40+ Fun & Educational Summer Activities for Kids

No matter if you’re working from home, a stay-at-home parent, or have a job outside the house, it’s important to have practical ideas to keep your kids occupied, especially during the summer. Too much screen time isn’t healthy for them, mentally or physically.

Explore this list of 40+ activities to beat summer boredom. And it’s not just for kids—many of these activities are enjoyable for the whole family. Get involved.

You can turn this list into your summer bucket list or simply pick out a few favorites. Either way, you’ll create wonderful memories. The key is to slow down and savor the summer months with your loved ones. If you prefer a more structured approach, check out this series of weekly summer activities for kids.

Get Creative with Sidewalk Art

Looking for a fun and free summer activity for the kids? Let them loose on the pavement with some chalk and watch their creativity shine! Whether it’s in your driveway or at the park, sidewalk art is an easy and enjoyable project.

Try Disc Golf

Check out your local parks for disc golf courses. Gather your discs and head out for a game that’s both fun and active. It’s a thrilling activity that can keep everyone entertained for hours.

Go on a Bike Ride

While riding bikes in the driveway is fun, it can get a bit repetitive. Take the kids to a nearby bike trail for a change of scenery and a chance to explore nature. It’s a great way to burn off some energy and enjoy the outdoors together.

Explore Local Parks and Playgrounds

Local parks are scattered across the country, offering playgrounds, wooded trails, and plenty of fun activities for kids. Bring a book for yourself or join in on the merry-go-round fun. It’s a timeless summer tradition that never disappoints.

Take a Stroll along a Rail Trail

Lucky enough to have a rail trail nearby? Gather the kids, some snacks, and your walking shoes. Rail trails are perfect for families, surrounded by nature and offering spots to rest or enjoy a picnic along the way.

Try Skating

If you have a budding skateboarder or rollerblader, find a local paved trail, pump track, or skate park for some skating fun. It’s guaranteed to be a hit with them.

Embark on a Hiking Adventure

With an extensive trail system throughout the United States, there’s always a new path to explore. Family-friendly trails are marked by difficulty level, making it easy to choose one that suits your group. Keep an eye out for geocaches or letterboxes along the way for added excitement.

Experience Park Ranger Life

While visiting one of the nation’s stunning national parks, consider enrolling your kids in a Junior Ranger Program. These hands-on activities allow them to delve deeper into nature and even learn about potential future careers. It’s an enriching experience for the whole family.

Create Your Own Fort

Kids adore building forts, which can become peaceful retreats during stressful times and morph into whatever they imagine! Building a backyard fort is simpler than you might think. Provide your kids with old sheets, help them gather sticks or poles, and watch as they construct their mini castle.

Attend Berry Festivals or Visit Fruit Farms

Treat your family to a day of berry-themed fun at local fruit festivals. These events typically feature entertainment for kids, craft shows, fruit-themed cook-offs, entertaining eating contests, live music, and various vendors to explore.

You can usually discover nearby festivals by checking websites like the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council or Pick Your Own, or by browsing local events on social media platforms like Facebook.

Explore Pick-Your-Own Berry Farms

There’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly picked fruit, especially during the summer months. Seek out a berry farm near you and take your kids for a delightful day of picking and old-fashioned enjoyment. Before heading out, give the farm a call to ensure they have ripe berries available, and remember to bring your own containers if permitted.

Make Your Own Jam

Creating homemade jam is an enjoyable activity for multiple generations to share. While kids might not handle the boiling process, they can certainly participate in mashing and preparing the fruit. Pick up some pectin from your local grocery store for a simple homemade jam recipe. Since pectin is a key ingredient, you’ll often find easy-to-follow jam recipes on the back of the packet.

Enjoy a Day at the Beach

Looking for a full-day activity? Head to the beach for some sunny fun! Kids can splash in the ocean and build sandcastles to their heart’s content. Best of all, it’s a budget-friendly option. Consider packing a picnic and exploring beaches with interesting lighthouses and other coastal attractions.

Create Sandcastles

Gather cups, containers, and other tools to sculpt sand and build impressive sandcastles! Don’t have a beach nearby? No worries! Pick up an inflatable kiddie pool, some play sand, and beach toys from a store like Walmart. Set up your sandy play area in the backyard and easily pack it away when playtime is over.

Collect Seashells and Beach Treasures

Bring along a basket and let your kids search the shoreline for shells, driftwood, stones, sand dollars, and more! Save these treasures for indoor activities and crafts on rainy days.

Craft a Sand Mermaid or Merman

Burying friends in the sand is always a blast! With a little help from parents or friends, create sand mermaids or mermen. Burry someone in the sand and add a tail, or collaborate to sculpt a sand mermaid complete with facial features.

Explore Coastal Wildlife

Keep an eye out for wildlife during your beach adventure. Whether it’s birds soaring above, crustaceans hiding in tidal pools, or seals and dolphins swimming offshore, there’s plenty to discover. Encourage your kids to bring a camera to capture these memorable moments. It’s the journey that counts, not just the photos.

Craft a Beach Memory Shadow Box

To make a unique shadow box, simply grab a thick frame, sometimes labeled as “shadow boxes” in stores. Let your kids arrange collected items from your beach adventures inside the frame. This makes for a wonderful display piece and a cherished memory of your beach day!

Create a Time Capsule

For a fun craft, have your kids gather trinkets and items that represent the current time period and bury them in a capsule. Remember where you buried it and set a date in the future to dig it up and reminisce about the past.

Try Fishing

Few activities are as peaceful as fishing by a tranquil lake. Whether it’s a regular family activity or an annual event, kids can enjoy the simplicity of fishing.

Important Note:

While many states allow kids under 17 to fish without a license, it’s always best to check your state’s regulations before heading out. Additionally, parents and older teens should ensure they have the necessary permits.

Assemble a Nature Exploration Kit

Encourage kids to explore the natural world around them by packing a small backpack with essentials like binoculars, a camera, a sketchbook, colored pencils, and field guides. Let them roam and discover the wonders of nature.

Play Nature-themed ‘I Spy’

On a sunny summer day outdoors, engage in a game of “I Spy” with a nature twist. It’s a perfect activity for a walk in the woods or while fishing, encouraging observation and appreciation of the natural environment.

Participate in the Great American Camp out

Set up a tent in your backyard for a night under the stars or join the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout, typically held in June. Families can register for free, raise funds, join group campouts, and share their adventures online with friends and family.

Explore the World of Bugs

If your child loves bugs, give them a ventilated container and let them hunt for bugs around the neighborhood. It’s a great opportunity to teach them about responsibility by releasing the bugs afterward. Bug hunting can also inspire writing prompts for journals.

Enjoy Stargazing

While camping, take time to gaze at the stars with your kids. On clear nights, stargazing is not only educational but also a chance to share fun stories behind the constellations, rooted in Greek mythology. It’s a blend of science and storytelling that makes stargazing an exciting adventure.

Enroll in Mini Day Camps

Discover the variety of mini day camps offered by local colleges, museums, schools, art studios, and sports facilities. These half-day programs allow kids to explore new interests while giving parents a break during the summer months.

Discover Library Read Alouds

Change your kids’ perspective on reading by visiting the local library and choosing engaging read-aloud books together. Take a break from the summer heat and enjoy a captivating story as a family.

Host a Neighborhood Book Club

Encourage reading by hosting a summer book club for kids in your neighborhood. Whether focusing on a genre, author, or letting kids choose their own books, discussing stories with friends can make reading more enjoyable.

Join a Summer Reading Program

Check with your local library for summer reading clubs and incentives to keep kids motivated to read. Barnes & Noble stores also offer summer reading programs where kids can earn free books based on their reading achievements.

Have a Picnic Reading Session

Gather your picnic essentials and head to the local park with plenty of blankets, snacks, and books for the kids. Bask in the sunshine as you read their favorite books or comics together—just don’t forget the sunscreen before you go!

Go Bowling

Make bowling a summer pastime with Kids Bowl Free. Sign up online and use the search tool to locate a participating bowling alley near you. Kids within the age limit can register for two free games per day at these venues.

Play Mini Golf

Mini golf is a fun activity for the whole family. Many mini golf spots offer deals on quieter days, allowing families to enjoy a game at half price. Challenge each other to see who’s the best shot while enjoying some outdoor fun.

Bounce at a Trampoline Park

When summer has your kids bursting with energy, let them burn it off at a trampoline park. These parks often have summer deals, and since they’re indoors, you don’t have to worry about the heat. If you have toddlers, inquire about special toddler hours for a more budget-friendly outing.

Catch a Movie

Beat the summer heat by catching a movie at your local theater. Many theaters offer summer movie series with discounted or almost-free tickets for kids and sometimes parents too.

Dive into Pool Fun

If you have access to a pool, take advantage of it during the summer months. Splash around, play games, swim laps, and show off your diving skills while enjoying the sunshine and vitamin D.

Take Swimming Lessons

Summer is an ideal time for kids to learn essential swimming skills. Find swimming lessons in your area to ensure your children are confident and safe in the water.

Play in the Sprinklers

Cool off and have fun by turning on the sprinklers for the kids. They’ll delight in the water play while you can relax. You could even set up a makeshift slip and slide for extra excitement.

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