The summer holiday is just around the corner. For some people, they will plan for a family vacation months in advance. But for others —who don’t have enough budget to spend for a family vacation away—they have to settle with staying home with the kids at home.
However, just because you don’t go away anywhere for a vacation, doesn’t mean you can’t spend time with your kids in a fun and memorable way.
How do I entertain my kids in the summer?
There are tons of ideas for fun activities that you can do with your children during their summer holidays, without spending loads of money.
I promise your kids will always remember those times you spend with them. The key is you give them your full attention and love. That’s how you can entertain your children and yourself. And you’ll have a quality-bonding-time with them. Plus, you’ll keep them away from the device screen as a bonus.
Spoil alerts: the fun activities ideas that I’m sharing with you here are suitable for children 5-14 years old, but many of them are good and enjoyable for little toddlers too. Also, some games, you can play them in more than one place, i.e. outdoors at home, on the beach, in the forest, etc. I let you be the judge ?.
What are some fun summer activities outdoors?
There are so many ideas you can choose. Here, I divide them into four-main options according to the places. If you have enough space in the backyard/ garden, the activities below are always fun. I include the olden-day games too.
Outdoor activities at home (backyard/ back garden and around the neighborhood)
1. Have a walk around the neighborhood or to the neighbor village
I used to go for a walk with my sons quite religiously almost every week, in all seasons. They used to complain and tried to refuse the idea. But once they were out, they loved it. We would walk at least an hour which equals about 3 miles in distance. Now the boys realized that this walking routine has made them fitter and stronger compared to their peers’ friends.
2. Picnic in the garden
This activity is so simple, but both my kids love doing it providing the weather is nice. You can keep the kids busy in preparing the picnic, having the picnic, and tidying up the picnic. So you have many activities to keep your kids occupied.
Top tip: set a theme for your picnic. For example, a holiday in Spain. So you can prepare Spanish food for your picnic, at the same time you tell your kids everything possible about Spain. This way, you can teach the kids about geography as well.
You can also do some of the activities below during your picnic to create more fun.
3. Blind man’s bluff
5. Ring a ring o roses
6. Freeze tag
7. Duck duck goose
8. Piggy in the middle
9. Tig game
10. Capture the flag
11. Simon says
12. Red light, green light
13. Sly fox
14. Skipping rope
15. Hula hoop
17. Catch the ball
18. Scavenger hunt
A classic game that my two boys always love. Especially if the prize is something that they like such as sweets or chocolates. Kids! ?.
19. Blowing the bubbles
20. Water-gun fighting
21. Water balloons
22. Kick the goal
Honestly, I’m not a very sporty mommy. But I always enjoy my kicking-to-the-goalie sessions with my boys.
23. Skittles game
This one is my favorite ??. We used to make our own skittles by using empty plastic bottles. No extra spending needed. Only a bit of creativity and willingness to spend more time with the kids.
24. Splashing the water in the pool
When the temperature is too hot, the kids love splashing and playing with the water. So the inflatable pool will come handy.
25. Fish in the pool
26. Duck fishing game
27. Blowing bubbles
29. Toss the ring in the skittles
You can use the same ‘homemade’ skittles for this game, just get the cheap rings to play with
We always have a barbecue in the summer. With only the four of us, or with extended family, and even with friends. Our kids always look forward to their barbecue ?.
It’s not quite like doing proper gardening. But I can always use extra pairs of hands to help me cut the overgrown hedges and flower bush. Or even just getting rid of the weeds and watering the plants.
My little one loves camping in our back garden. So, we do this free activity at least a few nights during the dry summer.
33. Go to a park
34. Go out for a meal at a restaurant
Things to do with the kids on the beach
35. Build the sandcastle
36. Dig the sand
37. Play frisbee
38. Throw and catch the beach ball
40. Play cricket
41. Fly a kite
42. Hide and seek
43. Collect the seashells
44. Paddle in the water
45. Swim in the sea
46. Walk barefoot along the shore
47. Sled down the sandhill using a snow sled
48. Play football
49. Play soccer
50. Look for a crab to catch
51. Write a nature journal
52. Watch the moving clouds
Fun things you can do with the kids in the forest
53. Walking and orienteering (this one is good to teach the kids about navigation as well)
54. Learn about the trees and plants
55. Bird watching
56. Run and race
57. Ride a bike
58. If there is a running stream or river, play pooh sticks
59. Find the minibeasts, bugs, and butterflies
60. Keep a botanical journal
Best ideas to do during the summer holiday in a lake
61. Walk and explore the lake
64. Boat trip
My husband is a mad fly-fisherman, so he always tries to convert our sons into fishermen like him. Every now and then he would take the boys fishing to a lake.
66. Throw a stone to the water and decide who can throw the farthest
Family days out with your kids during summer vacation
67. A fun-filled day at a theme park
68. Watch a new-released children movie at a cinema
69. Learn some history at a museum
70. Go to an aquarium park
Introduce the marine world to your kids through the aquarium
71. Get to know more about science at a science museum
72. Do a ‘learn about the animals’ challenge and go to a safari park
I personally will be very careful in choosing which park to go to. Because some safari parks that let monkeys free are a no-way-to-go option for me. I heard too many stories about how the monkeys destroyed the car and created problems after a visit to the park ?.
73. Another ‘learn about the animals’ challenge at a zoo
74. Bouncing at a trampoline park
76. Indoor play
77. Go Karting
78. Watch a play at a theatre
79. Watch the planes take-off and landing
We used to take our sons, in almost every school holiday, to the ‘runway watchers spot’ near our local airport. It only costs us a parking fee for a few hours. And the boys would go home feeling excited about the planes.
80. Go to a local library
Things to do in the summer holiday with your kids at home (indoors)
At times you just want to stay home. Especially when the weather is not very friendly for outdoor activities, or you simply can’t be bothered to stay outside ?. Yet, you need to keep your children busy and entertained. So, here’s the list of things that I would do with my kids at home to have fun that can last for hours.
Fun stuff you can do with your kids at home
81. Play charades
82. I spy with my little eyes
86. Puzzles (we do at least 1000-piece puzzles)
87. Yo-yo competition
88. Play snap
You can make your own cards to give your kids more activities to do if you want to. Copy and paste pictures that you want to use in the same size. Print on card papers and cut them. Ta daaa…..you have your very own snap cards.
89. Cross and naughts
90. Watch a movie on the TV and have homemade popcorn together
91. Reading challenge
Ask your kids to read a certain book, and make them retell the story. You can also ask questions about the stories/ the book.
92. Play riddles
My husband and I like to set the topic for the riddles, e.g. geography, general knowledge, etc. We find this game as a good way to build up the kids’ knowledge.
93. Play video games
My husband can play loads of different video games with the kids. I can’t. Because I’ve never been into video games ever since I was young. But I’m quite good at Wii sport. So, we do a competition on Wii, i.e. tennis, bowling, etc. When we do it, we can play for hours and have a laugh.
94. Visit family and friends
95. Having family/ friends over
We always invite family and friends during the school holidays. Because we find it good to catch up with them as during school time we don’t see them very often. I try to involve the kids in tidying up and getting the food ready for the guests. I think this encourages the kids to be generous as well.
96. Dart game
We use the one with the balls and play in a competition against each other. Whoever wins will get to choose the movie we watch later on the TV.
Creative things to do with your kids at home
97. Lego building
98. Bake a cake, cupcakes, or cookies
99. Make milkshakes, smoothies, and/or ice lollies
100. Try to cook a new recipe
101. Paper mache craft
102. Draw or paint
103. Word search
I normally buy one book, and distribute the pages among the four of us (oops…..did I say I rip the pages? ?). We set the timer, and do a word-search competition. If you prefer, you can print the word-search-printables here. I personally find it cheaper to just buy one book.
104. Paper airplane race
Use the old newspaper, or magazines to make paper planes, and do flying-the-plane competitions. My 13-year-old still loves this game ?.
105. Act of charity
Sort and clear out the old toys, then go to a local charity shop to donate the unwanted toys
Sporty games that you can do with your kids
Sometimes we would book a court at our local leisure center.
106. Indoor badminton
107. Indoor tennis
108. Indoor swimming
109. Indoor basketball
Last notes on super-fun summer activities for the kids
Spending quality time with our kids is definitely important. In a long summer vacation, things can be a little bit boring for our kids if they don’t get entertained.
And with the temptation of using electronic devices such as tablets, video games, and smartphones, the kids these days can end up spending most of their free time on the screen IF we don’t encourage them to do other things.
So with a little bit of planning and knowing some ideas (you have more than 100 here ?), your kids shouldn’t feel bored.
Top tips to have fun with your kids:
- Set a budget
- Distraction-free and full attention for them. Be fully present for them.
I must say that even though we don’t go away for a vacation (i.e. abroad or domestic) every summer school holiday, our kids always look forward to the summer. Simply because they can do loads of activities with us as a family even if we don’t go away for vacation.
So go on, pick some of the ideas above and get planning. Surprise your kids with memorable fun together. Do let me know in the comment box how you find the list ideas above and if you know different ideas to share.
Thank you and enjoy your summer.
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