12 Super Fun Summer Activities for Kids at Home (that will really keep ’em busy)

As a parent, summer time can be a challenge. Whether you’re a stay-at-home or working parent, the reality is, summer time is “fun time.” (big time air quotes there)

And fun time means…you need to find stuff for your kids to do.

Even if your kid is young enough to still be in daycare or you’re sending him or her to a summer camp, you will still undoubtedly find yourself with hours in the afternoon or on weekends where you need to find stuff for them to do.

And as much as I’d love to be running around after a long day or week of work (correction: NOT), sometimes it’s much less stressful and much more enjoyable to find some fun activities that your kids can do at home.

And let’s not forget another important factor: it’s a hell of a lot cheaper too.

So, without further ado, we’ve put together an amazing list of 12 super fun summer activities for kids at home.  Keep your kids busy, keep your own sanity, and keep your wallet from going empty.

These are the goals.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  See affiliate disclaimer at the bottom of the page.

12 Super Fun Summer Activities for Kids at Home

1) Shaving Cream Art

So here’s a fun outdoor activity that cleans up really easily.  

Take some cheap shaving cream and put it in a container that has separate compartments (a muffin tin works fine). Then, mix in a little bit of food coloring in each compartment so that you have different colored shaving cream.

Grab some paint brushes, and let your little ones “paint” the shaving cream all over a glass sliding door (or other accessible window), from the outside.

BONUS: When you’re done, have them wash it off with a sponge and warm water, and you’ll have clean windows (yes, this actually will leave the windows cleaner than they were before you started).

Source: Happy Hooligans

2) Cardboard Box Play

We don’t do a lot of shopping at retail stores these days.  We buy just about everything we can online – not only is it convenient, but it’s often less expensive.

(Most of what we get comes from Amazon – you probably already shop there, but if you don’t have Prime and you’ve never tried it, you can do a 30-day free trial).

The downside to all of this is that you end up with a bunch of cardboard boxes (yes, the picture above is what we actually received one day from Amazon).  And we do recycle, but it still feels like a waste at times.

The one thing I’ve learned though is that KIDS LOVE BOXES for some reason.  You can draw on them, you can cut them open, tape pieces together to make a forts and other objects.  They are great for any kids with imagination.

So, next time you get some big boxes in the mail… save ’em for your kids to play with before you throw them into the recycling bin.

3) Water Table Fun


Water and summer go hand-in-hand.  It’s hot outside, and playing with water is a great way to have fun and cool down.

My daughter absolutely loves her water table – this is the one we have.

It’s pretty damn simple…you fill it with water, put in a few little toys (the one linked above comes with a few toys), and let them go at it. 

This is a great activity for toddlers who aren’t yet ready for kiddie pool.  It’s all the fun of splashing at bath time without the worrying about getting water everywhere.

4) Coffee Filter Butterflies

This is a fun craft that uses items you probably have laying around the house.  When all is said and done, your little one will have some pretty cool butterflies.

Whatever you do, don’t use a used coffee filter. 🙂

Source: Red Ted Art

5) Solar Oven S’Mores

When I came across this activity, I knew immediately I had to try it.  1) Because I love s’mores and 2) it just looks really interesting.

I’d say this is probably a better activity if your kids are a little bit older (say…at least 4 or 5). It’ll be hard doing this with a younger toddler, because they’re just going to want to eat everything before you’re even done.

This one is going to need a bit of adult supervision, especially cutting the pizza box (but feel free to use a different kind of container that has the same effect).  

But once it’s set up, kids can have fun watching the sun do its magic. 

Source: Lemon Lime Adventures

6) Fun with Chalk

One of the great things about summer is that you can finally get your kids drawing OUTSIDE. Gone are the days where there’s crayon and marker all over your tables (and sometimes walls).  

I sometimes forget that drawing with chalk (either on a backyard paved patio, driveway, or sidewalk) is so EASY to set up and there’s very little cleanup involved.  You kind of just wait for mother nature to rain. (I love when mother nature does all the cleaning.)

If you want to just go big and be set with chalk for life, Amazon has this really big set (128 pieces of jumbo chalk, 16 different colors).  

7) Ice Painting

It’s like making popsicles, except you’re basically just freezing water with food coloring. Grab a popsicle mold, some food coloring (just a couple drops for each popsicle), and get to work!

Once it’s frozen, you simply use the popsicle to draw on paper (water coloring paper works best, but any paper will do!).

Source: Kids Activities

8) Turn Chores into Fun

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/royluck/6129972548

Depending on how old your kids are, you can turn chore time into fun time by not only making it into a game, but also by providing rewards.

If your kids are a bit older, chores are a great way for them to earn some extra summer spending money.

If your kids are younger (around ages 3-4), they can earn stickers, candy, etc. for helping with little chores here and there.  The key is to make a game out of it and clearly define the reward so that they are motivated to stick with it!

9) Backyard Bowling

This is a really awesome way to reuse old water bottles and set up a game of bowling in your front or backyard (wherever you have a hard, solid surface).

Source: Far From Normal

10) Make Slime

I know it sounds like we’re just inviting a mess here, but studies show that kids really love slime.  And by studies I mean…me looking around on the internet.

There are a TON of different recipes out there, but I’ve linked to one below that is easy to make and looks pretty cool.

Source: The Simple Parent – Blue Fluffy Slime

11) Bubble Time

One thing I’ve learned in my parenthood journey is that everyone likes bubbles.  Toddlers, teenagers, adults…we’re all somehow fascinated by them.  

(Although as an adult I’m probably more interested in the bubbles inside my drink…)

You probably already have some kind of small bubble toy laying around, but consider stepping up your bubble game.  Amazon has some really interesting bubble devices, such as this dolphin bubble gun or this giant bubble wand kit

12) Build a Fort

Source: http://www.personalcreations.com/

I love a good fort.  They’re fun to build because you can get creative with whatever you have laying around the house (chairs, couch cushions, blankets, pillows, etc.) and once you’re done, they’re fun to play in.

Depending on the age of your child, you may need to help them get started (or even build most of it for them if they’re really young), but once it’s ready, it can easily keep a kid busy for an hour or more.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

What are you waiting for? Go play!

Hopefully you found at least one thing here to take away and use for your kids.  As a parent, I am always “collecting” new ideas, because kids tend to get bored of doing the same things over and over.

When the weather is nice outside, there’s almost an unlimited number of things you can do at home to keep your kids entertained with both indoor and outdoor activities.

What are some of your favorite activities to do at home with your kids? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Here are some REALLY fun summer activities to do at home with your kids that'll keep 'em busy for a long time!

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)

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