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100 Summer Fun Ideas for Kids and Parents

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Picnic with Kids
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When you work at home you need practical ideas for kids' entertainment, things for kids to do by themselves, particularly summer activities. But, parents, you know what they say about all work and no play, right? So don't let the kids have all the fun. Try out a least a few of these 100 ideas for kids and parents to do together.

Once you get thinking you'll come up with more ideas for kids' fun than you can probably do in one summer. But in case you do run out, bookmark this page and come back throughout the summer for inspiration.

If you need ideas for every day, check out this series of things for kids to do every day--one activity for every weekday for eight weeks of summer.

  1. Pick your own...whatever. Find a farm with blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, etc., and get picking.
  2. Play outside in the rain. Smell the rain on the pavement; splash in puddles; make mud pies.
  3. Make your own rain. Douse everyone with the hose or sprinkler.
  4. Take family naps. Parents nap too!
  5. Have daily quiet time. Big kids need rest too.
  6. Cook out...frequently. Go beyond the burgers. Try veggies or fish. The kids might like them!
  7. Make ‘smores. Chocolate + marshmallow + graham cracker=summer
  8. Camp out. First-timers, try backyard camping.
  9. Camp in. Put the sleeping bags on the floor and have a family slumber party.
  10. Stargaze. Invite friends and make a party of it.
  11. Catch lightening bugs. And then watch them flicker away into the night.
  12. Rearrange the furniture. Give the kids graph paper and have them draw out a plan first.
  13. Make your own pizza. Try this recipe.
  14. Invite friends over for a game night. Have a kids' games table and an adult one too.
  15. Go to the demolition derby. And expect to see some major crashes.
  16. See an air show. And hope for no crashes.
  17. Stop to smell the flowers. (Go to a botanical garden.)
  18. Talk to the animals. (Go to the zoo.)
  19. Get wet. (Go to a water park.)
  20. Have a puzzle race. Use 100-piece puzzles and see who finishes first.
  21. Play a card game. Maybe crazy eights, spoons or poker. Take your pick.
  22. Play a board game. Candyland, chess or Monopoly, depending on age and inclination.
  23. Make good use of nearby parks. Go to your local parks website, print the schedule of activities and tape it to the refrigerator.
  24. Pack a picnic. And plop down to eat it just about anywhere, at a free concert, in a state park or in your own backyard.
  25. Start the back-to-school shopping early. The farther from the start of school the more fun my kids think it is.
  26. Get the summer homework done. Not exactly fun, but get it out of the way.
  27. Experiment with new hairdos. Let the kids try out not-permanent colors or braids. Or maybe a spiked look.
  28. Dig in the sand at the beach. Doesn’t matter if it’s on the ocean, lake or bay.
  29. Set a goal and complete a home project. Find ways to let the kids help.
  30. Take an early morning bird walk. Choose the right field guide.
  31. Grow vegetables. And then eat them.
  32. Grow flowers. And then arrange them .
  33. Let the kids cook dinner. In fact, make a tradition of it.
  34. Host the kids' friends for a sleepover. And the maybe your kids will be invited next…giving you a free evening.
  35. Go to a nearby museum that you’ve never been to before.
  36. Go to your favorite local museum…again.
  37. Go to a carnival or county fair. Eat cotton candy, fried dough or something really bad once this summer.
  38. Decorate your walkways with chalk. Better yet, make your own chalk.
  39. Take a hike. Choose a route near your house or take a drive to a more distant park.
  40. Plant a butterfly garden. Watch the butterflies flutter by.
  41. Make fresh lemonade. Maybe even sell it at a lemonade stand!
  42. Take road trip to a nearby city. Spend the night if you can or just make it a day trip.
  43. Show the kids science is fun. Try these experiments.
  44. Go to a matinee. Find a bargain movie houses and pay less.
  45. Go to the drive-in. If there isn't one nearby, look for one near your vacation spot. Every kid should go to the drive-in at least once!
  46. Read a chapter book aloud. Or even go on and read a whole series together.
  47. Listen to a classic as an audiobook. Or try these newer audiobooks.
  48. Teach the kids a game you haven’t played since you were a kid.
  49. Meet friends at the playground. Not groundbreaking, but always popular nonetheless.
  50. Visit a historic house. Kids will be amazed at what the old-timers lived without.
  51. Make ice cream. We use this recipe with great success.
  52. Use bikes as a mode of transit. Show the kids the way to the store or a friend’s.
  53. Take bike rides for fun. Either leave from your own house or drive to biking trails.
  54. Go fishing. In many states kids can drop a line in without a license.
  55. Paddle a kayak or a canoe. Or if you’re really adventurous try white water rafting.
  56. Jump rope. Chant these jump rope rhymes.
  57. Press summer flowers. Make a pressed flower picture.
  58. String beads. Beading for kids can be as simple or complex as you choose.
  59. Blow bubbles. Make your own!
  60. Play miniature golf. Can you make the last hole-in-one for a free game?
  61. Eat at the counter of a diner. And let the kids spin on the stools.
  62. Find a new place to play. Easy idea: Clear out the basement or garage. Complicated idea: Build a treehouse.
  63. Build a Lego castle. Clear off a table and make it a family project.
  64. Master a new skill together. Learn to juggle, play harmonica, do the hula hoop, etc.
  65. Teach the grandparents to use Skype. And show off your new skill.
  66. Build a fort. Try pillows in the living room or cardboard boxes in the yard.
  67. Make fairy houses. Use moss, bark and leaves in a dwelling fit for Thumbelina.
  68. Write/illustrate a comic book. Make it a group effort or let everyone do their own.
  69. Build your brain. These brainteaser games can help.
  70. Find a free concert near you.
  71. Fly a kite.
  72. Run in the yard. Kickball, wiffle ball, Frisbee and tag will keep you moving.
  73. Visit a local farmers market. And feast on the fruits and veggies of the season.
  74. Create art with beach items. Check out these seahell crafts
  75. Have breakfast in bed. Take turns being the server and the served.
  76. Play with clay. Then bake your creations to make them permanent.
  77. Make play dough creations. Then rip them up and do it again.
  78. Make paper airplanes. See whose goes the farthest.
  79. Join a summer reading club. Parents can list all their books read over the summer too, but I doubt you'll get a prize.
  80. Keep a sketch diary.
  81. Write in a journal. At the end of the summer share selections with each other about the highlights of the season.
  82. Teach the kids to skip stones.
  83. Make photo gifts online. Grandma will love them.
  84. Take lessons together. Cooking, yoga, tennis, music, etc.
  85. Play croquet on the lawn. And try bocci too.
  86. Set up a badminton net. You could use it for volleyball too.
  87. Play HORSE. With little ones, set up a mini basketball net next to the real one.
  88. Create a treasure hunt for kids. Do it on your own property or around town.
  89. Erect a bird feeder. And then watch the show from your window.
  90. Join a Junior Ranger program. Both national parks and many state parks have them.
  91. See a dramatic performance together. Doesn’t matter if it’s a puppet show in the park or a touring Broadway show.
  92. Put on your own dramatic performance. Write a script, sew costumes or just do a little improv.
  93. Make music. Either make your own instruments or play traditional ones.
  94. Play charades.
  95. Break out the family movies. And the popcorn too!
  96. Go to a flea market or garage sale. See if the kids are better negotiators than you.
  97. Have a garage sale. Kids can earn spending money by selling their old stuff.
  98. Climb trees together. Of course, only if the kids are big enough, and you are brave enough.
  99. Get a book of riddles. See if you can stump each other, then write your own.
  100. Keep your kitchen cool. Make no-bake cookies.
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