Avoid hours of screen time with this list of summer activities for kids. Grab the free printable and get ready for hours of play.
“Mom, I’m bored.”
“What can I do now?”
“There’s nothing to do!”
It is not your job to be the cruise director at your house this summer. You have a million other things to take care of. But you’re still going to need a summer activities list.
Sure, we want our children to be creative and direct their own play. They need to have time to be bored and learn to imagine possibilities.
But let’s be real. On the third or fourth week of summer break, you will reach your breaking point and be ready to let them have ALL. THE. SCREENS.
It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little preparation (and a summer activities list from me), you can have an arsenal of activities.
This way, when the children become restless, you won’t cave on your summer screen time rules. Plus, these summer activities for kids are just plain fun!
I’ve got a list of 24 summer activities for kids. Use the free printable activity cards so you’ll have plenty of ideas for your kids.
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Screen-free Summer Activities for Kids
When you feeling like letting your children watch TV all day because you’ve had it with the whining, it’s helpful to have another option. That’s where a list of summer activities for kids is helpful.
These activities are very easy for you to prep. If you scroll Pinterest, you’ll find all sorts of elaborate activities.
You won’t do more than 2-3 minutes of preparation for any of these summer activities for kids.
But first, you need to make sure you have the simple supplies ahead of time. You probably have most of these items around your house already.
Purchase the few items you need to be ready for summer days at home. I know you’re busy, so I have Amazon links for many of the products.
(If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member you can grab a FREE month trial. You can cancel at any time.)
My family has used and tested a bunch of these items and all of these activities are favorites in our house. My kiddos give them a thumbs up.
Free Summer Activities Printable Picture Cards
Here’s what to do:
- Print the summer activities picture cards
- Cut them apart
- Throw away any cards you don’t want to do. Water balloons aren’t your thing? Toss it before your children see the cards.
- Laminate the cards.
- Or print them on card stock and just plan to recycle them at the end of the summer.
- Punch a hole in the corner and place on a metal ring.
Need more help getting your summer under control? Check out this summer printable pack!
Here’s a run-down of the activities on the printable cards.
Indoor Screen-Free Summer Activities for Kids
Here’s a summer activities list for 12 great indoor ideas. These are perfect for rainy days or days that are too hot to be outside.
1. Sensory bins:
Get some lidded containers and dump some beans, rice, or old pasta in it. Add in some utensils like large serving spoons or scoops.
Your child will likely spill some of the contents so make sure you have a little broom and dust pan.
If the Amazon containers are too expensive (prices fluctuate), try Target Drive-Up.
When your puzzles just stay on a shelf, they can start to blend into the background. Make this more of a fun summer activity for kids by changing it up. Try setting them out on your kitchen table with snacks or the living room floor with pillows and stuffies to bring novelty to the puzzles.
Take an outing to the library and stock up on new books once a week. Turning reading into a summer activity for kids with the free Summer Reading Bingo.
Our library has a free curbside pick-up due to COVID-19. So check to see what option your library has.
Visit your local Dollar Tree and grab a new coloring book for the summer. If you se
5. Write Letters:
Children love to send and receive mail. Grab some paper, envelopes, and stamps and have them color or write letters.
Choose grandparents or other relatives who you know will write them back. Mail the letters when your children are finished.
6. Decorate a box:
Save those Amazon Prime boxes and let your children go to town with markers and stickers.
We love these Melissa and Doug cardboard blocks for building the tallest towers. The large size is great for motor skills and coordination.
I got a giant lidded container at Target and store them in the garage when not in use.
8. Puppet Show:
Grab a pack of paper bags at Dollar Tree or Target and let your children decorate them with crayons and markers. Or we love these Melissa and Doug puppets.
If you don’t have a puppet theater, use a blanket draped over the back of two chairs.
Our favorite dress-up is Melissa and Doug but old Halloween costumes work, too.
11. Bath time:
12. Listen to CDs:
We get books on CD from the library and listen to them. We’ve had this Sylvania portable CD player for a five years and even with my rough and tumble children, it’s still going strong!
COVID-19 Update: Is your library is still closed? These Disney Read-Along books on CD are pretty affordable.
Did you have record players and these Disney books on a record as a kid? I did!
Outdoor Screen-free Summer Activities for Kids
You’ll need some outdoor summer activities for kids, too. These activities will keep your children busy and make for some great summer memories.
1. Water balloons:
2. Water table:
We’ve had this Little Tikes water tablea for three years now. Both my older children (currently 8.5 and almost 5) love it.
We use a sprinkler similar to this one that twirls and spins. Since we won’t be able to go to splash pads this summer, a sprinkler is a must.
4. Sidewalk chalk:
Grab a big tub of sidewalk chalk – make sure it’s non-toxic and washable.
We have a bubble machine we love similar to this one. Of course, we stock up on the $1 jars of bubbles at Target when the summer starts, too.
6. Draw on windows:
Sometimes drawing is more fun when it is in an unexpected place. We use dry erase markers to color on our sliding glass doors.
Expo markers are easier to see but I prefer the washable Crayola dry erase markers because I don’t like getting Expo stains out of clothing.
We’ve had this Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table for four summers. My son will spending hours each week driving his trucks through the sand or digging and scooping.
8. Watch the clouds:
Show your children how to lay on their backs and look up at the clouds. My daughter likes telling me what she thinks they look like.
9. Play soccer:
We have this small Franklin pop up net and our kids like to make shots at goals.
We got so much use out of this goal when the playgrounds were closed for COVID-19
We don’t really garden – maybe you do. Our gardening is limited to a few planters with annuals.
However, that doesn’t stop my children from digging in the dirt with tools like these.
11. Spray bottles:
Grab a clean, empty spray bottle. Your kids can use them like water guns or spraying the fence.
It also strengthens the muscles in their hands they need for writing.
- Related: Improve Pencil Grip
Soak a pack of sponges in a small basin of water and let your children toss them at targets around your yard.
Summer Activities List
Here’s the recap of summer activities for kids:
- Sensory bin
- Writing letters
- Decorate a box
- Large blocks
- Puppet Show
- Listen to CDs
- Water balloons
- Water table
- Sidewalk chalk
- Draw on windows
- Spray bottles
- Soccer net
- Look at clouds
- Sponge toss
You can have a great summer at home with your children without tons of screen time. You just need a simple summer activities list.
When your children are super bored, and you’ve lost your patience with the complaining, these summer activities for kids will save your day.
So, take some time to get ready now. Order your supplies.
Print these screen-free summer activity printable cards here. Make some fun summer memories with your children.