After what’s felt like an incredibly long school year, summer break is finally here. And while we all enjoy the longer days and extra family time, keeping kids entertained all summer can be exhausting. Make the most of the next few month with this guide. It’s filled with summer activities for kids, for days spent at home and away.
Make a Summer Bucket List
Ask your kids what they’d like to do this summer. Crafting a bucket list of ideas is fun, creates excitement and helps ensure they get everything they want out of the season. Make sure to spread activities out over the course of the summer so the kiddos will always have something to look forward to. This will also help stave off boredom and the feeling that summer is slipping away.
Summer Activities for Kids at Home
Whether your kiddos want to stay cool in the air conditioning or venture into the backyard, there are a plethora of indoor and outdoor games to play at home.
Doing arts and crafts, playing family-friendly board games and having family movie nights can offer hours of at-home entertainment. For more physical activities, send the kids outside to play sports and lawn games to get their energy out.
In the Kitchen
Cooking is a valuable skill, but it can also be a fun way of keeping kids entertained. Teach your kids to cook, or hold cooking challenges if they already know their way around the kitchen. Try new or ingredients or take inspiration from competition cooking shows like Food Network’s “Chopped,” challenging them create a dish using a basket of mystery ingredients.
And on a hot summer day, your can never go wrong with ice cream! Make ice cream sundaes at home with a DIY ice cream bar. Put out everyone’s favorite flavors and provide a lineup of toppings, like sprinkles, nuts, berries, hot fudge and whipped cream. Take it a step further and try your hand at homemade ice cream.
There’s no harm in leaning on tech from time to time in order to keep kids entertained, especially during inclement weather.
Check out these fun and educational apps for kids and our picks for the top family-friendly video games. For older kids and teens, these are some of the best video games for escaping reality and the best esports games.
Keeping Kids Entertained Away From Home
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please check official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Go on Educational Excursions
Just because school’s out doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. Head to a NYC museum for some lessons in art, history and culture. For animal lovers, check out some of our favorite New England zoos and aquariums.
Hit the Beach
What kid doesn’t love a day at the beach? From chasing the waves and collecting seashells to building sandcastles and digging holes, there’s tons of fun to be had by the sea.
Check out our guides to the best beaches across the Northeast.
Feel safer avoiding crowds? No problem! If you’d rather stay home, with a little creativity you can bring the beach into your backyard.
If the ocean’s too much of a trek, cool down at local pool or lake. Outdoor splash parks and water parks are also great at keeping kids entertained for hours.
If you want to stay home but don’t own a pool, stay cool with sprinklers, water balloons or create your own splash pad or water slide with a tarp and a hose. For some competitive fun, play games like hot potato with a waterlogged sponge or tag with water guns.
Road trips are another option if you’re looking for a change of scenery. Load up the car or consider RVing; if you don’t want to make the commitment to buy one, you can always rent. Still not sure? Read a firsthand account of what the experience is like.
There’s nothing like pitching a tent, roasting some marshmallows and sleeping under the stars. Camping is fun for kids and adults alike and easily leads to quality bonding time.
Learn about the constellations, tell stories and enjoy some screen-free time together. Make sure you have all the supplies you need with this list. If you’d prefer to stay close to home, check out these backyard camping ideas for summer nights.
Biking is a fun activity as well as a great form of exercise and means of exploring the great outdoors. Teach young kids how to ride a bike and head out for a family biking trip.
Check out this guide to the different types of bikes and how to find the right one, and then find bike trails and paths near you. For older kids, teens and true bike enthusiasts, there are a variety of scenic and rewarding bike tours in the Northeast.
There are many bodies of water to explore, including rivers, lakes and the Atlantic coastline. The whole family can take in beautiful views while having fun on the water with a boat, canoe, kayak, raft or stand-up paddleboard. Find boat rentals here.
Going for a hike is another activity that makes for good exercise while offering quality family time and great views of nature.
See this collection of hikes for all ages and abilities. And don’t forget your must-have hiking supplies. For even more camping and hiking tips and great locations to visit, check out this camping and hiking guide.
Other Outdoor Activities
Make going for a stroll a mini-adventure by walking with a pet, doing some bird-watching or having a photography contest. Make things fun for younger kids by turning a walk into a scavenger hunt. They can try spotting different leaves, flowers, animals and insects and mark them on a printable scavenger hunt list. Use the iNaturalist app to identify plants on the go and make for a great learning experience.
How do you plan on keeping your kids entertained this summer? Tell us in the comments.