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100 Summer Activities to do with the Kids

waterparkSummer may be highly anticipated by kids, but it’s not unusual to hear cries of boredom within a few weeks of being home. To avoid bored kids with nothing to do, check out these 100 summer activities. They’ll keep your kids busy and entertained all summer long!

Free Activities to Take the Kids To

Take advantage of long summer days by packing them with plenty of fun, free activities. The 10 ideas below are just some of the many things you can do for free with the kids this summer.

  • Head to the museum to get out of the heat. Check your local museums for free admission days. The Denver Art Museum has free admission on the first Saturday of the month.
  • Find a splash pad. Most splash pads are free, so check out your local parks. The one in The City of Kennedale is open May to October.
  • Enjoy an outdoor concert. Many cities have free outdoor concerts during the summer, like the ones found on DC About.
  • Take a walking tour of art sculptures. Depending on where you live, there may be many art sculptures to see, like the free walking tour of sculptures at the Museum at Stanford.
  • Go geocaching. Whether you are staying in town or going on vacation, check out Geocaching online to find a cache and figure out how to locate it.
  • Hunt for shells on the beach. Travel and Leisure lists the top 10 best U.S. shelling beaches.
  • Go to a farmer’s market. See if your city has a farmer’s market to explore and support your local farmers. Check out the list of the best 101 farmer’s markets in America on The Daily Meal.
  • Find a kids free day at the zoo. Check out your local zoo and see if there are certain times or days when admission is free for kids. For instance, The San Diego Zoo offers free admission for the entire month of October.
  • Stories and crafts at the library. Most libraries have story time during the summer months and many also have additional activities for them too, like at Upper Mooreland Library.
  • Free outdoor movies at the park. Look on the community calendar to see if any parks in your area are hosting a free movie series like the one found in Roanoke.

Water Fun

To beat the heat this summer, you’ll need lots of fun water activities planned. Look through these 10 articles for some fun ideas that will keep the kids cool and entertained.

  • Throw water balloons at a chalk target. No Time for Flashcards created an Angry Birds inspired game that uses water balloons with angry bird faces and chalk piggies.
  • Make sponge balls to throw at each other. Cut sponges into fourths and tie them together with dental floss, as explained on One Charming Party.
  • Get a group together for water wars. Play Capture the Beach Ball by following the directions on Kidspot.
  • Learn to swim. According to the CDC, accidental drowning ranks fifth in leading causes for unintentional injuries, so it’s important to give your children swimming lessons. Check out Swim Lessons to find a place near you.
  • Run through the sprinklers. Create a sprinkler for your kids using PVC pipe found at your local hardware store. Directions can be found on Here Comes the Sun.
  • Water gun tag. Fun Family Education recommends water gun tag using one low powered, high capacity super soaker for the kid who is ‘it’ and then when you get squirted you’re out.
  • Melt frozen toys. Take some small toys and freeze them in layers in a container, suggests Mama & Baby Love, then remove the ice from the container and let your child see how long it takes him to get to the frozen toys.
  • Paint with ice cubes. First Palette explains how to mix colored water to create ice cubes that the kids can paint with.
  • Pool ping pong. Take an inexpensive inflatable pool ring and float it in the pool. Dump a bunch of ping pong balls in the pool and let the kids jump in to grab the balls and try to shoot them through the pool ring, suggests Parents.
  • Make your own slip and slide. Inner Child Fun suggests taking a long plastic drop cloth, some garden stakes and some water to a nearby hill to make your own thrilling slip and slide toy.

Science Experiments

Who doesn’t like a fascinating science experiment? Check out these 10 posts for some fun science projects the kids can do this summer; they’ll be having so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning something too!

  • Make glow in the dark slime. Mix up some slime using glue, borax, water and glow-in-the-dark paint. Instructions found on A Pumpkin and a Princess. 
  • Create your own glowing jar lantern. Wikihow takes you step-by-step through the process of making a lantern that will glow all night. 
  • Determine how to get an egg in a bottle. Learn the trick to sucking an egg into a bottle with matches by reading Weather Wiz Kids.
  • Build your own radio. You can create an AM radio out of a bottle and some other supplies, as shown on Makezine.
  • Make dry ice bubbles. Take soap and water and add a chunk of dry ice to make a big bubble, explains Science Kids. Adults should handle the dry ice with gloves.
  • Play with static electricity. Cool Progeny describes how to take a balloon and some pieces of paper to demonstrate the power of static electricity.
  • Create your own mini hovercraft. The Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay wrote instructions for creating your own mini hovercraft using a CD, a water bottle cap, some glue and a balloon.
  • Learn how water travels into a flower. Steve Spangler Science shows how water travels up a stem using colored water and a carnation.
  • Make your own lava lamp. Science Kids explains how to use colored water and oil in a clear bottle to make the base of a lava lamp. Add a small piece of Alka-Seltzer and the lava will start bubbling to the top.
  • Build a working volcano. Use papier-mâché to create your volcano shape, then paint it after it’s dry. To get the volcano to explode, mix vinegar and baking soda or diet soda and Mentos candy, says How Things Work Science Projects.

Service Projects

Teaching your kids to give back is an important lesson. Make serving others fun for the kids by using one of the 10 ideas on these posts.

  • Create dog toys for SPCA. The Bark Post explains how to use old T-shirts to create a braided chew/tug toy for dogs.
  • Run a lemonade stand for charity. Sunkist shares directions for how to find a charity and build a lemonade stand to raise money for it.
  • Pick up litter at a park. Consider adopting a park or a highway like the people did using IC Gov and regularly pick up the litter to keep it clean.
  • Help a neighbor with yard work. Spread the love this summer by going over and asking your neighbor if you can do anything to help her in the yard, says Reconciled World.
  • Collect used books to donate to a doctor’s office. Kid World Citizen suggests going through your books and donating the ones you have outgrown.
  • Make cards for soldiers. Soldiers get lonely for news from their home country, so why not make some cards and share some news with them? Information for how to do this can be found on Military.
  • Decorate placemats for meals on wheels. Meals on Wheels provides meals for the elderly.
  • Go on a food drive scavenger hunt. Assign points for various items on the list and send a group of kids out in different areas to try to get various food items donated for the food pantry. The group that comes back with the most points wins, says The Source.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter. Volunteer at an animal shelter to give affection to the animals, clean their cages or pick up the yard, suggests Do Something.
  • Donate used toys to a charity in your area. Check out the list on The Stir to find places to donate your gently used toys.

Paper Crafting

It’s always a good idea to have some craft ideas handy for rainy days or days when you just want to spend some time indoors to beat the heat. Try out these 10 paper projects on days you’re indoors.

  • Create a summer pinwheel. DLTK shares instructions for how to make a pinwheel.
  • Make a scrapbook of your summer vacation. Use the directions on Martha Stewart to make your own scrapbook on a key ring.
  • Fold one thousand origami cranes to make a wish. Follow along with the picture tutorial on Monkey to learn how to fold a paper crane, then start folding so that you can reach 1000!
  • Stamp your own wrapping paper with vegetables. A Subtle Revelry explains how to cut vegetables so you can use them as stamps on wrapping paper.
  • Rubber stamp greeting cards for friends and family. You’ll find simple stamped greeting cards the kids can make on Aunt Annie’s Crafts.
  • Use paper plates to make masks. Enchanted Learning describes how to use two paper plates to make a bunny mask.
  • Take paper lunch sacks and make your own puppets. The kids can make a puppet for every letter in the alphabet by using the patterns found on CBolding.
  • Color coffee filters and create butterflies from them. There are many ways to color paper coffee filters and turn them into butterflies. Take a look at the ideas shared on Hands on as We Grow.
  • Cut out paper chain dolls. The doll shapes are endless, and Kiddley has some examples that you can download to help the kids get started.
  • Make tissue paper flowers to brighten up your room. Learn how to make these simple, colorful flowers by following the directions and pictures on I Heart Nap Time.

Recycled Art Projects

When it comes to getting creative, there’s no need to spend a bunch of money. Instead, find ways to recycle items into new creations. These 10 art projects take yesterday’s trash and turn it into today’s treasure.

  • Take an old, stained white shirt and tie dye it. Rescue a shirt that was destined for the dumpster by tie dying it using the directions found on Dharma Trading Company.
  • Make a robot out of stuff you find in the recycling bin. Born Again Creations explains how to take items from the recycling bin and create a robot from them.
  • Create abstract art using recycled materials. eHow explains how to take broken CD’s and combine them with broken jewelry to make a mosaic for the top of an old shoe box.
  • Use empty cardboard tubes to make wall art. Crafts by Amanda shows how to color and cut cardboard tubes and glue them together to create wall art.
  • Transform scrap wood into a sculpture. Kinder Art suggests picking up some scrap wood from the lumber yard to create a new sculpture.
  • Make a frog from a plastic cup. Fave Crafts details how to create this frog bank from a plastic cup.
  • Put together penguin families using plastic bottles. Spoonful explains what items you will need and how to go about putting it all together.
  • Braid together plastic grocery sacks to make a jump rope. Gather up all of the plastic bags that you have around the house and start braiding them into a jump rope by following the directions on A Childhood List.
  • Create a mural for the wall from bottle caps. Meri Cherry explains how kids collected over ten thousand bottle caps and attached them to a mural.
  • Make some crazy crocodiles with bubble wrap and cardboard. Positively Splendid provides directions for painting and creating unique crocodiles out of recycled materials.

Summer Camps

From soccer to photography, there’s a camp out there to fit every interest. Check out these 10 different camp ideas for the kids this summer.

  • YMCA has summer camps all over the country. YKids in Seattle details their summer camp program, which may be similar to one in your area.
  • Try a camp through the Boys and Girls Club. BGCA has clubs across the country, so try them out this summer.
  • Sign up for an art camp through a local museum. First Center explains what their art camp entails; you may be able to find a similar one in your area.
  • Find a soccer camp in your area. Challenger Sports puts on soccer camps, as do many other groups throughout the country.
  • Maybe baseball would interest your child? USS Sports Camps has camps all over, so you’re sure to find a baseball camp close to you.
  • Let your child sing or play along at music camp. If your child enjoys music, you might try a music camp like the one described on Swallow Hill Music.
  • If you have a budding actor in your home you may want to do drama camp. Nashville’s Children’s Theater offers a drama camp, as do many other cities, so you should have no trouble finding one in your area.
  • How about letting the kids take an online photography course? This camp is online and only costs $36 for the first child and $10 for each additional child. Read more on Jessica Sprague.
  • Get your child’s creative juices flowing by putting them in a scrapbook camp. Cre8 Workshop offers several, but you can also check locally to see if anyone is hosting a camp for kids.
  • Stay cool while letting the kids go to a swim camp this summer. Campus Rec shares how their program is set up; you can also check at your local aquatics center.

Cooking with Kids

Learning to cook is a life skill that all kids need, and these 10 posts include simple, tasty recipes and directions that will help kids learn to cook for themselves and their family.

  • Encourage your kids to make roaring fire cookies. Food provides the instructions for this treat, and there’s no real fire involved. The kids take simple ingredients and make treats that look like a fire.
  • Let the kids put together no-cook kabobs. Betty Crocker shares a recipe for Tomato-Basil Caprese Kabobs that the kids can thread themselves.
  • Kids can whip up their own lunch or snack with these bagel pizzas. Cooking Light has a kid-friendly recipe for bagel pizzas that will fill them up.
  • Have the kids make dinner for everyone. Real Simple shares a recipe for Pinto Bean and Cheese Tacos that is simple enough for kids to make on their own.
  • The kids can whip up dessert for the family by making Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Balls. These treats from Baby Gizmo can be made quickly in the microwave.
  • Instead of pigs in a blanket, let the kids make pigs in ponchos. Rachael Ray Mag provides the recipe and directions for the kids to make up these simple hot dogs.
  • Enjoy some pretzel button snacks. These simple treats by Griffiths Rated are the perfect snack!
  • Pepperoni cheese stick roll-ups are great for a snack or a meal. The kids can separate the crescent roll triangles and fill them with pepperoni and a cheese stick, then roll them up for an adult to bake. Find the recipe at The Girl Who Ate Everything.
  • For a fun, easy snack, try dipped pretzel rods. Our Best Bites explains how to whip up these tasty treats.
  • Let the kids get creative and make peanut butter and jelly sushi. All Recipes shares how to make these simple, unique snacks.

Get Active

You’ll have no problem keeping the kids active with these 10 ideas!

  • Build your own obstacle course. Use objects you already own, like hula hoops, jump ropes and balls, to get the kids active in their own backyard, suggests Entertainment.
  • Train your dog to do an agility course. It takes a lot of practice to get your dog to do an agility course like they do at the dog shows. Mother Nature Network explains what you need to do to get started. 
  • Do freeze dancing in your living room. All you need is a way to play music and an area to dance in for this one, says Thriving Home.
  • Start a dog walking service. It is fairly simple to start a small business for dog walking, as seen on Gaebler.
  • Go on a treasure hunt. Learn how to plan a treasure hunt that the kids will love by following the directions on My Kids Adventures. 
  • Hike through some nearby woods. Find 10 tips for taking a hike with the kids on Make and Takes.
  • Train for a 5K. You and your child can train for a 5K together by using the training schedule found on Suite.
  • Take ice skating lessons. Check your local ice skating rink to find out about skating lessons like the ones shown on Ice Factory.
  • Create an obstacle course for your bike. Get your kids out riding their bikes by creating a bike obstacle course using the ideas from Walk Bike School.
  • Learn to roller blade/skate. Follow the tips from LiveStrong to learn how to inline skate/roller blade. You can find information on how to work on balance, how to stop and how to turn.

Music Fun

This summer, crank up the tunes! Music can make just about anything more entertaining and helps kids in language development, spatial-temporal skills and can even improve a child’s IQ, according to PBS. Take a look at these 10 ways to incorporate music into your child’s summer.

  • Take music lessons. Learning to play an instrument helps kids improve their cognitive and non-cognitive skills in addition to a slew of other benefits, says Mind Body Green.
  • Make and play your own instruments. Learn how to make your own instruments by watching the video on A2Z Homeschooling.
  • Host your own karaoke night. Rent or borrow a karaoke machine or use a game on the Play Station to host a karaoke night, suggests Weekend Notes. 
  • Sing songs during a car trip. Lil Sugar has a playlist of songs that are perfect for kids and parents to sing together.
  • Learn camp songs to sing during a camping trip. Find different songs and their lyrics on Real Family Camping.
  • Sing and dance to silly songs. All Music has samples of a bunch of silly songs for kids – you may even remember some from your own childhood!
  • Sing and do the motions to funny songs. Ultimate Camp Resource provides the words and explains the motions to some funny songs.
  • Watch some kid-friendly music videos. Melbourne Mum shares 10 music videos for kids.
  • Check out songs from your favorite Disney artist. The kids can sing along with Music Disney, which features songs from Disney artists.
  • Sing along with Frozen while watching the video. USA Today shares that Disney released a practice video with lyrics and a bouncing ball so fans can sing along with the characters.
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