Summer time. Our kids’ schedules change and as parents, we are still trying to get all of the same things done. The transition can be rough! Today I want to share a list of summer activities for kids at home!
Yes, that means this list is all things for the kids to keep busy with in your house or yard!
Outings around town can be fun, but some days we have things to get done (or we just really don’t what to load the kids up and drive somewhere) and it’s not possible to do that! Or maybe you don’t have a vehicle available.
This list is full of ways to keep your kids busy without ever leaving the house!
Having a ideas to choose from helps, because, if your kids are like mine, some days they play really well on their own and others they tend to fight constantly and just make mess after mess. Having direction helps!
When using these ideas, you could:
- Give your child a list of items from this post to choose from each day
- You select an activity that would work best that day
- Put each item on a piece of paper and have one of the kids randomly pick one from a bucket
If you are looking for more summer ideas, I shared 10 free ways to beat the heat with kids and fun things to do when staycationing in a small town last week.
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Summer Activities for Kids at Home
1. Movie Afternoon
During the hottest time of day, turn off the lights, pop some popcorn, and have everyone pile on the couch and watch a movie from your collection.
Give your kids some play sheets and clothespins and let them have at it. This provides hours of entertainment. You might even find your kids playing in their forts for days. Send them outside to use the clothesline pole, tree, swing set, and patio to assist in their building or let them take over your living room and dining room utilizing every chair you have in your house. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with such simple things.
Hook up the sprinkler or turn the hose onto a mist if you don’t have a sprinkler. Both of my kids love the water. The minute water is on, they will have their faces in it. Set the sprinkler up on the ground so they can run through the spray or hang it over their play set and all of a sudden they have a water slide and water swing.
4. Slip and Slide
We didn’t use these often and seemed to destroy them quickly but found them to be a lot of fun. Buy one or you can use a tarp you already have.
5. Indoor picnic
100 plus degree temperatures don’t exactly beg you to go sit outside and enjoy your meal. It’s the perfect opportunity, though, to spread a blanket out on the living room floor and bring the picnic inside. A bonus is not having to worry about flies and bugs.
6. Indoor camping
Camping. Another thing I don’t even want to think about doing when it’s so hot. Bring blankets and pillows to the living room floor and have an air conditioned camp out. If you have the supplies, you could even do s’mores using the oven or stove.
7. Water Gun Fight
Why is it so fun to squirt water at someone else? Have a supply of good water guns and everyone in your family will want to participate!
8. Water Balloons
We all know it takes forever to fill the balloons and a fight is over in seconds. So, play games to keep the fun lasting longer:
- water balloon toss
- spoon race
- race with the balloon between the knees
When those are over, finish with a giant water balloon fight!
9. Messy Play
Summer is the perfect time for this because they can do the activities outside and get hosed off when they are done. Making a mud pit or filling the sandbox up with water will makes your child’s day. Check out this post from The Chaos and the Clutter for some ideas for hands on activities that will have your kids messy!
See, summer activities for kids at home don’t have to be boring or the same old things. We just have to think outside the box a little!
10. Star Gazing
Stay up late and wait for the stars to appear and then head outside and lay down on some blankets or your trampoline and see what constellations you can find and who can see a shooting star.
11. Giant Bubbles
Put your kids to work making this giant bubble wand (they’ll probably each end up wanting their own). I love that it’s simple and shouldn’t cost anything to make. Then you can even make your own bubble solution. This will impress the kids way more than the little plastic wands from the store.
12. Make Popsicles
Popsicles are the perfect way to cool off in the summer. Sure, you can buy a box but you can make them just as easily. They end up being healthier and cheaper. We love to freezer leftover smoothies in popsicle molds. You can also try this recipe that I posted from the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook or even just use apple or orange juice. My kids beg for these in any shape or form.
In the summer time you can buy popsicle molds at most stores. Of course, Amazon also has them available. I have popsicle molds and also the silicone popsicle tubes. Those are great for slow eaters, but do be aware that silicone picks up the flavors from you freezer so you don’t want to keep them in there too long. 🙂
13. Make a Fairy Garden
Let your child’s creativity take over! There are some elaborate fairy gardens out there. Give them a flower pot or plastic container and have them explore your yard for supplies to design their own fairy garden. You could also let them raid your craft supplies and paint. This will keep them busy for a while.
14. Tin Can Stilts
This will be such a fun project. I can also so races happening after they are built. This post has a tutorial for making them and I love how they decorated the cans as well.
15. Backyard Pool
It’s summer. You can involve too much water. Whether this is simply a kiddie pool or you move up to a large inflatable pool or even a full blown above ground pool, your kids will love being able to get wet and play!
The pool is also a great place to fill up water squirters. My kids have used some form of these almost every summer!
16. Board Game
Instead of a movie afternoon, pull out your board games in the heat of the day for a perfect summer activity for kids! My kids love playing games as a family. I need to do a post on their favorites sometime soon.
17. Make Ooblek
Another fun activity. All you need in cornstarch and water. Food coloring is optional. Give each child a pan with cornstarch. Have them stir as you slowly had a little water and them let them have fun deciding if it’s a solid or a liquid.
Ooblek will dry out and you can store in container and simply rehydrate the cornstarch when they want to use it again.
18. Hands On Homemade Ice Cream
A few options here. Obviously you could do the old fashioned crank ice cream machine. But to make things a little different for your kids, try out making Coffee Can Ice Cream or they can each do their own Ice Cream in a Bag.
You will win best mom ever award for that one! 😉 Especially if you bring out ice cream toppings!
Don’t dismiss the obvious. Hot summer afternoons are a great time to develop a love of reading. Choose a book to read aloud to your kids (this works to older kids too) and have them all have books to read independently. Involve snacks to make it more fun!
20. Poetry and Tea
Have every person select a poetry book (use the library if you need) and take turns reading poems aloud. Enjoy tea (or lemonade in tea cups) and scones or cookies while you do it.
What else would you add to this list of summer activities for kids at home? Those hot summer day can get long and it’s too easy to just let them turn on the television!
Originally published July 18, 2014. Updated July 16, 2020.