Whether you are a working parent or a stay-at-home one, you are probably looking for ways to stave off summer boredom. Once school is out—and the kiddos are home—things can become chaotic... quick. But if are looking for fun and affordable ways to keep your little ones occupied this summer, don't worry: We've got you covered. We've rounded up dozens of activities that can be done inside and outside the house.
Build a Backyard Obstacle Course
Kids love obstacle courses. They build them in our homes, with blankets, chairs, and pillows. But this summer, you can construct a backyard obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, sticks, stones, hoses, and other materials from around the house. Your kids can take turns completing it—and the person with the fastest time wins a prize!
Camp in the Yard
No campground? No problem! Pitch a tent in the backyard and spend the night underneath the stars. This free and timeless summer activity for kids has one major benefit over normal camping: There's a working toilet merely feet away!
Plan a Bike Parade
Encourage your kids to decorate their rides with streamers, stickers, flags, and more—then let them cruise around the neighborhood to show off their creations.
Make a Bird Feeder
Invite summertime birds to your yard with a DIY bird feeder. To make it, simply coat sticks with peanut butter and roll them in birdseed. It's the perfect opportunity to teach kids about nature and animals.
DIY Chalk Bombs
Kids will have a blast with this idea from mom Lorie King Kaehler, author of Chalk on the Wild Side. Use a clean soap-dispenser pump to fill water balloons with a washable chalk-paint mixture (1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and a few drops of food coloring). Have your child draw targets on the ground with chalk or just let them go wild. Fire away!
Learn Cooking Skills
This fun summer activity for kids also has a practical purpose: Teaching little ones to cook. Choose a favorite food—such as grilled cheese or cookies—and make it with your child. They'll feel proud while eating the finished product.
Organize an At-Home Picnic
You can host a picnic lunch without leaving your property! Choose a mealtime destination, whether it's a patio table or blanket in the backyard. Prepare picnic staples like sandwiches, load them into a basket, and enjoy dining al fresco.
When painting outside, there's no need to worry about making a mess. Just use washable paint and the medium of your choice, whether it's construction paper, cardboard, or blocks. You can also create outdoor artwork with sidewalk chalk. The perfect summer activity for your budding Picasso!
Tour a Police or Fire Station
Do you have an aspiring firefighter or police officer? Take a tour of your local emergency station! Since some locations don't have set visiting hours or rules for making on-site visits, call ahead to arrange an appointment.
Fishing is a classic free summer activity for kids. Brush up on the basics at takemefishing.org, teach the proper techniques to your young angler, and find a place to cast off. Make sure you check local laws about fishing; you may need a license.