75 + Ridiculously Awesome Things to Do With Your Kids This Summer

Summertime and the livin’s easy. Except if you’ve got toddlers or school-aged children and find yourself on the receiving end of the “I’m so bored” statement. Because you’re not a one-person-activity-factory (and I imagine this isn’t the kind of thing you do all the time) I’ve pulled together some of the best ideas for summer activities you can do at home and around town that will keep your kiddos entertained, enrich their little minds on their summer break, and empower you to have the best summer yet.

I’ve also got a way for you to track all of these awesome ideas without having to print anything (It’s Trello and I’ve organized everything you need in that bad boy for you. Don’t worry, if you have no idea what Trello is I’ve got you, boo)

Some of the links below contain affiliate linking, which means that at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Summer Activities to do with your kids

But before we get into that I want to caution you against one most important thing: over programming your kid.

I said it.

We all know that mom who has their child in ten different after school activities for enrichment, education, and sports.

Maybe it’s you.

No judgment momma, I know you’re just wanting to do the best for your kiddo but sometimes the best is a break.

Science and mounting evidence proves this.

Give it a Rest, Before You Schedule Summer Activities

When I was a TV producer I used to work 10 - 12 hours a day, for 4 - 6 months at a time, and depending on the show, usually work one or both days on the weekend either dealing with emails or if I was on location, working out that week’s shoot schedule.  

In other words, I didn’t get many breaks.

After every single show, I’d be lucky to have a week or so to decompress. And I needed it.

My husband called it my “cocoon” time, where I’d wrap myself in blankets and binge the new hot Netflix show or the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and basically not leave the couch for days.

My brain needed to not have to make decisions or be creative. Seriously, I wouldn’t even make decisions on what to eat!

Summer activities to keep your kids busy all summer long

Your kids need some cocoon time.  

Your kids have been going full speed ahead for months, and likely with the recent end of the year test schedules, or final projects, are completely and totally burnt out.

Please don’t schedule something every single day for that first week after school lets out.

Let them sleep. Let them watch TV. Let them play on the iPad and run around the back yard or ride bikes with their friends.  

Let them not do anything.

Usually, they’ll feel rested within a day or two and be ready for some structure again.

On the other hand, if they’re begging you to do something, honor that. Trust them to know their body and what they want.

Start programming the majority of activities for a week or two after a break has begun.

Summer fun and all the things to do with your kids. Great ideas!

You Will Only Spend 18 Summers With Your Child

While I don’t want to get down on a low note, I do feel compelled to point out something my friend Mary Beth over at Lifestyle for Real Life mentioned to me that stuck with me.

You will only have 18 summers with your kids.

18 summers where they live at home and fully depend on you.

Sure, they may return after college, or they may even come and live with you at some point, but the lazy summer daze feeling of that break off of school will only be for a relatively short amount of time.

As a DGAF mom, spending quality time with my kids making memories and building connections is something I give a lot of fucks about.

I was lucky that the first full summer I had with my boys happened when I was on maternity leave after my second baby was born (he’s a May baby). Prior to that, I’d worked every summer. Even the one that my first was born (He’s an August baby).

I couldn’t remember having a summer off in years.

Yes, it was hot.

Yes, I was newly postpartum.

But the feeling in the air, the colors of the sky, and the activities we did with my oldest solidified for me that if I can find a way to be home during the Summers or at least for part of it I’m gonna do it.

Which is part of why I write this blog.

And freelance write from home.

Summers will do that to you.

Anyway, I did the math and as it turns out, this is the last summer my oldest son has before starting elementary school.

This is the last summer that he and his little brother will be at the same daycare and share the same playground and same play spaces for the majority of the weekdays.

I’m planning on kicking ass in the productivity department so that I can maximize my summer time with my babies.

Which is why I’ve compiled this list.

Summer Activities to do with your kids

The Science Behind Taking Breaks

Mounting research has shown time and again that the more frequent and intentional you can be about the types of breaks you take, the better your productivity, creativity, and general mental health becomes.

There’s a reason that Jack Nicholson’s character from the horror film “The Shining” turned nutso and started writing the phrase  “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy” over and over again.

I know you want to get to the activities ideas but SLOW DOWN!

Let’s be intentional about this.

I imagine every summer you frantically look through Pinterest or Facebook to find ideas for what to do with your kids and start strong.

Real strong.

A camp out under the stars, strong.

A museum the first few weeks, strong.

And then it fizzles.

Don’t be that mom this year.

Let’s get the right mindset about summer activities before we just JUMP ALL THE WAY IN.

Summer fun and all the great activities you can do with your kids

Breaks are Important. Boredom is Also Important

You are standing at the precipice of a monster opportunity here, dear reader.

Where you can offer your child an insanely glorious gift: The gift of boredom.

Boredom elicits creativity.

Boredom allows for out of the box thinking.

Boredom wakes your kiddos out of the post-school haze and introduces them to their true selves.

According to this article from a study featured by Deakin University,

Multiple experiments researching the evolutionary purpose of boredom has validated an interesting theory – people who are bored think more creatively than those who aren’t. So, does boredom fuel imagination?

‘It might. It could be a powerful motivator to seek more mental stimulation,’ Prof. Enticott muses.

Take a bored child, for example. Given nothing to do, they’ll most likely concoct a wacky game or fictitious story to entertain themselves.

‘Certainly, some people get bored easier than others, and psychologists have devised ways to measure this. One influential theory is that boredom reflects a failure to engage with our environment.

This could promote behavior that leads to better attention toward a task, or even toward our own mental processes,’ he continues.

Let your kids be bored out of their minds this summer.

In fact, schedule an intentional time to do it.

I call this “Boredom Time” and it means:

no TV, no iPad or video games and no planned activities, but my kids can play with whatever they want.

If your kids are used to being over-programmed this may be either a hard adjustment or a welcomed one.

Be patient as your kids work through the discomfort of feeling OH MY GOD I’M SO BORED.

Once you’ve accomplished some intentional boredom let’s get into the intentional activity planning.

How Do You Keep Track of Your Summer Activities?

Do you pin everything to a Pinterest board?

If so, make sure to add the below pin to yours so you can reference back to this post.

I like to use Trello to keep track of anything that is worth keeping track of.

Trello is a project management system that helps me stay organized in nearly every facet of my life.

Trello is a combination digital bulletin board, note and list keeper, and all around beautiful piece of ABSOLUTELY FREE software that you can bend and mold to your will so you can feel organized and on top of your shit.

I swear.

Because we’re planning on doing some shit this summer I’ve organized the days by “Themes.”
You can get access to my free Trello Summer Activities Board below.

Using Trello to organize your summer activities is a really smart way to keep track of what to do with your kids

Not interested in trying new technology?

No biggie.

Pin this post, bookmark it, whatever.

Although once you see how easy Trello is for beginners you may want to check it out (and if you’re already using Pinterest it’s kind of similar in some ways).

It’s free!

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Below is my how-to on how use Trello to organize your summer activities. This is kind of a gateway video because once you start to see the potential of Trello you may never use any other organization system again.

Use Themes to Organize and Plan Your Summer Activities

As a DGAF Mom, I’m all about picking and choosing the fucks I need to give so that I can make my life easier as a parent. Not harder.

Themes for the days of the week makes this easier.

Even more so?

Preparing ahead of time almost always makes this easier.

Head to the craft store. Invest in some essentials: paint, markers and crayons, chalk, and different types of papers. Glue and glue sticks. (I’m willing to bet you’ve got most of this already!)

Look up the local summer activities schedules for your town and mark them on your calendar (or use a Trello Power Up to integrate a calendar with Google).

Here are the themes I’ve decided to use.

Other bloggers have other spins on this but I’m not other bloggers.

Use themes to help you organize all your summer activities.

DGAF Mom Themes

Make It Monday - Make it, mold it, Arts and Crafts, Play Doh, and everything in between. Ideas for what to Make Go here

Adventure Tuesday - Do some quick research to find out any local summer activities near you.

Water Play Wednesday - Anything that has to do with water, including backyard sprinklers, pool day, local splash pads, and my list of the best water play ideas.

Thrifty Thursday - Dollar store hacks, get creative with things you have at home (like building a cardboard box dinosaur?)

Foodie Friday - Get creative in the kitchen. Make new recipes, teach your kids to cook, bake cookies together, and check out new restaurants or food trucks.

foodie friday is a fun activity to do with your kids this summer, make muffins together!

Ideas for Inside Activities This Summer

Build a pillow and Cushion Fort

Practice Finances by playing "bank" (Write out checks, give fake money):

Draw on Windows/Sliding Glass Doors with Washable Chalk Markers

Visit a Pet Store (it's a lot like going to a mini Zoo!)

Paint Faces

Play Dress Up

Make Pasta Jewelry

Make Card Board Box Dinosaurs out of Recycled Materials and house hold Items

My boys made these “dinosaurs” out of old boxes, duct tape, toilet paper and paper towel holders, old cups, and plastic lining from packages

My boys made these “dinosaurs” out of old boxes, duct tape, toilet paper and paper towel holders, old cups, and plastic lining from packages

Outside Summer Activities to Try:

Make It Monday Ideas for Summer Activities Indoor (or Outdoor)!

Arts and crafts play-doh, painting, anything that allows your children to expand their creativity.

Here are some ideas and links to other blogs for what to do for Make-It-Monday Summer Activities ideas:

5 Minute Science Experiments for Kids

For older kids - Make your Own Castille Soap!:

Grow Butterflies

Paint a Cardboard House

Q-Tip Painted Butterfly Craft

Have an Adventure Tuesday this Summer

This can be a bit of a catch-all, but typically this requires leaving your house: Heading to a museum, a story time at the library, or a local walk around the park to do a “nature walk” where the idea is to “teach your kids” or have them “teach you” about the interesting things they see and learn on their adventure.

Check out local summer activities near you for ideas of what to do with your kids.

Water Play Wednesday Summer Activity Ideas

Water play games, water table games, local splash pad details, heading to a community pool if you have one or just dedicated time in your pool if you’re lucky to have one in your back yard.

Gather all the best Water Play ideas into this calendar/day and go:)

Water Play Ideas - Toddlers/Little Kids

Sprinkler Baseball

DIY Homemade Water Wall

Toddler Car Wash

Color Water Play

Icy Dinosaur Excavation

Trampoline Water Games (If You have one)

Commotion in the Ocean Water Play

Sink or Float Experiments

Name Practice Water Play

Tupperware Box or water table filled with water, dinosaurs, and cars. (My boys Love this) - Add cups such as these (link to baby stacking cups) for endless water play fun.

Wash the car (Kids love helping with soapy sponges and water buckets!)

Skip Rocks at the Lake or Pond

Local Splash Pad Fun

Go to the Community Pool

Go to the Beach

Play in the sprinklers

Fill up a Cheap plastic pool with water and have the kids use garden shovels to turn it into a mud paradise (and make mud pies!)

Best Backyard Water Toys for Kids from Worth Writing For

Best Water Play Activities

Ice Block Treasure Hunt

Water Balloon Pinnatas

101 Water Activities your Kids will love:

Thrifty Thursday Ideas for Summer Activities

Dollar Store hacks, Thrift store shopping for “costumes” to put on shows,  Target Dollar spot hacks, and repurposing old things in your house into new things.

So for example: go digging in the garage to discover kites that haven’t been played with for years and take them flying. The idea is to get creative with your environment and help your children realize what they already have that can be entertaining

Dollar Store Finds That Will Keep Your Kids Busy All Summer Long

60 Free/Cheap things to Do With the Kids

Make a slip and slide in your yard with a large piece of plastic, a hose, and some dish soap.

Have a picnic

Make a scavenger hunt for your kids

Go hiking

Go to the park

Pick wildflowers

Draw with sidewalk chalk

Fly a kite

Blow giant fucking bubbles

Have a lemonade stand and make some money

Play a game of soccer/football/baseball/ultimate frisbee

Collect bugs with this little bug collector


Go bike riding

Hold a yard sale

Feed the ducks

Read books outside in a hammock or a treehouse (we love this one)

Pick strawberries/raspberries/blueberries (Find a local Farm that Allows This)

Make an obstacle course in your yard

Foodie Friday Summer Activities

If you’re lucky to have a farmer’s market on Fridays that should be your first activity planned for this kind of day!

Otherwise, hunt down food trucks, go shopping somewhere like Whole Foods where your children can pick out exotic fruits and veggies they’ve never seen before (and have them help you cook them or prepare them for a snack).

Watch fun cooking shows like Master Chef Jr. (and use this cook book) to inspire your future chefs.

Make your Own Pizza lunches or dinners, and my favorite thing to do on this day, if it’s not too hot, is to eat dinner outside as a family (bonus tip: Have your kids help you set the table and bring out all the food).

Bake Cookies

Gardening

Pick out vegetable at store/farmer's market - look up recipe and cook it together

100 Crazy Easy Recipes for Kids

No Bake Unicorn Fudge

250 Easy Bake Oven Recipes for Kids

Kid Approved Trail Mix

Teaching Kids to Cook

Easy Homemade Gummy Bear Recipe

Summer Activities for Kids

So what’s it gonna be? What will you be doing this summer with your kids? Make sure to check out my Trello Board to organize all of your summer activities with your kids, and let me know in the comments below if you have any other ideas for fun things!

Other Posts from the DGAF Mom

How To Use Trello For Beginners

Mom Hacks to Help You Get More Shit Done

The Gift Guide of All Gift Guides for The Mom Who Has Everything

What To Make for Dinner When You Just Don’t Give a Fuck

Easy Date Night Ideas to Keep the Spark Alive

How to Deal With a Picky Eater

The Only Easy Meal Planner Template You’ll Ever Need

Do me a favor, if this helped you, help me? You can pin the below image to Pinterest to save it for later OR just pin it to help a momma out and let other moms know about this valuable list of summer activities for kids.

Free, cheap, indoor and outdoor summer activities for kids to keep them busy, entertained, and enriched all summer long. These are some of the  best educational ideas for fun at home or out and about.  DIY for toddlers and older kids.