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10 fun summer activities for kids and parents to do together

Put the fun in summer with these cool things everyone can participate in

Teen girl enjoying a summer read on a dock
patat / Shutterstock

Summer vacation is just around the corner (or already here for many). Now, don’t worry if you don’t have a big vacation planned or haven’t booked the kiddos into a bunch of camps. Those things are of course cool, but part of summer should be devoted to spending quality time together as a family.

You don’t need to head to Europe or a resort to do that. There are plenty of fun summer activities kids and parents can enjoy. That includes teens, too. Parents and teens definitely need to reconnect when school’s out for the summer, especially since they will be headed off to college or on their own soon.

Summer is all about kicking back and savoring moments without having to worry about homework or making practices on time. If you’re looking for things to do when school ends, we’ve got an exciting list of activities earmarked for summer.

Fun summer activities

Family packing the car for a road trip
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Whether you are having a staycation this summer or headed away, there are always weekends and short work weeks that are ideal for planning a family adventure. Summer activities don’t have to be pricey, either. It’s all about spending time with the kiddos and making memories. Kids, and especially teens, may grumble when you’re doing them, but it’s amazing how fondly they recall those outings down the road. So, let’s grab the backpack, water, and a few snacks and have some summer fun.

Hiking

Getting the kids and adults out into nature is a fabulous way to disconnect. Let’s face it. Everyone spends too much time on their devices and that includes parents, too. Summer is the ideal time to explore local hiking paths. Make it a goal this summer to plan a weekly hike in a different spot. Get the kiddos involved in choosing the locations. You can stay local or head to hiking paths a reasonable driving distance away. Be sure to get an early start and bring plenty of water, snacks, bug spray, and sunblock.

Bike riding

There’s something about summer that just screams bike riding. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a seaside holiday or riding around your own neighborhood, riding a bike is relaxing and just plain fun. So, find a bike path, load the bikes up on the car, and start pedaling.

Completing a bike path, whether it’s 5 miles or 20, gives kids, teens, and parents a sense of accomplishment. The ride itself is amazing as you check out the scenery as you peddle along. Little ones and new riders may not be able to do longer bike rides but can typically handle shorter ones. If you have tweens and teens, spend a summer day completing a bike path together. Then, treat yourselves to some ice cream. It will taste much sweeter after riding all those miles.

Kayaking

A great way to check out waterways in your area or on vacation is to go kayaking. You don’t need experience to go kayaking. It’s a great summertime activity for novices and experienced kayaks.

Playing pickleball

Pickleball has been around since the 60s, but the sport has really taken off in recent years. Summer is an ideal time to try something new. All you need for the family to play is a set of pickleball racquets and balls. If you don’t have pickleball courts near you, use a tennis court. Pickleball just uses the service boxes.

Playing miniature golf

Summer and miniature golf really seem to go hand in hand. It’s probably why most vacation towns have more than one course. Mini golf is the perfect family activity and a great way to spend a weekend afternoon.

Taking a road trip

Road trips don’t have to be long or end with a stay in a hotel. Sometimes, just the journey is the fun part. This summer make it a point to explore your state with a road trip or two. Pick a place with a quirky downtown or take a ride to see one of your state’s national parks. To make sure everyone experiences the joys of a road trip, make it a rule to turn off the phones. Instead, play some road trip games like they used to do back in the day.

Cooking a meal together

Summer activities don’t always require leaving the house. During the school year, families are usually on a tight schedule. Dinners tend to be quick so kids can get to practice on time. This summer, try to cook a meal or two together as a family. Teaching kids and teens to cook is a vital life skill. Let the kids pick recipes they want to try and will eat. Involve them in the whole process, which includes shopping for ingredients.

Going to the theater

With streaming services, there’s always something for kids and parents to watch. Going to a theater, however, to see a play is something different altogether. Head to the city to see a matinee or an evening performance. If you don’t live close enough, check out community theater options in your area. Many local theater companies also offer Plays in the Park during the summer months.

Camping

Many families enjoy camping, while others have never tried it. Camping can be a fun family adventure that gives everyone an opportunity to connect with nature. If you aren’t comfortable heading into the woods for a camping trip, you can have a campout in your own backyard. For those who don’t want to experience the great outdoors, you can pitch a tent in your living room after having s’mores under the stars.

Reading

Summer reads are a thing, and we’re not talking about titles on the kids’ vacation reading list. Head to the local library or bookstore and have everyone pick out something to read. Instead of turning on Netflix after dinner, have everyone get cozy with their books and read. Kids will be more apt to read for fun when they see parents doing it, too.

Part of the excitement of summer is the endless possibilities. From travel and trying new recipes to hiking, biking, and seeing that hot new play, there are so many fun summer activities to do together as a family. Whether you’re going on vacation or the kids have several camps on tap, there is always time to squeeze in one or more of these cool summer outings and activities that are ideal for families.

Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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