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A Summer Activities Bucket List for Kids & Families

No matter what kind of day summer throws at you, these summer activities are sure to keep your kids busy, having fun, and learning right along with you.
kids summer bucket list activities
Updated: December 1, 2022

It’s finally summer! Your kids have anxiously been awaiting a season of fun, and there are a string of long, empty days ahead just waiting to be filled. If you need a little inspiration, here’s a list of activities to keep your whole family busy and entertained no matter what kind of day you are looking to have.

More: Summer Crafts Kids Can Make

Pro Tip: Sit down with your kids at the beginning of summer and ask them what they envision doing this summer. You can run through the alphabet with a corresponding activity for each letter. For example, B = beach day, M = movies, etc.

Beach Days

Summer Bucket List Beach Days

It’s nearly impossible to think of fun summer activities without dreaming of the beach. Beach days are actually excellent opportunities for kids to learn, be creative, and have fun all at the same time. Whether it’s a day trip to the beach or an extended 4th of July beach vacation, these activities will make a summer day that much more exciting.

1. Dye sand at the beach

Sand is so much more exciting when you make beautiful colors. Imagine the fun when you plan to tie-dye shirts and dye sand at the beach at the same time! Just bring along some vegan food dye (so as not to contaminate sea creatures and ocean water) and gallon size plastic bags. Color the sand in your bags and then let your kids’ imagination go as they build colorful sand castles.

2. Make a sand volcano

An erupting volcano is the new and thrilling sand castle. Learning doesn’t end with the end of the school year. Making a sand volcano is just one example of how kids can learn through play. There are so many fun ideas for making sand volcanoes, but to get started, be sure to pack baking soda and vinegar and then follow the instructions here.

3. Paint seashells

This is a great option when you need the kids to take a little down time. This is also a wonderful activity to add in as a break during other kinds of summer fun. Whether it’s nights at the beach when you are simply stargazing, teaching the kiddos to fly a kite at dusk, or having summertime fun with a hula hoop, painting seashells will be both calming and will get the creative juices flowing.

4. Go on a beach scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt makes a family walk on the beach so much more fun. The best summer moments tend to happen during these simple activities when the family is working together and time slows down.

5. Create your own family summer camps at the beach

You don’t need to send your kiddos away to summer camps to create that summer camp level of fun. Take a family bike ride along the boardwalk at the beach, catch a family movie at the beach on an inflatable screen, play a game of frisbee, or enjoy a popsicle after a family water balloon fight.

Rainy Day Summer Activities

Summer Bucket List Rainy Days

1. Make edible finger paint

This is a craft that will be fun to prepare and use. Better yet, all you need is two ingredients: yogurt and food coloring! Even the youngest of summertime friends will have a blast eating and painting at the same time.

2. Make a rain jar

A rainy day is a perfect opportunity to learn about weather and have fun doing it. All you need is shaving cream, food coloring, a glass jar, and a pipette. These jars are also very calming for children, so they can be helpful when big emotions overwhelm little bodies throughout the summer.

3. Weave a rainbow fish

We all need a rainbow when the rain is coming down, and this activity teaches the tactile skill of weaving. Simply cut out the shape of a fish, make slices in the paper throughout, and then give your little ones strips of colored construction paper to weave through the slots.

4. Build extreme boxes

There’s nothing like empty boxes to get the creative juices flowing. The possibilities are endless with empty boxes! Build little cars for a drive-in movie at home, set up a DIY ice cream stand, or create a mini golf course out of boxes and Legos.

5. Make ice cream

Make ice cream in a bag and enjoy a science experiment at the same time. You’ll be surprised at how good it tastes, and all you need is half and half, sugar, vanilla extract, and ice!

Nature Activities

Summer Bucket List Nature Days

1. Create a rainbow color wheel

This will be a fun way to combine art with discovery in nature. This is an activity that little ones will enjoy over and over again throughout the summer. Cut out a circle and shade sections of different colors. Then send your little one into nature to find pieces of nature that match each color. You can use clothespins to attach them to the color wheel and put them on display.

2. Make a bee habitat

Learn about pollinators and the cycle of life with this science craft. Decorate an empty can by painting it yellow and black like a bee. Then fill in the can with bamboo cylinders. Hang the can in a tree and wait for the magic to happen.

3. Experiment with leaf rubbings

Use different art supplies like wax paper and pastels to understand the science of leaves. Leaf rubbings are easy to make and your kiddos will enjoy making beautiful decorations to hang in their play space.

4. Build a pine cone bird feeder

Give back to nature by caring for some of her beautiful creatures. Using popsicle sticks to lather a pine cone with peanut butter, and then pouring bird seed over it will create a feeder that will draw birds to your home and fascinate your little ones.

5. Make s'mores in a solar oven

What’s a summer without s'mores and marshmallows? Learn about solar power and experience s'mores in a whole new way. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make a solar oven at the local park or anywhere where the sun is shining. Just pack some empty pizza boxes, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil and follow these easy instructions.

No matter what kind of day summer throws at you, there are activities to keep your kids busy, having fun, and learning right along with you.

Charise Rohm Nulsen

About Charise

Charise is a Travel Planner and founder of Experience the Dream Travel, specializing in… Read more

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