There’s one phrase that every parent dreads hearing from their kids at the start of summer: “I’m bored!” It seems like even with all the toys in the world, children can find it very hard to entertain themselves once school is out, especially as they adjust to unstructured days and more hours than they’re accustomed to filling. At Blue Squirrel, we believe kids only need a little guidance and inspiration to tap into their creativity and imaginations on those long summer days, so we’ve gathered 20 of our favorite summertime activities for kiddos to sample, no screens required!
At Home (perfect for rainy days!)
- 2-ingredient creamsicles: Let kiddos scoop a bit of vanilla ice cream into ice-pop molds then pour orange juice to fill the mold. Insert wooden popsicle sticks and freeze for at least two hours. Yum!
- Pretend hair salon: Let your kids try out a new look with temporary hair color spray and chalk, gel, braids with beads and fun barrettes.
- Make “just because” cards for friends and family: Break out the art supplies to write and decorate loving messages to friends and family across the country. Use the opportunity to teach children how to properly address and mail a letter.
- Build a fort: The classic kids activity that never goes out of style. Find as many blankets and throw pillows as possible and let kids go to town draping them over furniture to create a fort. Offer snacks, books and board games for them to enjoy in the sanctity of their own space.
- Balloon tennis: Blow up some balloons, then tape paper plates to wooden spoons to make a racquet. Divide the family into teams and see who can keep the balloon in the air the longest!
In Your Backyard
- Giant bubbles: Make enormous bubbles thanks to a mixture of water, dish detergent, ½ cup cornstarch, one tbsp baking powder and one tbsp glycerin. Either use a store-bought giant bubble wand or DIY with 4 feet of yarn thread and knotted through two straws.
- Scavenger hunt: Hide five to ten items throughout the backyard then create clues to help children go from one item to the next. The first who hunts down all the items can win a special prize to share with their siblings or friends.
- Create a nature collage: Let kids peruse the backyard picking up leaves, flowers, small rocks, sticks and grass clippings, then provide construction paper and mod podge sealant or double sided tape so they can create a beautiful collage.
- Rock painting: Look for the biggest rocks in your backyard, then paint them with outdoor acrylic paint. Let kids place the rocks around your garden for decoration.
- Coffee can herb gardens: Fill old coffee cans with potting soil, then have kiddos help transfer small herb plans from your local nursery into the cans. They can care for the herbs all summer!
In Your Neighborhood
- Sidewalk art show: Pick up some washable sidewalk chalk paint or simple sidewalk chalk, then invite the neighborhood kids over to decorate one sidewalk in your neighborhood. After they’re done, let them host an art show for all the families!
- Sidewalk games: Keep that chalk out and draw several games of hopscotch, tic tac toe, four square (you’ll need a ball for that one) and even sidewalk twister where you simply draw a map of the iconic game in your driveway.
- Outdoor movie night: A projector can be a great investment for movie night for the whole neighborhood. Set it up across from the side of your home, then set out lounge chairs for movies under the stars.
- Book exchange: Have your kiddos pick out ten of their favorite books to trade with their neighbors, then set a date later in the summer to chat about which story they loved the most.
- Block party: There’s a reason why block parties were so popular in the 80s. Put all the neighborhood kids in charge of snacks and games, fire up the grill, turn on the sprinkler system and let the good times roll.
In Your Town or City
- Check out your library: Local libraries are such an amazing resource. In addition to a world of books, many libraries offer storytime for kids, yoga and other educational programming.
- Visit the Zoo: In addition to summer camps, zoos offer art workshops, nature clubs and of course the chance to see some of the animals from their textbooks in real life.
- Go for a bike ride: So many cities and towns have invested in bike lanes, and summer is the perfect time for the whole family to explore your town from a new vantage point on two wheels.
- Summer fruit picking: Check out a local you-pick orchard or farm in your area to enjoy summer’s sweet bounty of fresh blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums and strawberries.
- Check out area festivals: Summer season is festival season! Wherever you live, there’s a big chance a family-friendly food, music or film festival is somewhere nearby.