Ah, summer! The time of year when the days are longer, the weather is heating up, and another year of fun in the sun with your family has begun. A time to take a break from the heavy burden of full schedules that leave us overwhelmed and exhausted.
With only three glorious months of summer afforded us each year, and only 18 summers we get to spend with our children, it is so essential to make the absolute most of every precious moment. However, it seems that nearly every year summer arrives and we find ourselves wondering exactly how to maximize the summer break as a family.
The challenge is doubled when we try to capture fun summer activities to do without ever leaving our doorstep.
Worry not: Help has arrived.
Here are some of the best summer activities you can enjoy with your children, regardless of age, all from the comforts of home. These low-cost, high-fun, technology-free summer activities will deliver the laughs, spark the imagination, and build memories that will last a lifetime.
Summer Activities For TODDLERs AND PRESCHOOLers
Having a list of indoor activities in your back pocket, regardless of the season, is a must at this age. Toddlers need extra hands-on attention, or they can get antsy. I can tell you from first-hand experience an antsy toddler can wear you out faster than ice cream melting on a hot summer day.
Here are a few toddler/preschool at home summer activities that are easy to do, have minimal set-up, and won’t break the bank.
Outdoor Tea Party
Gather your parasols, your child’s favorite stuffies, dress in your Sunday best, and take tea in the backyard. Create a menu, let your toddler help make the cucumber sandwiches, and practice table manners and polite conversation on the patio furniture or even a soft blanket.
Take the time to ask your child about the stuffed animals they invited to tea – encourage them to create a backstory and history for each animal.
Summer Finger Paint Art Gallery
Get out the paper and plastic, because this can get messy. Dedicate a day every week to have your toddler create a new piece of Finger Paint Art.
Date each one and hang it in the house. At the end of the summer, have a family Gallery Opening, complete with grape juice and cheese.
Nothing cools a kid off faster or inspires more giggles than splashing around in the water. Use an old card table equipped with a variety of vessels, sponges, or shovels for your child to enjoy hours of wet and wild fun.
Join the fun and sneak in some fun science facts about water and displacement (while also splashing and giggling along).
Smores are for so much more than just campfire stories and starry nights. Did you know that even on a rainy day, you can make smores with an unscented candle and a bamboo skewer?
While under strict supervision, toast marshmallows with your tot and enjoy the quintessential summer treat.
Summer Activities For Kids
The last thing we moms want to hear is the whine of a bored child. Some days it seems like the age between toddlers and teens can be the neediest of all.
At least in my house anyway. Keep the boredom at bay and create lasting memories with your kids with these summer activities.
Some of the best times any of us had as children involved mud pies, and while times have changed and we’re sure there’s an app for that, nothing in the world can replace the fun of playing with mud.
Help your child create a Mud Kitchen, and while they’re having fun squishing mud and making a mess, you can sneak in important life lessons such as using a measuring cup and counting.
Squeeze Bottle Sidewalk Chalk
Collect old squeeze bottles and prepare to make outdoor art magic. By combining one cup of water to one cup of cornstarch and the food dye of your choice, you can create liquid sidewalk chalk.
Fill up old ketchup or mustard squeeze bottles with your paint and challenge each other in a game of hangman, Pictionary, or spelling bee. (Or just draw whatever speaks to you!)
Cardboard Box Castle
It’s an age-old problem: Kids don’t want to go inside, but they also have had too much of the sun. Find an old refrigerator box and encourage your kids to create their own outdoor castle.
It will give them a shady space to hang out and the autonomy of having a place of their own. Bring them a housewarming gift when they finish their pad.
When the afternoon sun is getting too hot, and it is time to come indoors, powered cars or cardboard boxes will do just fine for this indoor activity that is sure to delight. Print off tickets, line up the vehicles in front of the big screen and have a table of your kids’ favorite concessions available for a drive-in movie party.
What a fun way to spend together watching a family-friendly movie the whole family will love.
Summer Activities For Teens
If you are lucky enough to have your teens hang around the house instead of wanting to take off with their friends or punching the clock at that summer job well, you definitely want a list of activities to keep them entertained, off the electronics, and out of trouble.
Cellphone Scavenger Hunt
It might seem impossible to get your teen to let go of their precious cellphone, and you’re probably right – so why not create an activity you can do together where they never have to put their phone down.
Create a cellphone scavenger hunt around the house, taking pictures of each found item.
Teens are at that awkward age where they both need to know you’re there but also demand on having their own space. Create a solo ‘glamping’ night in your backyard.
Fill one of the larger inflatable pools with pillows and blankets, hang up some string lights, create some cute snacks, cue up some chill music, and throw a tarp over the entire scene.
Create an overnight oasis for your teen that is so incredible. They won’t be able to help but throw it up on their social media channels.
Run a Yard Sale
Teenagers are the perfect age to help organize and run a yard sale. It allows your teen an opportunity to use their managerial skills, decision-making abilities, and negotiating skills.
Want to know the best part? They do all this while clearing out unwanted clutter around your house and giving them a little spending cash to save and spend.
Build The Ultimate Obstacle Course
Think America Ninja Warrior or Survivor on a much smaller scale. A trip to the dollar store for some pool noodles, jump rope, duct tape, and a few items around the house, and you can build the ultimate obstacle course for your teens and their friends. Need more inspiration on what to include? Check out this how-to backyard obstacle course.
Fun Summer Activities At Home
Summer camps can be costly, and not every family can afford them, especially when you have a household full of kiddos. Believe me. I get it.
Trying to think of ideas that won’t break the bank, keep the entire family happy and entertained, and minimize the phrase, “I’m bored” can sometimes feel like an act of extreme superhuman prowess.
Fun summer activities at home don’t have to be overwhelming with a little bit of planning and a whole lot of imagination. For more inspiration, download my free list of 50 fun summer activities at home.
Final Thoughts On Summer Activities
There are only eighteen summers we get with our children, and as parents, it is our job to help them make the most of them. Not only to create lasting memories but to help create the adults, they will one day become.
Enjoy them while they’re young, prepare them for when they’re grown, and never stop loving and having fun along the way. Make memories that will last a lifetime.
You know the kind of memories that creep up out of the blue and bring a smile to your face.
And just remember it is not the activity that makes the summer special it is the company you keep that makes it priceless! Happy summer break, all!
Do you have a fun summer activity not mentioned? Comment below. I would love to add it to my list!