil hunting near a lake.
  47. Break out your baseball glove and start a game, sandlot style.
  48. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.
  49. Play mini-golf — or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.
  50. Make a sand art garden and plant a succulent.
  51. Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit — create the ultimate road trip.
  52. Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball. Or try one of these other backyard games for kids.
  53. Visit an amusement park or water park.
  54. Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.
  55. Go zip-lining.
  56. Have a tricycle race at the park.
  57. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.
  58. Visit a fire station.
  59. Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.
  60. Go roller skating.
  61. Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.
  62. Run through the sprinklers.
  63. Blend your own smoothie — they’re good for you!
  64. Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.
  65. Batter up at a batting cage.
  66. Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.
  67. Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.
  68. Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
  69. Go horseback riding.
  70. Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.
  71. Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).
  72. Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.
  73. Create a backyard circus — kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.
  74. Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
  75. Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.
  76. Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.
  77. Go to a flea market.
  78. Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
  79. Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.
  80. Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
  81. Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.
  82. Visit a cave.
  83. Mark off all the local parks on a map — then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.
  84. Take in a fireworks exhibit.
  85. Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.
  86. Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
  87. Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
  88. Create three-dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.
  89. Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.
  90. Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.
  91. Create unusual s’mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, mini candy bars, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.
  92. Have a fancy tea party.
  93. Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp and shaving cream.
  94. Go camping in the backyard or at a campsite.
  95. Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint and then wash it off in a sprinkler run.
  96. Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.
  97. Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself) how to keep a scorecard.
  98. Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.
  99. Take a free kid’s workshop at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.
  100. Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.
  101. Let kids brainstorm creative things to do with a boring brown paper bag — you’ll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.

Summer is here again and you’re already trying to figure out how to entertain your family and make this the best summer yet. What to do can depend on a lot of things, such as where you live and how old your kids are. Nevertheless, we have compiled a unique list of summer activities that will hopefully provide the entertainment and relaxation you crave.

Read a Book

Before you stop reading because you think this is a common summer activity, Read a Book with your family! You watch TV as a family, why not turn the TV off and read a book together. Each of you can take a turn reading and experience something that families used to do before the television.

Cook a Meal

Cook a Meal with your family, now you’re catching on! You can either cook the whole meal together or give each member of the family a different dish to prepare, like a family pot luck.

Play a Board Game

Board games can be a blast and there are so many to choose from. Some of my favorite memories as a child were playing board games with my family, don’t let your kids miss out on this experience.

Go to a Restaurant

I know, it isn’t a very unique thing to do. Make it unique by only ordering appetizers or go to a Mexican restaurant and try something you’ve never had. Don’t forget a Margarita for yourself!

Build a Campfire

There is nothing like sitting around the campfire and roasting marshmallows with your family. If you can’t do it at your house, there are many parks that will allow you to.

Build Tents

This is certainly an activity that most kids partake in at some point but kick it up a notch. Turn your living room or patio into a giant tent and have a fun family evening and sleep over.

Create a Sport

Many sports need too many people to participate so make up your own. You would be surprised by the ideas you can come up with as a family, even if you only have a bounce ball to work with.

Go to a Museum

There are museums all over the place. I bet there is even a museum in your town that you have never been to. They aren’t too expensive and who doesn’t like an educational activity for the family.

Adopt an Activity

Everyone likes to do different things, embrace that. Give each family member a turn in choosing the activity everyone will participate in. You will obviously have to give your kids some parameters to work around but I will let you figure that one out.

Have a Holiday

Besides July 4th and Labor Day, there isn’t a big holiday during the summer that everyone looks forward to. Have a Thanksgiving in August or just create a reason to give gifts and make up your own holiday.

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Every diligent parent is constantly looking for the best summer activities for their kids. Whether its a local tennis camp, sports leagues, arts and crafts events, there is no shortage of summer activities and kid entertainment that you can fill each summer day with. Scroll down below to see UNICEF Kid Power’s 2018 summer ideas for your kids.

50 Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids in 2018:

  1. Bike rides. Take your kids out for a fun bike ride, either near your house, or if the kids are older, take them on a bike trail. Since it’s a hot summer day, make sure to bring water!
  2. Make ice cream. There isn’t a kid (or parent) in the world who would refuse ice cream on a hot summer day. This is a great kids activity in which parents can easily monitor. Here’s a great guide on creating your very own vanilla ice cream.
  3. Meet friends at the local playground. Call up your friends and let the kids hang out together at a local playground, where they can play on swingsets, merry go rounds, and more.
  4. Have a picnic at a local or state park. Getting kids together for a picnic at a local or state park can be a fun group activity. Just make sure to find some shade!
  5. Sidewalk chalk murals. Get some fun colored chalk for your kids and you can create some really fun chalk murals and designs. Here are a few cool designs for inspiration.
  6. Backyard camping. Your kids may be too small to go camping at a campsite or park, but why not start in the backyard?
  7. Backyard stargazing. Put out a few blankets and lie down in your backyard, and gaze upon the stars. Show your kids how to locate Orion’s Belt and many other stars. Here’s a great stargazing guide.
  8. Check out the local county fair. Most major cities will have some sort of carnival or county fair which will definitely delight your kids.
  9. Kids science experiments. If your kids want to stay indoors, no problem – increase their brain power and curiosity with these awesome fun and easy science experiments for kids!
  10. Local tennis camp. Tennis is one of those sports that most kids don’t get to play during the school year. But your town likely has a fun kids tennis camp that your kid can enjoy.
  11. Make a kaleidoscope. This would be fun to do if it happens to rain, or even if you want something different to do with your kids! If they are the crafty type, here is a fun guide to show you how to make one!
  12. Sidewalk foam paint. There are other creative ways to write on your sidewalk! You and your kids can make some perfectly harmless foam paint. Click here for a creative and fun DIY foam activity to have some fun with your kids.
  13. Water balloon baseball. Sometimes, combining two summer activities can make for an exciting way to play outside. Just take a whiffle ball bat and fill up some water balloons. Now, you can play baseball with a splash!
  14. DIY bird feeder. This kid friendly bird feeder takes toilet paper rolls spread with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed. After hanging it on a branch, your kids can watch as the birds come get something to eat!
  15. Homemade Playdough. This can be done in less than 10 minutes and is very easy to make. Check out this recipe from a fellow mother on how to make colorful playdough with your kiddos.
  16. Visit your local library. The library has more than just books for children. Many of them have other activities and toys designed for each age. They also offer audiobooks and educational computer games!
  17. Build a fort or tent. Take an afternoon and push your couches close together. Drape them with blankets or sheets and eat a snack or play a game under your fort or tent!
  18. Play hide and seek in the dark. Mix up plain old hide and seek with hide and seek in the dark! Black out your windows and prep areas that may be hazardous. It certainly makes for great entertainment!
  19. Make milk carton boats. Take an old milk carton and shape it in the fashion of a boat. You can even paint it and stick a toothpick in it with a taped flag! Test it out by putting it in water in the sink or bath. Does it float? If not, your kids can brainstorm on how to fix it.
  20. Do a puzzle together. When searching for the right puzzle, look for the correct age group. There are specific difficulty levels out there! It can be a wonderful time to bond with your kids and work together to solve a puzzle.
  21. Visit a splash park. Some are free and others aren’t, but this would be a fun outing for your kids! Anything with water is a score with the household. Beating the heat is possible!
  22. Write in shaving cream. This may get messy, but what a fun way to write! If you’re prepared for the mess, have your kids practice their ABCs. You can go outside in the sunshine!
  23. Paint rocks. Are you one with rocks everywhere in your yard or nearby? Have fun painting faces or designs on rocks with your kids. You could use these as door stoppers or paper weights!
  24. Balloon tennis. Using paper plates, paint stirrers, and air-blown balloons, you can easily make this fun summer kids’ activity for the outside. You could also play this inside since you are hitting a balloon!
  25. Homemade water blob. Using plastic sheeting and duct tape, you can create your very own water blob! This mom warns that there will be leaking, but that it only adds to the fun and gives it more of a splash!
  26. Squirt gun water painting. With water color paper, watercolors, an easel, and a squirt gun, you can paint when you shoot! The easel is to help clip the paper while you shoot. Be careful they don’t squirt you!
  27. Glow in the dark mason jar. With this how-to, you can make believe with this glow in the dark jar! You can capture fairies or even use it as a night light. The results are radiant!
  28. Water bag piñata. Have a blast busting this piñata. The only exception? It’s filled with water! Let your kids have fun filling it up with water and then hitting it to feel the homemade waterfall!
  29. DIY sponge balls. This is a fantastic homemade game or yard toss. Buy some fun looking sponges or use what you got! Drench them in water and soap and get ready to be soaked in the hot summer fun!
  30. Paper plate horseshoes. Cutting off the outside of paper plates, have your kids paint them and toss them around a grounded paper towel roll! This is a great kids’ summer activity or game for a rainy day.
  31. Plant flowers or vegetables. Use the summer to teach your kids how to plant! Plant flowers or vegetables in your flower bed or in a pot by your home. They can water it every day and watch them bloom!
  32. Go to the farmer’s market. You don’t have to travel far to open up your kids’ worlds. Going to your local farmer’s market can be a fun outing as well as a way for showing them all of the different and colorful foods!
  33. Dig for fossils. Parents, this will mean you’ll have to prep, but the fun your kids will have is a lasting effect. Bury different items in dirt-filled shoeboxes and have your kids discover different items!
  34. Egg drop. Obtain a set of eggs you don’t mind wasting and have your kids come up with inventive ways to secure and protect and egg so that when you drop it from a window it does not break. This can include placing the egg inside a shoebox filled with foam, or any of other creative method out there.
  35. Feed the ducks. There are places that either have ducks for you to feed (the zoo) or a local pond/lake. You can bring scraps of bread or buy the food these places have provided!
  36. Berry picking. Now is the time to indulge in the season! From strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, to blackberries, there are places in your state that will let you pick them for free or for a small entrance fee.
  37. Plant a butterfly garden. There are over 750 types of species of butterflies, and you can attract all kinds to your garden with these. A list of flowers to start out will feed the attraction, as well as having an organic one. Gardening is a great summer activity that kids can learn and enjoy from!
  38. Go hiking. Pick an easy hiking trail to do with your kids first and then weekly, during the summer, you can choose a more advanced trail. Look up your local parks or trails to see what your area has to offer.
  39. Visit your local lake/beach trip. Try searching for nearby lakes or beaches. Make it a day trip if you need to. It is a fun, cheap way to create summer memories with your kids. Pack a lunch and find a good spot!
  40. Run in the sprinkler. This is a cool, easy way to beat the heat, especially with toddlers. Set up your hose sprinklers or installed yard sprinklers, have the kids put on swimsuits, bring towels, and turn on the water!
  41. Take an early morning/late night walk. Right when you wake up, take a walk while pushing your kids, before the real heat begins. You could also do a pajama walk right before bed. Either way, you kids will be relaxed on this awesome summer activity!
  42. Bean bag toss. Using a sewing machine, you can sew fabric and buy beans to make the bags. Kids will feel accomplished and appreciate the game more when they create it. Toss the bags in your backyard or in buckets.
  43. Visit a swimming pool. Of all the places to get wet, this is the most popular. Take your kids to visit a pool and play toss in the water. Have them dive for objects or float around on noodle or tube. Swimming is the ultimate kids summer activity.
  44. Go to the movies. Find a family movie to see together, one that will incorporate all ages. Getting tickets online, ahead of time, will save time and energy once you get to the theater!
  45. Blow bubbles. Whether it’s with a bubble machine for $5 or a single set of bubbles to blow out of, bubbles lighten the mood and do wonders for entertainment. Younger kids will enjoy running through them or blowing them!
  46. Fly a kite. Pick a clear area to run and fly a kite of your choice. Flying a kite teaches your kids patience and coordination. A plus is that they are pretty to watch high in the sky, with a bright sun, during a fun summer day!
  47. Glow in the dark bowling. How do you make bowling extra fun with your kids? You make it glow in the dark. Glow sticks are the secret ingredient! Here is a brief tutorial on how to spice up your bowling experience.
  48. Color changing flowers. Obtain glasses to hold one flower at a time. After pouring them half full of water, put a couple drops of different dye colors in each. Each glass should have a white flower inside. Slowly, they will begin to change!
  49. Craft with pipe cleaners. By simply taking different color of pipe cleaners and fluff balls, you can create different creatures. This includes bugs, butterflies, animals, etc. Let your inventive kids take the reins on this one.
  50. Make a video. Take the family video camera and have your kids video record the summer-y nature outside with commentary, conduct talk shows outside, or be actors and actresses. It can be an amusing memory to look back on one day.

UNICEF Kid Power 2018 Summer Guides for Kids and Parents:

In addition to our 50 kids summer activities above, we have additional guides and resource articles on other fun things to do or take your kids to in the summer of 2018:

  • Baseball summer camps for kids
  • STEM summer camps for kids
  • Theater and arts summer camps for kids
  • Adventure sleepaway camps for kids
  • Summer sports camps for kids
  • Summer camp activities for kids
  • Beach games for kids
  • Summer hiking trails for kids
  • Outdoor camping activities for kids
  • 4th of July activities for kids
  • Summer craft activities for kids
  • Summer safety tips for kids and parents
  • Best sunscreen for kids
  • Leadership Activities for Kids
  • 6 Fun & Simple Nature Activities for Kids

100 Fun Summer Activities for KIDS

You know we’re on top of all the fun, cheap or free things to do with kids in summer. We want to help you defeat summer boredom and enjoy all the fun summer activities there are to do so we’ve got tips for how to do it all!

Summer is in full-swing around here, and if your house is anything like mine, a bit of affordable (or free!) entertainment is in order! To help bust summer boredom, I’m bringing you a list of some of our favorite Fun, Cheap, and even FREE summer activities for kids!

It’s important to keep the kiddos moving all summer long!! Am I right? And don’t worry, we even have it in a free printable for you so you can make it an official summer checklist!

Side note, if you don’t follow me on Pinterest, you probably should! I have a board dedicated to summer fun, kids activities, and parenting life savers. It’s full of goodies that you don’t want to miss. But before you sneak away to get lost in pinterest-land, let’s check out this list and tips for making the most of summer without the stress!

HOW TO PLAN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Having fun this summer doesn’t have to break the bank. There are so many family-friendly activities that are 100% free. If you plan it right, you can have your vacation and enjoy the rest of you break, too.

Here’s the summer dream! We want to…

  • Enjoy the BIG and more costly activities – ya know, the highlights of the summer that kids like to report on when they go back to school
  • Have an intentional summer with quick and affordable ready-to-go ideas so we don’t have to listen to kids complaining of their never-ending boredom
  • Spend time together having fun and making memories

So here’s how you do it! Just before summer break sit down as a family and come up with one big thing each person would like to do. These are things like theme or water parks, weekend trips, more expensive museums, family fun centers, etc.

They are higher in price and take a good amount of advance planning. Once those have been decided, everyone must think of as many fun and affordable ideas to fill up the rest of the summer list. We love this part because we smile and laugh thinking back on past summers and remembering fun things we did like building forts or roasting s’mores over the campfire.

NOW IT’S TIME TO SOAK UP THE SUN WITH YOUR SUMMER LISTS

With our lists in hand we are ready for summer! Pencil some of the bigger activities into your calendar so your kids know what they have to look forward to.

If you need help thinking of some fun things to add to your list, we’ve got you covered. Here are 100 summer activities for kids that are fun, cheap or free that will have you wishing days had more hours and summer lasted just a little bit longer. Plus there’s some extra fun that the kids can enjoy on their own. You’re welcome, mama!

SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS THAT ARE FUN, CHEAP OR FREE

If you’re looking for something “out-of-the-box” to do to entertain your kids… this list is for you!

  • Go for a Nature Walk
  • Set up an Obstacle Course
  • Visit the Fire Station
  • Make Stovetop S’mores
  • Make a Painters Tape Race Track
  • Visit the Library
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Visit an Aquarium
  • Pool Day
  • Visit a Local Farm
  • Go Hiking
  • Fly a Kite
  • A DIY Craft
  • Finger Paint with Pudding (or I have a fingerpaint recipe if that’s more your style!)

FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES KIDS CAN DO ON THEIR OWN

We all want to have a list of summer activities in our arsenal that we can just say “go …” and know that the kids can handle it with zero supervision. This is that list!

  • Build with Legos
  • Make Marshmallow and Toothpick Houses
  • Play Hide and Seek
  • Make Paper airplanes – Have a contest to see who’s flies the farthest
  • Jump on the Trampoline – Here is a list of 50 ideas to do on a trampoline this summer!
  • Write a Story
  • Stack Cups Game
  • Watch Learn to Draw Videos
  • Play Simon Says
  • Have a Staring Contest
  • Play Would You Rather
  • Hula Hoop
  • Play Hopscotch
  • Blow Bubbles (Set up a bubble refill station for hours of fun – with less mess!)
  • Put on a Fashion Show
  • DIY Tic-Tac-Toe

THINGS KIDS CAN DO WHEN THEY’RE BORED

This is an awesome list of ideas that you can give to kids when they’re complaining about who knows what… if none of these summer activities float their boat, you can always hand them a broom, mop, or vacuum and set them to work.

  • Walk a Neighbor’s Dog
  • Make a Blanket Fort
  • Do a Puzzle (Here’s a few ways to make puzzles more fun for kids!)
  • Make Paper Bag Puppets
  • Get creative with Duct Tape Arts and Crafts
  • Watch a How-To YouTube Video
  • Visit a Friend
  • Sidewalk Chalk Art (try my 3 ingredient homemade chalk recipe!)
  • Water Play in the Backyard
  • Play a Card Game
  • YouTube Karaoke
  • Write Letters to Family
  • Jump Rope Games
  • Dance Party
  • Play an Instrument
  • Make Fruity Popsicles (Pinterest has oodles of ideas!)

FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS

Some of these fun summer activities might need a little more parent involvement, but the kids will still love every minute of these once you get them set up!

  • Go Mini Golfing
  • Ride a Train
  • Go on a Bike Ride
  • Make Homemade Ice Cream
  • Freeze Toys in Water
  • Build a Cardboard Box Castle
  • Head to the Park
  • Put on a Skit
  • Water Balloon Fight (You MUST try the DIY Water Balloon Station!)
  • Have a Picnic (Packing frozen PB&J’s is my favorite picnic hack!)
  • Pillow Fight
  • Play Charades
  • Homemade Playdough (Is it just me… or does this sound like delicious play dough?! Yes, I just said that!)
  • Shaving Cream Table Art
  • Paint Rocks
  • Create Sock Puppets

SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY

If you’re looking for ideas that you can schedule on the calendar and plan out in advance, these are some of our favorite summer activities that everyone in the family can enjoy together.

  • Go to the Dollar Theatre
  • Try out Geocaching
  • Enjoy a Beach or Lake Day
  • Plan a Day Trip
  • Visit the Zoo
  • Go Fishing or Camping
  • Check out a State or County Fair
  • Have a Family Movie Night
  • Host a BBQ
  • Play some Minute to Win It Games (These prizes would make an awesome ending to your games!)
  • Volunteer in the Community
  • Go to a Sports Event
  • Host a Talent Show
  • Bake Cookies (May I suggest the $400 Cookies recipe?)

FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES

Big or small – this is such a fun list of activities that all ages will enjoy! Some more independently than others.

  • Make a Lemonade Stand
  • Practice Origami (Need a few ideas? Check here!)
  • Take apart an old appliance to see how it works
  • Go Stargazing
  • Plant a Flower or Vegetable Garden
  • Hit the park to play a little Frisbee Golf
  • Serve Someone
  • Window shopping at the mall
  • Visit Mom or Dad at work
  • Flag football at night
  • Water Sports (Do giant slip and slides count?)
  • Wash the Car
  • Check out a Free Museum
  • Nickel Arcade
  • Go Bowling
  • Eat Snow Cones (We have a machine… and it gets LOTS of love!)

Consider this your Fun Cheap or Free summer bucket list, with endless ideas for affordable summer fun. Print it out, put it on the fridge, and start making memories!

Now that was an amazing list of fun… your kids will LOVE you for it!

What summer activities do you have planned? How do you keep your kids busy throughout the summer? Share with me in the comments below!

Happy Summertime!

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1. Eat ice cream for dinner.

Because it’s a fun laid-back treat (and an awesome vacation tradition) you just can’t justify after Labor Day. Fancy something other than a scoop? Try one of these ice cream pies.

2. Cover your driveway in sidewalk chalk.

There’s more than one way to color outside (like ice chalk, chalk paint, and even exploding chalk), so turn this afternoon activity into an all-day event.

3. Plan a family photo shoot.

Ask a pal to take some nice snaps of your entire crew in the summertime glow. Pose for traditional shots, but mix in a few while you play a game or read a book for some precious candid moments.

4. Take the kids on a scavenger hunt.

Thanks to Pinterest, this boredom-buster requires virtually no prep at all.

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5. Host family game night.

Pass GO and collect $200 before homework takes over your evenings again.

6. Actually go get that amazing burger/hike that pretty trail/visit that sculpture garden.

Summer is meant for impromptu adventures to the restaurant, park, or site everyone’s been talking about.

7. Go on a picnic.

Even if it’s just in your backyard. The days on which is this is doable (and practical) are numbered.

8. Make guacamole.

Hello! Summertime staple!

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9. Have a water fight.

These DIY water toys have soaking power, but will minimize bumps and bruises.

10. Start and finish a puzzle.

Let a challenging thousand-piecer take over your dining table for a few days. It’s a great ongoing activity for rainy afternoons (or any other “I’m bored!” moments).

11. Help out your favorite cause.

Whether you raise a few dollars with a lemonade stand or volunteer in person, teach your kids that their free time is well-spent helping people in need. We suggest joining the fight against childhood hunger by supporting No Kind Hungry, an organization Good Housekeeping has teamed up with this year.

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12. Make s’mores.

If you’re uncomfortable with an open flame, there’s no shame in making the microwave version of this fan-favorite dessert.

13. Seek out live outdoor music.

Many towns offer free shows in parks during the summer months — find the schedule you sorta remember glancing at in June so you don’t miss the last performance.

14. Tie-dye T-shirts.

This is an outdoor-only activity for sure, so quench your kids’ thirst for hand-dyed clothing now.

Bonus: Hire a babysitter.

The school year means extra stress for you, too, so don’t forget to plan your own summer me-time (even if that’s just a Netflix marathon at a friend’s house) before September hits.

TELL US: What’s still on your summer bucket list?

NEXT: 31 Boredom-Busting Activities To Do With the Kids “

Photos: Getty

Lauren Piro Senior Web Editor Overseeing all things home for GoodHousekeeping.com and HouseBeautiful.com, Lauren swoons over midcentury design and employs tough-love approach to decluttering (just throw it away, ladies).

Summer fun! Keep the kids occupied with free and cheap activities

It’s hot out there.

The kids are antsy and so are you.

Beat summer boredom and the summer heat by keeping them busy with some free and inexpensive activities.

Many are offered during weekdays in air-conditioned places, but some programs also have events on weekends, including Bass Pro Shop’s popular Family Summer Camp and Home Depot’s monthly workshops.

Also, combat the summer brain drain by taking advantage of a reading program or a tech camp.

Sports, crafts and more

The programs are offered at participating locations. Be on the safe side and check with your closest location for more details. Also parents are typically required to stay during the activities.

A.C. Moore: The arts and crafts store’s summer program, “Kids’ Crafternoons,” is 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 1. It’s $2 per project, per child for kids ages 5 to 12.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN for Bright Minds Club Kids’ Crafternoon! Bring your crafty kids to #ACMoore every Wednesday starting 6/27 for fun summer projects. Sign up in stores today! https://t.co/aFodLwDxPbpic.twitter.com/TM5j6PyKCd

— A.C. Moore (@officialacmoore) June 1, 2018

Bass Pro Shops: The outdoors store’s free Family Summer Camp runs through July 22 with events every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Activities include free crafts, games and 20-minute workshops, which are recommended for kids ages 8 to 12. Check local store for event details and times. Learn more at basspro.com/summercamp.

Cabela’s: Like parent company Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s also has a free Family Summer Camp through July 22 every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Check local store for event details and times.

Home Depot: The home improvement store holds monthly workshops throughout the year geared to kids ages 5 to 12. The free workshops are typically held the first Saturday of each month. Learn more at homedepot.com/workshops.

Bowling: Kids ages 15 and younger can bowl two games a day for free through Aug. 31 at more than 1,350 participating bowling alleys nationwide. Preregistration at kidsbowlfree.com is required and most bowling alleys require shoe rental. There’s also discounted family summer passes available online for kids older than 15 and parents. Participating AMF, Bowlmor, Bowlero or Brunswick Zone locations also have a discounted summer games program. Learn more at bowlsummergames.com.

Michaels: Through July 27, the arts and crafts store has its annual “Camp Creativity” series with classes from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for kids 3 and older. Space is limited and the class is $2 per session for ages 3 and up and $5 per session for 6 and up. Register for classes in-store or online at michaels.com/camp-creativity. A parent or guardian must stay at the store during the class. Michaels also has $2 activities on Saturdays as part of its Kids Club.

Skating: Kids ages 10 and younger can get two free skating passes each week to use at skating rinks participating in the nationwide Kids Skate Free program during specified free skating hours. Some rinks charge a small administrative fee and some require skate rental. Learn more and register at kidsskatefree.com.

Movies

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AMC Theatres: Participating AMC Classic Theatres are having a “Summer Movie Camp” every Wednesday at 10 a.m. all summer long except for July 4. Dates and movies vary by location. During the special movies, kid’s tickets are $4 plus tax and include a KidsPack snack with a kid’s popcorn, fountain drink and a fruit snack. Learn more at amctheatres.com. Also on Tuesdays, with the free AMC Stubs membership program, movie tickets are $5 at participating theaters.

Cinemark: Participating Cinemark theaters, which include Century Theatres, CinéArts, Tinseltown and Rave Cinemas, have the Summer Movie Clubhouse program. See 10 movies for $5 or pay $1 per show. Find movie schedules and learn more at cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse-theatres.

Cobb Theatres: Participating locations have a free Kids Summer Movie Escape program with shows starting at 10 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Dates and times vary by location. Learn more at cobbtheatres.com.

Regal Cinema: Participating theaters have $1 kid’s movies at 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays for Regal’s Summer Movie Express. Dates and movies vary by location. Learn more and find the movie schedule at regmovies.com.

Tech programs

Apple: The free Apple Camp is for kids ages 8 to 12 and there are three different tracks to choose. Each is a three-day program with 90-minute sessions. Topics include: coding with Sphero Robots; how to write songs using GarageBand on iPad; and how to tell stories with video using the Clips app. Be warned, however, spots and waiting lists fill up quickly. Learn more and register at apple.com/today/camp.

Microsoft: The Microsoft Store’s free YouthSpark Summer Camps consist of two-hour sessions for students with different skill levels. Sign up for one, two or four classes at your local Microsoft Store or online at microsoft.com/events-for-students.

Reading programs

Library systems nationwide have summer reading programs, as well free workshops and activities. Businesses are getting in on the reading game, too.

Barnes & Noble: Kids in first through sixth grades who read any eight books and bring in a Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Journal to the store by Sept. 3 can pick out a free book from a selection on the back of the journal. Journals are available in-store and online at bn.com/summerreading.

Books-A-Million: Through Sept. 3, kids who read any four books from the Summer Reading Adventure program’s reading list and bring a completed book log to a Books-A-Million store get free Mo Willems pencils and a case, while supplies last. Logs are available in-store and online at booksamillion.com/summeradventure.

Chuck E. Cheese: The popular pizza/arcade has printable calendars where kids and parents log activities such as reading every day for two weeks and other tasks such as “no nose picking” and doing chores. Bring the completed calendar to participating locations for 10 free tokens. This promotion is valid through Dec. 31 and a food purchase is required. Find printable forms at chuckecheese.com under deals and offers.

Half Price Books: Through July 31, kids in preschool to high school can participate in the Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program. By reading 300 minutes per month and logging the time on printable forms, kids can earn a Bookworm Bucks reward for each month. Logs need to be turned in by Aug. 30, which is when the rewards expire. Learn more and download forms at halfpricebooks.com/fyb.

H-E-B: The H-E-Buddy Summer Reading Club is for children 3 to 12 who are Texas residents. Kids need to read ten books and record on a reading log and will be rewarded with a special shirt. Forms can be submitted through Oct. 1. Learn more at heb.com.

Pottery Barn Kids: Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., participating Pottery Barn Kids stores have a book club with readings and activities. Kids who become Pottery Barn Kids Club members get a special surprise after attending five events.

TD Bank: Kids in kindergarten through fifth grade who read 10 books get $10 deposited into a new or existing TD Simple Savings account when they bring in a completed form by Aug. 31. Learn more at tdbank.com/summerreading.

Kelly Tyko is a consumer columnist and retail reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Read her Bargainista tips at TCPalm.com/Bargainista, follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko and email her at [email protected] Sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.tcpalm.com/featured-newsletter/bargainistabest.

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme

A Preschool Summer Activities Theme! Yes! Time to relax, go on vacations and plan some laid back preschool lesson plans for your classroom!

You’ll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Let the Preschool Summer Activities Theme planning begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

Preschool Summer Activities Theme Art

Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon

Materials Needed: For each child-small cardboard box (a tissue box works well) and a round balloon, inflated; newspaper strips (about 3 inches wide), paste made from flour and water, tempera paint, duct tape, twine.

Cover the balloon with strips of newspaper that are wet with the flour/water paste 2 to 3 times. Let dry for several days.

Tie 4 pieces of twine onto the box.

Pop and remove the balloons. The children can now paint their balloon.

When dry, place into their box. Tape the loose ends of the 4 pieces of twine to the paper mache balloon with duct tape.

Hole punch to holes at the top of the balloon shape and tie 2 longer pieces of twine to hand the balloon from the ceiling.

Lemonade Art

Materials Needed: For this preschool summer activities art project, purchase a large quantity of lemons (ask parents to each donate one as well!). Cut them in half before school starts. Let some of them dry slightly and place some others in the refrigerator.

Use the slightly dried lemon halves to print with. Use yellow and pink paint to dip the lemons into and them press onto paper.

Use the leftover lemons to make homemade lemonade with. The children will LOVE squeezing lemons!

Sunflowers

Materials: Large white paper, yellow and brown finger paint, green paper, scissors and glue.

The children dip their hands into yellow paint and place their hand on the white paper. Continue doing this going around in a circle to make the sunflower.

They then use their fingers to make the seeds inside the sunflower by dipping them in brown paint.

Have the children practice using scissors by cutting various shapes and sizes of leaves from green paper.

Also, draw a solid black line on their green paper to cut on to make the stem.

They glue their stem and leaves under their sunflower.

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Block Center Ideas

Many teachers have specific themes over the summer such as Ocean, Beach, etc. Add small plastic toys that go along with your theme or just summer items to your block area for this preschool summer activities theme.

Some ideas could be: Sand pails to help carry blocks.

Little, plastic people and fabric squares for being at the beach.

Ocean creature sorters to make and under the sea structure.

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!

FINGERPLAYS:

Summer Days

In the summer when days are hot (wipe forehead)

I like to find a shady spot (sit down)

And hardly move, even a tiny bit (sit still–freeze!)

And sit and sit and sit and sit.

Preschool Summer Activities Days!

These are my sunglasses (circle eyes with index fingers and thumbs)

This is my hat (hands on head)

This is the way to fold my hands (fold hands)

Just like that!

Pack the paper plates and napkins (pretend to pack a lunch box or picnic basket)

Don’t forget something to eat and drink.

Hot dogs, salad, cake and lemonade–I think pink!

It’s fun to go on a picnic!

I really can not wait!

To eat and play and have fun all day.

And get home very late! (Yawn and stretch)

Ice Cream (Flannel story, make pieces in advance).

First we need a cone,

Nice and crunchy.

Then we need some ice cream.

Sweet and yummy.

Scoop them on; stack them on.

Up to the sky.

First come vanilla-cold and sweet.

Then comes chocolate–a delicious treat.

Here’s some strawberry.

Orange sherbet, too.

A super big ice cream cone.

Just for you.

Once scoop, two scoops, three scoops, four.

We love ice cream…let’s make more!

EXTENSION: Prior to this, ask the children what their favorite flavor of ice cream is. List it next to their names and place on a chart. Give them a “scoop” of flannel in the color that represents their favorite and add it to this poem!

EXTENSION: Follow this activity up with the Ice Melting activity listed below under Sand and Water table.

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Ideas to Cook up for your Preschool Summer Activities Theme

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific preschool summer activities theme questions while making these fun snacks!

Cool and Green

Ingredients and Items needed: lemonade and blue kool-aid!

Make fresh lemonade. Add some of a packet of blue Kook-Aid and voila–cool, green refreshing!

Sunshine Snack

Ingredients and items needed: A fresh pineapple and vanilla yogurt (or banana or other flavor!)

Cut off the top of the pineapple and the sides in front of the children! Core it. Slice into rings. The children place a ring on a paper plate and add a scoop or 2 of yogurt on top. You can also add other fruits to the top…strawberries, blueberries, etc. Great fine motor and counting activity!

Home Made Popscicles

Materials needed: different flavors of juice, ice cube trays, craft sticks, measuring spoons, aluminum foil (some teachers use plastic wrap, but I have a difficult time making the slit in the wrap, so I use tin foil!)

Pour the different types of juice into shallow bowls. Have the children choose and then scoop juice into one or more of the compartments of the ice cube tray. Don’t worry if it overflows into another compartment, it will then be fruit punch!

When all sections are filled, cover the tray with aluminum foil and then gently insert a craft stick into each section and freeze.

NOTE: There are many products available in the supermarkets and stores for you to use to make these. They are plastic and have the sticks and covers as one piece. Check out your store’s preschool summer activities aisle or seasonal aisle. I prefer the “old fashioned” way of making them!

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Ideas to Transform your Dramatic Play Area

Beach Scene

Of course! It is summer! Preschool summer activities always include dramatic play! Add towels, empty sunscreen bottles, umbrella, beach chairs, water bottles and, if you are brave enough, spray bottles with water in them to spray and cool off!

Picnic Time!

Provide picnic items! This will be the most popular preschool summer activities idea in your classroom!

Provide picnic baskets, a blanket, pretend food, a radio/cd player, hats, some pretend plastic ants! Go for it!

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Ideas for your Easel

More Than Just Paining (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!

Going Swimming

Materials Needed: Provide many shades of blue and green for some great ocean or lake pictures!

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Large Group Games

that help build the children’s muscles while they have fun together!

Sidewalk Chalk Roads

Materials: Side Walk Chalk, ride-one bikes

They then follow their roads with their bikes or walk on them!

Painting the World

It can get pretty hot outside this time of year. Include lots of water play (and water drinking) as part of your preschool summer activities theme planning!

Materials: Many sand pails filled with water and large brushes (that you’d paint a house with). Let the children paint on the sidewalk with the water!

Get Out of the Rain

Have a race to get out of the rain! Talk to the children about the type of summer weather your area has. We tend to have lightening storms and a lot of rain.

Bring outside a drum or a bell or other instrument. The children should “run to the dry place” when they hear the instrument. The “dry place” may be a blanket you’ve laid out or a specific area of the playground.

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Ideas for Your Preschool Library

Book Suggestions for the Library

The following books may be found at your local library. You can purchase them through Amazon by clicking the title links.

(I LOVE Amazon, and if you choose to get yours there, they do send me a few cents–which supports my coffee habit!)

A Summery Saturday Morning (Picture Puffin Books) by Margaret Mahy
Carl’s Summer Vacation by Alexandra Day
How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Dragonfly Books) by Mark Teague
Mouse’s First Summer (Classic Board Books) by Lauren Thompson
The Night Before Summer Camp by Natasha Wing
The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow
Summer (Four Seasons) by Nuria Roca
The Summer Visitors by Karel Hayes
Ready for Summer (Ready For… (Tundra Books) by Marthe Jocelyn
Waterby Frank Asch

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Preschool Summer Activities to help your preschoolers develop math skills and those small muscles in their hands!

Sea Shells

Provide a very large variety of sea shells for the children to sort and count. Provide different preschool summer activities themed containers to sort into such as large clam shells, small beach pails, etc.

As with any sorting activity, give them time to just explore the shells for several days. They will be fascinated by the different shapes and colors.

Add paper cut into ocean shapes or other shells that you have programmed by putting numbers on each one. Encourage the children to count that many shells onto the paper you’ve cut out.

Fans

Show the children how to fold paper into fans. The accordion folds do not need to be very narrow, wide folds work also! They will have fun making their own fans!

EXTENSION: You could also add stickers and markers for the children to decorate their fans.

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Preschool Summer Activities Theme Music and Movement
Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin’ and Groovin’!

Celebrate-Summer is Here

Bring out all your musical instruments and have a Happy Summer celebration! Perhaps a parade outside!

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Preschool Summer Activities for your Sand and Water Table!

Boating!

Materials: Water! Plastic boats, 2 one liter bottles filled with water.

Place the water bottles at one end of the water table in the water. They should stand up due to their weight. If not, fill them with sand and cover.

Tie some string from one bottle to the other to resemble a finish line.

The children stand at the opposite end of the water table and place their boat on the water. They blow to move the boat to the other side of the table!

Beach Time

Add different beach items to your sand table. Include little, plastic people, little plastic dogs, small pieces of fabric for blankets or towels, small bowl with water for the ocean, little umbrellas, etc.

Or, add sand toys such as sifters, shovels, pails, water wheels, etc.

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Preschool Summer Activities Science Ideas
for your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Sea Shells

Materials: Bring in lots and lots of shells from the beach (or you can purchase them at a teacher store or craft store). The kids love to check them out, guess what used to live in them, etc.

EXTENSION: Add books about shelled fish at your science table.

Sunflower Investigation

Materials: Real sunflowers, tweezers, muffin tins

Let the children use the tweezers to pull the seeds off and place them into muffin tins. They can count or sort them. This is a great activity to do before the Sunflower Art project above in the art section!

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Writing Activity Ideas for your Preschool Summer Activities Theme

Beach Scene

Materials Needed: markers, crayons or colored pencils; foam pieces that are summer or beach themed or stencils that are themed.

The children create their own summer theme. Encourage them to talk to you about what they like to do in the summer. Write down their stories to post with with pictures.

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Miscellaneous Ideas for your Preschool Summer Activities Theme

Field Trips

A Word about Safety First

Taking summer field trips can be tricky. Although the beach sounds fun, I’m not a big supporter of bringing a large group to a beach, pond or lake.

There is too much potential for injury and far too many people there to keep track of the group. If you do decide to do this, plan, plan, plan and once your plans are in place, review your plans again.

Have an intense meeting with your chaperones to ensure that they know what their responsibilities are, who they are responsible for etc.

In addition, check your state regulations and don’t just leave this up to your director. YOU are the one taking the trip so YOU need to know the rules!

The regulations may require that you have your own certified life guard with you on the trip. Check it out and be safe.

Library

Don’t forget your public library! Call them to see what preschool summer activities they may have going on. Most libraries have a summer program in place of their school year programming. Much of their programming is geared for elementary aged children. So call ahead and find out if they can do something age appropriate with your preschoolers with some type of summer theme!

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Go to the MAIN THEMES page

Return to Preschool Plan-It Home Page

End of Summer traditions and fun ways to celebrate with these summer theme crafts and activities for kids. The summer season is almost at an end, so make it memorable with these end of summer activities!

The Tip Junkie Creative Community has 351 summer theme crafts with pictured tutorials with free patterns for the end of summer! So be sure to search there if you’re looking for something specific. {wink}

End of Summer

1. Endless Summer {Summer Party Themes} ~ What better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a pool party?! The watermelon theme was carried throughout the party from the decorations to the food. Some of the amazing food ideas included apple & watermelon sailboats, watermelon bites topped with fluff cream cheese and mint, and refreshing melon skewers.

2. Summer Time Capsule ~ Time capsules are so much fun and I love the idea of a summer time capsule. It’s so easy to forget what one did during the summer and this printable booklet is perfect to preserve your summertime memories.

3. How to Create Memories in a Jar {mason jar} ~ Create mementos of your summer vacations using photos, accessories, and a jar.

4. Driveway Photography ~ Who would have thought that sidewalk chalk could be so much fun?! It’s definitely a creative outlet and fun activity for the family. This is a definite must for your summer bucket list.

Summer Season

5. Lemonade Stand ~ “Keep Calm and Drink Lemonade”, this lemonade stand is so stink in’ cute! Fabric bunting banner, ruffled table cloth, and two adorable children…it can’t get any better than this! Oh wait, it can, the printables are free downloads.

6. Backyard Drive-In Movie {Summer Party Themes} ~ What child wouldn’t have a blast with this backyard drive-in movie party?! It’s perfect for a fun summer night of entertainment! You can make the cars using a cardboard box and paper plates for the wheels.

7. Sand Box {inspired by Pottery Barn Kids} ~ Not wanting to pay Pottery Barn Kid prices for a sandbox, Erin created her own! I think it looks cuter than PBK’s.

8. Sand Dollar Cookie {Craft Ideas} ~ These beautiful sand dollars are actually a cookie made from tapioca flour and coconut milk. A fun addition to your beach themed party or a unique edible craft to make with the kids this summer.

Summer Theme

9. Twirling Paper Ladybugs {Kids Paper Crafts} ~ What better way to get your kids out in the yard this summer than to create this fun kids paper craft? These twirling paper ladybugs are so adorable and are sure to be your child’s favorite outdoor garden decor.

10. Jello Watermelon Slices {Edible Crafts for Kids} ~ A fun summer treat, learn how to use a lime and red jell-o to create these fun watermelon shaped gelatin treats.

11. Pineapple Orange Banana Popsicles ~ Made of nothing but fruit, you don’t have to feel an ounce of guilt eating these yummy Summer treats. You could even let the kids have them for/with breakfast! Or break them out for dessert and they will never miss the extra sugar.

12. Homemade Slurpees Using Kool-Aid ~ Slurpees are a favorite treat during the hot Summer. This recipe has a great money saving tip. Making your own at home is simple and the kids will love it!

13. Toasted S’more Stuffed Strawberries ~ Strawberries stuffed with s’more ingredients, then wrapped in marshmallow cream and toasted sound yummy to me. Combining two very popular summer foods, strawberries and s’mores, this also has a gluten free option.

14. Summer Olympics {free printables} ~ I LOVE the cupcakes toppers in this free Olympic printable set. It also includes a party sign and printable medals. You may also want to check out her cute edible medals made from Golden Oreos and Fruit By The Foot.

Fun Things To Make:

  • 18 Summer Olympics Activities and Crafts for Kids
  • 40 Awesome Gifts to Make for Boys
  • 20 Best Homemade Toys for Toddlers

If you love these activities for kids– then you’ll find HUNDREDS more just as creative over on the Tip Junkie Kids site!

Thanks Ladies. I just adore these tutorials! Feel free to grab my “I was featured on Tip Junkie” blog button. You earned it! {knuckle bumps}

Also, don’t forget to check out the Tip Junkie Facebook page for even more crafts, activities for kids, creative ideas, and free tutorials. It’s a great place to ask questions on how to make things or for specific tutorials that you are looking for. I’ll be happy to find them for ya!

Creating Memories that Endure,

Laurie

For more free tutorials, craft, holiday, printables and DIY projects sign up for Tip Junkie’s email with new
How-To projects daily!

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Inside: Looking for some fun preschool summer activities? Here are 46 ideas that will keep your children engaged over summer break. Free printable list!

Where can you find preschool activities for summer break?

This is what some of my preschool parents have asked towards the end of each school year. Also, I’ve had messages on my Facebook page asking the same question.

So, I spent some time this week searching for activities that would not only keep little hands and brains busy, but also are fun and easy to set up.

  • Some simply involve some time outdoors.
  • Some you will find in your town.
  • Some you can easily make.

What could you add to this list? Please let me know in the comments!

46 Fun Preschool Summer Activities You Will Want to Try

Free printable list! Scroll down to find the link to download.

  • Read, read, read! (Here is my suggestion of rhyming books and our favorite books to sing with.)
  • Invite friends over for playdates.
  • Attend a story time at your local library.
  • Make a journal.
  • Pick some flowers and make fairy soup.
  • Make ice cream.
  • Make your own play dough and enjoy it with various kitchen gadgets, cooking cutters, etc.
  • Visit a children’s museum.
  • Plan a summer camp at home.
  • Have fun with bubbles.
  • Visit the beach and play this scavenger hunt game.
  • Play in the sprinkler.
  • Make s’mores. If you don’t have access to a campfire, make s’more bites in the oven.
  • Be creative with sidewalk chalk.
  • Have a family picnic.
  • Play hide and seek.
  • Have breakfast with the family out in the backyard.
  • Toss water balloons
  • Plant some seeds.
  • Go on a bike ride.
  • Have a family movie night.
  • Feed the ducks.
  • Paint outdoors.
  • Enjoy a walk and play nature bingo.
  • Get involved in a gardening project.
  • Have a BBQ at the park.
  • Make a fruit salad.
  • Build a bird house.
  • Paint with bubbles.
  • Have a tea party.
  • Go on a bug scavenger hunt.
  • Turn on some good music and get moving!
  • Watch a movie outside.
  • Go to your local farmer’s market.
  • Cook together, or make a no-cook snack.
  • Pick berries and make a smoothie.
  • Attend a concert in the park.
  • Decorate your bike.
  • Make popsicles.
  • Watch the sunset.
  • Wash the car.
  • Have a popcorn night.
  • Create an activity that relates to a picture book.
  • Try some of these preschool learning activities.
  • Explore a summer science project.
  • Have a family karaoke night!

You might also like these summer ideas:

29 Dollar Store Finds That Will Keep Your Kids Busy All Summer

30 Cool Summer Activities

60 Days of Cheap Summer Fun

A Ton of Free Summer Printables

Summertime Scissors Practice

More summer fun:

Planning your summer theme? We’ve done the work for you!

I am so excited to be a co-author of these summer theme lesson plans.

24 preschool learning activities for your summer theme, including literacy, math, science, art, fine motor, and more! A great resource for teachers and homeschoolers.

24 preschool learning activities that cover:

Literacy
Math
Science
Fine Motor
Sensory
Gross Motor
Art
Social Studies
Music
Circle Time
Social/Emotional

You can read more about our lesson plans, and see example pages, here: Preschool Lesson Plans

FREE CIRCLE TIME PLANNER!

Get your FREE circle time planner as a gift when you subscribe to my free weekly newsletters.

Here is my Privacy Policy

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Summer is here! I suppose it officially begins in June, but it feels like summer and school is out! Today, I am sharing 10 simple and fun summer activities for kids!! These ideas are simple, yet are fun and designed to keep kids busy this summer!

1. Sponge Water Bombs

Make these really easy sponge water bombs to keep kids cool this summer! They are so simple to make. You need 3 sponges for each water bomb you make. First, cut the sponges into thirds. Then stack the nine pieces. Lastly, tie a rubber band or hair tie around the center of the stack. Fluff out the sponge pieces and you are done!

The original idea is from this blog.

And you never know…your kids may just feel compelled to wash the car!

2. Squirting Cups with Water Guns

This activity is so much fun and perfect for keeping kids cool in the summer! Just stack plastic cups and have your child squirt water to knock them down. It keeps my boys busy for a long time!

3. Fly Swatter Bubbles

Did you know you can use a fly swatter to blow bubbles? Just dip it in bubble solution and either blow on the other side of the fly swatter or rapidly move the fly swatter around. It makes really fun bubbles!!

(by the way…my son has face paint on his face in the picture below!)

4. Colorful Soap Foam

Oh how I adore this activity! It is colorful, fun, and easy!! To make the soap foam, simply put 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, 1 tablespoon of corn starch and food coloring into a blender. Blend until foamy (just around 20 seconds). Then dump into a bin and let the kiddos play!

I was inspired to make this foam after seeing it on this blog. So glad we tried it out! It will be a go-to activity this summer!

5. Sunscreen Pictures

This is a sensory and art activity. Just put sunscreen in a bowl and let your child make art on black paper. Then lay the pictures in the sun and watch how the picture changes!

6. Bubble Snakes

Another fun bubble activity is to make bubble snakes using water bottles! Follow the tutorial on this post to make one!

7. Paint with Water

This activity is so simple, but it really does keep kids busy for a while! My kids loved painting the sidewalk and driveway with water. I only bought one roller at the dollar store, but really should have bought two since my kids both wanted to use it!

8. Water Balloon & Target

To set this activity up, just draw three circles on cement using chalk. Add numbers in the circle for points. Then have your child throw water balloons at the circles. If the water balloon breaks on that part of the circle, then they receive that many points.

9. Soap Boats

Make soap boats and race them down a gutter! See all the details on this post. Or you could switch it up and race ice boats down the gutter.

10. Pool Noodle Water Wall

Create a water wall using pool noodles to keep kids busy and cool this summer! To see how to make this, visit this post.

If you are looking for more fun ways to keep your kids busy this summer, check out my At Home Summer Camps! This digital packet has 84 super FUN activities for kids, ages 3-10. Find out more over HERE.

Happy Summer!

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School’s out, the sun’s out and your kids should be too! Long summer days mean just one thing: spending as much time outdoors as you can. Whether that’s in your own backyard or among the great outdoors, we know everyone wants to make the most of this season. This is also the time where there’s no room for boredom because there’s just so much to do in the summer. And sometimes that’s overwhelming with the pressure to make sure your kids are taking classes and workshops and doing something significant every minute of the day.

But summer is actually the best time to go back to some old-school fun and impromptu plans without the stress of going through a huge list of activities. Some of our favourite, easy and must-do ways to make summer super fun are right here and we’d love to know yours too!

Let them get their hands dirty

Summer was made for grubby hands and muddy fingernails! Set up a sandbox in your backyard and give your kids a little beach bucket and spade to make their own sand castles. This is a good way to let them amuse themselves without expecting elaborate activities for entertainment all day. Now’s also a great time to get them into a bit of gardening. Little minds are full of curiosity and the actions of digging, planting and watering are an adventure. Choose a plant that grows quickly and your child will take great joy in watching it come up!

Make evenings as fun as the day

Set up a picnic blanket, pack your kids’ favourite foods and settle in for an evening of star gazing. If this is in your backyard, think about a screen and projector set up to turn it into movie night! You could even pitch tents right there and spend the night sleeping outdoors, what could be more fun for your whole family? Alternatively, check for outdoor movie screenings near you, they’re a favourite summer activity. Summer festivals and carnivals are great in the evenings with the lights and buzz enough to entertain any child!

Make day trips a frequent treat

Planning weekend getaways or longer summer holidays can be a huge task. But simple day trips to the zoo, to the beach, to a farmer’s market, to an amusement park or even to go strawberry picking are all great. You’ll be outdoors and doing something different and no one weekend will be the same. Pile into a car with everything you need and off you go! If your kids can ride bikes, take those along too. For younger children, our PortaPlay activity centres are particularly useful as they fold up easily and can be taken anywhere for them to play in while soaking up some sun.

Jump into the water!

If you live near a beach, you know what to do! If your apartment complex has a pool or there is one nearby, go have a family swim day. If you have a backyard, set up a little kiddie pool and have a barbecue party as they splash around in it. When you water your garden and the sprinklers are on, get your kids to put on their bathing suits and run through them!

Create fun DIY projects

Teach your kids to make a bird feeder and make some new feathered friends! Set up a crafts table outside for them to paint or draw what they see around them, and it doubles up as some quiet time! Here again, the PortaPlay is useful because it converts easily from a seat to an activity table. Get them to pick up small rocks and stones from the garden and paint them, give them faces and names and whole personalities! If you’re feeling ambitious, build a tree house with them or for something simpler, a ‘fort’ made with patio furniture and old sheets.

This list can go on as long as these sunny days themselves! What do your kids like to do in the summer? Leave a comment and let us know. We hope your family has a great summer!

TODAY

Oh nooooo! Summer is nearing its end and the back-to-school checklists are coming out!

You know what, though? We don’t have to give up on summer fun with our kids just yet. Our TODAY Parenting Team contributors have been sharing all sorts of tips in our “Summer Fun” challenge, and we’ve compiled a bunch of them here. We hope these ideas and insights help you squeeze as much fun as possible out of these final days of summer.

Please feel free to add to this ongoing conversation by becoming a member of our Parenting Team — anyone is welcome to join! — and stay connected to TODAY Parents’ updates on our Facebook page. If you’ve got other ideas for summer fun (and summer sanity), we’d really love to hear them!

1. Play at the park when your children play. (Laura Doran)

Courtesy of Laura Doran

“My friend … came across a clip of a woman doing burpees over and under the swings on her local playground. It was awesome. After our Stroller Strides workout the very next day, we headed to the park to try it for ourselves, and it was hard, but we did it. And it was a BLAST. … That morning, my friends and I were playing on the playground for the first time in years. We laughed, we got some sun, we came home with a few scrapes. We had a great time challenging ourselves physically, much like we encourage our children to do when they climb the jungle gym or cross the monkey bars. Our kids were able to see their mommies pushing themselves and enjoying it immensely.”

2. Throw an impromptu party — with snow cones! (Laura Fuentes / MOMables)

Courtesy of Laura Fuentes / MOMables

“This summer, I decided to throw the ultimate summertime block party — New Orleans style. … My kids were so excited. They almost didn’t believe this was happening so they kept asking: What are we celebrating? We are celebrating summer, I told them. And we did. The kids and their friends went up and down the slide carefree from the minute it was fully set up after delivery. Somehow, it became a boys vs. girls to see who can eat snowballs faster without a brain freeze.”

Here’s how to make the snow cones:

3. Go berry picking. (Shazi Visram / Happy Family)

Courtesy of Shazi Visram

“If you have never taken your children berry picking, you should try it this summer. Watching their faces light up as they see a huge field full of strawberries and realize that they can pick (and eat) as many as they want is just heartwarming. It is also a great opportunity to start to teach your children about where their food comes from in a really easy and accessible way. … The berries always taste so much better, and it is a great excuse to make a blueberry pie with the abundance you bring home!”

4. Bounce a ball. (Meredith Sinclair)

Courtesy of Meredith Sinclair Trending stories,celebrity news and all the best of TODAY.

“One simply cannot resist the magic of a really bouncing giant playground ball. … The Mega Bounce XL … bounces incredibly high, it’s 100 inches around, and it even bounces on sand and grass. Try taking one of these kid-magnets into your front yard and NOT attracting all the children in the hood.”

5. Suit up and splash around with your kids.(Christina Nicholson / Mascara Maven and More)

Courtesy of Christina Nicholson

“Instead of worrying about how my stomach looks in my bikini, I’m having fun with my family at the pool or at the beach when I can. My kids aren’t going to remember what I looked like in my bikini. They’re going to remember what I did in my bikini — and that’s spend time with them.”

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6. Play now, clean later. (Shalene Roberts)

“Keep in mind that the building of memories is far better than the building of an immaculate house.”

7. Hack a movie projector for summer nighttime fun. (Amanda Mushro / Questionable Choices in Parenting)

Courtesy of Amanda Mushro

“If you’ve seen those fancy outdoor movie projectors and wondered how you can have one without paying a small fortune, this hack is for you.

“Here’s what you need:

  • “A box
  • “Magnifying glass
  • “Black spray paint
  • “Black duct tape
  • “Cell phone or tablet

“Start by cutting a hole that is the exact size of the magnifying glass. Spray paint the inside of the box with the black paint. Use the duct tape to attach the magnifying glass inside the box. Tape the edges so that no light can get in around the magnifying glass. Put your phone or iPad into the box (be sure to lock the rotation because you need to turn it upside down so the reflection on the screen is right side up) and adjust to focus by propping the phone or tablet up higher in the box, turning up the brightness, or moving it closer to the magnifying glass. Turn the box to a wall or hang a sheet outside to create a screen. Start streaming your movie and use speakers to enhance the sound.”

8. Get outside and enjoy some gardening. (Marcie in Mommyland)

Courtesy of Marcie in Mommyland

“Our toddler was thrilled to help us pick out which plants we should put in our cart. He was also excited to ride home in the car with the blueberry bush right next to him. As soon as we got home, our son wanted to help us plant. He was my husband’s right hand as they dumped the potting soil into the pots, mixed in the plant food and shook the dirt from the plants. Our son’s favorite part was patting the soils around the plants. He grinned when he and my husband would dust off their hands afterward. He also really enjoyed helping us water the plants and now he insists on doing it all by himself.”

9. Use the Olympics for some fun summertime inspiration. (Jen Schiffman)

“An obstacle course is a great way to teach persistence. Use balls, pillows, and other household items for your child to jump over, run around, and crawl under. If your child gets frustrated completing one of the obstacles, remind your child that through practice and hard work she can overcome the obstacle. Point out that athletes often get frustrated, but that they persevere and try their best. You can also remind your child about the power of ‘yet’! This simple word conveys the idea that it takes practice, commitment, and self-control to learn new things. It’s not that your child can’t do something, it’s just that she just can’t do it ‘yet.’”

10. On outings with kids, leave electronic devices at home and only carry a camera. (Sommer Stiles)

Courtesy of Sommer Stiles

“I know, I know, you’re an adult, you have responsibilities and someone ‘important’ may call. They can wait. The ones who matter most are with you, they deserve your full attention and you deserve to live in the moment. Opt to bring your camera instead. (You know, that thing you used to take photos before mobile phones became so ‘smart.’) With your eyes focused on the sights around you (not on a screen), you’ll truly unplug and be there to capture every second with your heart, and your camera.”

11. Coordinate a play date with a cool theme. (Jillian Darlington / MomCo)

Courtesy of Jillian Darlington / MomCo

“Some fun ideas for themed play dates that you can do:

“Picnic-themed. Have a potluck picnic with your friends. Meet at a park, the beach, go strawberry picking, or ride a train and have a picnic afterward. …

“Water-themed. Meet at a splash pad, the pool, the beach, run through the sprinklers, set up a water table or kiddie pool in your back yard, or meet at an aquarium. …

“Car-themed. To incorporate the car theme, have everyone bring their favorite ride-on toys to the park or someone’s house. …

“Bubble-themed. What toddler doesn’t like bubbles? Get the bubble machine out and have the kids run around. Moms can sit and catch up while the kids are kept busy.”

12. Let your kids try a lemonade stand — and marvel at how it goes. (Leigh Ann Torres)

Courtesy of Leigh Ann Torres

“Kids deserve more credit than we give them. … Despite my reservations, Claire had so much of this business figured out already, and she wasn’t going to let me keep her down. She had the idea. She made the lemonade. She made the signs. She provided prompt and cheerful service to her customers. She did lemonade outreach, something I never would have done as a kid. She wasn’t shy about soliciting the neighbors, cars driving by. Even the burly tattooed boxers who train in my neighbor’s garage dug around their cars for change to come buy some crappy lemonade from an excited little girl.”

13. If summer break has been burning you out, don’t beat yourself up. (Chrissy Roussel)

Courtesy of Chrissy Roussel

“Let’s forgive ourselves daily when we lose our patience, our keys, and everything else too. Summer is hard. Fun, but hard. Like life. It’s OK to lose your patience when they leave their wet bathing suits all over the house for the millionth time. It’s OK to be frustrated when you have to answer the 7,535th question of the day. It’s OK to … get mad when no one has picked up their toys and shoes that are strewn all over the yard. Forgive yourself and move on, tomorrow is another day. One where you will likely be asked 8,345 questions, so get ready.”

14. Let them have some screen time. (Judy Yaron)

Courtesy of Judy Yaron

“There is nothing wrong with computer games, puzzles, video clips, and social media as long as it is in moderation and is counterbalanced by other activities. Who knows? You too may want to join them and have a go, or you can always use the time to do your own thing.”

15. Make a special effort to re-prioritize in the final days of summer. (Whitney Fleming)

Courtesy of Whitney Fleming

“I will let you have a lemonade stand, go on bike rides to get ice cream, climb trees, and go to the pool as often as possible, even when I want to do other important stuff, like vacuum. … I will let you do fun, messy stuff even though it drives me crazy. I will let you play in the mud, bake cookies, try elaborate crafts, run in the sprinklers, and do science experiments. You are growing up so fast and I know there’s not much more time left.”

Follow TODAY writer and editor Laura T. Coffey on Twitter @ltcoff and on Google+, and learn about her bestselling book “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts” at MyOldDogBook.com.

whatever

i was really ready for school to start but feeling like this summer was missing some FUN.
you know…REAL fun.
i felt tired and busy all summer.
and a bit checked out.
at the store i got the last minute school supplies i had forgotten before and as i grabbed the shaving cream that was on my grocery list…i had the idea.
shaving cream fight.
it’s been two years.
we needed to bring it back.

after dinner that night i called them out for a surprise.
i was nervous they were going to think they were too old for it.

clearly they were not too old for this awesomeness.
well, scott was…but you could tell he really wanted to come out.
isn’t it a bummer to get older and put all these “rules” on yourself?
because are you really ever too old to be in a shaving cream fight?
the answer is no.
i keep a few wet rags nearby for when someone gets it on their eye or mouth.
there were no tears this year or fighting.
YAY!!!
the yard smelled amazing.
waffle really wanted to come out and play.
she did throw it at me.
it wiped off my camera.
and i had it all over my shirt….but that is no biggie.
best picture ever!!!
i sent them to the trampoline which was like i told them to get a third scoop of ice cream!
they were so happy.


THEN i turned on the sprinkler under the trampoline and they cleaned most of the shaving cream off of them.
they eventually went in one at a time and showered while i sprayed down the deck.
it was the pefect last night of summer activity.
they said so many times how fun it was and how awesome all that shaving cream felt.
smile.

at least we ended on a good note.
goodbye summer.
you were too hot and kind of sucky…..autumn i expect more from you!

my advice today:
GO BUY TEN CANS OF BARBASOL AND TELL YOU KIDS TO GO NUTS!

craft weekend post is coming on monday!
did you think i forgot?
no way…. those posts just always have so much goodness they take a long time to write. 🙂

Whether school for your kids ends in May or continues all the way through June (as it does for us) lots of families have special ways they like to celebrate the last day of school and the start of summer vacation (which can also serve as the kick-off to your own DIY Summer Camp!) Here are some great last day of school ideas to celebrate the start of summer!

#1 Last Day of School Ideas: Plan a Special Breakfast!

Whether you do something totally unexpected and silly- like serving cake for breakfast- or you go the route of preparing a yummy breakfast casserole the night before that you can pop in the oven before you start waking up the kids (like this one from Happy Brown House), it’s nice to do something different to get this special day started right!

#2 Take a Last Day of School Picture

Certainly, you took a “First day of School” picture, right? Why not take one on the last day of school and hang them side-by-side on the fridge? You won’t believe how much they’ve grown up in just one school year! Head on over to .

#3 Be Sure to Thank the Teachers

This is an awesome idea to thank your child’s teacher and help them get their summer started off right too!

If you’ve already contributed to the class gift or have dozens of teachers in your kids’ lives (like I do!), then at least have your child construct a thoughtful thank you note for each teacher, and you can write a line or two at the bottom about how much you appreciate all of their hard work this year!

#4 Create a Banner or Finish Line

There’s going to be that moment when they hop off of the bus or walk through the front door for the first time this summer- make it memorable! It can be as simple as a strand of crepe paper stretched across the driveway, or I love this idea for a streamer-filled doorway for the kids to walk through from RedHeads Plus One!

Looking for some fun things to do with the kids?

Check out some of our family’s favorites! Here’s our list of the best backyard games This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. and for those rainy days- here are our favorite board games This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. !

You can find more great resources for busy Moms over on my Amazon influencer page This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. !

#5 Add Some Water Balloons!

A certain awesome Mom-friend of mine greets her kids right off of the bus by pelting them with water balloons every year! But it’s also fun to just pre-fill a big bunch of balloons and let the kids have a water balloon fight right when they get home!

Our favorites are these self tie-ing water balloons This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. – that you fill in big bunches at once! I also love this idea from Design Dazzle on creating glow in the dark water balloons for a nighttime fight!

#6 Get Them Some Stylish New Shades!

I love this idea to give your kids a gift of new sunglasses with this adorable free printable tag that welcomes in the start of summer!

I found cool polarized kids sunglasses This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. that have rubber arms and are flexible (perfect for kids who will leave them just about everywhere this summer!). And for my teens, I am buying these polarized sunglasses This is an affiliate link: MomOf6 earns a commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. that are perfect for an active summer, and come with a lifetime breakage warranty for the frame and lenses (let’s hope we won’t need to use it!)

#7 Build Your Own Slip ‘N Slide

Now that summer has officially started- bring on the water play! I love this DIY slip and slide idea! Simple to make and set up- and your kids will have a blast! Check out how they did it over on Fresh Crush!

#8 Serve Ice Cream and Cupcakes

Make a project out of creating your own chocolate cups, make homemade rainbow ice cream, and then serve it alongside these adorable sunshine cupcakes– a special afternoon treat will keep the smiles going!

#9 Create Your Summer Bucket List

If you haven’t had a chance yet to brainstorm a list of places you want to visit, things you want to do, and things you want to make together- then let this free bucket list printable help to get you started!

#10 Camp Out in the Backyard and Make S’Mores

You don’t have to go on vacation to enjoy some family together time- pitch your tent in your own backyard, string up some lights and allow the kids to drag out their sleeping bags, pillows, and board games. Build a campfire and have the fixins for s’mores ready to go!

Please check out my DIY Summer Camp page for lots of ideas on how to host your own kids summer camp at home!

Here are some more great summer ideas for you:

  • Free Family Summer Bucket List Printable
  • Free Printable Summer Schedule
  • 50 Fun Summer Activities, Crafts, and Field Trips (From Pre-K to Teens!)
  • DIY Roller Coaster Ride
  • Teach Your Kids How to Play Crazy 8’s!

So tell us- what are your favorite last day of school ideas to kick off the start of summer?