Family Summer Fun Ideas


Long and lazy days generally mean more fun time, more downtime, and more family time. This summer, plan to get outdoors where the air is fresh and a variety of activities awaits you. We have a host of ideas that will keep you safe even as you're building memories.

Family Summer Fun Ideas

You can take advantage of all that sunshine by getting outside and enjoying nature. Sometimes, the simplest activities are the best, such as watching birds in the backyard or at a nearby park. You can also make a bird feeder out of a teacup, citrus rind, or milk carton and watch a variety of species as they swoop and land to feed.

If you want to teach your kids about gardens, fresh herbs grow easily in containers kept on the patio or front porch. They can be started in mason jars, plastic cups, or coffee cans and, as they continue to grow, transferred into bigger planters. Or, visit a you-pick farm and pluck strawberries, raspberries, or veggies for cooking at home. You can do the same with flowers and place them in vases around the house.

Get Creative

Spread a blanket on the grass and gaze at the sky to find unique cloud shapes. Take turns pointing out what you see and create stories to share. Bring some drawing pads and sketch the shapes onto paper; the drawings can then be placed into a scrapbook or hung on the refrigerator as reminders of the time you spent together.

For even more creativity, build homemade fairy houses out of bark, leaves, and moss. Choose a spot in the yard where you'll place them, and slowly but surely watch a village grow. Also, have paint on hand so you can add details like windows and doors.

Backyard Fun

When you're planning activities, remember everything your own backyard has to offer - starting with space. Use this to create a camping oasis, complete with a tent or two, string lights, and a firepit. Roast s'mores and hot dogs over an open fire (ensuring toddlers stay well back from flames), or drink homemade lemonade or iced tea out of vintage mugs.

Your backyard is also a great place to hold a scavenger hunt. Print homemade lists and mark off the items as you spot them with little kids. For older kids, give them a smartphone or digital camera so they can take pictures of their finds. The following offer some ideas for your lists:
  • Something yellow
  • An insect 
  • Something smooth
  • Something soft
  • Something that begins with "G"
  • A butterfly
  • A stone
  • A footprint

Use Your Water

A little water never hurt anyone, especially on a warm day. But you don't need a large pool to have fun - a garden hose or kiddie pool is perfect for splashing. Have a water balloon fight using sponges in place of balloons to avoid plastic waste. Or load up on squirt guns and see who can stay the driest.

For a little more innovation, hose down a tarp until it's good and wet. Then let your kids use it as a simple slip 'n slide. You can also create water blobs out of plastic sheeting and duct tape. Fill them with water and let kids bounce or hop from one to the other.

Get a Little Crazy

In the evening, gather your family and play a game of flashlight tag. Before getting started, detail the boundaries of the tag site so nobody wanders too far. Or fly a kite on a windy day; this simple pleasure can instantly reduce stress and promote mindfulness. If your kids are a little older, build a lemonade stand, make a few batches of lemonade, and hang a sign to attract customers.

If you're feeling artistic, help your children decorate your driveway and walkways with chalk. You can either purchase outdoor chalk from the store or make your own using food coloring, distilled vinegar, and cornstarch.

Money-Saving Plans

If you're currently on a budget, you can still have plenty of fun in the sun. The key is in choosing activities that are both exciting and affordable, starting with hiking. Remember to pack snacks and water and don sunscreen and insect repellent. Then drive to the nearest trail and enjoy a little solitude with Mother Nature, scouting for wildlife and traveling new paths.

As old as time, picnics allow you to pack your favorite foods and eat in a spot that looks comfortable. Bring a frisbee or baseball for a game of catch, and after, treat everyone to ice cream. Many communities also offer free summer concerts the whole family will enjoy. Additional ideas that cost little to no money include:
  • An afternoon at the park or playground
  • Watching a little league or local baseball team
  • Visiting your local farmer's market
  • Catching fireflies
  • Building sandcastles at a beach or local lake
  • Fishing in a stream or river

Hit the Open Road

If you'd like to explore beyond your own community, hit the open road and look for special points of interest. Ideas to consider include a drive-in for a cozy movie night, a historic farm or house to explore, or a river to kayak. Waterparks, zoos, and amusement parks also make for great destinations in warm weather. If you can make day trips out of these spots, you'll save the money and hassle associated with hotel accommodations.

On a road trip, you can also look for waterfront restaurants or head to a national park. The latter often provide interesting history lessons as you explore beautiful sites. And, finally, a simple weekend at a campground can help you reconnect to nature as the kids play.

From One Parent to Another

Remember to pack snacks and activities for the car ride so you can drive without distraction. Let the kids color, read, or watch a movie on a tablet. Time will pass more quickly if everyone is occupied during the ride, and your vacation will start on a positive note rather than one of grumbling.

When It's Raining

Rain is inevitable in most places, and for this reason, it's nice to have a few backup ideas to keep the kids busy. Use these days to teach them new card or board games, create handcrafted jewelry, or host a puppet show in the living room.

You can also get kids involved in the kitchen for a day of cooking together. The list of options is nearly endless, but a few to get you started include:
  • Cupcakes
  • Homemade bread
  • Pizza
  • Chicken tacos
  • Spaghetti
  • Frozen fruit popsicles

Think Big

If you have a basement or garage, create a mural with poster board or long white craft paper. Arrange it on the floor or across the wall and let your imagination run wild; you and the kids can paint or draw pictures of your family, pets, or outdoor activities. Add to it all summer, little by little, until you have a finished piece.

You can also put on a play complete with homemade costumes and makeup, hold a photoshoot with different outfits and poses, or enjoy an indoor movie night. Last but not least, nearly every kid loves building forts with blankets and cardboard boxes used as tunnels.

Summer fun can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Try to plan ahead, if possible, so you're prepared for your next adventure. And visit Cameo Rouge today for gear, clothing, and more that will help you have the best season yet.

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