With temperatures soaring, we know summer is officially here. School is out, and the kids are ready to be entertained… And yes, they’re looking to you to do the entertaining! If you’re not using a full-time summer camp or daycare, we know you’re on the hunt for fun, inexpensive, and easy summer activities for kids. In the immediate FF family, we have 7 kids. We all take turns keeping them busy when school is out. So one of us is always putting together something fun to entertain the kids over the summer, and we typically try to plan everything together. They always have more fun together!
Last summer, when my niece and nephew were still really young, I kept them entertained outside for hours with a small baby pool filled with water. I covered the top with floating balls and hid toys on the bottom of it to make it a treasure hunt for them. This activity was so simple to do with items I already had at home!
So today, I wanted to share some of my top summer activities for keeping kids happy and entertained. With everything we have planned for the summer, I narrowed it down to my top 4 activities!
4 Favorite Summer Activities for Kids
1. Flamingo Toss
This activity is such a blast with the kids! Simple and easy. We went to the dollar store and bought colorful buckets. Next, we bought the flamingos at Target. We filled the buckets with sand then stuck the flamingos in each bucket, scattering them around the yard. We used diving rings that we already had for the pool, but you can pick those up almost anywhere! Each flamingo was worth a different amount of points depending on how far it was from where you were standing.
The kids had a great time trying to get the rings around the flamingos necks, and it’s always fun to have some friendly competition! Quick and easy, right? Keeps the kids busy for a while and off their electronics.
2. DIY Zoo
I have to say my sister Katie came up with this idea, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. The best part about the DIY Zoo is the preparation involved! The kids spend so much time using their imaginations and having fun with planning what they wanted their zoo to look like.
Here is the typical process we go through when putting this activity together:
Location, location, location!
Find your zoo location. We just use our backyard.
Have the kids create a map of what attractions they want to display in their zoo. We usually run around the house and see what type of stuffed animals or figurines we have and go from there!
Tickets! Get your tickets!
Once you create your map, have the kids come up with a ticket price and a ticket booth. You can use a small kids table if you have one. We charge $1.00 entry for anyone who wants to come visit the zoo.
Set up – Be creative!
Make separate areas for each attraction. We’ve done a feeding area with stuffed giraffes. And, yes, they do charge an extra $.50 for the food – Haha! We have done play time with dolphins where we’ve thrown a blow up float into the pool and had guests toss toy fish to them. Elephant rides… Although we just use a wagon and toss the elephants in there, it’s still a ton of fun for the kids, and it’s always a favorite attraction for them!
Be creative. Use whatever you have in your house! Seeing the kids use their imaginations is the most fun part of this activity. You can even end the zoo with a small gift shop and have the kids do some arts and crafts. This activity will easily keep your kids busy for an entire afternoon.
Be ready to call your friends to come over, though!
3. Water Balloon and Water Gun Painting
Yes, this activity is messy, but it’s also a ton of fun. You can do this one in a couple of different ways, too.
I usually bring out an easel with large paper and fill our water guns with different color paints. You can easily (and inexpensively) get water guns at the dollar store. And I use washable paint, of course. Then just let the kids go to town and make their own masterpieces!
By adding water balloons to the mix, we make it more of a game. Fill about 100 water balloons and hide 10 that are filled with paints. The goal of the game is to not get hit by the paint. It’s exciting to watch them jump up and down when it’s water! Make it exciting and suspenseful.
Do it outside in the grass where you wont care if there’s a mess!
4. Night Time Drive-in Movie Theater
Movie night is a common occurrence for our family and one of my favorite activities we do together! During the day, have the kids do all the preparations and sit back and enjoy a full blown movie night after dinner.
It’s fun to let the kiddos create their own drive-in cars, too. Any cardboard box will do! Let them paint, color, and even cover their cars with stickers. Whatever makes them happy!
If you don’t want to splurge for an outdoor movie screen, you can always make it fun indoors.
If you want to make it a grand event, have a few couples chip in for a screen and plan a small BBQ. It then becomes fun for both the parents and the kids! Then you can all share the screen and pass it around for the summer.
You can even have the kids make some homemade candy and food throughout the day, which is something else that will keep them busy!
Final Thoughts on Summer Activities for Kids
One more thing – Our kids love playing with chalk outside, and it doesn’t have to be boring. We found some really cool and different ways to use chalk with the kiddos.
Enjoy, and happy summer everyone!