It’s summer and the holidays are almost here! I’ve put together a list of some of our favourite summer activities, along with a printable checklist, to help prevent too many of those “I’m bored” moments!
Click on the image below for the printable version or scroll down to see the full list of summer activity ideas in more detail.
1. Get gardening. Whether you’re planting new seeds or just digging up weeds, most kids will love the opportunity to dig in the soil and water the flowers.
2. Make a home for wildlife. It could be a simple miniature pond in an old bowl or an elaborate bug hotel with various materials to attract wildlife into your garden.
3. Concoct potions. SO Kid loves making sandy muddy ‘swamps’, other kids might prefer rose petal perfume or floral fairy mixtures.
4. Make a grass-head monster. Put a little grass seed into an old sock, fill with compost and fasten the end with an elastic band. Decorate with some googly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae. Pop it into a small plant pot or old yogurt pot, water regularly and kids will love watching the ‘hair’ grow!
5. Go on a nature spotting walk. Talk about all the different colours you and your child can see around you and encourage them to write down or draw what they see. This would be a great opportunity to practise using similes and adjectives in a piece of creative writing about spending time outdoors.
6. Book a holiday club or workshop. This can be a fun way for kids to spend some time with friends, or make new friends, having fun whilst learning new skills.
7. Do a craft challenge. You could leave a note and selection of craft items for your child to find when they wake up one morning, challenging them to make something, or simply raid the recycling bin and lay out lots of junk modeling materials to do whatever they like with.
8. Do a maths challenge. Together with your child, you can work out how far you travel on each day trip, then work out how far you have travelled in total over the holiday.
9. Make a diary or scrapbook. It could have either factual or imaginative content!
10. Go on a treasure hunt. Create a map and clues for your kids to find throughout the day, eventually leading to some treasure.
11. Visit a new place. Expand your child’s knowledge of the world around them. You don’t have to go far, even a trip to a new park or woodland area can make for a great adventure.
12. Set up a reading den. This could be either indoors or outdoors. Make it cosy and comfortable, with lots of cushions and provide plenty of shade if it’s sunny. Visit the library or even a charity shop to choose a selection of new books to engage their interest.
13. Go fruit picking. Enjoy some delicious fresh strawberries or raspberries. They always taste better when you pick your own!
14. Roll down a hill. Do you remember rolling down hills as a child? It’s simple and free fun!
15. Make a tower of pebbles. Start with large pebbles at the base and see how many smaller ones can be piled on top of one another until the tower falls!
16. Keep a nature diary. Your child could keep a diary about what happens in the garden or the local park over summer, recording how many bees and butterflies they spot each day.
17. Feed the ducks. But don’t give them bread – it’s not good for them! Peas, sweetcorn, chopped grapes, oats and rice are good alternatives.
18. Visit a historical site. Head to a historical site such as a castle and encourage your little one to imagine what it would have been like to live there. If it is in ruins, they might like to draw a picture of how it could have previously looked.
19. Head to a water park. Or the beach, or the local swimming pool, or simply fill the paddling pool up and splash, splash, splash!
20. Camp out in the garden. Midnight feast optional!
21. Get closer to nature. Try using a magnifying glass or a microscope attachment for a phone/tablet and see the hidden details on leaves and flowers and even insects.
22. Make sensory pictures. Using herbs and flowers, kids can create wonderfully fragrant works of art!
23. Paint on a giant canvas. Lay out a large piece of paper, or a roll of unwanted wallpaper as a blank canvas, along with various paints, glue and craft materials and allow the kids to experiment. You might want to set this up outdoors!
24. Make handprint pictures. Use your children’s handprints to make beautiful summer pictures of flowers and butterflies. These can be turned into lovely cards and gifts.
25. Start a collection of something. Whether it’s pretty shells at the beach or fallen petals at the park, see how many your little one can gather.
26. Make a rainbow jar. All you need is salt and chalk to create a colourful rainbow in a jar! It’s an ideal rainy day activity.
27. Enjoy a family bike ride. Get out in the fresh air and perhaps stop for a picnic along the way too!
28. Create a nature weaving. Find some long, thick blades of grass to weave leaves and flowers into. You could even make a frame out of twigs.
29. Have a film afternoon. Get PJs on early, gather as many beanbags and cushions as you can find and sit down together with a family film and popcorn. Or head to a summer outdoor cinema event!
30. Make your own smoothie ice lollies. Blend up some fresh fruit and freeze in lolly molds – deliciously refreshing!
31. Watch the sun rise or set. Let the kids get up early to see the sun rise, or stay up late to watch it set!
32. Create a toy car wash. Gather all the toy cars and create a mini car wash in the garden.
33. Set up an obstacle course. Set up the garden toys as an obstacle course, or even a crazy golf course; maneuver the ball down the slide, up and down ramps and through tunnels!
34. Experiment with ice. Ice experiments are great fun on a hot day. Add a little food colouring to ice cubes and the kids can paint with them, watch them melt and figure out if they melt quicker indoors or outdoors.
35. Try flower pressing. Make a diy flower press with some scraps of wood bolted together, or simply use heavy books to press the flowers.
36. Climb a tree. Choose a strong tree with sturdy branches and supervise while the kids figure out the best way up and down.
37. Build a den. If space and materials are limited, how about a miniature one for a toy or a fairy to shelter in?
38. Build an epic sandcastle. Except it doesn’t have to be a castle, it could be anything from a sand monster to a sand sofa!
39. Make your own kite. See how well it flies!
40. Make an ice cream sandwich. A scoop of ice cream between two cookies or waffles… yum!
41. Create marbled paper. Make marbled paper and turn it into picture frames or gift wrap!
42. Tie-dye a t-shirt. Or use fabric paint or pens to decorate one.
43. Make a giant garden game. Flatten some old cardboard boxes to make your own giant garden games, such as noughts and crosses, or stack old shoeboxes and play giant jenga!
44. Host a festival themed sleepover. Invite a few of your child’s friends over, play some garden games and camp out.
45. Visit a maize maze. See if you can all find your way to the centre… and back out again!
46. Blow bubbles. Either buy or make some bubble solution and this can provide hours of fun.
47. Make daisy chains. Daisies pop up everywhere in summer, use them to make daisy chains or mini daisy bouquets.
48. Play in the rain. Take full advantage of a refreshing rainy summer day and let the kids play outdoors anyway. Who cares about getting wet?
49. Construct a huge track. Take all the brio or hotwheels outside and make the biggest track possible!
50. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Attach a list to a paper bag for the little ones to collect things in.
51. Make giant paper aeroplanes. Decorate them and see how far they can fly.
52. Have an outdoor pillow fight. Good old fashioned fun!
53. Paint a chalkboard fence panel. Use chalk board paint for a giant outdoor chalk board.
54. Create a comic strip. Get the creative juices flowing!
55. Create a wordsearch. Creating a wordsearch or crossword for friends and family to have a go at is a fab way to practise spellings over the holidays.
56. Do something helpful. Let them wash the car or sweep the patio.
57. Watch the clouds go by. See what shapes can be found in them.
58. Write a letter or postcard. It could be for a family member or friend, near or far.
59. Make a fruit salad. How about using an ice cream cone instead of a bowl?
60. Go on an alphabet hunt. Get them searching around the house and the garden to find something beginning with each letter.
61. Have a go at face painting. Or create some body art or temporary tattoos.
62. Host a book club with friends. The kids could hold a weekly book club with friends throughout the holidays, or take part in the library’s summer reading challenge.
63. Make a water wall. Use plastic bottles, plastic pipes and pieces of guttering to make a water wall.
64. Balance on logs. Visit the woods to balance on fallen logs and leap from tree stumps.
65. Climb a big hill. Check out the views from the top.
66. Go pond dipping. Or rock pooling. Or both – and compare the different creatures.
67. Try a paddling pool bubble bath. Why not add some bubbles to the paddling pool?
68. Create your own bowling alley. Use empty plastic bottles and a beach ball!
69. Hunt for four leaf clovers. This will keep them busy for hours!
70. Make homemade lemonade. Make lemonade and other fruity refreshing drinks and slushies to enjoy in the sun.
71. Try Pokemon Go or geocaching. Try playing Pokemon Go with the kids, head to a Forestry Commission Gruffalo trail with the Gruffalo spotters app, or give geochaching a try. If technology can help kids get outdoors and connect with nature perhaps screen time isn’t such a bad thing after all!
72. Celebrate with a garden party. Have a garden party with party games, party food, jelly, ice cream and cake…. If the Queen can celebrate her birthday twice a year then so can we!
73. Paint a fence with water. Let the kids ‘paint’ the wall or fence using just water and a brush.
74. Make suncatchers. Tissue paper works well for this.
75. Make nature rubbings. Go for a walk in the woods, taking wax crayons and paper to make nature rubbings.
76. Host a family olympics. Host your own family olympics or sports day.
77. Plant a sensory patch. This could be a small area of the garden, or in a planter. Herbs can be bought cheaply from supermarkets and garden centres. It will smell wonderful and you can use the herbs to cook with too.
78. Customise flip flops or pumps. Let them get creative, customising a cheap pair of flip flops, sandals or canvas pumps.
79. Make bright paper chains. Paper chains aren’t just for Christmas. Make brightly coloured or summery pastel ones and hang in the garden. They’ll look great (until it rains)!
80. Make a tightrope between trees. If you’re lucky enough to have a couple of strong trees in your garden, set up a tightrope or rope bridge from one to the other.
81. Play I Spy. A classic!
82. Make a tarpaulin beach. No sand pit? Use a sheet of tarpaulin with rolled towels under the edges to create a dip in the middle and fill with a bag or two of play sand. Or turn it into a diy pool instead.
83. Build a teepee. Use garden canes and twine to make a simple teepee.
84. Make a slip and slide mat. Make your own ‘slip and slide’ water mat from tarpaulin.
85. Make water squirters. Collect a few empty sports cap water bottles to use as water squirters in the paddling pool.
86. Hang paintings on the line. Get the paints out and hang each painting to dry on a washing line art gallery!
87. Make a windchime. Use recycled materials such as old teaspoons on fishing wire.
88. Melt crayons. Put broken wax crayons into a silicone ice or chocolate mold and place them out in the sun on a very hot day. Hopefully they will melt and once they’ve cooled and set you’ll have cool new multi-coloured crayons!
89. Create a small world for toys. Make a ‘small world’ in a tray or planter. This could be a fairy kingdom, a Jurassic world with toy dinosaurs or a jungle with toy animals. Include small shrubs to use as trees.
90. Set up a construction zone. Use a box or tray with a little gravel in the bottom and get all the toy diggers and construction vehicles out.
91. Play pooh sticks on a bridge. A lovely way to pass the time.
92. Do a construction challenge. Arrange a playdate where everyone brings a couple of boxes and see what awesome things they can build collectively.
93. Enjoy a moonlit walk. Look and listen for night time creatures.
94. Make plant pot sculptures. This could be Bill and Ben style flowerpot men or something a little simpler, like a lighthouse or fairy house.
95. Paint pebbles. Find some smooth pebbles and transform them into works of art. They could have pictures painted on them, or a letter on each one to make a word, they could be painted as bugs or used as markers to write the names of plants on.
96. Make fruity ice cubes. Make ice cubes with diluted squash and chopped fruit to add a little flavour to a cup of water.
97. Set up an ice cream factory. Set out various toppings so the kids can build their own desserts. For an extra special treat add bowls of jelly beans, fudge pieces and mini marshmallows alongside various sauces and syrups.
98. Grow plants in water. Using old jam jars or spice jars, try growing plants in water. Take cuttings from various plants and see which ones grow new roots over a few weeks. Tip: Herbs such as basil and sage work well for this experiment!
99. Jump over the sprinkler. The kids can have fun while you’re watering the dehydrated lawn!
100. Do something for a good cause. This could be anything from donating a tin of pet food to an animal shelter, to doing a sponsored silence for charity.