Hello! A huge thank you to The Girl Creative for inviting me to Create Memories With Kids Summer Series! My name is Heather, aka Camp Mom, and you can find me and my shorties, affectionately referred to as Chaos and Mayhem, over at For The Love of Shorties. I’d love to have you drop by and say HI! I’m so excited to share with you this list of 100 Summer Boredom Buster ideas!
“Mom, I’m bored.” Please tell me I’m not the only mom who has heard that at least once already this summer.
You’re bored? How is that even possible with 5,000 things to play with in this house!? Between their toys, books, games, and imaginations, boredom should be an impossibility! *sigh*
Every summer since my oldest started pre-K, we have Camp Mom. It’s a fun and easy way to create awesome memories with your shorties! We create a bucket list of summer fun together and I add in a few surprises. A mom’s gotta have a few tricks up her sleeve, ya know.
Here are 100 low or no-cost ways to bust boredom and those summertime blues!
1. Go geocaching! It’s fun and free. Find geocaches in your area online. My fave site is here.
2. Play hide-n-seek. It’s always a favorite! And if mom hides well, she may or may not enjoy 5 minutes of sitting down. lol
3. Go swimming.
4. Play in the sprinklers.
5. Picnic in your backyard or at the park.
6. Park Week ~ visit a new park each day for a week.
7. Play at your local school’s playground. We usually have the place to ourselves and it’s so much easier to keep an eye on my shorties when there aren’t 100 other shorties running around! 🙂
8. Play ball! Dodge ball, tether ball, baseball, football, basketball, catch, tennis, racquetball, and more!
9. Go for a bike ride.
10. Take a hike or go for a walk.
11. Create a masterpiece using sidewalk chalk.
12. Make lawn art! Using a stencil and flour, you can decorate your lawn like this.
13. Plant something. A plant, a tree, seeds, or a time capsule.
14. Have a bike wash! A bucket of water with some soap, a sponge or wash cloth, a hose, and a bike makes for a fun time!
15. Play Frisbee.
16. Set up an obstacle course. My shorties love this! We take a tote of items found in our garage (balls, Frisbees, jump ropes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, pool noodles, water balloons, bikes, and more) and create a fun obstacle course. They love running around, jumping over and tossing things, blowing bubbles, throwing water balloons, and the course can be changed up to keep it fresh and fun! And if it burns off some of their energy and helps them nap or sleep well at night, well, I’m all about that!
17. Go to the splash pad or spray ground. Our city has several available and they’re all fun and free! I found a list of ours on our City’s parks and recreation website.
18. Feed ducks and geese.
19. Do a bonfire. We have a fire pit and love to build a small fire in it when weather permits. It’s fun to do s’mores!
20. Build a fort. My shorties LOVE this! A few lawn chairs, rope, sheets, blankets, tablecloths, and clothespins is all it takes. This one keeps my little ones occupied for quite a while! It’s fun to watch their creativity at work!
21. Host a lemonade stand. And by lemonade, I mean lemonade, soda, cupcake, vegetable, fruit, or whatever kinda stand your shorties wanna host. 🙂 Have a few too many cucumbers growing in your garden? Cucumber stand! This is especially effective if the stand is held during your neighborhood’s garage sale weekend.
22. Catch fireflies. Or butterflies.
23. Watch fireworks. Our local baseball team regularly has fireworks after games. We love parking near the stadium on those nights and enjoying the display!
24. Have fun with water balloons.
25. Enjoy story time in the hammock. Or on a blanket in the shade. Or on the deck. Or a park bench. It’s extra fun because it’s out of the ordinary.
26. Paint! Whether it’s with craft paint, finger paints, watercolor, frosting, or shaving cream, use what you have and have fun with it!
27. Play photographer. My shorties LOVE taking photos and making videos. It’s fun to see things from their point of view.
28. Play board games. It’s fun to set one up on a blanket in a shady spot.
29. Make homemade pizzas. This is always a favorite and it’s more fun and much cheaper than going out for pizza.
30. Camp in the living room. Oh my shorties LOVE this! I love to move their mattresses into our living room and bust out a few flashlights.
31. Go to the library. We love checking out books and libraries offer lots of fun activities for shorties. Check your local libraries for events calendars.
32. Roller skate, roller blade, and/or skateboard.
33. Write notes to friends and family. It’s fun to draw, color, and write notes to loved ones. A few note cards or sheets of paper, crayons, colored pencils, and markers makes for a fun afternoon.
34. Make ice cream in a bag. Just a few ingredients and a few minutes to make a delicious frozen treat. Here’s our fave recipe.
35. Bake cookies. Or brownies. Or cupcakes. Sharing with a friend or neighbor is always fun too.
36. Host a play date. My shorties love having their friends over to play.
37. Veterinarian Day ~ my shorties loved this one! I placed all of their stuffed animals on chairs and the sofa in our living room. I added a few sheets of paper on a clipboard, created x-rays with white crayon on black construction paper, and placed a few of their toys (doctor set, bowls from their play kitchen, a stethoscope, a few strips of fabric for bandages) on the coffee table. Their imaginations handled the rest!
38. Play ahh at the spa! Set up a chair in the bathroom and have fun with a mini pedicure, hairstyle, and manicure.
39. Have a build-off. Whether your little one is into Legos, blocks, K’Nex, Trio, Lincoln Logs, etc, have a build-off. Challenge each other to use the most pieces, make the biggest or longest creation, make an animal, create a specific shape, use all one color or one of every color, etc.
40. Leaf rubbings are fun. Have shorties collect a few leaves, lay a sheet of paper on top, and use the side of a crayon to rub the leaf. We like to cut them out and tape them around our mantel.
41. Visit a museum. Many museums have discounted days and sometimes admission is free for residents.
43. Play I-Spy while on a walk.
44. Play Frisbee golf. A park near us has a free Frisbee golf course.
45. Play school. Lots of fun worksheets can be found online and is a great way to continue learning during the summer.
46. Make s’mores.
47. Attend a kids workshop at Lowe’s and/or Home Depot. Visit their websites for details on fun (and free) workshops for kids.
48. Make popsicles.
49. Go to a local pet store or humane society and give some animals your love and attention.
50. Fly a kite.
51. Go fishing.
52. Make bird feeders. Lots of fun and easy ideas. One of our faves is coating an empty toilet paper roll with peanut butter and bird seed. Tie to a tree and voila!
53. Play hopscotch.
54. Have fun with bubbles. See who can blow the biggest, the most, or the smallest.
55. Attend a free concert at your park.
56. Go to your local airport and watch the planes take off and land.
57. Go to a parade.
58. Make pet rocks. Collect a few rocks, decorate with craft pain, add googly or painted eyes, and name your new pet. Easy to care for too!
59. Invite a couple friends over for a sundae bar. Some ice cream, sprinkles, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and candy toppings makes for a super fun sundae bar. Score major parent points with this one!
60. Have a puppet show. Or magic show. Or talent show. Often just make a suggestion to your little ones is all it takes for their imaginations to soar!
61. Have a family movie night. In the living room. In the bedroom. In the backyard. On the deck.
62. Go to the movies. Some movie theaters offer FREE or very discounted movies during the summer. Check your local theaters.
63. Go bowling. Some bowling alleys offer FREE bowling during the summer. Check your local bowling alley.
64. Waterpalooza ~ set up water balloons, water sprayers, cups, water bottles, the hose, a sprinkler, a pool, and water toys for a fun time!
65. Tub time ~ waterpalooza can be adapted to work in the bathtub too!
66. Visit a farmer’s market.
67. Make a wind chime. Think recycled/up-cycled items such as old silverware, toys, seashells, driftwood, and more.
68. Craftapalooza ~ set up a variety of craft items such as stickers, paper, pipe cleaners, ribbon, pasta, fabric scraps, and more, and let your shorties craft to their heart’s content!
68. Make a collage. Use pictures clipped from magazines. Challenge your shorties by suggesting a collage theme ~ yellow, a rainbow of colors, foods, big/little things, words, items that begin with a certain letter, etc.
69. Attend a kids craft workshop at your local craft store. Check websites for stores such as Michael’s, JoAnn, and Hobby Lobby.
70. Make a time capsule and “plant” it in your yard.
71. Wash the car. Shorties LOVE helping and playing in water.
72. Read books together. Especially fun when it’s on the patio, on the deck, on the boat, at the park, in the hammock, or in a fort.
73. Make lemonade. Or ice tea.
74. Play dress up. Or superhero.
75. Join a summer reading program. Check your local library and/or bookstore.
76. Invite the neighbor kids to play Red Rover. Or freeze tag. Or hide-n-seek. Or Simon Says.
77. Go to a festival. Check your local listings for details. Many cities have festivals which offer fun for the entire family.
78. Cook a meal together as a family.
79. Play at your local fast food restaurant’s play area ~ perfect when it’s rainy or too hot/cold outside!
80. Plant a garden. Whether it’s in the backyard or a little container in your windowsill, planting something and watching it grow is a fun experience for shorties.
81. Visit a national park. Many offer free days each year.
82. Visit a local nature center. Many offer free or low-cost activities for shorties and families.
83. Be the good. Do a good deed and make the world a better place. Whether it’s picking some flowers from your yard and delivering them to a local nursing home, offering to walk a friend’s dog while they are out of town, picking weeds in an elderly neighbor’s yard, paying for the person’s order behind you, or volunteering, this is a good experience for all involved.
84. Visit your local fire station. Taking a treat for the firefighters is a sweet idea too.
85. Make mud pies. Real ones. With dirt. And grass. And rocks. And sticks.
86. Make leaf prints. Place a leaf under a piece of muslin and use a rubber mallet to pound the leaf gently until the color begins to show on the muslin.
87. Have a dance party.
88. Pick wild flowers.
89. Play in the sand. Whether it’s at the beach, at the park, or in your backyard or kitchen, it’s fun!
90. Make pasta art. Craft paper, colored pasta, and glue is all it takes for creative fun.
91. Go to the zoo.
92. Feed the birds.
93. Check local listings for fun and free events in your area. Events may include festivals, concerts, fairs, markets, and more.
94. Visit a local farm.
95. Spend time at a lake, river, stream, nature preserve, ocean, mountains, or desert. Watch wildlife, bird watch, study nature, and take in the beauty of it all.
96. Study clouds. We found a cool printable cloud chart HERE.
97. Check free workshops at your local Apple store HERE.
98. Create a small quilt together for a child in need. Trust me, you do not need to be a quilter or even a master with the sewing machine. I’m a beginner when it comes to sewing, yet my shorties and I made a quilt. You can check it out HERE.
99. Let’s pretend! An all-time fave of shorties because they have amazing imaginations and LOVE to pretend! This can be played any time, any place. Let’s pretend we’re adventurers. Let’s pretend you’re the parent and I’m the shorty. Let’s pretend we’re dogs. Or cats. Or astronauts. Or pirates. Or princesses.
100. What if? My shorties absolutely LOVE this one! We play it all. the. time. What if our car was a submarine? What if everything was upside down? What if we didn’t have trees? What if we were monkeys? What if we could fly? What if we walked on our hands and clapped with out feet? What if we didn’t have bathrooms? What if bikes had square wheels? What if we left a crayon in the sun? What if we had our own language? What if we used a water balloon on the tee instead of a baseball? This one is so fun for so many reasons! It gets the shorties thinking, using their imaginations, and sometimes it leads us to an experiment. What if?
Wishing you and your shorties a fun, happy, and safe summer! Here’s to making memories and enjoying time together! I’d love to hear one of your favorite summer memories or activities...
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