Tuesday, June 17, 2008

150+ ideas for family summer fun*

* This list was originally compiled with the help of entries to my "Orange you glad it's (almost)summer" giveaway and published in June of 2008. I have edited it this year(2009)- adding a few new favorites- and linked directly to some of the more specific ideas. I hope this serves as a jumping off point for your summer fun and if you have a great idea that isn't listed here(or would like to leave a link to a great idea for summer fun)- I hope you share it in the comments section. Please remember to use common sense and LOTS of sunscreen when engaging in any and all activities this summer. Enjoy!

Here's a great presentation idea:

"Two years ago, I made a calendar that included one activity for us to do each day during the summer. The girls got to help choose what the activities would be. It was REALLY fun, but I found I needed to be flexible with rain days, etc."- Jen

Now for the list:

  1. Check for cheap or free movie showings at local theaters.
  2. Library story time for the younger kids.
  3. Join the summer reading program at your local library.
  4. Plant a small garden. (This will give the kids something to take care of and look forward to- something growing!)
  5. Or at least a few potted plants.
  6. Make a fun lunch. Everyone be in charge of a part of it (IE: dessert, drinks, etc.) and take it to the park and eat and play Frisbee.
  7. Spend a day the beach.
  8. Take some white T-shirts and decorate them outside.
  9. How about having a block party with BBQ, games, and ice cream?
  10. Take the UNplug it! challenge. (made so much easier with a handy list like this around)
  11. Slip-n-slide is always a favorite.
  12. Family bike rides.
  13. Make lemonade from lemons.
  14. Make juicy ices. (with paper cups and sticks)
  15. Go to a carnival in the evening
  16. Go to the library in the morning and then sit under a tree reading in the afternoon.
  17. Or on the porch.
  18. Or in a hammock. (you get the picture)
  19. Cook dinner on the grill. (easy clean up!)
  20. Go get an ice cream.
  21. Make your own ice cream (in a bag) or (with this).
  22. Visit a museum on a hot or rainy day.
  23. Learn something new together.
  24. Like using a sewing machine to make a doll or a doll's dress.
  25. Go bowling. (http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/)
  26. Paint on a canvas.
  27. Paint on the sidewalk or driveway with ice.
  28. Or water.
  29. Or chalk paint.
  30. Play with your food.
  31. Catch butterflies.
  32. Or fireflies.
  33. Pick berries.
  34. Make a pie or jam with said berries.
  35. Swing on swings.
  36. Have a water balloon fight.
  37. Host a teddy bear or favorite stuffed toy themed picnic.
  38. Plant cupcakes for your yard ?!!
  39. Go for a not so expensive round of miniature golf.
  40. Make snow cones. (parents- remember this?)
  41. Eat peaches.
  42. Spend some time in a hammock.
  43. Fill up the wagon with the hose.
  44. Put the baby pool at the bottom of the slide.
  45. Blow bubbles, lots and lots of bubbles.
  46. Sit under a shady tree.
  47. Watch a fireworks display.
  48. Light a sparkler.
  49. Have a bonfire.
  50. Attend an Independence Day parade.
  51. You must play in the yard with the water hose on. Make rainbows.
  52. Take an outdoor shower.
  53. Take a big, cold drink right out of the nozzle of your hose. (Personally, I'm not sure that's safe.)
  54. Swim!
  55. Build a campfire and toast s'mores.
  56. Build-a-Bear.
  57. Sleep late. (if it's feasible with a little one)
  58. Play in the sand.
  59. "Here's a fun craft. Buy inexpensive flip-flops and dress them up with fabric pieces. You start at one end and work your way to the middle, then do the other side. You take a piece of fabric about 7 inches long and 1 inch wide, fold it in half, wrap it around the strap, double tie it, and there you are! You try to get them as close together as you can. My daughter loves doing this. It's easy, fun, time-consuming, and really makes a cute pair of flip-flops in any color you'd like. Great birthday party idea, too." -Forgetfulone
  60. Feed the ducks at a pond.
  61. Have a tea party.
  62. Make these cute TO DO jars and make doing chores fun.
  63. Have a good ol' watermelon seed spitting contest.
  64. Teach your children how to bake something of Mom's or Grandma's.
  65. Make a fairy village.
  66. You "definitely have to hike to a lake and swim! I love hikes with destinations (especially when they include restaurants or bathrooms!). "- Wendy (no link provided)
  67. Go on a boat ride.
  68. Drink an iced coffee.
  69. Have a drawing contest on the sidewalk with chalk.
  70. Make home-made play dough
  71. Go to a farmer's market.
  72. Choose a new book at a local bookstore.
  73. Tint some shaving cream, spread it in a baking pan, and doodle or write words.
  74. Make strawberry freezer jam.
  75. "Plan a camping trip to a state park (not one of those Campy-McCamper places that has all the amenities including a salon and pool...) "- Jade, Will, and Illy
  76. Go on a nature hike/ photo exploration- letting your kids take pictures of cool things they find outdoors.
  77. Play a tourist in your hometown.
  78. Make homemade yogurt pops.
  79. Buy a disposable camera for your kids and let them record their favorite summertime fun.
  80. Keep a summer journal of places visited.
  81. Have a bubble gum blowing contest.
  82. Pitch a tent in the backyard and have a "camp out".
  83. Visit a local farm and pick your own veggies.
  84. Have a treasure hunt.
  85. Learn about a new place and have a meal based on that area.
  86. Have a water balloon fight.
  87. Go to the zoo.
  88. "Don't know if you have in your town or not but local theatres usually have programs or productions for kids at little or no cost. If they are at all interested, I've found that the stage is a wonderful place to learn many things including confidence, vocal training, working with others, creativity and lots more. It worked well for my son; he loves acting now and he has also reaped another reward; he is no longer petrified when called on to speak in front of the class. Oh how I remember the horrors!"- Mannequin
  89. Swim!
  90. "Learn to make jewelry together, I'm sure you know someone who could help you. ;) "- Erin
  91. Visit a local public flower garden.
  92. Eat strawberries dipped in sugar
  93. Learn to crochet.
  94. "Work on embroidery (or knit) while sitting in the grass at a park" - Mal
  95. Bask in the sun. (wearing the proper SPF, of course)
  96. Picnic with a blanket on the kitchen floor on a rainy day.
  97. "Start a summer tradition of neighborhood game night ...rotate houses with kids' games ...everyone bring a snack to share."- Julie (no link provided)
  98. Visit a water park.
  99. Or an aquarium.
  100. Make silly putty.
  101. Or slime.
  102. Star gaze.
  103. "Plan a week-long day camp with your girls. Plan traditional "camp" activities, like making potholders or other arts & crafts, going swimming, going on a nature hike, baking cookies, etc. You can come up with a cool name for your camp and even design a camp flag and song or camp pledge. This could be something you do every summer!"- pjmomof3boys
  104. Have a "Spa Day" at home - try those homemade oatmeal masks & that kind of thing. Pick a great chick flick to watch while the pedis are drying.
  105. Run through the sprinklers.
  106. Lay on a blanket, look up at the sky and try to figure out what the clouds look like (animals, etc.).
  107. Build a sandcastle.
  108. Cook dinner for your local Ronald McDonald House.
  109. Run (or walk) a race.
  110. Go to the Drive-In.
  111. Visit your local Children's Museum.
  112. Make clover chains.
  113. Wash your hair with shampoo in the summer rain.
  114. "Buy a cheap kiddie pool and sit in it while eating Popsicles. I so wish we could do this right now! My oldest broke her leg 3 weeks ago and we are counting the days down until we can! "- Cindi
  115. Play Marco Polo.
  116. Or water volleyball.
  117. "Start your own club with your kids! When I was younger we started a Dinosaur Club (could be whatever interests all of you). We did a fun activity related to the club every week. Decorated t-shirts.. made bookmarks... read books about the topic.. painted figurines... made up skits, etc. I still remember the club today - nearly 20 years later!"- Jen
  118. Plant a tree in your child's name.
  119. Make tie-dye t-shirts.
  120. Dance in the rain.
  121. Create (or maintain) a blog.
  122. "Take the 5 minute shower challenge (okay, so this may not fit in the "fun" category -lol- but it's a worthwhile cause)."- Ana
  123. Have a root beer float dessert night.
  124. Make homemade ice cream sandwiches. (If it's too hot to bake, use the chewy Chips Ahoy.) Scoop tablespoons of soft ice cream on, wrap them in wax paper, let them freeze for an hour and ENJOY!)
  125. Take swimming and/or diving lessons.
  126. Learn the Greek alphabet in less than ten minutes!
  127. Make stepping stones for your garden or yard- or to give as gifts.
  128. Make something pretty and refreshing to drink, with fun snacks in pretty bowls...enjoy.
  129. Pick out your favorite color of nail polish and sit out on the deck or patio painting toes, giggling and just being.
  130. Actively do nothing. Absolutely nothing.
  131. "My girls have the BEST time with empty boxes. I order from a diaper website and they arrive in these huge boxes and the girls go nuts! Last night they turned one into a car, and last time it was a spaceship. Ahh..the power of little imaginations! My husband and I joke that we don't need to buy toys anymore when we have boxes. :) "- Vanessa
  132. Print some pictures and decorate plain frames with odds and ends found in the house.
  133. Pack up a lunch and hit some local state parks. Hike along the trails or just relax in the cool shade of the trees.
  134. "We made cookies -actually we went to cookie store in town and got some unfrosted cookies and decorated them and took a walk and delivered them to the girls little friends in the neighborhood. They made little cards for them also. I made them run home as fast as they could so they would burn up some of the sugar!!"-Tausha
  135. Also from Tausha- "We love Popsicle stands. I know everyone does lemonade stands, but it gets warm and the kids don't want lemonade they would rather have Popsicles. So we set up a table with our cutest plastic tablecloth. the girls make a big sign Popsicle-25cents. we get out the umbrella-some chairs and the cooler with ice and of course the Popsicles. The kids from the neighborhood all come running and come back numerous times! The girls make some money and then I take them to the dollar store! They love it cause they made their own money and mom didn't give it to them. It's a great way to teach them about money and good customer service. I sit out there with my diet coke, and a book, just to make sure that everything goes OK. Even some cars stop, especially if we have workers in the neighborhood."
  136. Host a neighborhood bike wash.
  137. Rent a projector , hang a white sheet in your backyard and presto- a "drive-in" movie.
  138. Get creative with face paint.
  139. Buy some plain canvas sneakers and some colored Sharpies. Then go to town creating a custom look for your feet!
  140. Set up an Obsta-Cool Course in your backyard.
  141. Have a pillow fight.
  142. Learn to french braid.
  143. Bring a trash bag to a local park and clean up.
  144. Support a great cause with a lemonade stand.
  145. Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
  146. Turn your tub or backyard pool into the Arctic Ocean.
  147. Talk about global warming with your kids when the "icebergs" melt quickly in the heat.
  148. Adopt a Webkinz.
  149. Learn a new word. Use it.
  150. Write a letter.
  151. Or send a postcard.
  152. Play dress-up.
  153. Make (and eat!) Crash Hot Potatoes.
  154. Plan a tricked out staycation for the kids.

And last but not least, here's a summer long project idea that segues into back-to-school mode beautifully...
"All during the summer, we sew together and make crafts and then 2 weeks before school starts, we paint his bedroom, hang new curtains that we have made or picked out on a shopping spree, and decorate with the things we've made. He likes to do themes, so we have theme summers. It gives us him a fresh new look in the room before the new school year, a chance to set up his work desk and organize his clothes. He looks forward to this tradition and is more apt to keep his room clean because he had such a major part in it! Works for both of us! "- Mannequin


Wendy said...

Love the list! I think I'll copy and print it to share with the kiddies.

Come by when you have a chance, I've got something waiting for you. :)

Erin said...

wow, no one should be bored this summer with all of those fun ideas!!! Let us know the ones you guys do!

Anonymous said...

I too shall print this out for an emergency list I am sure to use.
Now THAT's what I call networking Gina! Thanks so much for hosting that, listing those and the giveaway!

We are THAT Family said...

WHAT an amazing list! I'm going to bookmark it!

Sarah C. said...

Awesome list! :)

Ribbon Rock Star said...

lots of neat ideas! I am going to link it up on My Trendy Tykes blog later.


gina said...

Thanks Linda! Play with your food. actually links to your *cool recipes* post on MTT. :)

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic list! Thanks for posting it!

PamperingBeki said...

Gracious, what a fabulous list!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! That is a fantastic list. I see quite a few I want to do with my kids this summer.
Thanks for the compilation.

~Anne said...

New to the blog, but supremely thrilled to come across it with such a great list!!! (since my kid said, the day after kindergarten graduation, "I'm bored, when does school start?" GAH!)


Sew Gracious said...

What a great list! Life for WAHMs in the summer is always interesting. Thanks for some great ways to spend time with the ones who matter most!

MommySecrets said...

Wow - what an incredible list! I'm going to link to your post this week. Thanks :)

Ana said...

That is awesome Gina! What a great idea to put everyone's suggestion in one list. I definately would love to link to this post!

Two Princess Girls said...

The list is amazing, Gina. I can't believe you used my name in quotes. I'm blushing :)

Stephanie said...

I shall be referencing your list often this summer each time my daughter says "I'm Bored!"

Thanks Gina!

Twinklescrapbooks said...

What a wonderful list.
Thanks Gina!

Jules said...

Wow! I love this list! Thanks for putting them all in one place for easy access when the day is falling apart. ;)

(By the way, I have been trying to get on here and post a comment for like the last four days and every time I logged on, I got immediately interrupted. Finally today I duct taped everyone and locked them in the closet just so I could give you some comment love.) :)

Little Dickens Designs said...

What an awesome list. I'll have to come back to refer to it often!

CC said...

Thanks for linking back to this! Great, great list!!! Maybe I'll copy it and (with a few changes) post it in my kitchen!

Sven said...

Good Job! :)

gina said...

Last year we printed out this list and highlighted activities as we did them. It was a fun keepsake (we still have it) and I intend to do it again this year. Instead of "we're bored", I heard a lot of "can we do this off the list?"

nikki/WhiMSy love said...

I made it on your list! Cool!
Great collection of super fun ideas!

Hair Bows & Guitar Picks said...

Awesome list! Very cool!

Jfur said...

Great ideas! Thanks for the great list!
And thank you for your kind words on my blog! Prayers are much appreciated! :-)
Blessings to your family!

Anonymous said...

What a neat idea! What we'll do this summer with Peanut is:

1. Take naps
2. Eat
3. Poop
4. Tummy time

Woo hoo!

Anonymous said...

so great! so bookmarking this!

Tammy said...

Love your list! Can't wait for summer to get here!!

Little Dickens Designs said...

Gina, this list is awesome!!!! Thanks for pointing me to the link!

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