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10 incredible summer activities for kids that they’ll truly love

Be ready for summer fun with these cool activities

yellow ring in an empty pool
StacieStauffSmith Photos / Shutterstock

Kids look forward to summer with so much excitement, but it doesn’t take long for the boredom to set in. It can make busy parents feel like overworked cruise directors. You could have the best backyard on the block with a pool and still hear the often-asked question when school is out for summer — what are we going to do today?

Even with camps and vacations, those dog days of summer can seem endless if the kiddos don’t have anything to do. That’s when the dreaded devices come out, followed by the lament that they just don’t have anything else to do. Well, banish those smartphones and iPads because we’ve got a list of hot summer activities for kids to keep boredom at bay.

Summer activities for kids

mom and tween daughters working together on family vegetable garden
kryzhov / Shutterstock

When you have kids, summer takes on a very different look than it did in your younger days. When you were in school, summer meant family time, a chance to hang with friends, and late nights without having to worry about getting up early for school. Of course, there was a lot of sleeping late.

Well, those lazy days of summer take on a different look when you’re a parent. Sure, the kiddos need time to recharge their batteries after a school year filled with homework, sports, and numerous after-school commitments. So, sleeping in and a day or two here and there in PJs is always in order, but the one thing parents can’t stand is when the house is filled with bored kids with nothing to do. That’s when those devices come out. Summer should also be a time to disconnect and refresh. So, this summer, take a page from your childhood with these cool summer activities that will keep the kiddos busy and having fun.

Explore your state

Sometimes, we neglect the very things that are right in our own backyard, especially when the kids get older. So, this summer, make it a point to take advantage of the national parks, street fairs, hiking trails, bike paths, zoos, amusement parks, museums, and aquariums in the area and state where you live.

When you start to look, you’ll certainly discover a whole host of interesting places to visit that are a walk or a short car ride away. Getting the kids involved in choosing sites to see and activities to do in your area always ups their interest. You may even want to stray a little farther with a short road trip.

Go to the theater

It can be hard to find the time to see a play or musical during the school year. So, make it a plan to do it during the summer. Check out community theaters near you. Oftentimes, there are plays close by, or even better, plays in the park that are annual summer productions.

If you happen to live near a major city, see what Broadway plays are making their rounds in the summer. For people who live a train or car ride away from NYC, create memories by going to see a Broadway play. Choosing a different Broadway play to see each summer gives everyone something to look forward to.

Plant a garden

If you’re looking to get the kids outside and to do something together, think about planting a garden. Whether it’s flowers, vegetables, or both, a garden is a wonderful learning experience for kids of all ages and something fun to do together. You can even go from garden to table by making special recipes together with the fruits of everyone’s labor. Another wonderful thing about a summer garden is that there are always chores to do to maintain it.

Get creative

Busy kids and parents don’t often have time during the academic year to pursue creative hobbies. Summer definitely allows time to explore your artistic side. Knitting and crocheting are really taking off. There are the TikToks to prove it. So, this summer, why not learn how to crochet or knit? If you already know how, you can share this stress-busting hobby with your kids.

Otherwise, think about taking a class or learning together through videos online. There are quite a few artistic hobbies to keep kids busy, especially on rainy days, like painting, rug hooking, coloring, and drawing. Check out your local library to see what free craft activities they have going on during the summer. Bracelet making is always big in the summer.

Read

One of the best ways to bust boredom is with a book. Books shouldn’t go by the wayside in the summer. It’s actually important for kids to keep those brains active to avoid the summer slide. Summer reads aren’t just for adults. Head to your local library and let the kids discover books they’re interested in reading. Reading is something kids can do inside or out and is much better for them than their smartphones.

Kayaking

Get the kids outdoors this summer by having a kayaking adventure. Kayaking is a cool way to explore waterways in your area. Check out kayaking opportunities with rentals where you live and when you’re on vacation. Kayaking is fun for all ages, too. Even little ones will enjoy an afternoon out a river in a kayak.

Camping

The perfect way to get kids and adults to disconnect is to go camping. Now, you can plan a camping trip or do it in your own backyard. Either way, the kids will love a night under the stars. Keep the tent up in the backyard for the kids to enjoy when you’re not doing a family campout. The best thing about backyard camping is there’d a bathroom just steps away.

Mini golf

Who doesn’t love a round of mini golf? Sure, it’s the perfect vacation activity, but it’s also something you can do at home, too. Have an adventure checking out different miniature golf courses around you. If kids are really into mini golf, create a course in your backyard using pool noodles and other things collecting dust in the garage.

Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles saw a resurgence during the pandemic, and summer is the perfect time to do puzzles together as a family. Keep one of the dining room table as a go-to activity whenever the kids are bored. If you need the table, you can cover the jigsaw puzzle with a mat.

Get wet

When those dog days roll in, who doesn’t want to cool off in a pool or with a sprinkler? A summer activity that’s always awesome is going to the beach or lake for a fun day. When you can’t do that and don’t have a pool, baby pools can be great for splash fights or to just stick your feet in. Don’t forget water balloons and water guns. They’re a hit, regardless of age.

More fun summer activities for kids

child learning to cook
cottonbro / Pexels

It never hurts to have these in your back pocket when boredom rolls in this summer. So, add these summer activities for the kiddos to the list.

  • Cooking lessons
  • Create a backyard obstacle course
  • Fly a kite
  • Neighborhood scavenger hunt
  • Go fishing

Summertime can still be super busy with camps and vacations. Kids do need downtime at home, too, to recharge. Since kids don’t always do well with unstructured time and will likely fall back to their devices, it’s good to have summer activities on hand to keep them busy. With these fun activities, the kiddos can have fun at home or on the road this summer.

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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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