We’ve only got 79 days of summer ahead of us; so let’s make the most of it. Leave behind the TV screens and iPads and get outside to enjoy the weather while we can. Finding new ways to keep your kids entertained is no easy task, so we’ve put together the ultimate summer fun guide to keep everyone smiling and full of fresh air all summer long.
1. Blow bubbles: We’ve never met a kid that doesn’t love bubbles. Why not try an assortment of household objects as wands. Anything from a slotted spatula to a hula hoop can make soapy water turn into magic.
2.Draw on the sidewalk: Whether you’re the next VanGogh, or the master of stick people, nothing says summer like chalk on the sidewalk.
3. Go swimming: Pool, lake, or ocean, there’s no wrong answer here.
4. Pick Flowers: Wildflowers are highly underrated, so why not pick enough for every room in your house?
5. Ride your bikes: Grab your helmets and get moving. If you’ve got the space, why not organize a neighborhood bike rodeo!
6. Make your own sprinkler: Follow these simple instructions for hours of summer fun in the sun.
7. Grow vegetables: The sooner you can encourage your children to develop a green thumb, the better. Plus, they may just eat zucchini if they grew it themselves!
8. Make a squirt gun painting: Fill some cheap squirt guns with watered down paint, aim towards a canvas, and FIRE! You’ll end up with masterpieces to rival Jackson Pollock.
9. Play Frisbee: It’s amazing how something as simple as a flying disc can be so much fun. If you can teach your dog to catch it, even better!
10. Make S’mores: Roasted marshmallows sandwiched between graham crackers and chocolate. Could there be a more perfect flavor combination?
11. Make a bird feeder: Whether you want to build it with a hammer and nails, or by cutting a hole in an empty pop bottle, the birds will love it, and your kids will love waiting for their new friends to fly in for dinner.
12. Make an outdoor blanket fort: Find some old sheets (thrifts stores are great for these), grab some rope, and then tie them up to trees or even your porch. It will make for a great place to play make-believe, and provide a shady refuge from the heat.
13. Find pictures in clouds: Is that a taco, or fire-breathing dragon? Hearing what your kids’ imaginations come up with will be sure to put a smile on your face.
14. Collect rocks: Maybe you’ll look for perfectly round rocks, or some that have holes in them. Whatever the case, you can share in the hunt all summer long.
15. Make a whistle with a blade of grass: They won’t understand how it works, but once they make that loud sound for the first time they’ll just be thrilled that it does!
16. Read under a tree: Foster a love of reading and nature at the same time.
17. Make a tinfoil river: Mold some tinfoil into a small river with bends, and straightaways and then set some leaves sailing with a little help from your hose or a watering can.
18. Pick strawberries: There is nothing quite like fresh strawberries in the summertime. Pick enough to make virgin (and maybe some non-virgin) daiquiris.
19. Skip rocks: The trick to mastering this skill is all in finding the perfect rock.
20. Try the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment: It’s messy, but oh so fun to watch. You can find the instructions here.
21. Do cartwheels: Alright, so maybe “try” is a better word, but we promise you won’t last a minute without laughing.
22. Play catch: A summer classic that will simply never, ever get old.
23. Play hide and seek: If you’re lucky, your hiding spot will be so good you can sneak in a little siesta.
24. Try some glow in the dark bowling: All you need is some old pop bottles, some glow sticks, a little water, and you’ve got cosmic bowling in your backyard.
25. Hula hoop: Shake those hips! It’s a great ab workout to boot.
26. Roll down a hill: Forget about grass stains and pretend you’re eight years old again!
27. Jump rope: See how many of your old schoolyard skipping songs you can remember!
28. Go fishing: Fishing is a great practice in patience for kids, and the perfect setting for some memorable conversations with your little ones.
29. Bird watching: Grab some binoculars, and make a journal of all of the different types of birds you catch a glimpse of all summer.
30. Take photos: It’s easy to point and click a million photos on phones these days, but you can teach your children to take their time to line up a shot with a disposable. Getting the film developed at the end of the summer will be a great chance to reminisce about all the fun you had.
31. Tie dye: Grab some white t-shirts and bring out your inner hippie. Kid-friendly instructions here.
32. Tug of war: You’re in a constant tug of war of words with your kids anyway; why not try the real thing?
33. Jump in puddles: The bigger the splash, the better!
34. Make a water blob: This amazing piece of backyard fun is remarkably easy and cheap to make.
35. Have a lemonade stand: Your kids can learn the value of a dollar earned, and then get to spend or save as they wish.
36. Paint rocks: Save paper, paint on some rocks that you could bring inside to use as colourful doorstops.
37. Have a picnic: Just make sure you don’t invite any ants.
38. Glow in the dark ring toss: Glowstick necklaces work beautifully for glow in the dark ring toss.
39. Make tin can stilts: A couple of old cans and rope or twine can provide a platform for an afternoon of fun.
40. Play backyard twister: Paint the Twister dots on your lawn with spray paint for a new take on an old game.
41. Go camping: Whether you trek out into the middle of the woods, or simply pitch a tent in your backyard, getting back to basics is good for the soul.
42. Swing: If you’re swinging too, it means you don’t have to push them all afternoon!
43. Water fight: Nothing better to help cool everyone down, and maybe release a little pent up (but friendly) aggression.
44. Build sand castles: Try building the ultimate sandy palace, fit for newborn Princess Charlotte!
45. Go hiking: Strap on your most sensible shoes and get moving. The view at the top is always worth the effort.
46. Have a yard sale: Get rid of some clutter, and make a few bucks at the same time.
47. Nature scavenger hunt: Do a little research to find all of the native tress, plants and flowers in your area and see how many you can track down.
48. Go to the park: Most cities are full of them, and you might just make a few new friends while you’re there.
49. Make a marshmallow catapult: Some sticks, a plastic spoon, and some rubber bands make for a perfect launcher. Just be sure there are no rocks nearby to tempt them. Replacing broken windows definitely isn’t in this list.
50. Have a bonfire: It’s not summer if you don’t come home smelling like campfire at least once.
51. Make a balloon dartboard: Kind of like the games you see at carnivals, but in your own backyard! Blow up some small balloons (or better yet, water balloons), pin them to some plywood and start your target practice.
52. Climb a tree: Just make sure your kids don’t need to call the fire department to get you down.
53. Bark rubbings: All you need is some paper and crayons. And trees of course. Make rubbings of as many different trees as possible and then turn them into a book.
54. Make a butterfly feeder: Like a birdfeeder, but a little more exotic. Since butterflies populations are in the decline there’s no good reason not to do this!
55. Make branch art: Spell your name with twigs, or build a log cabin for your cat. The options are endless.
56. Use a slip and slide: When you don’t live near a waterpark, a slip and slide is the next best thing.
57. Catch fireflies: Nature’s flashlights!
58. Make mud pies: Go ahead, get dirty.
59. Wash the car: For some reason kids fail to realize that washing the car is a chore, so you might want to make this a weekly event.
60. Fly a kite: Definitely the most fun you’ll have on a windy day
61. Watch the sunset: The sun puts on a spectacular show every night; keep the little ones up past their bedtime at least once to take it in.
62. And the sunrise!: There really is no better way to start your day.
63. Tell ghost stories: The perfect companion to your summer bonfire. The scarier the better!
64. Go to the Drive-in: If you’re lucky enough to live near a drive-in theatre, don’t let the opportunity to watch a movie under the stars pass you by.
65. Visit a farm: Many towns have working farms that allow visitors, but if not, a petting zoo would be just as exciting (and cute!)
66. Melt crayons in the sun: Finally, a use for all of those crayon stubs! Place them on a small plate, or in a muffin tin. Watch them melt and ooze together into a colourful work of art, and even reuse as a multicolor crayon.
67. Swing in a hammock: Oh the lazy, hazy days of summer.
68. Make paper boats: Decorate as you see fit and set sail. You could even have boat races in your tinfoil river.
69. Juggle: If you start on day 1, the whole family should be pros by summer’s end.
70. Play tag: You’re it!
71. Throw paper airplanes: Try different designs and see which fly the farthest. Hang some hula-hoops and try to fly them through for extra points.
72. Compost: Reduce your household waste, and teach your kids about how organic materials decompose. Plus, the worms will love it.
73. Watch, or set off fireworks: Why not start on Canada Day!?
74. Learn to tie fancy knots: You know, just in case you find yourself in a sailing regatta one day. Plus, as long as your kids’ hands are busy they can’t be making a mess. Or can they?
75. Dance: Bring some speakers outside and have a dance party. It’s good for the soul.
76. Stargaze: Look for shooting stars and try to spot all the constellations.
77. Play golf: 18 holes can be a little daunting, but playing mini-putt or hitting the driving range is fun for kids and adults alike!
78. Eat dinner outside: There’s no easier way to eliminate TV during dinnertime than to move the meal outdoors.
79. Watch a parade: Or better yet, try to get involved in making one of the floats.