Kids at Home for the Summer? Here’s 10 Activities That Will Keep Them Busy For Hours

If you had a chance to catch Episode 129 of the podcast this week, then you already know that this week… We’re gearing up for #alltherelaxation and #allthefun this summer by talking about VACATIONS!

While much of our conversation this week is central to the ways in which we can effectively prepare for a vacation away with kids in tow, and how we can ensure that we aren’t piling too many activities on our plate so that we can truly relax and let the stress of our day-to-day at home melt away…

Another big talking point is all about how we can make sure that, in addition to finding the time that we need to decompress on vacation, we are also taking the necessary steps to ensure that we’re coming back from vacation fully refreshed.

Because one of the worst things about taking a vacation is feeling like you need to take a vacation from your vacation when you return… Right? (With the trend of keeping busy on the rise, not uncommon these days!)

But what happens when we don’t have any summer vacations planned during the kids’ break from school?

Many of you have asked me some of the things that I plan for my kids to do during the summer months when we don’t have a lot going on that will help keep them busy… particularly when I myself am trying to work on a personal project, or when I just need to take a moment to decompress!

So today, I thought I might share some of my favorite activities that are not only kid-friendly, but that will also keep kids busy for hours so that YOU can squeeze in some well-deserved R+R for yourself over the summer!

Ready to take a peek?


10 Activities That Will Keep Kids Busy This Summer


1. Board Games – 

Let’s be real… Board games have been around for a long time – and there’s a reason why! Whether your kids are stuck inside on a rainy day, or they’re tired of running around outdoors and are looking for something else to do, a great board game (or two or three!) can go a long, long way.

The best part about board games is that they are great for all ages! Younger kids, older kids, stores and online sites these days are in absolutely no shortage of board games to keep kids busy.


2. Create a Craft Station –

Whether your kids have been bitten by the Creativity Bug or not, a craft station is a great resource to have when they’re on summer break.

Get their brains (and creativity) working this summer! Fill your station with items appropriate for your kids, depending on their age and ability, and let the endless hours of craft-making ensue rain or shine.

Some ideas for crafty things to include at your station: coloring books; all kinds of different writing and art paper, plus writing and art supplies (pens, colored pencils, paint brushes, and so on); glitter; glue; poster board; kid-friendly scissors; paper mache supplies; scrapbooking goodies… etc.

The possibilities here are pretty much endless!


3. Plant a Garden –

Have a little bit of room in your backyard for a few raised garden beds – or more?

Planting a garden is a great way to get your kids outside, and it works wonders when it comes to finding a summer-long project that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Better yet, planting (and tending to) a garden is a great way to teach your kids responsibility, too! When it’s time to water, fertilize, and harvest the things you’ve planted in your garden, get your kids in on the action even more by assigning them each a specific plot or plant to tend to.

The bigger the garden you and your kids create, the more time they can spend outside taking care of all of the goodies you’re growing!


4. Take Advantage of Your Local Parks + Rec Department –

If you have older kids at home that love to stay active, then you may want to check out what your local Parks + Rec department has to offer for summertime fun!

Is there a class or a sport that could keep your kids engaged, even if only for a few hours one or two days each week? Take a look at what your Parks + Rec has going on over the summer months and encourage your kids to sign up for something that looks appealing to them!


5. Create a Summer Reading List –

Reading is one of those activities that you can literally do anywhere, no matter the season. It’s also one of those activities that are great for kids (and adults) of any age!

Sit down with your kids to talk about the different genres of books that appeal to them and take a peek at what’s available within those genres at your local library so that you can help them create their own ultimate summer reading list.


6. Send Them on a Scavenger Hunt – 

Have some things on your personal agenda that you need some time to tend to, or just want to make some room for some self-care of your own this summer?

One way to keep your kids busy and entertained while you spend some time doing what you want to do is to set up a fun scavenger hunt for your kids.

Use riddles to lead your kids to clue after clue or make a map where they can find hidden treats or small treasures to collect. (The reward at the end of the hunt is entirely up to you!)

Best part? You can totally make your scavenger hunt as short or as long as you want!


7. Open up a Room for Fort-Building –

One thing that my kids loved to do when they were younger was to build forts out of blankets, pillows and furniture… literally everywhere.

If you have school-aged kids at home for the summer, consider opening up the living room, den, or family room (any space you have that you don’t mind cluttering up with a giant blanket fort) and letting your kids collect all of the blankets, pillows, and other necessary items to build the fort of their dreams.

And trust me, this one will definitely keep them busy!


8. Have a Movie Marathon –

Watching movies is one of my favorite things to do when both of my kids are at home, especially on Friday nights. But guess what, movie nights–and movie marathons for that matter—don’t just happen on Fridays, they can happen literally any day and any time you want.

So, if your kids are into watching movies, then a great way to keep them entertained is to host a movie marathon. Pick a genre – comedy, family / animation, etc. – and make a list of movies that you and your kids can sit down to watch together on a rainy day or whenever the mood strikes!


9. Create a Chore Chart –

I know, I know, I know… You see or hear the word “chores” and you think of all of the not-so-fun things that often come along with them. But here’s the thing: If you have kids at home all summer long, why not give them a chance to earn some extra allowance money or reward of some kind while helping you keep your house clean?

If you have younger kids, then a chore chart is a great way to teach them responsibility while also giving them a chance to earn an extra thirty minutes of screen time, or even a small treat like a piece of chocolate or a lollipop (or something else they love), for example.

And if you have older kids who are into clothes, video games, or other devices that cost an arm and a leg (I totally feel for you if you’re in the same teenaged boat that I am!), then implementing a chore chart in your house over the summer – particularly if you don’t already have one – is a great way for your kids to keep themselves busy, helping you out at home, while earning some extra allowance money that they can put toward all of those items on their Wish List.


10 Let Them Be Bored –

This may seem like it doesn’t fit into the ‘activities’ category at all… But here’s the thing about boredom: In a lot of ways, allowing yourself (and your kids especially) to be bored once in a while is actually a good thing!

Falling victim to a bout of boredom has proven to spark creativity… and this is especially true when it comes to kids, both big and small.


So, if you’ve exhausted all other efforts in keeping your kids busy this summer, then consider allowing them to just – be – bored. You might be surprised by how quickly they’ll turn their boredom around by finding something creative to do, all on their own!

What are some of the ways that you keep your kids busy at home during their summer break? Share your favorite kid-friendly activities in the comments below…

And check out Episode 129 of Productivity Paradox this week to learn all about how to prepare for a vacation away with your kids in tow – I’ve got two FREE packing list downloads you won’t want to miss!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton