Summer Activities for Kids in 2018

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The long lazy days of summer are here and parents are on the hunt for the best summer activities for their kids — be it the best local tennis camp, sports league, arts and crafts event, or whatever else the kids are into. If you’re still searching for the best summer activity — or activities — to keep your kids entertained this summer, here are UNICEF Kid Power’s 50 favorite ways for kids to spend summer 2018.

50 Fun Summer Activities for Your Kids in 2018:

  1. Bike rides. Take your kids out for a fun bike ride, either near your house, or if the kids are older, take them on a bike trail. If it’s a hot summer day, make sure to bring water!
  2. Make ice cream. There isn’t a kid (or parent) in the world who would refuse ice cream on a hot summer day. This is a great kids summer activity that’s also fun for parents to monitor. To get you started, here’s a great guide to creating vanilla ice cream.
  3. Meet friends at the local playground. Text your friends, load up the strollers or back packs and  organize a parent-kid meet-up at a local playground. Parents can chat while kids play on swing sets, run through the sprinkler dig in the sand box and more.
  4. Have a picnic at a local or state park. Getting kids together for a picnic at a local or state park can be a fun group activity. Pack some snacks, plenty of water and sunscreen and head for the shade!
  5. Sidewalk chalk murals. All kids need is some colored chalk and a patch of pavement to create some really fun chalk murals and designs. Here are a few cool designs for inspiration.
  6. Backyard camping. Your kids may be too small to go camping at a campsite or park, so why not pitch a tent in the backyard?
  7. Backyard stargazing. Put out a few blankets, have everyone stretch out and gaze up at the stars. Show your kids how to locate Orion’s Belt and many other stars. Here’s a great stargazing guide.
  8. Check out the local county fair. In the summer, most major towns  will have some sort of carnival or county fair — with farm animals, pony rides, games —that’s sure to  delight the kids and give the whole family a fun way to spend an afternoon.
  9. Kids science experiments. It’s a rainy day and you’re desperate for a fun indoor activity. No problem! Power up their brains and curiosity with these awesome fun and easy science experiments for kids! Or try some brain breaks for kids!
  10. Local tennis camp. Tennis is one of those sports that most kids don’t get to play during the school year. But most towns have fun tennis camps options or local public courts that offer lessons that your kids will enjoy.
  11. Make a kaleidoscope. Fun on a rainy day, or even if you want something different to do with your kids! If they are the crafty type, here is a fun guide with step-by-step instructions for creating your own kaleidoscope!
  12. Sidewalk foam paint. Chalk isn’t the only way to decorate your sidewalk! Click here for a creative and fun DIY foam paint activity you and your kids can do to get really creative with your sidewalk art.
  13. Water balloon baseball. Sometimes, combining two summer activities can make playing outside even more exciting! For this fun summer combo, all you need is a wiffleball bat and some water balloons to make a splash at your next baseball game!
  14. DIY bird feeder. This kid friendly bird feeder is fun to make and really gets results.  Have the kids coat some empty toilet paper rolls with peanut butter then roll them in bird seed. Then, hang the rolls  on a tree branch, and watch the birds come get something to eat!
  15. Homemade Playdough. DIY playdough takes only 10 minutes and is as fun and easy to make as it is to play with! Check out this recipe from a crafty mother on how to make colorful playdough with your kiddos.
  16. Visit your local library. The library has more than just books for children. Many offer other activities and toys designed for each age as well as audiobooks and educational computer games!
  17. Build a fort or tent. Great for rainy days when you all are stuck indoors. Just push your couches close together and drape them with blankets or sheets to create a cozy place where you and the kids can eat a snack or play a game!
  18. Play hide and seek in the dark.  Draw the curtains, pull down the shades and move furniture with sharp corners! To keep things fun and safe, blindfold the seeker so you can keep the lights on while everyone else hides.
  19. Make milk carton boats. Take an old milk carton, remove one side, then have the kids paint it and use household items to fashion the hull, sales, mast and boom! Then put it in the water — in the sink, bath or pool to see if it floats. If not, get the kids to  brainstorm on how to fix it.
  20. Do a puzzle together. Working  on a puzzle together can make for some great family bonding time. Make sure to pick one that’s age-appropriate then have fun chatting and listening to music while piecing it together.
  21. Visit a splash park. Some are free and others aren’t, but on a hot day this is a  fun outing for kids and parents!
  22. Write in shaving cream. This may get messy, but kids will get a kick out of this new a fun way to express themselves practice their ABCs, even do math problems! Take it outside in the sunshine if you don’t want the mess indoors!
  23. Paint rocks. Have fun painting faces or designs on rocks you and your kids find outside in the yard, in the park, or during a walk in the woods. After they’re decorated, painted rocks make great  door stoppers or paper weights!
  24. Balloon tennis. Paper plates, paint stirrers, and balloons is all you need to make this fun outdoor summer kids’ activity that can safely be played indoors too!
  25. Homemade water blob. Using plastic sheeting and duct tape and water from a hose, the kids  can create their very own water blob! This mom warns that there will be leaking, but that it only adds to the fun and makes more of a splash!
  26. Squirt gun water painting. With watercolor paper, watercolors, an easel, and a squirt gun, kids can practice their aim while making beautiful art!  Don’t be surprised if some of the paint ends up on them — or even you!
  27. Glow in the dark mason jar. Check out this fun how-to guide to making beautiful make-believe glow-in-the-dark orbs! The kids  can use them to capture fairies, lightning bugs and they make great night lights. The results are radiant!
  28. Water bag piñata. Have a blast and cool off by busting this piñata filled with water! Let your kids have fun filling it up with water then stand back while they unleash  the homemade waterfall!
  29. DIY sponge balls. This is a fantastic homemade game or yard toss. Buy some fun looking sponges or raid your stockpile under the kitchen sink! Drench them in water and soap and send the kids outside to get soaked in the hot summer sun!
  30. Horseshoe Toss. You and the kids can have some retro fun playing horseshoes out in the backyard or at your next family picnic. Feeling crafty? Make your own by cutting paper plates into the shape of a horseshoe then sink a paper towel roll into a hole in the backyard and let the games begin!
  31. Plant flowers or vegetables. Use the summer to teach your kids how to plant! Plant flowers or vegetables in your flower bed or in a pot. They can water it every day and watch them bloom!
  32. Go to the farmer’s market. You don’t have to travel far to expose your  kids to new things. Going to your local farmer’s market can be a fun outing as well as a way to introduce them to all kinds of new and  different colorful foods and learn all about where they come from and how they are grown and made!
  33. Dig for treasure. This is a great activity if you’re planning a trip to a playground with a sandbox or if you’re headed to the beach. Round up a bunch of items you don’t mind getting dirty or sandy and while the kids are doing something else bury them. If you’re at the beach, make sure to stake out the area where the treasures can be found. When you’re done, turn the kids loose and have them work as a team to find all the buried treasure or have a race to see who can find the most items.
  34. Egg drop. If you don’t mind breaking a few eggs this can be really fun. Give the kids a dozen or so eggs, then challenge them to come up with inventive ways to wrap them up securely so that they don’t break when you drop them. Make sure to have items like bubble wrap, paper towels, packing peanuts and old t-shirts on hand to spark their creativity. 
  35. Feed the ducks. There’s nothing like making a trip to a local pond or lake to feed the ducks. Bring scraps of bread for the ducks and a picnic for you and the kids and make an afternoon of it!
  36. Berry picking. Chances are there’s a farm near you where you and the kids can pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, for a small entrance fee. Go in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot sun then whip up a tasty treat with your haul — check out these great kid friendly dessert recipes — when you get home and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
  37. Plant a butterfly garden. There are over 750 species of butterflies, and you can attract all kinds to your garden with these. A list of flowers to start out will feed the attraction, as well as having an organic one. Gardening is a great summer activity for kids!
  38. Go hiking. If you and the kids are beginning hikers, pick an easy hiking trail to do with your kids to start and then weekly, during the summer, you can choose a more advanced trail. Check your local parks or trails to see what your area has to offer.
  39. Visit your local lake/beach trip. A day at the beach or by the lake  is a fun, cheap way to create lasting summer memories for your kids. Pack a lunch, plenty of sunscreen, some water and a few games to play then find a sweet spot!
  40. Run in the sprinkler. This is a cool, easy way to beat the heat, especially with toddlers. Set up your hose sprinklers or installed yard sprinklers, then have the kids put on swimsuits, turn on the water and let them go wild!
  41. Take an early morning/late night walk. Taking a stroll in the early a.m. is a great way to get some exercise and beat the heat. Pajama walks right before bed are another fun summer activity and a great way to wind down and regroup as a family before bed!
  42. Bean bag toss. All you need is a needle and thread (if you want the kids to be able to do this project themselves) some fabric scraps and beans to bring this fun DIY retro game to life. Kids will feel accomplished and appreciate the game more when they create it themselves.
  43. Visit a swimming pool. Swimming is the ultimate kids summer activity. And of all the places to get wet, this is the arguably the most popular. A trip to the town pool is also a good option for parents who have more than one child to watch. Set your chair up near the lifeguard chair, outfit your less confident swimmers with floaties then watch them go!  
  44. Go to the movies. Check out local listings to find  a family movie appropriate for all ages — or make some popcorn and fire up Netflix to have your own private screening of the kids fave films. If you’re heading to the theater, getting tickets online will leave more time for seat — and snack — selection!
  45. Blow bubbles. Whether you go low-tech with individual bottles of bubbles or all out with a souped up bubble machine, blowing bubbles is endlessly entertaining for kids.
  46. Fly a kite. All you need is room to run and  the kite of your choice. Learning to fly a kite teaches kids patience and coordination. Plus kites are pretty to watch once the kids learn how to keep them high in the sky — especially on a bright sunny summer day!
  47. Glow in the dark bowling. Want to make bowling extra fun for your kids? Bowl in the dark and use glow sticks to illuminate the pins! Here is a brief tutorial on how to amp up your bowling experience.
  48. Color changing flowers. This is a great kid friendly science project. All you need are some white flowers and a glass to hold each one. Have the kids fill each glass half full of water, put a couple drops of dye into each, then place a bloom into the water. As the flowers change color ask the kids to describe what they see and talk about how they think it happens!
  49. Craft with pipe cleaners. DIY bugs, butterflies and animals are fun to make when you have a big bag of pipe cleaners, yarn, some glue and cotton balls at your disposal. Let your inventive kids take the reins on this one. Cover the kitchen table with an oil cloth or spread out a drop cloth on the grass in the yard and get ready to be amazed by all the inventive creatures your kids come up with!.
  50. Make a video. Take the family video camera or a mobile fun and ask your kids to record or make a movie about their natural environment, a family sightseeing trip or simply have them interview each other or you about fun family memories. Create a folder on the computer to store all the kids’ film projects to create a repository of family memories you’ll cherish forever.

UNICEF Kid Power 2018 Summer Guides for Kids and Parents:

In addition to our 50 kids summer activities above, we have additional guides and resource articles on other fun things to do or take your kids to in the summer of 2018: