Summer Activities for Toddlers to Teens!

I’ll be honest- I spent most of my summers splashing in a lake, playing “house” in forts in the forest, scratching 23828 mosquito bites, making “soup” and “pies” out of mud, rocks, and grass, or reading books (I would give myself timeouts just so I could have some me-time to read… something I should really start doing again, now that I think about it).

We also had structured activities, and there’s no denying how fun they were.  Here is a list of things for kids to do this summer, most of them adaptable for kids of any age AND kids at heart- TBH I’m dying to do a few of these with my kids just so I can try them out!

Homemade Ice Cream

We had an ice cream maker (we cheated a little- it was electric) and would spend our summers picking berries and fruits and testing different combinations.  Our favorites were either huckleberry or peach ice cream… especially if there’s an apple cobbler to pair it with. Something about it being homemade with ingredients we gathered and chose made it so much better.

Here’s a recipe with the machine.


Do it without the machine 🙂

Driveway Graffiti

Check out this website for a cool spin on sidewalk chalk that I never did when I was little, but can’t wait to try out with my kids!

Pancake Critters

Get an empty condiment bottle, fill it with your pancake batter, and go to town- your imagination is the only limit!  Best part- the whole family gets to eat your creations afterwards 🙂 For inspiration, check out!


Socks, t-shirts, tea towels, pillow cases, no cotton garment is safe 🙂

Here’s a handy site for getting started, oh and this one, too, but don’t let it hold you back, you can get creative with the twisting and rubber-banding of your garment to achieve unique and fun results!


The type of bead depends on the age of your child.  

For toddlers you can have them paint noodles and use those. It takes more and more dexterity and skill the smaller the bead becomes.

You can even make your own beads using magazines or using Fimo dough!

Or go for some pre-made beans and make Pony Bead Animals! 

Clothing, shoes, bags, nothing is off limits when it comes to beading! And with enough practice maybe you’ll get as good as C Holy Bear! WOW! Look at those Vans!


Indoors or outdoors!  

For toddlers, I tape pool noodles on their transformed crib/beds and use an extra sheet to create a little fort for their tea-parties. Use pillows, couch cushions, stuffed animals, sheets, tables, etc… beware- don’t anchor sheets with books or vases- they will invariably be pulled down and may be broken or hurt your kiddo.

Older kids may want to transform your backyard tree into a secret, kids-only, play house.  Use what you have on hand- old sheets, sticks, a few nails, a bit of rope, cardboard… Here are some ideas.


Birdhouses- we once had a few of the neighbor kids (and some of their parents joined in, too) get together and everyone painted their own birdhouse.  It was probably expensive to buy so many birdhouses, but I expect they all chipped in. Then we gave out awards to each of the birdhouses- best use of color, most realistic animal, etc. To this day, at least two of those bird feeders are still in use by actual birds, and that was 20+ years ago!   I guess the ROI was pretty high 🙂

Planters- Great for any age, terra cotta planters can be painted and together you can plant a flower(s) in them to display on your porch, or to give as a gift! Like the one below- it was a gift to me for Mother’s Day from my girls.  They made them at daycare! <3


To put a spin on things, use flowers, leaves, vegetables, or even a fish to make prints on paper, totes, t-shirts, shoes… I once made a stamp out of a potato and used it to decorate my birthday invitations.

Here is a tutorial on how to make these Star-Spangled Shoes– perfect for the 4th of July!

Friendship bracelets/Wrapped earbuds

Friendship Bracelets

Wish Bracelets

Wrapped Earbuds– Um, I’ve GOT to try this out ASAP!!!

Dream Catchers

You can use an embroidery hoop or even make your own from a willow branch or alder or grapevine (any tree that’s particularly bendy). Make the branch into a hoop, tie it with sinew or string, and then bake it on a low temperature  in your oven to help it dry out and harden, or let it dry in the sun for a few days, after all it’s summer! Use beads, feathers, doilies, string, etc to decorate your dream catcher. Don’t forget to hang it above your bed to catch the bad dreams 🙂  Here’s a great tutorial for the basics– and you can check out my Instagram feed for more ideas.


From a jar of stars to a clever way to decorate cards… origami is skill that requires a lot of precision, and patience, but it’s a unique way to decorate, and like most art activities, promotes zen. Here’s the tutorial.  Beware! It’s addicting!!!

Duct Tape

My friend once made her Prom dress and her date’s Tux out of duct tape.  His Tux was white, with the words of Poe’s poem, The Raven printed in black duct tape.  Her dress was white, with black ravens flying all around the skirt and bodice.  It took ages, but the result was stunning. You don’t have to go so far as that, of course.  You could make a duct tape wallet, or purse, or duct tape a tin can to make a pen holder… the options are many, especially since there are so many duct tape colors and patterns nowadays! Here’s the tutorial for the wallet.

Pressed Flowers

It takes a bit of patience first to find and press the flowers either in a large, heavy book or a flower press, but then you have beautiful papery thin flowers to make crafts with.  You can decorate cards, add them to resin to make jewelry, decorate a picture frame, make coasters, add them to homemade candles, use them in nail art… the list goes on! Here’s a website for more ideas.

— — —

What do you think?  Would you try these activities with your kids?  What would you add? Let us know!  Leave us a comment on Facebook or Instagram.

Sing-up below to get our monthly newsletter, too!

With Love,


(For even more ideas for summer fun, visit our friends at Hobby Help.)

Opear connects you with the best sitters at the moment you need them most.