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Hello, summer! Ideas for a fun - and educational - summer
CFIS Communications

Raise your hand if you're already running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained this summer!

Let’s face it, while the first few weeks of summer are a dream, you might be finding yourself a bit short on inspiration by now. The internet is packed with suggestions for the best summer activities with your kids—so many, in fact, that you could spend all summer just sifting through them. But don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. After combing through some of our favourite resources (here, here, here, and here) and adding a few of our own, we’ve put together a list of 18 engaging summer activities to fill those days before school starts again.

This isn’t just any list. Our list meets specific criteria: it’s summery, easy to do at home, uses common household items, and (shh, don’t tell the kids) includes educational or developmental benefits. So, without further ado, here’s our curated Summer Fun List.

  1. Summer Bucket List — Ask your kids what they want to do! Make a list together. Have them write down or draw all the activities they think would be great, then start checking them off.

  2. Walk (or Drive) Around Bingo — Choose a theme like the alphabet, numbers, colors, or shapes. Write down the alphabet A to Z in a notebook and look for letters on signs, license plates, and mailboxes. Create a “bingo card” and explore your neighborhood to check off items as you find them. The game ends when your bingo card is full.  

  3. Start a Collection — Whether it’s sticks from a park or leaves from your neighborhood, start a collection of similar objects. Make a bet with your child on how many items they can collect by the end of summer to keep their interest. 

  4. Shadow Show — Use the summer sun to cast shadows and create shapes on the ground. Try making your shadow look like an animal, a tree, or anything else you can dream up. Challenge your kids to a race with their shadows for added fun.

  5. Cloud Watching — Find a comfy spot in the grass and watch the clouds float by. Point out shapes and figures you see in the clouds.

  6. Get Cooking — Pick a recipe together and let the kids play chef safely. Check out Cooking With Kids for step-by-step lessons, recipes, and safety tips.

  7. Blow Bubbles — Play scientist by making your own homemade bubble solution and experimenting with unique bubble-blowing tools.

  8. Get Loud — Create musical instruments from household materials. Need ideas? Check out this list of homemade musical instruments, like rattles, box guitars, maracas, and rain sticks.

  9. Ice Cream in a Bag — With just five minutes and a few ingredients, you can make homemade ice cream. Try using juice for a slushy drink. Increase the fun by putting the ingredient bag and ice in a coffee can and letting the kids kick the can back and forth for 10 minutes.

  10. Create a Flipbook — Staple pieces of paper together or use a notebook. Have your child draw a sequence of cartoons to simulate motion as they flip through the pages. 

  11. Go on a Virtual Tour — This is great for older kids nearing high school. Take virtual tours of colleges and universities they might be considering, or let it spark a conversation with younger kids. Show them where you went to school and share stories.

  12. Build Paper Airplanes — Follow instructions to build the best paper airplane, then have your child design an original one and diagram the steps for someone else to recreate.

  13. Light Up the Night — Inspired by a nighttime shadow puppet show, hang a white sheet outside at night and shine a light on it. Observe the insects it attracts and identify them using resources like this one.

  14. A Word a Day — Improve vocabulary with a word jar. Fill it with pieces of paper with different words, and have your child pick one daily. Explain the meaning to young children, let elementary-aged kids read the definition, and challenge older kids to guess the meaning before revealing it. Encourage them to use the word throughout the day. 

  15. Summer Patterns — Create patterns using summer items like popsicle sticks, shells, or flowers. Draw patterns in the sand or dirt and see how far you can extend them.

  16. Outdoor Art — Make leaf rubbings and create a collage. Experiment with other textures and shapes to etch silhouettes.

  17. Rainbow Bubbles — Add food colouring to the bubble mix and blow the bubbles onto plain paper to create colourful art.

  18. Balloon Splatter Painting — A messy but fun activity. Fill small balloons with washable paint and use them to create art on a canvas. Secure the balloons and pop them with something (under supervision), or toss the balloons at the canvas from a distance.

If all else fails, remember that sometimes the simplest activities are the most memorable. Get outside, enjoy the sun, and let your kids take the lead on your next adventure. With a little creativity and flexibility, this summer can be filled with fun, learning, and cherished family moments. Happy summer!