During the summer we spend a lot of our weekends exploring, and just as much time at the local playground – but there are times when I just need to be at-home to get things done, catch up on work or just relax in the air conditioning. During this time, when I’m trying to limit screen time, I find it helps to get the kids started with an activity, leave them to it and avoid hearing ‘I’m bored’ while they linger in the doorway.
If you want to avoid hearing I’m bored, or are simply searching for inspiration for fun backyard kids activities that you can do at-home, here are thirty that we’ve got planned for the summer months:
1. Play Giant Jenga
A few 2x4s and a saw can help you to create a fun game that’s going to occupy the kids this summer. You might have just as much fun making it as you will playing with it. Get the details + learn how to make it.
2. Make Kiddie Pool ‘Clouds’
Use a small kiddie pool or a water table (because it makes a soapy mess in the water) to create clouds of ivory soap by microwaving the bars of soap in a dish for two minutes after unwrapping. Only use Ivory soap, and watch in amazement as they puff up and grow.
3. Backyard Splatter Painting
You can plan this activity for under five bucks if you’ve already got paint at-home. Grab an old tablecloth or sheet, or a disposable colored one from the dollar store and splatter away to make a fun piece of art that’s going to break all the rules. When you’ve finished, wash off the paint in the sprinkler for a fun, mess-free way to spend an afternoon.
4. Hot Wheels FUNdamentals
Hot Wheels FUNdamentals is designed for Kindergarten and grade 1 students to give access to learning activities covering match, science and reading and has resources like printable activities, games and more to encourage fun learning over the summer months.
5. Glow in the Dark Ring Toss
Put those glow necklaces to great use and plan to have some fun with glow in the dark ring toss. You can get a pack of eight for a buck at the dollar store, and paired with some after dark fun it’s something that they are going to remember all year long.
6.Water Balloon Pinatas
Fill a handful of water balloons and hang them from an awning, a tree or a fence. Blindfold the kids and hand them a pinata stick to try and break them. They will be in for a surprise when they’re successful. What a fun (and easy) way to cool off.
7. Stargaze with Blankets
Skyview Free is an app that allows you to point the phone up to the sky and get the information about which constellations can be seen above you. Fill up the kiddie pool, then fill it with blankets to make for a fun (and comfortable) was to explore the night sky.
8. Slip and Slide
Get out the slip and slide! One of the hottest toys from Mastermind Toys this year is the Slackers Slide n Surf. The 20 foot slip and slide is one of the best on the market is a lot of fun for adults + kids alike ($59, Mastermind Toys)
9. Join the TD Summer Reading Club
It’s free, and gives your kids incentive to read through the summer. Prizes can be earned for books read and there is exclusive access to online content, ebooks and more.
10. Host an Outdoor Movie Night
Grab a white sheet and an adaptor that you can use on your phone as a projector and have movie night, outdoors. It’s a fun way to spend the evening, and you can use the bluetooth dock for sound, as it’s something you probably already have in your house.
11. Build a Tin Foil River
Get out the tin foil and the hose and build a tin foil river to float paper boats, small toys and other fun stuff down for some entertainment for the littlest kids. Bigger kids can help to build it, and cool off in the process.
12. Add Some Tunnels to the Sand Box
Make fun tunnels in the sand box this year with Plastic tubing. Get it big enough for those small trucks to go through and take those sand castles and digging to the next level.
13. Have a Colored Fire
Grab some of that powder that makes your fire colored and have a fun back yard fire that’s going to enthrall the little kids staying up late enough to enjoy it.
14. Play Twister in the Grass
Use some paint and a circle stencil to create a game of twister that’s going to be fun for the whole entire family. Just use the spinner from your original game to see which colors the arms and legs are being directed to.
15. Freeze Toys in Ice Blocks
Make like it’s the ice age and give kids small hammers and picks to ‘dig’ the toys out of the ice block that you’ve frozen. We love to put plastic things like dinosaurs and animals inside of the ice block.
16. Host a Foam Party
Put the hose on the most harsh spray you’ve got, add a bit of soap the kids pool and have a foam party. You’re going to want to be careful around little children, or skip the dish soap and use tear free versions if the’re likely to get it in their eyes.
17. Popsicle Painting
Freeze popsicle molds with a few drops of food coloring and water in each of them and give the kids a few sheets of cardstock (cardstock isn’t going to rip when it gets wet. It’s less messy than painting with ice cubes and the kids have a handle to hold on to.
18. Make Jello + Greek Yogurt Popsicles
Combine greek yogurt and a package of jello in an easy popsicle recipe that are going to be bright colored treats for a fun way to cool off during those hot summer afternoons.
19. String Obstacle Course
Get thick twine or string and string it in lines in a 6′ by 6′ section to create an obstacle course that kids have to squeeze their way through. If you’ve got a path way on the side of the house, it’s the perfect place for this. Use different colors of string, and include obstacles like sprinkles and water balloons to make it more challenging.
20. Baseball with a Wet Twist
Play baseball, with a twist. Use water balloons in place of the ball and see who get’s wet first! It’s a fun way to play, but make sure to use a plastic bat – and have a lot of balloons ready for the game.
21. Colored Water Fight
Host a colored water fight where people in the fight have different colors of water in their fill up stations (powdered tempra paint works great). Wear white shirts in the water fight and see who’s color can be seen the most.
22. Cut a Pool Noodle in Half to Make a Marble Launch
Slice the pool noodle in half and you’ve got the perfect size for a large marble to be launched down the front steps, on to the sidewalk and even in the backyard sand pit.
23. Chalk Body Paint
A few plastic cups of water and a dollar box of chalk make for a fun way to get a sleek look when you’re drawing on the sidewalk, but also make for fun ways to color arms, legs and entire bodies with the chalk. If you’ve got a child with sensitive skin, you might wan to skip this one or test the chalk on the skin to see how it reacts.
24. Tattoo Stand
Skip the lemonade stand, host a neighbourhood tattoo stand. Grab a few packages of tattoos from the local dollar store and offer tattoos to the neighourhood kids (and parents) that are passing by. It’s a fun way to get to know the neighbours, and have a bit of fun with nothing more than tattoos and some water.
25. Thrift Store Sheet Forts
Make a visit to the thrift store and find the cheapest sheets that you can. Next, grab a package of clothes pins. Use the sheets to make a giant outdoor fort that won’t leave you wondering if the kids are ruining the linens. This would be a perfect idea for those mornings when you just can’t hear ‘I’m bored’ one more time.
26. Make a Cardboard Pirate Ship
Find the biggest box that you can and get to creating a pirate ship for pretend play. If you want to skip this, you can find cardboard houses, lemonade stands, rockets and so much more in stores, for under twenty bucks. The kids can fold and assemble, then color and decorate the forts for outside or inside use.
In our local neighbourhood, we’ve got upwards of forty geocaches that are hidden around the space. You can get the app for free, or use the paid version ($11) if you’re going to use it frequently. It’s such a fun way to find treasure, learn about directions and see things that might be hidden right in front of you.
28. Follow a Map
When the kids are asleep, hide a treasure in the yard (or under rocks, or in the sandbox) and create a map (using paces, and directions) of where they can find the treasure. If you really want to do this one well, you can hide it outside of the yard – even at the local park or street. This teaches direction, working together and will easily give you a nomination for the parent of the year award.
29. Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Sidewalk chalk paint is one of those things that’s so easy to make that you can have a batch ready in thirty seconds. Combine 1 cup of water, with 1/2 cup of corn starch and a few drops of food coloring. When it’s all mixed, kids can paint on the sidewalks and it’s easily going to wash off the next time it rains (or you hose down the sidewalk).
30. Glow in the Dark Bowling
Use glow sticks inside soda bottles to create bowling pins and get out a soccer or play ball that you have in the yard. This after-dark or dusk activity is one of the kids favorite things to do, and you would be surprised just how much fun you have too. You can find inexpensive glow sticks at the dollar store, and remove the labels from the bottles for an evening of fun.