17 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained This Summer

by Guest Contributor

This guest post was submitted by Jacquie.

Want to keep your kids engaged this summer? Check out these 17 different ways you can keep your little ones entertained this summer.

Weekly Library Visits

Seriously, the library is an amazing place during the summer!  Almost all libraries participate in a Summer Reading Program – this year’s theme is “Dig into Reading”.  Check your local library for story times, craft sessions, science programs, read-ins, fun games and incentives for hitting the books this summer.

Relive Your Childhood

Kids love to learn what parents did as kids so teach them a few fun activities from your memorable summers.  Do they know how to hula hoop?  Have they ever flown a kite?  Spend an evening playing flashlight tag, catching fireflies or kick the can.  Try some throw-back backyard games like badminton, croquet or lawn darts.  Vintage can be really cool!

Explore Someplace New

Is there a museum you’ve been meaning to visit?  Maybe a new attraction or exhibit is coming to town this summer?  Schedule a day to head out and explore it together.

Read a Book – Watch a Movie

There are so many great children’s books that have been made into movies!  Have a family read-aloud with classics such as Treasure Island and Charlotte’s Web or newer book titles Percy Jackson and Harry Potter and then host a family movie night to watch the flick!  Browse this list of more than 100+ kids books that have been made into family-friendly movies for a few fun ideas!

Cook Up Some Fun

One of the best parts of summer is long, open days!  It’s a great time to cook or bake together.  Experiment with fruit smoothies, frozen fruit pops or a fun dessert.  Try making individual pizzas for dinner one night.  Have fun creating your own family s’mores – what fun items would you include?  Or teach the kids how to make popcorn on the stove (they’ll never want the microwave version again!).

Explore Nature

One of the rights of summer is heading outside to explore!  Take the kids to a park or nature center and let them hike the trails, look for bugs, walk through the creek and play to their hearts content!

Plan a ‘Vacation Day’

You don’t have to go out of town to have a vacation.  Plan a day to be a tourist in your own town by visiting a popular attraction, having lunch out somewhere special and attending a fun evening activity or concert.

Create an Art Station

Turn an outdoor area into an instant art station!  Round up a few cardboard boxes, markers, poster paints, glitter glue, large sheets of art paper and any other art materials that will encourage creativity and let them create!

Play with Water

Put out a sprinkler, set up a small pool or set up a fun water table for the kids to play in on hot days.  Let them wash the outdoor toys, float and sink boats and splash around to cool off.

Grow Something

Kids love to dig in the dirt so let them grow something this summer.  Whether its a few moon flowers in a pot or some huge sunflowers in the backyard, taking care of their own plant and watching it grow will be something they’ll really enjoy.  If you have the room, try growing herbs (basil, cilantro) or a few fun salad items (tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers) and use them for meals.

Become a Jr. Ranger

Many state parks and most national parks have Junior Ranger programs for kids from ages 3 – 12 during the summer.  And some of the programs can even be completed online!  Check with your local state parks to learn about local programs and visit the National Parks Junior Rangers website for more than 200 programs at parks around the country.

Attend a Concert or Play

Most towns offer some great outdoor summer entertainment.  It’s so fun to spread out a blanket and stay up late to enjoy a cultural event.   Check your city’s website to find offerings near you.   Enjoy a music event, concert or theater production with the family.

Pitch a Tent or Build a Fort

Whether it’s in your backyard or at a campsite, kids love to spend some time in a tent.   Forts are also a cool place to spend a summer afternoon.  Grab some old sheets and create a fort outside or gather all the pillows and blankets in the house to create an indoor cave.  Toss in some books and flashlights and let them read for a while.

Ride 100 Miles this Summer

Head out on daily or weekly bike rides and track how far you ride each time.  Create a chart with 100 squares and fill one in for each mile the kids or the family goes biking.  This is also great practice for younger kid learning to count to 100.

Let Them Be Entrepreneurs

Summer is a great time for kids to dabble in their own ‘business’.  Let them open a lemonade stand, host a yard sale or start a dog walking business to earn a little spending money.

Head out on a Picnic

No need to plan anything elaborate, just grab some PB&J’s, fruit, water bottles and a Frisbee along with a really big blanket and head out to a park to eat lunch one day.

Go on a Treasure Hunt

Have you tried geocaching yet?  It’s fun, free and you can find a cache hidden in most cities around the country.  Anyone can hide a cache (which is a small hidden box that has ‘kid-size’ treasures – think trinkets, coins, mini-toys, etc.).  All you need is an app on your phone or iPad to help you find the cache.  Use the website www.opencaching.com , enter your zip code and you’ll find the details for caches near you.

Whatever you decided to do, just have fun with your kids. They grow up so fast and will be out of the house before you know it!

What ways will you keep your kids entertained this summer?

Jacquie is an educator, nature lover and mom to two curious kids.  She writes about kid’s activities & literature, family travel and fun ways to learn at Edventures with Kids  http://www.kcedventures.com/blog.  You can also find her on Pinterest and Twitter @kcedventures.



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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tanya May 29, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Its too hot to do anything outside during the summer here. I am planning on going to all the museums we haven’t been to yet with my son. There are 2 or 3 that we have yet to go see and would be fun to get to this summer. Great ideas, thanks :)
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2 Anne May 29, 2013 at 1:48 pm

Your list is very helpful.

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3 Debbie Bashford May 30, 2013 at 5:34 am

Oh I really love that ride 100 miles idea!

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4 Erin May 30, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I’m loving this site! I just discovered it and your purpose fits perfectly with my blog (www.21dayexperiment.com) I’m looking forward to featuring some of this in next month’s experiment. These are great ideas for things I can do with my boys this summer. Thanks!

Erin

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5 Anne Taylor May 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

What a great list! I plan on spending alot of time down at the beach with my grandkids this summer!

thanks

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6 Debbie Bashford May 31, 2013 at 7:00 am

Great list of fun things to do for the summer with the kiddos!

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7 gaitha May 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm

thanks for the fun ideas

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8 Amy Tolley June 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

all these are such great ways to teach kids and have fun all at the same time i believe kids learn more with hands on thanks for sharing..

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9 Carrie M Goodin June 2, 2013 at 1:27 am

some GREAT Ideas, I needed this as we are not involved in any sports this summer due to finances. Thank You.

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10 Sindy Murray June 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

I will try building a fort with my kids and the art center idea is awesome too!

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11 Lauren June 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

I love taking my girls to the library over the summer — the kids enjoy the summer reading program. This summer, I hope to do some gardening with my kids and teach them how to prepare some simple meals. They would really like to learn how to cook. I would also love to get a croquet set! I think they would have fun with that. I also hope to do some bike riding with the kids over the summer — but I need a bike!
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12 Petula June 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Great list. I wrote something similar. Just not as detailed and pretty. ;-)
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13 Tammy S June 10, 2013 at 8:44 am

These are all great ideas. We always make the library our go to during the summer. Also our local Parks & Rec department put on movie night in the park about once a month. It’s like a big picnic while watching a movie. They also offer a lot of family events through out the summer that are free of charge.

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14 Mary Happymommy June 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I would add kids bowl free to the list!

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15 Rosie June 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

these are great ideas. I esp like visiting the library and going for a picnic.

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16 courtney b June 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm

a picnic is a great idea we have used :) plus its cheap!

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17 Tammy S June 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

I like the idea of doing a treasure Hunt. It is one that you could change up each time you do it with a new theme.

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18 vickie couturier June 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

nice to know,the grandkids are coming for a long visit an I need a plan to keep them busy,,thanks

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19 Elena June 11, 2013 at 11:19 am

We go biking in the park

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20 Anne Lehnick June 13, 2013 at 10:50 am

My husband and I made a list of 100 things to do in Texas (where we live) at the beginning of the year. It has lots of things that we intend to do this summer with the kids. I like your simple ideas of catching fireflies, too. I see them as we drive down our road and I’ve been talking them up to my 6 year old. Oh the good ol’ days!

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21 Betsy Barnes June 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm

When my son was younger, we enjoyed visiting neighboring cities skate parks. :)

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22 Carrie at In the Hammock Blog June 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm

definitely love the library idea!!
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