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50+ Nearly Free Ideas For How To Entertain Your Kids (& Get You Through Summer)—UPDATED

photo by sara ligorria-tramp for ehd | from: mountain house: the kid’s room reveal

*Editor’s Note: There’s a lot of extremely important, hard work that is being done inside and outside of many of our homes right now. And I’ll admit that for me, it’s taking up the majority of my mental space. But if you also have young kids then you know that parenting isn’t really something that can be put on pause. Especially because many of us don’t have the ability to do some of the normal summer activities that we’re used (like going to public parks). So we wanted to republish this post (which has already been updated a couple of times) of really fun, accessible, and budget/free activities to do with kids. 2020 has been a really challenging year collectively for parents, so we hope this list of ideas inspires some summer fun with your family.

It’s summer, the kids are out of school…what now? While parenting is, of course, full of sparkly, heart-wrenchingly beautiful moments, there are also those times where you feel so exhausted/unexcited/brain-dead and have NO IDEA what to do with your kiddos to keep them entertained—and you sane—for even two minutes. A few years ago, I did an Ask the Audience post where I talked about how playtime is at times not that fun for me and I begged asked you guys for ideas for how to entertain toddlers that both little ones AND adults would enjoy without really spending money or leaving your house. I wanted to feel more engaged, a.k.a. more present and a better mom…and you guys KILLED IT. There were over FIVE HUNDRED (!!!) comments with suggestions, genius ideas, other moms who just got it…thank you, thank you, thank you.

But, because of those five hundred comments, we thought…”no one is going to read all of this except for us” so we dug in, went through basically every. single. word, cleaned things up/took out duplicate ideas and plucked out some serious gems we felt were most appropriate for summer.

You guys are amazing and I KNOW that I’ll be referencing this a lot this summer. I hope it helps you, too.


1. Play “Winter” in Summer

“Play ‘winter,’ i.e. create a smooth ramp down the stairs with blankets and pillows to ‘sled’ down, ‘ice skate’ with socks on wood floors, build an ‘igloo’ which is just a blanket fort, have a ‘snowball’ fight with rolled up socks, and have hot chocolate (or cold chocolate milk).” — Lindsay

2. Shaving Cream Drawing

“Try an activity that is sensory-satisfying, like shaving cream in a large jelly pan. The kids can draw in the foam with their fingers and then ‘wipe’ clean to start over. It’s messy (definitely an outdoor activity), but it can be very fun.” — Hilary

3. Chalk Alphabets

“I used to use sidewalk chalk to draw the alphabet on the driveway and then give the kids a spray bottle of water (or squirt gun). I would call out a letter and they would have to find it and go squirt it. We also did numbers and then they had to spell out words or do easy math problems. Educational, water play, and you can just sit there and call out things for them to do!” — Terri

4. Chalk Portraits

“When I used to babysit more, I would lay on the sidewalk/patio and let the kids outline me in sidewalk chalk. I got a little rest and they loved it. Then, when the outline was complete, I would sit back while they tried to fill in my face and clothes. It was always really funny to see their perception of me in chalk!” — Maura

“Trace them laying down and let them draw inside the outlines.” — Kate

5. Plexiglass Easel

“Buy a piece of plexiglass [hardware stores like Home Depot sell these for just a few bucks, depending on the size] and hang it in the backyard to be an outdoor easel. Kids can paint on it and leave it to be an art installation for the yard. When they’re ready to paint again, have them hose and scrub it off, which is also a good activity for a hot day.” — Melinda Chew

6. Tie-Dye Shirts

“We did recently tie-dyed shirts. It takes a little prep work (buying and washing the shirts, buying the dyes) but it was a lot of fun. – Jill

7. Drive-in Movie Theater

“Decorate cardboard boxes as cars, make snacks, and enjoy.” — Rachel

8. Pajama Trips

“Take surprise pajama trips to get ice cream or basically anywhere outside the house.” — Lauren

9. Slip-n-slide + Baby Soap

“It doesn’t hurt their little eyes and they love it.” — Rebecca

10. Ice

“Freeze a giant block of ice with little toys on it. On a hot day, set it outside with safe tools.” — Corinne

“Freeze little animals in muffin tins and they can melt/chip them out.” — Ali

11. Potato Stamps

“Cut potatoes in half, carve shapes into them (or use small cookie cutters for safety), dip them in paint and use them to make stamp art.” — Beth

12. Geocaching

“Here’s a fun mountain house activity: Geocaching is fun…it’s a lazy parent’s scavenger hunt!” — Jessie

13. #kindnessrocks

“Decorate rocks then go on a walk or to a park and hide them! #kindnessrocks.” — Katie

14. Chores = Fun

“My son loves to ‘do work.’ It’s fun for him to do what we consider choices = win-win.” — Kara

15. Blindfold Guessing Game

“Blindfold your kids and have them feel, smell and touch things to guess what they are.” — Jessica

16. Pretend Raffle Tickets

“My kids love to make tickets and use them for fake raffles, carnival games, talent shows.” — Whitney

17. “Baking”

“I clean out my pantry and let the kids ‘bake’ and ‘cook’ with all the expired goods.” — Yippeeioh

18. Business Visits

“A lot of maker businesses will let kids come see how they do stuff. Try a pizza shop, a T-shirt printer, etc.” — Taylor

19. Workouts + Fun

“I do a workout with my nieces and nephews. They love burpees and jumping jacks and then they create their own moves. By the end, everyone is tired.” — Caroline

20. Building “Fountains”

“We get PVC pipes and a faucet connector and let the kids build ‘fountains’ in the yard.” — The Wilsons

21. Walkie-Talkie Hide-and-Seek

“Simply that. Play hide-and-seek with walkie-talkies.” — Christina

22. Build Fairy Houses

“We go outside with an empty shoebox and build fairy houses with the things we find.” —Indre

23. Library

“The autonomy of choosing and checking out books always works.” — Ally

24. Pick Your Adventure

“We keep a mason jar full of popsicle sticks with different activities written on them to pick.” — Rebekah

25. Play “Post Office”

“I use to have the kids make a post office with an old cardboard box as the mailbox. We’d send letters and wrap old boxes as packages.” — Jonet


Summer Activities for Kids
photo by tessa neustadt for lonny

26. Bubble Machine

“We have a battery-powered machine, and it keeps the kids entertained for a long time! My 4-year-old uses her butterfly net to pretend that the bubbles are butterflies, and my little guy just runs around laughing.” — Kim

27. Outdoor Color Scavenger Hunt

“No Time for Flash Cards has given me some really great activities. For example, she posted about a color scavenger hunt to do in the front and/or backyard [the idea is to take an ice tray or something with compartments, cut pieces of construction or colored paper and placing a different color into each spot of the tray, then the kids have to go around and find small things—flowers, rocks, leaves—that match the colors and place into each section.] It’s a great newsletter for year round!” — Jessica

28. At-Home Animal Adventure

“When my boys were younger (they are 24 months apart), we would go on an animal adventure. First, the adults would hide plastic animals (larger ones from a toy store) inside or outside at night time, while the kids went up to their rooms with a mini flashlight and little backpacks until we called out for them. Once they came out, they would hunt their hearts out until they found all the animals! My younger son loved the idea and didn’t always find a ton of animals but loved running around with a flashlight searching. We did this many, many nights and they loved it every time! We would sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy watching them on their hunt!” — Michelle

29. Use a Timer for Activities

“A timer helps to put a limit on everything, and small children don’t equate you and the timer as being the same entity. You can tell them you’re willing to do an activity for 15 minutes and set the timer for 8. They don’t know the difference, all they hear is the beep.” — Melissa

30. Create “Play Stations”

“Something that made my life easier was setting up play stations for the next morning or for after the kids got up from a nap. For example, I would set up some stuffed animals with stuff from the play kitchen so it suggested that maybe they were having a picnic. It worked every time! The kids would wake up and want to be entertained, and I would say, ‘I think the teddy bears are getting ready for a party’ (or something to engage their imagination) and they would head over and check it out and next thing you know, they are playing with the bears for the next 30 minutes.” — Teresa

“I have made “stations” too. I put about four activities on our dining room table in separate areas (for example, magnetic sand, Light Bright, coloring paper & markers, and Legos). Then I told the kids they had ten minutes at each “station” at the table. I set the timer and let them play with one thing, then told them when it was time to switch to a different area. The novelty of having the stations and the timer running was fun to them. Sometimes they wanted to stay at one station longer so I would say, sure, I’ll set the timer for ten more minutes. In some funny way, it made them feel like they were doing something important and made the toys feel new again. They had the choice of which stations to do next, too, and they loved that. – Jill

31. Cornstarch + Water = Minutes of Fun

“My guys like mixing things like cornstarch and water, flour and water. A couple of bowls of water, spoons, a ladle, a funnel, maybe some supervised food coloring, etc…usually keeps them engaged for as long as anything does at this stage!” — Mara

32. Chocolate Pudding Finger Painting

“As kids, my mom would make chocolate pudding and let us draw with it like finger paint on butcher paper, so fun and non-toxic, if you don’t mind a little sugar intake.” — Emilie

33. “Paint” With Water

“If you can be outside with them, water and/or sand will entertain them for hours. Your younger one would be thrilled to be given a hose with the water at a trickle and some plastic containers or given a bucket of water and a paintbrush to ‘paint’ the driveway or sidewalk. As long as you are present (and not engrossed in your phone) to say ‘Wow!’ and ‘I love it!’ frequently, they can entertain themselves.” — Tricia

34. Toy Animals + Washable Paint

“Let kids paint plastic animals with washable paint and then have them give the animals a bath in a big bowl.” — Jessie


Summer Activities for Kids

35. Sensory Stimuli

“One thing that always keeps kids occupied is sensory stimuli. Sand with objects in it, shaving cream (it smells really good to them, you just need to watch out for them eating it), cornstarch and water [it’s both a solid and liquid at the same time and fascinating], and other generally gooey things. This is one I as an adult actually like doing, too.” — Katie

[Side note from Emily: I just wanted to add something to the whole “sensory stimuli” idea. In that photo above, my kiddos (and hubs) are playing with some homemade flubber/gak we made and everyone loved it. It’s SUPER easy to make with really cheap ingredients you might already have laying around: 4 ounces school glue (like Elmer’s), 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup hot water, 1/2 teaspoon Borax (find it in most store’s laundry detergent section), food coloring (optional)]

36. Disco Dance Party

“We recently bought a cheap colorful dance party light. Paired with music, a couple of balloons and a dark playroom, we have ‘discos’ and dance it out. The music helps lift my mood and makes it fun for everyone.” — Briony

37. Fairy Tear Hunts

“We buy those little colored glass flat beads from craft stores and throw them everywhere – the kids love finding fairy tears. It never gets old!” — Heather

38. Shaving Cream

“Shaving cream spray on the counter! Let them practice the alphabet, write their names, draw figures.” — Tammy


Emily Henderson

39. Scavenger Hunt

“Yes, it requires some prep work, but scavenger hunts are like Disneyland and it helps engage them and get so much energy out. I usually draw pictures instead of clues so they can do it more independently. And I spread the clues OUT. Like front door to back of the backyard to upstairs to downstairs to side yard to bathroom. Get that energy out, kids. And I leave a small prize at the end, like really small. But they LOVE IT. It doesn’t last for hours but they feel very excited and satisfied by it so they live on that high for a while. I also make a list for them: Find three things in the house that are green. Draw a picture of them. Find something in the house that is tall. Draw a picture of that. Then, you can enjoy their drawings and celebrate their brilliant artistry but it’s still an activity they can do somewhat on their own.” — Paige

“I quickly made up a little scavenger hunt for the art museum near us so that when the kids went inside to look at the art, they’d have something to do. It said ‘Find these things’ at the top and then had a checklist that included things like ‘a painting with a dog’ and ‘a sculpture made of metal.’ I think I gave them stickers to put on each box, but I can’t remember. They loved filling in those boxes as they looked at the art work!  — Jill

Summer Activities for Kids

40. After-Dinner Nature Walk

“Take a ‘nature walk’ after dinner (or at any point in the day) with the specific intention of having no intention or destination. Bring a bag and let them collect and bring home whatever they want—rocks, sticks, leaves. Get out of the house and go to a park and plan to stay (bring snacks/drinks) so they can burn off a ton of energy and come home tired.” — Karen T.

41. Reading Picnics

“We used to do book picnics. We would eat outside on a blanket [you could also do this inside if it’s too hot or raining] and bring out a ton of books. I would read to them as they ate and they loved it. Also, I always read to them during lunch and dinner (if I had time) and it helped them sit still long enough to finish eating and really instilled a love of reading. I got tired of reading the same books over and over so we went to the library almost every week and would check out literally about 50 books every time.” — Terri

42. Bath + Dinner Combo

“Here’s a solo parenting night strategy: kids eat dinner in the bathtub [they’ll eat anything when distracted]…they think it’s awesome and clean up is easy peasy.” — Alli

Summer Activities for Kids

43. Extra Long Bath Time

“Stock up on bath toys, bring a comfortable chair into the bathroom (for you) and put on the kids’ favorite soundtrack or, if they can engage, a kids audiobook. Seriously, audiobooks and kids podcasts save my life. My kids are a bit older now, but when they get rambunctious, I pop on a podcast that catches their attention and they stop in their tracks!” — Emily

44. Dirt Play

“Plant a garden, i.e. let the kids fill flower pots with dirt and have them plant seeds. Digging in dirt alone is thrilling.” — Leah

45. Ice, Ice Baby

“I would freeze some of my kids’ toys in various sized containers and then, we would use turkey basters or eye droppers to drip warm colored water on the ice and watch t melt. Ultimately, the kids just would end up using their plastic hammers to smash it out.” — Tanya

46. Repurpose Cardboard Boxes

“Use flattened out cardboard boxes to draw a map with roads, etc. for cars, or other toys (like we have Daniel Tiger toys, and you can draw his neighborhood on the box), which is really exciting for them. We also made Daniel Tiger trolleys out of boxes once, and that was super fun.” — Ashley

Summer Activities for Kids

47. Create a World With Cardboard

“We hoard our cardboard boxes and tubes from paper rolls/toilet paper/foil/etc. Cardboard plus colored masking tape and stickers can pretty much become anything they could imagine. We’ve built cars, spaceships, houses, castles and, even a movie theater (we sat in front of a ‘screen’ filled with stickers as characters and they narrated the action to me. I loved every moment of it. It isn’t going to be the neatest, most aesthetically pleasing playtime debris, but my kids can’t stay away from those cardboard boxes.” — Christina

48. Kids Yoga

“My kids have really enjoyed Cosmic Kids Yoga. We stream it through YouTube. The yoga is always based on a narrative and the moves are part of the story (kind of like they are acting it out, but doing yoga at the same time). Lots of good kid yoga resources out there, but my little girl loves this one the most. They have videos of different lengths and many different types of stories for a variety of interests. My 16-month-old can’t do the yoga, but loves to toddle around her sister (4) as she does it.” — Melissa

49. Vinegar + Baking Soda

“I fill a baking dish full of baking soda, then give the kids little jars mixed with food coloring & vinegar, and eye droppers. They can drop the colored vinegar in the dish, making different colored fizz. We’ve done this indoors a number of times, but it has the potential to be messy.” — Emily

50. Audiobooks + Quiet Time

“Play audiobooks in their separate spaces with a special toy or set of quiet toys like Legos.” —Ally

51. YouTube Draw Along

Art for Kids Hub on YouTube! My Kids ages 4-9 could follow/draw along for hours.” — Ally

So many of you also suggested some great toys to buy that are inexpensive but awesome (beyond the usual toy-aisle stuff) in this post. Feel free to suggest EVEN MORE great ideas (or chime in if any of the ideas listed here have been successful for you and your kiddos).

P.S. I’m writing a post about how we are keeping this conversation going in addition to talking about racism in our home –  If you have any suggestions like books/movies/activities/games/family outings, literally ANYTHING that helps integrate this conversation into our daily lives I’d love to read and add to our post. xx

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Heather Johnson
5 years ago

These are fantastic. My girls were into Laura Ingalls, but even if you’re kids don’t know what that is yet you can always have pioneer night! I’d put on fiddle music (that was the only electric we were allowed to use) and the kids dressed up and played as if it was the 19th century. (Think hidden eggs to collect, wasboard and clothesline, etc.) They loved it!

5 years ago

Great ideas! I wish I had some of them a few years ago when my kids were younger!!

I would love to see some suggestions for older kids and tweens. “What do I do with the kids all summer?” is still an issue for me, with 10 and 13 year-olds. Thankfully, the attention spans are longer at this age, but the lure of screens/electronic devices always beckons. Usually, with a bit of a starter from me via an idea or some supplies, my kids will happily engage with the real world and each other. But, lately my ideas seem a little stale. I think we’ve made slime thirty times already this summer!

5 years ago
Reply to  Maggie

I second this! My kids are older now!
However, I’m hosting 4th of July…. With kids of all ages and there WILL b a group scavenger hunt a la this post!!

5 years ago
Reply to  S

We did a scavenger hunt every year as kids. The bigger kids would help solve the puzzles. There was lots of running around- I dont ever remember finding a prize, but the hunt was fun.

5 years ago
Reply to  Maggie

Yes. Would love ideas for 10-14 years olds.

4 years ago
Reply to  Maggie

If older kids ever say, “I’m bored,” they’re told to do these 5 things: have you…(B)een creative? (O)utside play? (R)ead a book? (E)xercised 30 minutes? (D)one something helpful? (aka BORED)…sometimes the best activities are the ones they come up with themselves 🙂

4 years ago
Reply to  Maggie

I have had my 12 year olds make ME a scavenger hunt. It took them at least an hour to make the clues, then they hid them for me, and for anyone else who comes over, or they could do it for younger kids too.

5 years ago

Cardboard boxes are the best! We’ll unfold a large one and give my daughter (2.5) crayons and she’ll lay there and draw things on it for a long time, even better if you draw with them and have them give you the ideas of what to draw. We’ll leave it out for a few days until it’s covered and then move on to something else. Cardboard boxes have also become a boat for Moana, race cars, tunnels, forts…the ideas are endless!

Also any type of play involving water. Giving them a watering can to water flowers, painting the fence/driveway with water, baby pools and sprinklers and splash pads, water balloons, water gun fights. I always recommend going to a Dollar Tree and picking up a lot of cheap water and bubble toys!

5 years ago

That shot of Charlie walking down the garden path shows how much your landscaping has grown in. Could you do a yard update? Thanks

5 years ago
Reply to  Reni

Was thinking the same, would love an update!

4 years ago
Reply to  sara

Yes please!

Samantha Rae
5 years ago

Oh boy… I have scars on my left wrist from “ice skating” in socks on the floor… I had too much speed and my arm went through a window. My one and only ER trip, and after that my father instituted a firm “slipper socks ONLY” rule in our house.

Jennifer harrup
5 years ago

This is a treasure trove! Please do more posts like this, thank you!!

kanchipuram sarees
5 years ago

Oh boy… I have scars on my left wrist from “ice skating” in socks on the floor… I had too much speed and my arm went through a window. My one and only ER trip, and after that my father instituted a firm “slipper socks ONLY” rule in our house.
kanchipuram sarees

5 years ago

I love #24. How creative! But #9 rubbed me the wrong way and seems dishonest. Why not just be honest to them about the time? They will never learn how long 15 minutes is if you’re stopping them at 8. If you only want them to do something for 8 minutes, set it for 8. Just be honest people!

5 years ago
Reply to  Hannah


5 years ago

Thanks for all the great ideas!
Vinegar and baking soda is always fun… I fill a baking dish full of baking soda, then give the kids little jars mixed with food coloring & vinegar, and eye droppers. They can drop the colored vinegar in the dish, making different colored fizz.
We’ve done this indoors a number of times, but it has the potential to be messy.

For slightly older kids I’ve had a lot of success with an easy book of science experiments. There’s tons you can do with simple household items. Those are a bit more hands-on for the parents, though.

5 years ago

I would also add that a summer fun activity is to get some kid fishing poles with hook ends and some “fish” type of things that can be attached, then drop the fish into a pool, pond, bathtub for the kids to fish out!! My son and friends loved this one and could pluck the fish out of our jacuzzi!!

5 years ago

LOVE THIS. Thank you!!

5 years ago

Some of these are new to me and so useful, thank you! I do wonder a lot what it will be like to parent two children under the age of six when we move to the US this summer (we live in Spain). Here kids are out of the house most of the day in school or in daycare and after you pick them up you take them to play at the local park where all their friends are or at a plaza where they ride their scooters, draw on the sidewalk, or kick a football around. It’s definitely going to be a big adjustment for them (and me!) to go to the US where, from what it seems like, people spend most of their times in their homes or backyards and alone, with no neighbors, friends or classmates. I guess we’ll see how it goes!

5 years ago
Reply to  Kiana

You are making me want to move to Spain, that sounds like a lovely way to pass the afternoons.

Sue Sue
5 years ago

Wish I had these last week while babysitting!!! Great ideas for grandparents.

Julie P
5 years ago

Awesome!!! Thank you SO much!!!!

5 years ago

I’m so excited two of my ideas made it on your blog!! Thanks for including them!

5 years ago

These are lovely ideas and kids will love them. If I could gently push back, however: I’ve got four kids, ages 3-9, and it’s totally ok if you don’t enjoy playing with your kids. I enjoy talking with them, going places with them, and reading with them, but I find playing with them bores me to tears. I just want to put that out there in case any mom feels insecure about their disinterest in this sort of thing: it’s totally fine not to do this if it’s not your cup of tea. (And more power to you if it is!)

5 years ago

Wonderful post! I’m going to try a lot of these. I love that you pulled it from reader comments.

5 years ago

I love this! Thank you so much. As someone with two young kids who lives in a very dark, very cold climate with winters that last waaaaaay too long, I’m looking forward to the winter version.

Monique Wright Interior Design
5 years ago

A few things:
1. How does one just “hang” Plexiglas in the backyard? I’m confused on that one
2. Safari hunts are genius! I’m totally trying that
3. Daniel Tiger is the most annoying cartoon character ever (close to Calliou)

5 years ago

1. Drill a couple of holes in the plexi and then depending on how much paint you can cope with on your fence/garden shed/a tree trunk, you could install a couple of hooks to hang the plexiglass on. Alternately, a cheap kids’ easel off Craigslist (is that what Americans use instead of Gumtree here in Australia?). Failing that you could knock a couple of garden stakes into the lawn and they could prop the plexi up against those.
2. Agreed – me too.
3. Subjective, I think Norman Price (from Fireman Sam) and the modern Inspector Gadget would get top billing on most annoying characters in our house. Danger Mouse on the other hand is much easier to put up with and the inside jokes for adults are fun.

5 years ago

Thank you for sharing these great ideas! I have ideas to share for older kids (4 & up). I quickly made up a little scavenger hunt for the art museum near us so that when the kids went inside to look at the art, they’d have something to do. It said “Find these things” at the top and then had a check list that included things like “a painting with a dog” and “a sculpture made of metal.” I think I gave them stickers to put on each box, but I can’t remember. They loved filling in those boxes as they looked at the art work! Another fun thing we did recently was tie dye shirts. It takes a little prep work (buying and washing the shirts, buying the dyes) but it was a lot of fun. I have also made “stations,” but differently from what is described above. I put about four activities on our dining room table in separate areas (for example, magnetic sand, Light Bright, coloring paper & markers, and Legos. Then I told the kids they had ten minutes at each “station” at the table. I set the timer and let them play with one thing,… Read more »

Kamalpreet Kaur
5 years ago

Thanks for sharing such an amazing post. Just loved the way you have written about the designing ideas, Keep sharing such amazing articles. Looking forward to some more of your blogs.

5 years ago

Thank you so much for putting this together!!

5 years ago

This is fantastic! Thank you!! I have a 3 year old and a baby, and am often at a loss for creative ideas.

5 years ago

Love love love this post and these creative ideas!!!

5 years ago

For a kid who will not get in the bath, I have put the dance party light in the bathroom for a bubble bath (with all other lights out and calmer “space music”). Next time I’m adding dinner, ha!

5 years ago

Awesome idea for summer activity. I am requesting to you please share winter activity for baby’s health. thanks

lydia @makinglamadre
5 years ago

Hallelujah for this! I needed this last week when I was off work and home all week with my 3 year old. Definitely adding some of these to our night time and weekend routine.

5 years ago

I’m so late to respond to this buuut I’d love some recommendations for kid friendly podcasts. We’ve done Story Pirates but it is hit or miss for my 4 year old. Thanks in advance!!

4 years ago
Reply to  Joelle

In addition to Story Pirates, Wow in the World, But Why, and Circle Round are big hits in my house. Hope this helps!!

4 years ago

Going on a treasure hunt dressed up as pirates with a map and clues to the next spot was always a blast when the kids were little. The final clue revealed a map with x marking the spot where the treasure tin was buried (usually the sand pit) with sweeties in it.

Turning on the sprinkler / hose was the easiest and most fun the kid had in hot weather – kept them cool and exhausts afterwards.

For teenagers – my son absolutely loves parkour / free running. Whenever we take the dog on his evening walk he is always looking out for obstacles to leap over and practice his various jumps on. (Living in an urban environment helps!)

4 years ago

This is gold! I remember the timer recommendation from last year and use it all the time. This update is very timely and much appreciated!

4 years ago

Great list! I’d love to add the power of the balloon to the list! Buy a bag at Target or wherever and blow up one or two at a time! Great for “volleyball” or just kicking around!

4 years ago

I totally did the extra-long bathtub time. To make it more fun, I made play sets that I cut out of colored foam from the craft store. They could get the foam wet and stick it to the wall in the bathtub. I made ocean scenes, monster/alien parts, vehicle parts, etc. When they started to learn to read, I wrote with Sharpie on the foam and cut out words so they could make sentences or learn sight words.

4 years ago

Love this post, it has so many great ideas! The white cylinders hanging above the climbing wall in the first photo caught my eye–what are they?

Cris S.
3 years ago
Reply to  Alicia

I think they are bells you ring when you reach the top of the climb.

4 years ago

@theplayfulden is an amazing feed to follow. She is an expert in kid culture through the research she does in her work. She is amazingly creative, fun and inciteful. Lots of ideas for kids all ages – her hashtag is #makewayforplay

3 years ago

These are fabulous ideas! Grandma Sue Sue is printing them out for our next babysitting gig. Thank you!

3 years ago

I can imagine the challenge to parent during Covid19. My kids are young adults now, but when they were not in camps or sport activities during the summer, they usually had projects that took planning and rehearsals over a long period of time. For example, getting neighborhood kids to work on a show or play. Imagine the industriousness, creativity and cooperation required. They would create flyers and earn money from the shows.
10 to 13 year olds can volunteer and earn money by weeding or mowing lawns.

3 years ago

Make your own play dough:
1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
food coloring
Mix ingredients ( food coloring w/water ) in saucepan over low heat and stir until dough forms ball. Remove from pan and knead until smooth and pliable. Dough can be stored in a plastic container for a week or a little longer.

3 years ago

Where is that blue rug from in the top photo?! 💙 great list, thank you!