We’re halfway through summer, and keeping kiddos busy, enriched, and entertained is starting to feel like a chore. Some of us used up all of our creativity in the first two weeks of summer!
Not to fear. Browse this list, and find something new to do this week — and the next… and the next.
1. Go on an outdoor treasure hunt. Find something enticing to hide, stash it in a place you won’t forget, and draw a basic map to get to the treasure. Bonus: This helps with reading (even if you only use shapes in your map, you’re helping your child practice pre-reading skills), following directions, and patience!
2. Make ice cream sandwiches. Sure, you can buy ice cream sandwiches (and that’s a fun treat and activity too!), but making your own is a fun, novel activity.
Buy or make soft cookies. Scoop a spoonful of ice cream onto the flat side of one cookie (if you make your own cookies, make sure you wait for them to cool). Place the flat side of another cookie onto the ice cream, and press the sandwich together. Wrap it in tin foil and stash in the freezer. Now you have a delicious, cold treat to grab when it’s hot — and your child can take pride in having helped to make it!
3. Eat ice cream for dinner. Trust us — your kids will remember this experience forever. (Just don’t make it a habit!)
4. Make your own ice pops with juice or blended fruit.
5. Make a fort. Indoors or outdoors, a fort is a perfect place to spend the afternoon. Drape a sheet over a few chairs or over a low-hanging tree branch, and enjoy playing, reading, listening to music, and more inside!
6. Go to a farmers market. Give your child a few dollars to spend, and let her pick out a new or familiar fruit or veggie for dinner..
7. Pick berries. Picking your own berries is a great sensory experience for a preschooler. The colors, the tastes, the scents, the feel… it can be a delight to gather delicious berries on your own. It’s definitely different from selecting a basket at the grocery store. Go to PickYourOwn to find farms where you can pick fruit in your area.
8. Explore a nearby state or national park. Take advantage of the junior ranger program at national parks where children learn to explore, learn and protect.
9. Go for a hike. Find a new favorite trail for your family. Handy hint: Walking sticks help with preschooler endurance.
10. Find a new trail for bike rides. Do you have bike paths near your house or in your town? Challenge yourself to find a new one.
11. Go to the library. Participate in summer reading programs, get library events on your calendar, and make sure to let your child learn the joy of wandering through the library stacks to find a new book.
12. Go ice blocking. Sledding in the summer! Buy an ice block from your local grocery store, grab some winter gloves and a towel, and head to a nearby hill. Wear the gloves, place the towel on the ice block, and take a ride down the hill sitting on the ice block!
13. Put a twist on your sidewalk chalk art.
-Print out images of your child’s favorite cartoon character to copy.
-Create a family mural, in which each person contributes their own drawings.
-Make a path for your child to follow on a bike or by foot. Make zig zags, spirals, curves, and more. The only rule is your child has to stay on the path!
14. Go to a museum. Children’s museums are great, but try an art museum too!
15. Explore new splash pads. You’ve probably been to most or all of the splash pads in your area, but what about the next town over? And the one beyond that?
16. Explore new parks. Create your own ranking system in your phone (number of slides, amount of shade, etc.) as a fun way to keep track of your favorite parks together.
17. Paint the fence with water. For a mess-free, but cooling, “paint” experience, give your child a few paintbrushes and a bucket of water. Let him “paint” the fence, front door, sidewalk, and house.
18. Paint rocks. Leave your creations around the neighborhood for other kids to find.
19. Go for a day trip visit to a nearby city.
20. Vote for your favorite candy and/or ice cream. Like March Madness? Create your own brackets for the best candy and/or ice cream. After tasting and voting as a family or with friends, advance the winners until you have the final verdict.
21. Try a twist on s’mores. Use different candies and flavored marshmallows until you find your favorite combination.
22. Put up a tent in the backyard. Spend the day playing in the tent (find a shady spot to set it up!), or haul out your sleeping bags for a camping night in the backyard.
23. Go stargazing in the backyard.
24. Set up an obstacle course inside or outside.
25. Have a game night. Invite the neighbors over, or have a fun family game night. Snacks should be included, obviously.
26. Give your child a box. Or a bag. Seriously. See what she comes up with.
27. Make up stories.
28. Use craft sticks to beat boredom. Spend a few minutes writing acceptable quiet activities on craft sticks — reading, coloring, calling a grandparent, playing dress-up, stacking cups, etc. When your child inevitably says he’s bored, let him pick a craft stick and do the activity it instructs.
29. Read a chapter book together.
30. Have a picnic with themed food.
31. Go on a pajama walk. Surprise your kids at bedtime and announce it’s time for a pajama walk. Let them bring their stuffed animals as you walk around the neighborhood dressed and ready for bed.
32. Get a giant poster or large piece of butcher paper. Lay it on the floor, and let everyone color on it. Trace hands, feet, and bodies for extra fun.
33. Have a toy wash. Wash cars, Barbies, and other toys outside in buckets of water.
34. Play dress up.
35. Do yard work together. Buy kid-sized shovels and gloves to make your child feel included.
36. Deliver treats to firefighters. Have your child make a personalized thank-you card to include with the treats.
37. Make and deliver thank-you cards to your librarians.
38. Have a bike parade. Invite the neighborhood kids to decorate their bikes and join in a parade. Get the other parents to be parade spectators.
39. Visit a local farm.
40. Take a tour of a local factory.
41. Be a tourist in your town. Look at tourist websites for your town. Is there anything you haven’t done?
42. Cook together. Designate one night a week as your child’s night to cook. Let him plan the menu, and help him prepare the meal.
43. Go to an outdoor movie. Many cities around the country show outdoor movies during the summer. If your preschooler can stay up late from time to time, this is a great, free, fun thing to do as a family Here is a list of local outdoor movies for Utah in 2019.
44. Play balloon tennis. Grab some paper plates, glue, balloons, and giant craft sticks. Glue the sticks to the backs of paper plates, and hit a balloon back and forth.