“School’s out, for the summer!”
That’s the only line of the song I know.
But let’s be real, it’s the only line I care about.
I’m a teacher and the last day of school is still one of the most exciting days of the year.
One year we pushed another teacher down the hallway on a giant rolling cart to celebrate.
She had her arms out wide like she was flying while the rest of us laughed and cheered. There was probably music playing somewhere in the background too.
And if there wasn’t, I’m still going to pretend there was.
If you have kids, I’m sure they’re itching for school to be over too. They have their minds on summer and school is getting in the way.
And if your kids are like my students, they’re already checking out anyway and cruising to summer mode.
But if you’re a parent and reading this, you might not feel the same way about summer.
How are you supposed to keep your kid entertained for an entire summer without losing your mind? Are your kids sick of the fun summer activities you already do with them?
Small disclaimer. I know you love your kids and love spending time with them. But I also know that a whole summer together can drive any family a bit crazy.
If you’re sitting there wondering what the heck you’re going to do with your kids all summer, I’ve got you covered.
Heck, even if you love every second of summer with your kids, I can probably help you out too.
My amazing, talented wife created a summer calendar full of free, cheap, (and some pricier), but fun summer activities you can do with your kids all summer long.
But the most important thing is there is a lot of fun packed into this calendar! In addition, there are a few really great character building activities to help your kids grow and develop.
When you use this calendar, you have June, July, and August activities completely planned out.
And if you don’t want to spend every waking second with your kids, some of these activities can be done without you.
Give them a few ideas and let them do the rest. I’m a firm believer in independent play and that Mom and Dad need quiet, alone time to keep their sanity.
Plus, I know most people still work during the summer.
You can always hang the calendar on the fridge and tell your kids to be creative and do something on the list. Another plan of attack is to send your kids over to your neighbors to hang out and do one of the fun summer activities from the calendar.
Another small disclaimer. Some of these fun summer activities might not apply to your family.
There might not be a museum nearby, activities might be out of your budget (most are free or cheap, but a few might be a bit pricey), or not age appropriate for your kids.
Don’t feel like you need to do every single thing on this list. It’s just a giant resource of ideas to keep you sane this summer and have fun with your kids.
So here’s your list of 60 fun summer activities to do with your kids to survive summer break. It’s broken down by month, and there are some repeats like beach day because beach days are awesome!
You can obviously do any of these activities during any month, this is just how my wife organized them into an easy to use calendar.
You can download the free calendar to hang on your fridge too! In addition, you’ll get a brief description of each activity to give you ideas and context.
Download your Summer Break Calendar now. Just click here!
Start Summer Off with a Bang! Fun Summer Activities for June
1. First Day of Summer: rest and relax! Take time to put your feet up, hang out with your kids. But if you’re really ambitious, you can get a head start planning out activities for the rest of the month
2. Take a Tour: almost every town has some sort of museum to tour. Find something so your kids can learn something new.
3. Fly a Kite: go to the dollar store, buy a cheap kite and see how high you can fly it. The field next to our house (and occasionally the trees) is full of kids learning to fly kites all summer long.
4. Beach Day!!! Lots and lots of sunscreen required, especially if you’re a ginger like me.
5. Game Day: play board games, outdoor games, whatever works for you!
6. Gardening: if you have a garden, invite your kiddos in to help. It’s always good to have extra hands pulling weeds. If you don’t have a garden, ask a friend if you can help him/her for the day. As long as your kids aren’t tyrants and destroy everything, I’m sure your friend will be happy to have them.
7. Go to an Art Museum: if you can find an art museum close by, go admire local art. Otherwise see if you can find an artist willing to show off their studio.
8. Rock Skipping: find a lake, find some rocks, teach your kids how if they don’t know, and even take time to learn yourself. See who can get the most skips. Kids can do this for HOURS so remember to pack a picnic and enjoy the day.
Above all, just don’t hit anyone in the head with a rock.
When I was a kid, we were skipping rocks on Lake Superior, and my Mom totally threw a rock that hit me square in the head. This was about 10 seconds after she warned everyone to be careful so we don’t hit anyone. Thanks Mom.
9. Sand Pictionary at the Beach: make a list of age-appropriate words or actions your kids can draw in the sand. My middle school students love playing pictionary!
It’s fun to pick a theme like (summer, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney, or any other nerdy topic) and every drawing has to be related to the theme. Get creative and have fun!
You can also up the challenge rating by using actions as words. For example, love, falling, building a snowman, and playing catch will force your kiddos to think outside the box.
10. Music Day: get creative for this one. You can see if there is a local (hopefully free) show playing nearby to listen to or maybe even talk with the band.
Otherwise, you can make your own instruments, play instruments you already have, or just have music playing all day.
Explore different genres, have a dance party, or pull up youtube and play “just dance” videos that everyone can dance to.
11. Cooking Club: This is a great recurring family activity. It’s fun to do once or twice a month to enjoy cooking and eating really good food. Get creative in the kitchen with the whole family.
Try a new recipe or two and give everyone a task so they can help make something delicious. Smear frosting on each other, pretend you’re chefs in a real kitchen, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor.
12. Service Day: find someone or some place in your town that could benefit from a little help. It’s a great way to be involved in your community and teach your kids to give back. Plus, it’s amazing to see your kids be generous, compassionate, and learn to show empathy.
13. Art Day: okay, you might be thinking I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but everyone can find something. And if you’re doing art with your kids, all you need to do is be better than them!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- water colors,
- acrylic paint,
- a craft (Pinterest can be your best friend),
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have fun, add a few more throughout the summer.
14. Beach day! Let your kids run around and get some energy out. Remember the sunscreen and water.
15. Rock Climbing: if your town has an actual rock climbing wall, you’re set. If you’re looking for a free or cheaper option, find a place your kids can climb around on a hike or walk.
Fun Summer Activities for July
16. Day of Caring: this is similar to service day. Find a way to care for other people. It can be as simple as baking cookies for a family in need, or visit someone who is lonely.
Teaching your kids compassion from a young age is an amazing way to love them and help them grow.
17. Go Roller Blading/Skating: bust out the skates, borrow them from a friend, or go to a skating rink if there’s one nearby. Remember to wear safety gear. It’s a lot less fun when you come home early with road rash.
18. Explore Your Town with Cameras: use your smart phones or cheap disposable cameras to become local photographers for a day. See who can get the best pictures or the most creative angles.
19. 4th of July: find some fireworks to watch and celebrate America. Be safe and make sure your pets don’t lose their minds when the fireworks go off for weeks before and after.
It makes me feel old, but I hate when people shoot fireworks off down the street at all hours of the day. And so does my dog Gregg.
20. Mystery Day: create a scavenger hunt, or missing persons mystery. Or just make the day full of unexpected surprises. Pinterest can definitely help you out here.
21. Explore a State Park: state parks are everywhere. Find the nearest one and take a hike with your family. Get outside and enjoy the outdoors.
Bring binoculars and bird watch, hunt for crayfish and frogs, find exotic flowers or trees, and pack a picnic.
P.S. I HATE frogs and think they’re one of the most disgusting animals on the planet. If you find frogs, keep them away from me thank you very much!
22. Library Day: Libraries are amazing and one of the best community resources you can find. Spend the day there, go on “kids day” and watch your kids make a craft.
And it’s a great way to help your kids fall in love with stories and books. Show them your favorite books and check them out so you can read them together at home.
23. Nursing Home Day: the elderly needs us. This winter we were invited to go visit some lonely folks in a nursing home. We brought a small gift and spent time talking with them.
It was fun to hear their stories and they appreciated someone listening to them. Your kids may not love it, but it’s a great way to teach them compassion and love somebody who needs it.
Bring a board game, flowers, or just a card. It can mean more than they know.
24. Sandcastles at the Beach: make it an adventure! Bring buckets, shovels, rakes, anything that can help shape and mold a castle.
If you make it a big deal, your kids will likely buy in and you’ll have a blast building sand castles that are the envy of the beach.
Or if your sand castles totally suck, at least you’ll be failing together, and that can be a lot of fun too!
25. Go to a Baseball Game: I live in Duluth MN and am lucky enough to have a local baseball team in town. Otherwise I’d have to drive 2+ hours to see a professional game.
If you don’t live near a real baseball team, see if you can bring your kids to a high school or rec league game. It’ll be cheaper and they can still watch players work hard and play a beautiful game.
If none of that is an option, get a game going in the backyard with your kids and other kids from the neighborhood. Who knows, maybe it’ll become a neighborhood tradition.
26. Play Mini Golf: buy ice cream for the lowest score or for a hole in one. You can also keep score and give a mini-trophy to the winner. Then make them give a speech after they accept it.
27. Go see the Symphony: if that’s not possible, watch a musical (The Greatest Showman is my go to), or listen to classical music all day.
28. Electronics Day: as a teacher and a new parent, I’m not always about sticking kids in front of technology. But that doesn’t mean our technology isn’t fantastic!
If you don’t want to use phones, take your kids to an arcade or bust out an old gaming system like an N64. Use whatever you’ve got and have fun! I’m already excited to teach our daughter how to play Mariokart and Golden Eye 007.
She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s totally going down!
29. Beach Day: can you really ever have enough beach days? Just remember the sun screen. I spent many days as a human lobster and I regret every single one of them.
30. Strawberry Picking: I love this for three reasons. It gets your kids out of the house. Strawberries are delicious. Lastly, it’s a cool experience to be so involved in getting the food you eat.
It’s more personal and real than just buying something at the store. If strawberries are out of season, try to find a different fruit or vegetable to go pick.
My dad picks potatoes every year and brings the grandkids with. Everyone has their own bucket and picks potatoes. The little tykes grab the tiniest, cutest potatoes and have so much fun doing it.
31. Downtown Day: spend a day in the city. Walk the streets and admire the local architecture. Eat street foods and spend time people watching. If your downtown is small, walk slow. 🙂
My hometown has a downtown of 4 blocks. There isn’t a ton there, but when you’re out with your kids with no agenda, you’d be amazed at what everyone notices.
As an adult, I miss the things close to the ground, and my daughter never sees anything that’s up high. Help each other out and point out cool things you see.
32. Make Homemade Ice Cream: almost all kids love ice cream for the obvious reason that it’s delicious. Now get them to love science too.
Teach your kids the science behind how to make a wonderful dessert, and if they love it, you can teach them how to make a volcano from mentos and diet coke or home made root beer.
33. Nature Day: get outside and explore. Find small creatures, go for a walk, identify plants and animals you see (you can always make it a scavenger hunt), and just spend time appreciating the Earth and all it gives us.
34. Mermaid Day at the Beach: bring mermaid themed snacks, have a mermaid tail contest (see who can create the best one in the sand), use a dinglehopper to comb your hair, sing all the songs from Little Mermaid, try swimming like like a mermaid. You get the idea. Be creative and have fun.
35. Track and Field Day: schools have them every year, why not your own family? Plan relay races, hurdles, high jump, long jump, and create obstacle courses. You can assign goofy and silly awards and pass around a trophy every year for the winners of each event.
Remember to drink lots of water. Dehydration isn’t fun for anyone.
36. Cooking Club Round 2: try a new recipe. I challenge you to try something that slightly scares you to make (gelato is fun and challenging) and invite the kiddos to join you. If it’s a disaster, at least you all failed together.
After all, it’s about spending time together and having fun. If you become master chefs in the process, then that’s a great bonus.
37. Go See a Play: find a local theatre, even if you have to drive a little ways. If there isn’t a theatre nearby, have your kids write and perform a play of their own.
Encourage them to be creative and embrace the silliness. Help them find costumes and make props. I remember doing this as a kid and it was a blast. We did a big performance for our parents when we were done.
38. Take Care of the Earth: clean up garbage at your favorite park, recycle a bunch of cans. If you collect enough cans, you can actually get money for this and your kids will love it. Then your kids will start looking for more ways to save the Earth if they can make a few dollars. 🙂
The Home Stretch: August Activities for Kids
39. Art day at the Beach: find rocks and sticks and make art with it. You can play pictionary with rocks and sticks too. And since you’re at the beach, you can always go swimming if your kids get bored with art.
40. BBQ and Race Day: grill out in the park and do a bunch of races with your kids. If you can’t run and be super active, be the official timer while your kids run around, ride bikes, crab walk, or do wheel barrow races.
41. Library Day 2.0: return your books from last month, renew them if you need to, and check out the next books on your list.
42. School Playground Tour Day: go to any and all school playgrounds in your town (or the next town over) and play. If you don’t already have a favorite playground, you will after today.
43. Fun and Fit Day: spend a day at your local gym and teach your kiddos how important it is to be healthy and move their bodies.
44. Beach Day: swim, play in the sand, play frisbee, play marco polo, you know, typical beach stuff.
45. Sailing Day: my city has sailing lessons (and sailing races). It would be fun to learn how to sail as a family. But if you don’t have an option to sail, make a sailing themed day, talk like pirates, use sailboat terminology, and go on a treasure hunt.
46. History Day: take time to learn the history of your town or state. See if you can find local resources, tours, or head to the library and spend a day learning.
47. Animal Day: choose an animal and make the day about that animal. Eat food that animal would eat, do a craft, read books about that animal or that have that animal in it. Get creative and become an animal “expert”.
48. Local Day: do everything local. Hang out at a local coffee shop or restaurant, go to your favorite playground, volunteer, and just spend time getting to know your town.
49. Animal Ecosystem at the Beach: yay, another beach day! This time prepare to learn about local animals at your beach and how connected the animal kingdom is.
50. Farm Day: I have no idea if this is a thing anymore, but it sounds fun. Find a local farm and see if they’ll give you a tour. Maybe it’s just a relative’s farm. Learn how farms work and what farmers do on a daily basis.
I grew up in small town Wisconsin, and farms were everywhere. If you don’t have any farms nearby, this one might be tough. Petting zoos count too though.
51. Tour a Local Newspaper: this one might be hard to find, but the printing process is fascinating. Maybe your kids will learn something and appreciate newspapers a bit more.
52. Set up a Lemonade Stand: all kids like to make extra money, so why not start them early. Help them make a cool store front and mix lemonade or kool aid, and hopefully they get a few customers.
A saw one yesterday that used a refrigerator box as their booth and it was adorable!
53. Waterpark Day: water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and a whole lot of water. Bring the suncreen and have a blast.
54. Beach Day: hopefully your kids aren’t sick of the beach yet. If they are, put a fun twist on it and skip rocks, do contests, or bring super soakers.
55. Garage Sale Day: it’s always fun and interesting to sift through people’s stuff. It’s a safe bet somebody will find something amazing! Maybe most importantly, it’s also a good chance to teach your kids about budgeting. They care about money and know it can get them things, so why not learn to be responsible with it?
Give them a bit of money and teach them to spend it wisely. Once it’s gone, it’s gone! You can also give them hands on experience learning the power of bartering.
56. Cooking Club Finale: let your kids plan the meal. Ask what they want to eat and help them find recipes and make it themselves (or as much as possible). It’ll probably be a mess but hopefully they use salt and not sugar.
57. Picnic in the Park: school is almost back in session, so take advantage of eating outside before your kids have to go back to the lunchroom.
58. Sidewalk Chalk Art: cheap, easy, and so much fun. Create themes, play pictionary, and make your sidewalks beautiful. Make a list ahead of time if you need help coming up with ideas.
59. Make a Sun-Dial at the Beach: it’s your last beach day, phew. Make a sundial with sticks and rocks and recount all of the fun times you had at the beach this summer.
60. Water Day: I don’t know why I saved this for last, but every summer needs a water day. Fill up water balloons, set up the sprinklers or hose, make a slip n slide, and bust out the water guns. Get drenched and end summer on a fun note.
We finally made it through the list!
I hope you found some good ideas to help you and your kids survive summer and have a blast doing so.
The best way to keep track of these ideas is with this Summer Break printable calendar.
Print if off, stick it on the fridge, and use it as a road map to make your summer awesome.
Summer Activities for Rainy Days
A lot of ideas on this list of fun summer activities involve the great outdoors. But sometimes the best of plans are ruined by the rain.
As a result, you might need to get creative with these rainy day options to round out your list of fun summer activities.
1. Make Balloon Animals: I don’t know how to do this, but I know that it’s pretty easy once you learn the basics. Hit up youtube and find some beginner videos.
Then you’ll be able to make more than just snakes and eels.
Pro tip: I highly recommend buying a small pump to help blow up balloons fast.
2. Learn Magic Tricks: I’ve always wanted to learn cool card tricks or sleight of hand, and chances are your kids would love the idea of learning magic tricks.
Once again, youtube is your friend.
3. Reorganize Their Room: okay, maybe not the most fun thing in the world to do, but sometimes it’s fun to rearrange rooms.
Let your kids be heavily involved in the planning and if they’re old enough, they can help you move furniture. You don’t have to repaint or anything, but maybe that could be fun too.
4. Hide and Seek: a classic, but it’s a classic for a reason. Kids love it.
5. Yoga: I hate it, but maybe your kids will love it. Just don’t take offense if your kids are better at yoga than you are. They’re smaller and bendier.
6. The Floor is Lava: I don’t think I need to explain this one. You get the idea.
7. Forts and a Movie: movies are great, but they’re even better when you watch it from a sweet fort in your living room.
8. Puzzles: it’s puzzles. I think you get it. 🙂
9. Visit an Animal Shelter: go pet puppies and kitties, just don’t bring any home, especially if you haven’t taken time to fit a new pet into your budget. Pets are expensive even if you adopt.
10. Mind Games: print off word searches, crosswords, and sudokus to help your kids break a mental sweat.
Now that you have your calendar of free, cheap, and some spendy fun summer activities, get out and have fun with your kids.
Leave a Comment
What did we miss? Are there fun summer activities that we should add for next year’s list? What are your favorite fun summer activities?
Last chance to grab your free Fun Summer Activities Calendar. Click to download.
If you live near a Stars and Strikes bowling alley kids 14 and under can bowl 2 games for free every day at some and Monday through Saturday at others. You can also get a family bowling pass for around $30. It’s for older children, babysitters, and parents. If you wait on the family pass they have coupons off but you better do it as soon as you get the email or they run out fast. Some centers start mid April and others early June.
That sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing the great find!
Great list! My kids are 18 and 24 so I don’t have to think of activities for the summer anymore:) What worked for me back in the day when I did have to think of summer activities (and fall, winter, spring weekends) was to have go-to categories. Our local libraries had great activities and events, so library was a category but it represented at least 10 or more activities that always changed. Museums was another category b/c we live in NYC where there are enough museums to switch it up daily if you needed. Garden or park was another category. For NYC, I also had neighborhood as a category b/c there were so many streets or collection of streets that would be in the same vicinity but very different from each other, so that was worth exploring. I found categories easier to keep track of than individual ideas but love the variety in listing out a long list!
That is pretty genius! Thanks for sharing! We label activities into big categories of outdoor and indoor activities and then go from there. But our girl is pretty tiny so as she gets older we’ll have to get more specific.