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Summer Activities for Families: Ideas for Outdoor Fun and Cozy Days

Posted by Christen Barbercheck on


Summer has arrived, and this season is all about making the most of family time. It’s easy for screen time to stretch on during summer days, especially as kids get older or when busy parents need a helping hand to keep young kids occupied. It happens! (Though we have some tips to help if you’d like to limit screen time!) 

But making every moment count is also about making summer memories—having fun outdoors, being creative and playful, relaxing, and enjoying family activities—whether it’s something that takes 5 minutes or involves a full-day adventure.   

Here are some of our favorite ideas for summer for outdoor fun, cozy days, and everything in between. 


Activities for Outdoor Fun 

While it’s beneficial to spend time outdoors year-round, summer is magic for getting outside and exploring as a family.  

Want to stay close to home? Here are some backyard ideas. 

  • Set up a mud kitchen for fun, messy play for younger kids. 
  • Tend to a garden. Kids (and adults!) love to see things grow and reap the rewards! 
  • Play a sport. Pick a family favorite— basketball, soccer, baseball.  
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk and play Hopscotch. 
  • Have a firepit night and tell scary (or not-so-scary) stories. 
  • Lay out a picnic and read books, play a card game, or draw in a nature journal, noticing what you can see around you. 
  • Create an obstacle course for the whole family to participate in. 
  • Set up a water slide, sprinkler, inflatable pool, or water table (for younger kids) for lots of sensory fun and an opportunity to cool down. 
  • Set up a bubble machine. 
  • Find rocks and set up a painting station to get crafty. 
  • Pick flowers to make a floral arrangement or flower art. 


Ready to venture further afield?  

  • Go for a nature walk or hike. 
  • Learn about birds (here’s a fun bird book) and see who can you spot. 
  • Go to a sports field to play. 
  • Take a swim—check out your local swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and beaches, or visit a splash pad. 
  • Have a lake day and go kayaking or paddleboarding. 
  • Take a bike ride. 
  • Go to the playground or ice cream shop. 
  • Visit your local CSA farm or orchard for fruit picking or help out at the local community garden for open days. 
  • Visit the library (and stock up on books for cozy days). 
  • Visit a local children’s museum, science museum, or art museum. 
  • Visit a local park. 
  • Go camping—it can be as simple as a backyard camping night to a weekend at a local state or national park, or a few nights at a dream destination for a full reset away from screens and connecting together in nature. 


Activities for Cozy Days 

Rainy day or just feel like hanging out at home but want to keep it low-tech? 

  • Build a pillow fort or set up a play tent. 
  • Build with Lego or blocks. 
  • Re-introduce old toys for “new” play. 
  • Do a puzzle. 
  • Play cards or a board game. 
  • Play tag, hide-and-seek, or Simon Says. 
  • Enjoy an arts and craft day—pick one activity or set up stations for painting, coloring, and crafting. 
  • Read together as a family, either reading a chapter book to younger kids or, for kids who can read themselves, setting a timer and having everyone settle into their favorite spots for family reading time. Book reports optional! 
  • Encourage your kids to pick out a recipe they want to cook and make it together, or for teens, hang back and let them run the show! Pair your creations with a board game for a fun family night. 
  • Host a tea party. Make fun sandwiches and tea and set it up for the whole family. Take it outside if the weather’s nice!  
  • Make a playlist together and have a dance party. 
  • Practice family yoga. Everyone can suggest their favorite postures and you can build a sequence to practice together! 


We hope this has given you some creative ideas to perhaps try something new and enjoy this season with your family. Happy Summer! 


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