Inside: Here are 12 fun, fabulous and inexpensive super fun summer activities for kids and grandkids! Activities that can be enjoyed year-round!
Summer Activities for Kids & Grandkids
Summer is here! The sun is shining, kids are out of school and it’s time to relax and have fun!
Grab your kids or grandkids, and hang on tight as you check out these 12 quick, easy, and inexpensive activities you can do to create memories this summer!
More than likely, you’ve done most of these summer activities for kids and grandkids—but I’ve added reasons why they build their brains and enhances learning.
12 Summer Activities for Kids & Grandkids
#1 Going to the Library
Plan a weekly excursion to the library and while you’re there—sign up your kids/grandkids for the Library Summer Reading Program. It’s a great way to keep kids’ reading skills sharp during the summer months and the perfect way to start a family read-aloud tradition.
Some benefits of kids/grandkids who read daily:
- better vocabularies,
- builds reading comprehension skills,
- advanced sight word skills
- more confidence
And they do better in every subject in school.
A library is more than just a place to check out books. Click here and discover 12 reasons to take your kids/grandkids to the library.
#2 Flying Kites
Head to the park and spend time flying kites. It’s an inexpensive and fun summer activity for kids and grandkids!
You’ll find that it’s usually the activities that cost pennies that are the most fun and memorable!
Purchase kites at Walmart for $1.77/each. No need to buy more expensive kites—the cheap ones work great.
We discovered that the shape of the kite has a lot to do with how well the kite flies. Contrary to popular belief—a diamond-shaped kite flies great but we found that kites that have “wings’ on the side fly fabulously well.
The only drawback to a cheap kite is that the strings can break easily so restring the kite with sturdy string.
Once you get those kites in the air—the kids/grandkids will be entertained for hours!
Benefits of flying kites:
- Hand-eye coordination
- Gross motor skills
- Physical exercise as the child runs up and down
- Confidence in their abilities
#3 Trampoline Jumping
Do you have a trampoline? Or, a trampoline park nearby?
For many children, jumping on a trampoline marks the end of winter and the beginning of summer fun.
To avoid your child/grandchild getting hurt, make certain they jump with bare feet—no socks or shoes. Know the weight limit of your trampoline and stay within that limit. We looked at a lot of trampolines before deciding on one that included extra kid safety features. Check Overstock and Amazon for trampolines.
Most kids want to jump with someone else—so determine the weight limit and let 2 or 3 kids jump together.
Play music or even a metronome and let them jump to the beat of the music.
Benefits of jumping on a trampoline
- motor skills
- improve bone density and strength.
#4 Sensory Tables
With so much talk about the importance of integrating and supporting a child’s nine senses—sensory tables are a must for every home.
We purchased a Flisat table at IKEA for $49 and two buckets ($3/ea.) to fit in the slots. There are endless activities you can create for your child/grandchild with a sensory table:
- Add one of the bright-colored Crayola sands in pink, blue, green, or yellow. We purchased ours at Walmart for $6.99/bag. Pour different sand into each side of the table; add some toys for fun!
- Regular sandpile sand
- Add toys such as construction toys, rocks, buckets, shovels, etc.
Change what’s in the buckets each week to create an element of surprise for your kids or grandkids.
Benefits of sensory activities
- fine motor development
- hand-eye coordination
- language development
- nerve connections in the brain
- problem-solving skills
#5 Water Play: Fun Summer Activity for Kids & Grandkids!
There is something magical about playing in the water!
Along with sensory tables, consider making or purchasing a water table that your kids/grandkids can play in throughout the spring, summer, and fall. I downloaded the instructions for making this sensory water table from @thecreativelearningco. It’s easy to build and uses PVC pipe.
Once assembled, spray paint the entire table and purchase a variety of fun kitchen items such as measuring cups, spoons, bowls, etc., from the Dollar Store and Bath Blocks that when wet, stick together.
Our grandkids LOVE this water table—and play with it for hours. One note—when parents or grandparents join in the fun, it increases a child/grandchild’s fun by 1000%! So, set aside some time to play along in the water. You’ll find it’s as calming for you as it is for them!
To mix things up a bit and add to the enjoyment of waterplay, take your kids/grandkids to a splash pad or waterpark in your neighborhood.
Benefits of water play:
- Fine motor skills—as they dip, measure & pour the water
- Gross motor skills
- Proprioception skills as they lift the water in buckets
Grab your bikes, scooters, or anything else that has wheels and take your kids/grandkids for a bike ride. Check out bike trails and other safe (and flat) places to ride bikes.
- Development of gross motor skills
- Strengthens bones
- Improves coordination
- Increases muscle strength
- Is calming and decreases stress
#7 Nature Walks
There is nothing more relaxing, calming, and stimulating than being out in nature! It’s one of the best and most educational summer activities for kids and grandkids!
And it’s one of the most amazing places to build memories.
Take your kids/grandkids on a nature walk—point out all the beauties of nature—trees, leaves, ponds, bugs & insects, rocks, etc. You can even turn it into a “listening walk” as you carefully listen for the sounds in nature—wind rustling through the trees, leaves crunching underfoot, bees and insects buzzing, etc.
Gather leaves, rocks, flowers, weeds, etc., to take home and create nature collages.
For more fun and educational ideas on different activities to do in nature, check out these posts:
How to Have Fun on a Nature Study with Grandparents (and Parents)
How to Discover Bugs and Insects with Grandparents (and Parents)
Benefits of nature walks:
- Love and respect for nature
- Enhances observation & listening skills
- Reduces stress
- Develops imagination & curiosity
#8 Camping in the Backyard
Camping in the wilds is synonymous with summer. But if getting up to the mountains isn’t possible—pitch a tent and admire the stars from your own backyard!
And don’t forget to give everyone a flashlight and tell spooky ghost stories in the dark!
It’s one of our grandkid’s favorite activities! The downside—the grandkids don’t usually settle down until 11 pm and are awake with the sun at 6 am—which means little to no sleep for everyone!
But hey—that’s all a part of summer fun and making memories!
Benefits of camping:
- Teaches respect and love of nature
- Survival skills
- Teamwork skills (as you set up camp)
#9 Lowe’s DIY Workshop for Kids
Have you heard about the “Lowe’s DIY Workshop’s for Kids?” Home Depot also has a program. They’re free—you just sign up online.
Each month they feature a hammer & nails project where kids can build and construct something from wood. Instructions and materials are included. Some of the projects need adult help. Our grandkids range in age from 3-8 years old and each of them needs assistance when doing these projects.
The final results are always amazing! Check this program out here
Benefits of working with wood:
- Develops focusing skills
- Teaches how to read and follow directions
- Hand-eye motor skills
- Problem-solving skills
Every kid loves bubbles! Plus, they’re inexpensive and provide hours of fun!
Don’t just give your kids or grandkids a bubble bottle and tell them to blow bubbles—parents and grandparents—join in the fun and create bubble games:
See who can:
- blow the biggest bubble.
- blow the tiniest bubble
- blow the bubble that lasts the longest
- chase their bubble across the yard
Blowing bubbles is a good “filler” activity—meaning when kids are tired but you don’t want them sitting in front of a screen—have bubbles on hand for fun & games!
Benefits of bubbles:
- Visual-tracking skills which are essential for reading
- Hand-eye coordination
- Foot-eye coordination
- Fine motor skills
- Oral motor skills
#11 Creating with Playdoh
Kids love playing and creating with playdoh. From toddler to teen—playdoh can reduce stress and develop creative thinking skills.
Keep a healthy supply of different colors of playdoh for your kids/grandkids to play with. At our house, we have a table set-up with:
- Playdoh—at least 10 different colors (purchase at Walmart for 50 cents a jar)
- Garlic-press to create worm-like shapes (check out IKEA or Dollar Store)
- Rolling pins, plastic knives, pizza cutters, cookie cutters, etc. to use with the playdoh
Kid and grandkids never get tired of rolling, pressing, cutting the playdoh. We’ve made rope-like bowls, pressed playdoh on wooden birdhouses, and squeezed worms from the garlic press. The ideas and possibilities are endless!
Benefits of playdoh
- Hand-eye coordination
- Fine motor skills
- Calming for kids & adults—so parents & grandparents—join in the fun!
#12 Making Homemade Ice Cream
Nothing says “summer activities for kids” like making homemade ice cream—not to mention the memories that are made!
I remember making homemade ice cream with my dad and siblings each summer. Later, we made ice cream with our sons every summer and now we’re creating the same ice cream memories with our grandkids!
I have two delicious and very easy ice cream recipes that I’ve been making with my kids and grandkids for over 40 years. They don’t require any cooking and you can whip up the mixtures in less than 15 minutes.
Check out the recipes here and other interesting tidbits about making ice cream or even how to start an ice cream business for kids:
Benefits of making ice cream:
- How to read a recipe and follow directions
- Math skills—measuring ingredients, fractions using various measuring cups, etc
- Science—learn how liquids are turned to solids when making ice cream (check out the blog post above for the exact science)
- Teamwork skills as everyone work together to create this dessert
So that’s it! Try one or all of these fun, easy, and inexpensive summer activities for kids or grandkids as you build learning and create memories!