The school bell has rung for the last time and your kiddos are going to do one of two things.
Fight for screen time around the clock…
Come up to you every 10 minutes to say “I’m bored!”
Be prepared with a full list of fun summer activities that can be done around the house or on a day out!
Make home made popsicles
Grab some of your kids favorite juices and fruits, yogurt, or milk to make some fun combinations in a popsicle form you can find at any grocery store in the summer time.
Go for a hike
Chances are there’s at least one chunk of nature somewhere near you. Take you kids out for some fresh air and sneaky exercise.
If you live in the midst of a giant flat land, try to find a rock wall gym or trampoline center or someplace the kids can get some of their energy out!
Make puppets & put on a show
Grab some old mis-matched socks or some brown paper bags and have some crafting time. Color, glue, or even teach some of your older kids how to throw a simple stitch!
Push the couch away from the wall and make them a stage where they can hide while their puppets are proudly on display!
Have a water gun fight
Grab some super soakers and let the kids soak each other out in the yard.
Water balloon fight
A good old fashioned summer day always includes hurling water filled rubber at each other, right?
Play on a slip ‘n slide
Oh slip and slides! Do you remember when they were just plain blue tarps and a hose? Well, they’ve gotten very fancy now!
Canoe or Kayak
You probably have a lake or beach within a few hours of you. Anywhere there is water, there is someone with a store front full of water sport gear ready to rent for the day!
Make sand castles
You don’t need an ocean to find sand! If you’re not near any large bodies of water with natural sand, grab a few bags of sand at your local hardware store.
You can grab a kiddie pool at the dollar store and fill it with the sand and a bit of water for a beach in the back yard!
Build an epic blanket fortress
Move around the couches and dining chairs, skillfully stack cushions, pillows, sheets, and blankets to form an impressive fortress. Be ready to take pictures of their masterpiece!
Visit the beach
If you’re planning a vacation to any coast, be sure to let your kids feel the sand between their toes and get a little salt in their hair.
Have a pillow fight
Hide the goose feather pillows and the memory foam pillows somewhere out of reach. Let the kids gently beat each other in this old tradition!
Play Simon Says
Let the younger ones work on their listening skills and test them with a good game of Simon Says…
This is also a great game to teach them that you can pull out when you’re trying to cook or get something else done and they’re bored.
Learn a magic trick
Pull up some basic magic tricks on YouTube and have the kids observe and learn how to do it themselves.
Nature scavenger hunt
Write down a list of some common pieces of nature in your neighborhood and go on a walk. They’ll get exercise while they go on the hunt to check off the list.
Have a family movie night
Let each family member pick their favorite movie out and have a marathon.
If everyone is tired of what you have at home, head to the movie section at the store and give everyone a budget to find a movie you’ve never seen before.
You can also stop by RedBox or scour Netflix or Amazon video.
Attend a concert in the park
Check your local paper (or website) to see if the Parks and Recreation department in your town is going to be putting up a projector and showing a movie in the park that you can attend.
Learn to juggle
Jump back on YouTube. While they may be getting “screen time”, you have control over what they’re watching and they’ll be working on a new skill.
Once they get tips from a few different teachers, remove the screen and let them get to practicing.
Play Red Light Green Light
This is a fabulous activity if you’ve gotten the kids out of the house and they’re STILL somehow bored. You can call instructions from a lawn chair and let them run out all of their crazy.
Grab a cheap pole and bait at the store. Head to the local pond and have some nice quiet time together.
Play hand ball
Pick up a big red ball at the store and teach the kids how to play nicely along a wall that they won’t constantly lose the ball over.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Call around your local shelters and see which of them accept help from young volunteers.
Most shelters jump at the chance to have a few extra hands for feeding, walking, brushing, cleaning, and cuddling.
Find a local ball field or open lot that you can make a baseball diamond in. Bring that big red ball and play baseball with your feet!
Try a clay throwing (pottery wheel) class
I signed up for these classes with my local Park & Rec department as a kid and had a ton of fun going in and getting to use my hands, make something, and see it through from creation to completion.
Kids love making little bowls as gifts for family members.
Grab some paper or canvases and some water colors or washable paint. Let them get creative or give them a theme.
Take your supplies outside and give them the freedom to get messy.
Attend a kids workshop
Home Depot, Michaels, and other hobby stores usually offer kids workshops for a small fee (usually the cost of supplies).
There can be a plethora of learning opportunities from sewing to woodworking. Your little one could find a fun passion for something that you can turn into hobby activity time during the school year.
Pick themes and have everyone write down their ideas into a big bowl. Go over the house rules for the game and make fools of yourselves.
Go to a garage sale
Find something to upcycle around your house or let the kids bring their chore money and let them pick out a “new” toy.
Go for an alphabet photo hunt
Go get a disposable camera at the drug store… yes, they still have them… or let them use your phone to capture their alphabet sightings.
Let them get creative and vocal. They can say what they see and decide which letters they can cross off of the list by snapping a photo. C-car F-flagpole P-pavement G-grass
Have the kids make dinner
Help them find a simple recipe and let them work on their measuring and mixing. Assist with appliances, but let them feel that sense of accomplishment (while sneaking a little responsibility and know how).
Take a nap outside
Several European countries have taken on the tradition of letting the kids take their naps outside.
It seems to help their immune systems being out in the fresh air. (Just make sure you’re sunscreened up if it’s a toasty day.
Write a letter to a loved one or a friend
Grandma would love nothing more than a handwritten letter from the little ones.
Use those disposable cameras to capture their fun summer and send the photos along with a letter to the cousin in another state.
Make a home video
Capture the kids putting on their puppet show or playing at the pool. Edit it as a family over the summer adding more and more to it and screen your summer home movie before school starts back up.
Run (or walk) in a 5K
Keep your eye out for the events in your town. A simple search for 5Ks near your town will usually cause some events to pop up.
Check your Facebook under events and click though to “find events near you” and you’ll probably find some kind of charitable small marathon event you can partake in as a family.
Do a clothing & toy purge
Take a day to go through closets and toy bins for things that do not fit or are not played with.
Instead of just dropping them off at a box, check in with your local charities to see if you can drop your stuff at an actual shelter to make sure your donations go straight to the source!
Collect school supplies
When the school sends you out the lists of what your kids will need for the upcoming year, send your kids around the house to find pens, pencils, notebooks, highlighters, etc.
You may not have to spend a fortune on school supply shopping if your kids give your house an extra set of eyes to find supplies right under your nose.
Make a mess
You’re always trying to keep the kids and your house clean, for one day, let them make a horrific mess.
Grab them each a bag of flour at the dollar store. Put them in bathing suits and have the hose (and the camera) ready.
Have a fashion show
If their room is already a mess and it’s time for a purge of clothing, it’s a great time for a fashion show.
Let them rock their fancy outfits they never get to wear down an invisible runway.
Have them get creative to prove that they actually CAN pick out an outfit in the morning without your help.
While they’re stomping down the living room cat walk to some tunes, you can see what doesn’t quite fit any more and put that straight into a donate box.
Watch YouTube videos
Give them a bit of screen time to unwind. See what they’re searching for, check in on their interests.
Go on one of those black hole journeys as a family where you watch one video then scroll down to find another video “like” the previous one.
Solve a huge puzzle as a family
Drag the card table out of the garage or lay it out on a piece of cardboard on a guest bed.
When they tell you they’re bored, you can tell them to go work on the puzzle for 10 minutes so you can get something done.
(It’s already out, and you won’t be putting it away until it’s done, so they shouldn’t need any help!)
Make a lemonade stand
Help them pull out come card tables or build a simple stand with scrap wood. Paint or decorate it and make some signs to hold up for passing cars as an activity.
Search Pinterest for some fun recipes and let them earn a few dollars and work on their customer service skills.
Plant some fruits & vegetables
Make a little garden planter for the summer and pick up some seeds or plants at the local store to give them something to nurture and see their hard work pay off!
I was always so proud when something I grew ended up on the dinner table.
Play with outdoor toys
If you don’t have hula hoops, jump ropes, etc., spend a few extra dollars on the next grocery trip.
It’s an easy thing to get out and clean up, it’s an easy form of exercise, and it’s something to get the kids out of the house for an hour or two.
Start thinking of all the old rhymes you used to jump to in the school yard and pass them down to your kids.
Spend a day at the pool
If you don’t have a pool in your backyard or housing community, head to the city pool with your towels, sunscreen, snacks and diving toys. Let the sun and water steal all of their energy while you lounge on a chair.
Gather the small bubble jugs your kids have gotten in goodie bags all year. Squeeze some food coloring into each one and have them blow bubbles onto paper.
You’ll want to be sure to do this one outside as the food coloring bubble circles will show up on your flooring and walls. (Though it is decently easy to clean up, save yourself the trouble.) You definitely don’t want food colored bubble juice getting knocked over and spilled inside.
Take on a new language
Purchase a digital language course and learn the basics of a new language as a family. You can label things in your home and try out what you remember at the dinner table.
Get library cards for the whole family
Make a weekly trip to the library to have some quiet time in free air conditioning and keep your kids engaged in reading.
This is a great way to find a few authors or series they might enjoy.
Many city and county libraries offer free or low cost events that you can attend as a family.
See a show or concert
Check out your local theaters and event venues to see who is coming to town! You may have a favorite artist (or a favorite kids show) that is coming to your town this summer!
Find a drive in movie theater
Oh yes, they still exist, but they may not be in plain sight. Do some research and find the closest one to you and introduce your kiddos to this kind of night out!
Most drive ins have double features and you pay a cheap “car load” price as opposed to tons of individual…and expensive movie theatre tickets.
Plan ahead and bring an old-school radio so you don’t have to run your car or let your car battery die. You can also bring your own snacks or indulge in the snack stand!
Look for shapes in the clouds
Lay in the grass and stare at the sky. Spend some quiet time looking for fun shapes and show each other what you see.
If your kids are into it, it can take up quite a bit of time while you get to lie down and soak up a little sun!
Have the kids plan their perfect summer day
Instead of scheduling out every day or playing it by the seat of your pants, have your kids write down what their perfect summer day would include and DO IT!
Obviously, if their perfect day involves some kind of luxurious vacation, nix it, but try to accommodate what they really want to do for one whole day.
Play musical chairs
Pull out the dining chairs and play some music on your phone while you pull away chairs and kids get tagged out. You can sit and watch to make sure they’re not fighting…ahhh sitting.
Let the kids pack a picnic
Let them make some decisions on lunch, go to a local park for some running around, and eat what they pack.
It may be an interesting choice, but they’ll be proud as heck to watch you eat their creative cuisine!
Make forts out of cardboard boxes
Chances are you have a few dozen empty Amazon boxes in the garage. Pop them open and grab some tape.
The kids can color them, arrange them, and play in them.
It’ll require help from you when handling cutting and taping, but other than that, you can watch their imaginations go wild in their new play house that didn’t cost you a dime.
Have the kids play dress up in your closets
Let them try on Mom and Dad’s clothes. Snap pictures of their creativity. Tell them to put on a show as Mommy and Daddy and see the hilarity ensue!
Camp out in the living room
Pitch that tent right in the center of the living room…yes, that one that’s been in the garage for 10 years.
Toss in blankets and pillows, throw some twinkling lights on top, shut off the lights and camp out for the night.
You can watch movies and roast s’mores in the fire place. Make it a real “glamping” experience!
Spend a day at the movies
Instead of going to see a new movie for a night, plan to spend a day at the movie theater. Grab tickets for 2 or more movies.
Matinee movies starting between 10am to 2pm on week days usually sell for much cheaper. Some theaters have half price tickets on certain days. Take them up on the offer!
Bring comfy clothes and blankets to snuggle up in the nice air conditioning and catch up on the new flicks!
Teach the kids a card game
If they don’t know Go Fish or Old Maid, teach them! If they’re a bit older, teach them War or Slap Jack…maybe even Gin Rummy or Poker.
Once they learn, they can teach their friends or play together and you can get a few moments to yourself!
Grab supplies for a sundae bar
Pick up some fun new flavors of ice cream in small tubs. Grab some syrups, small bags of candy, chocolate bars, fruit, etc. and have a sundae bar where the kids can cool down with a fun invention they get to create!
Go to a theme park or sporting event where they’ll have fireworks after the game. Watch your kids ooh and ahh over the bright explosions in the sky.
Chances are you have at least one of the following: a fireplace, a stove top or a grill. If not, grab some small terra cotta pots, line them with tin foil and place a few chunks of charcoal for a pop up mini grill.
Nab some skewers, graham crackers (they have a ton of flavors now a days), marshmallows, and chocolate and let the kids get sticky!
Bake a pie from scratch
Dust off that red gingham cook book that’s been sitting in your kitchen and grab the supplies you need to make a good old fashioned pie. You can’t really mess up pie crust and pie filling!
This was one of my favorite things to help with in the kitchen as a child. I cannot wait until mine is old enough to sidle up to the counter and pound on some dough and get her hands dirty in some pie filling!
Play hide and seek at home
I have done this well into adulthood. It is a fun game that requires no preparation or clean up.
You know your kids are safe when you’re playing in your house. They know the house well and will come up with some brilliant hiding spots!
Make shadow drawings
Take some fun shaped toys outside with some paper and crayons. Let the sun be the artist and have the kids work on their motor skills by tracing out the shapes.
You can also have the kids stand in fun poses and trace each other’s shadows in chalk on the ground. You can keep them busy with basically no prep or clean up!
Teach the kids a new chore
They’re about to start another year of school, another year of age, and they can tackle a bit more responsibility.
If you get them to tackle this new responsibility over the summer, it won’t seem like such a burden once school starts. On top of them gaining more responsibility, you get some help around the house!
Feed the ducks at a local pond
Grab some sliced grapes, torn lettuce, corn, peas or bird seed (not bread) and head over to the local duck pond. Kids adore this activity for some reason. It’s not quite a free petting zoo, but it gets the kids out admiring nature and giggling as the ducks follow them around.
It’s also not a bad way to get rid of those half full bags of frozen peas and corn that have been in the freezer for goodness knows how long. Simply defrost and head out!
Plan a slumber party
Now is the time to let them stay up late and sleep in, not school nights. Summer is a great time for a first slumber party away from home, you can help them get those jitters out now!
It’s also a great time to head to grandma’s house with cousins for some fun bonding time.
Have fun making a theme, planning activities and crafts, and letting them make a camping in mess! Give each kid some room for decision making and really let their personalities sign.
I hope this gives you a few things to keep in the back of your mind when your kids come up with the “I’m bored” every day or two!
If you’d like to get ahead, check out
To see where this and other posts are being shared, check out these Link Parties!