In June the summer seems to stretch into infinity. By mid-July, kids could be complaining that “there’s nothing fun to do.” And there’s lots to do! If your children are home from school and underfoot, we’re here to help cure those summertime boredom blues.


Some of the ideas we found are new twists on an old idea, and some are totally new (to us). All of them are fun, safe and inexpensive (or free).  Enjoy!


•  A to Z scavenger hunt.
Children are tasked with bringing home something to represent every letter of the alphabet. This could be a race, with several teams.
•  Boat races. Make boats out of paper or other materials at hand, float them in a kiddie pool and propel the boats by blowing at them through straws.
•  Host a rodeo or circus. No exotic animals? No problem. Dogs can be drafted and costumed, as can children. There are a variety of acts such as clown, ringleader, acrobat, stuntman/stuntwoman, and more. Once again, the adults are the audience after a week of preparation.
•  Make your own bubbles. See who can make the biggest bubble or whose bubbles can last the longest before popping. Mix one cup of distilled water, two tablespoons of dish soap (Dawn works best) and one tablespoon of glycerin. Glycerin can be purchased for about $7 at any drug store.
•  Organize a bike parade. This is great for an entire neighborhood. The bikes could have a visual theme (red, white and blue) or a conceptual theme (bikes of the future). The kids can spend days getting ready and the adults are the audience. Prizes optional.
•  Overnight backyard campout. An oldie but goodie. Large cardboard boxes and blankets make good tents in a pinch.
•  Pine cone birdfeeders. Find pine cones (opened), spread them with peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Hang in trees and wait for the action.
•  Stage your own summer Olympics. This would include short and long races, ball toss (no javelins please), long jump and more. Prizes optional.
•  Turtle race. Are you near a pond? Go turtle hunting and then race them. Draw a large circle and place the turtles in the center. On your mark, get set, go! Make sure you release the turtles back into their same pond.
•  Visit a new park. Involve kids in the research after setting out some parameters such as distance from home, or desired amenities.


•  Cook together. Investigate an ethnic grocery store and cook lunch together using new or interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.
•  Find a workshop. Many stores have free workshops for kids. Check out stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.
•  Go to the library. The library has more than just books. Many libraries have classes and activities for children. Check for hours ahead of time so you’re ready to go when the weather turns bad.
•  Paper bag challenge. Each child gets a plain paper bag and is challenged to turn it into something else. Their creativity may surprise you.
•  Popsicle stick bird houses. Make the house and then paint it and hang it. Take it down and empty it in the fall, so a new family can move in the following year.
•  Puppet show. This is an old idea, but always fun. Kids can “write” the play, make the puppets and act out the parts. Adults are, once again, the appreciative audience.
•  Take a tour. You may be surprised at how many places have free tours for kids. The Fire Station, a local dairy, the waste recycling center are all great places for curious kids.

Our advice is to mix short-term activities that take a few hours (the birdhouses or birdfeeders) with long-term activities that can take all week. Variety is always key!


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