14 Exciting and Creative Summer Activities for Kids

The summer months can be an incredible time for your kids and your family, a season full of fun and creativity. All it takes is a little bit of planning — and the right ideas.

We’ve pulled together 14 exciting and creative summer activities perfect for your kids. These fun ideas will keep the boredom away, engage your kids’ senses and imaginations, and create memories that could last a lifetime.

As a bonus, many of these are outdoor activities that you could do at home or at a local park — getting those kiddos off the couch and out of the house!

1) Have a Painting Party

Painting parties or painting classes can be a great time for kids and adults alike. While paint parties are great indoor activities, why not take advantage of the nice summer weather and take the party outside?

Being outside gives your kids plenty of space in case of any paint spills or splatters, plus the sunshine gives them a great view of the canvas they’re working on. If the weather gets too hot or the unpredictable summer weather rains you out, you can bring your paint party inside as a fun, creative alternative to sitting in front of the television.

Painting to Gogh offers a wide range of top quality painting party kits, and many of our kits are just right for kids. Our kid-friendly acrylic kits include shorter brushes and easy-to-use acrylic paints perfect for smaller, less careful hands. Whether your paint party is inside or outside, our kits make it easy to set up in any location.

Wondering how to make a Painting to Gogh party work outside instead of in the house? Wonder no more: Check out our in-depth post that shows you how easy it is to paint outdoors.

2) Get Wild With Fizzy Sidewalk Chalk Art

Your kids have probably played with sidewalk chalk more times than you can count. But fizzy sidewalk chalk? The idea hardly seems possible, and it’s difficult to envision — but it’s real, and it’s real fun for your kids.

Kids Activities Blog has the full recipe, but the basic idea is that you mix baking soda, cornstarch, water, and food coloring to form a chalky paint. Then set your kids loose to create whatever kind of sidewalk art they want.

The last step is where this activity really bubbles up with excitement: Put some household vinegar in a spray bottle, and let your kids spritz the vinegar onto their artwork. The mixture will start to fizz and foam, and kids will have a blast mixing the colors and watching the (perfectly safe) chemical reaction unfold.

3) Blast Away With Water Gun Painting

You may notice that our first few ideas are all art related. (I mean, we are an art company, after all!)

Sure, we may be biased, but we have plenty of good reasons for including so many art activities. We’ve collected them in a recent post, 8 Important Benefits of Art for Children, so be sure to check out that article for more inspiration.

Have you ever seen water gun painting before? It’s a great summer activity that combines several of the things kids like most: water play, making messes, bright colors, and creativity.

To get started, buy a pack of those cheap water pistols from your favorite discount store. You can use fancier water guns, too, but there’s at least a small risk of the liquid watercolor gumming up the works, so we recommend the cheap ones.

Next, you need a liquid that’s thin enough to work its way through the water gun but colorful enough to make an impact. Liquid watercolors will give you the best results — plus they tend to be easier to wash out when some paint inevitably ends up somewhere it isn’t supposed to. Diluted acrylic paint can also work well for this activity (and is a great way to use up leftover paint from your Painting to Gogh paint kit), but bear in mind that acrylic paint can stain, so we’d recommend only using this medium with older kids and teenagers.

All that’s left is a canvas or some paper, plus plenty of clearance from the house (and anything else that you don’t want to paint by accident).

4) Create and Play With Kinetic Sand

If you’re looking for a more indoor-friendly creative summer activity for a rainy day, kinetic sand is a great way to go. This magical sand-like substance will keep your younger kids busy for hours, plus it’s just so soothing to squeeze, even for adults!

You can buy premade kinetic sand, which is guaranteed to have the exact magical texture kinetic sand is known for. But for even more fun, togetherness, and sensory play, why not make your own?

This recipe from Eating Richly (despite the name, this is not food) shows how simple the process can be. Just three ingredients and some time, and you’ll have your own delightful squishy stuff to play with.

5) Float Away With Bubble Blowing

Who doesn’t love blowing bubbles? It’s the perfect experience for hot summer days, especially for the longer daylight of a mild summer evening.

You can go simple here, with a premade bubble solution from your favorite discount or dollar store. Or you can make it fancier by using your favorite bubble blower, or creating giant homemade bubbles.

6) Host a Delicious Lemonade Stand

There’s nothing more quintessentially summer than a lemonade stand. Kids have been trying their hand at front-yard commerce for generations, and there’s tons of room for creativity and learning here.

Encourage your kids to make their own signage for their lemonade stand using their favorite coloring or crafting methods.

It’s easy to whip up a batch of delicious lemonade from scratch, but if you’re looking for a tried-and-true recipe with the perfect balance of sweet and sour, this one from AllRecipes is a great place to start (Note: Grown-up help is required to make the simple syrup). For an even simpler approach, grab some powdered lemonade mix or  premade lemonade from the store. It tastes great and saves time, so the kids can focus on prepping fun mix-ins instead, like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or flavored syrups.

7) Construct a Backyard Obstacle Course

Do your kids have more energy than you know what to do with? Do you hear the dreaded “I’m bored!” five minutes after you send them outside?

Maybe they just need something to focus on in the backyard. An obstacle course doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can provide hours of fun.

Pool noodles can make decent hurdles or track boundaries. Existing backyard equipment, like slides or swings, can be co-opted for your course. Hula hoops, tunnels, jump ropes, boulders, and other household or yard items can add to the fun.

Bonus idea: The whole family can enjoy water activities during the hottest summer months. Consider turning your backyard obstacle course into a DIY water park with sprinklers, water balloons, slip and slides, or other squirt toys.

8) Paint and Decorate Rocks

Late spring and summer are prime time for landscaping projects. If you dug up a ton of rocks while preparing land for your garden and now you need something to do with them, look no further — you can turn those rocks into a fun summer activity.

Grab some paints and paintbrushes and let your kiddos paint a few of those discarded rocks however they want — let their imaginations run wild. This can be a great way to keep kids busy for several hours in the summertime. Plus, if you incorporate the painted rocks into your landscaping, they can be a lasting reminder of a great summertime memory. Acrylic paint is ideal for painting rocks, so keep this idea in mind if you have any leftover paint from one of our kits!

9) Turn Your Backyard Into a Movie Theater

Kids and parents alike love movie night, and in the summertime, why not take movie night out of the living room and move it outdoors? If you have access to a projector and screen — or even a large enough TV that you don’t mind putting outside — you’ve pretty much got everything you need.

Arrange lawn chairs into theater-style seating. Maybe even go all out and get some popcorn containers from the dollar store and “sell” concessions at the gate. Pro tip: Popsicles and ice cream might not work well at the normal movie theater, but they’re great in your own backyard!

10) Create a Summer Mural

Your kids have drawn isolated characters or words or shapes using sidewalk chalk, but have you ever guided them to create something larger? Give your kids a defined, larger space and a goal.

Using real sidewalk chalk (not the fizzy chalk paint from earlier), have them work together to draw a mural of all the activities they want to do this summer.

Or, at the end of summer, do the same thing as a recap of all the things you did or places you went as a family (zoos, parks, scavenger hunts, summer camps, etc.).

11) Have a Summer-Themed Photoshoot

A summer-themed photoshoot is a fun idea for kids of all ages who love to be creative or get dressed up. Create a simple summer-themed background, or better yet, direct your kids to create one instead. Then everyone can pose to their heart’s content in their favorite summer duds, no matter how silly or outlandish.

12) Collect and Press Summer Flowers

Flower pressing is practically a lost art these days, but why not revive it? Summer is the perfect time to scavenge for flowers of all sorts. Take your kids to a nature park, out to the country, or maybe even just to the backyard, and search for blooms that you can pick (with permission, of course).

Press them carefully between sheets of parchment paper, then squash them in a book and let them dry.

Budding artists can even turn their pressed flowers into a botanical print.

13) Create a Summertime Play

Another activity perfect for a rainy day (or a stormy week) is leading your kids in creating a summertime play. This idea works well if you have at least one older child who can stick with longer-range planning and ideas.

Leave it up to your kids to choose the setting and come up with the broad strokes of the plot. Then let them pick out or create costumes and props, and of course give them the chance to put on their production for family and friends. Record video clips of their performance to create a homemade movie that your kids will want to watch over and over again.

14) Host a Summer Concert

Do you have any budding musicians in your family? A summer concert could be a great way to keep up those skills over the summer break.

If your kids are taking traditional music lessons, pick fun, simple music for the summer — or let them showcase their best work from the school year.

No musicians in the family? That’s okay — host a lip-sync battle instead!

Hosting a Summer Painting Party Is Simple With Painting to Gogh

The summer months may feel long, and it can be tricky to keep the kiddos busy and entertained for the length of the summer. But these 14 ideas should provide a wealth of options that inspire creativity, engage the senses and imagination, and create good, clean (or messy) fun for your kids.

For a special, more organized treat, make sure to check out our awesome premade painting party kits. They can keep your kids occupied for hours, and everyone who participates will have a treasured souvenir they can keep for years to come!