July 1, 2015

50 Fun & Easy Family Activities for Summer


50 (Totally Easy)Ways to Make Magical Summer Memories as a Family

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for fun family activities once summer arrives.  We only have so many summers with our kids at home and I’m all about making them count!   I’m also all about EASY and INEXPENSIVE!  Let’s face it- life can get crazy and busy moms don’t always have time to plan and prepare elaborate pinterest-worthy activities.  Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to create lasting family memories.  In fact, you don’t even have to go looking for them!  Yep, you’re in luck- because we divas have done all the searching for you and put them together in one place.  {Go ahead and pin this baby right now.  Trust, me it’ll come in handy!}

Today we’re sharing…

50 Family Time Ideas

{Easy, inexpensive, NO-stress ideas for busy moms}

Fun and Easy Family Activities For Summer

To make it super convenient, we’ve divided our ideas into the following categories:

  • Outdoor Family Adventures
  • Indoor Family Adventures
  • At-Home Family Fun
  • Backyard Family Fun
  • After-Dark Family Fun

That way you can just pin or bookmark this post now, then whenever you need an easy, fun family idea- just scroll down to the section you’re looking for.

Got it pinned? { Seriously- go do it now.  I’ll totally wait for you.}  Okay, ready?  Let’s get started…


Outdoor Family Adventures

{For when you want to get out and enjoy the sunshine.}

Fun Outdoor Family Adventures

1.  Geocaching  If you’ve never heard of geocaching you need to check it out!  It’s basically an outdoor treasure-hunting game where your family uses a hand-held GPS like this one to hide and seek containers called “geocaches” or “caches” filled with fun, random treasures.  Trust me, the kids will love it!

2.  Letterboxing  Letterboxing is very similar to geocaching.  After choosing a location online, your family will use clues to find hidden boxes.  Once you’ve found the box, your family can stamp the logbook and write down the date and where you’re from.  It’s a fun and easy way to have a family adventure!

3.  Hiking Scavenger Hunt  If your family enjoys exploring the outdoors, this is a fun idea to keep the kids busy.  Just print off the free scavenger hunt printable and let the kiddos hunt for the pictured items.  If you have older children you might want to check out this similar Nature Scavenger Hunt.

4.  Zoo Scavenger Hunt A trip to the zoo is always a fun family outing, but this zoo scavenger hunt makes it extra exciting for the kids.  Instead of just walking around the zoo, they’ll get to open different bags with clues that will lead them to the different zoo animals.  If you have little ones, this is a must-try.

5.  Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt  Outdoor scavenger hunts are a fun way to get out and explore with your family.  But instead of collecting things, how about collecting photos?!  Arm the kids with a disposable camera (or a hand-me down camera) and let them go on a hunt and snap photos.  Rebecca, from Simple as That, even has fun themes for their hunts like: shapes, colors, plants, animals, or signs.  This is one I definitely want to try out.

Summer Outdoor Family Fun

6.  Park Hopping Going to the park is fun, but going to lots of parks is even more fun.  Am I right?  Just grab the printable park hopping checklists and go.  The checklists have a list of fun tasks or activities for your family to complete at each park.  Super easy, but super fun!

7.  Berry Picking Summer is the perfect time to take the family berry picking.   Afterward, you can make jam or a fruit pie together.   This is a great site that shows you where to find pick-your-own fruit and vegetables farms and orchards in your state.  It also has great tips for canning and freezing jams.  We went berry picking several weeks ago and my girls are still talking about it.

8.  Kite Flying One of our favorite family days this summer was also one of the easiest.  On a windy day we drove to the store and let each kid pick out a $1 kite, then went to the local park and started flying them.  It only cost us $4 but it provided a whole evening of fun memories that they’re still talking about.  If you wanted, you could even try making your own kites.

9.  Random Acts of Summer Service  Get out together as a family to do some service.  It doesn’t matter if it’s picking up trash at the local park, offering to wash the neighbor’s car, or taking donated toys to a local charity.  (Our Summer Boredom Buster Printable Pack includes a Summer Service Sheet as well as Random Acts of Kindness Cards to leave at the “scene of the kindness crime” so others can pay it forward too.)

10.  Family Road Trip Activities  If you’re looking for the ultimate outdoor family adventure, then why not go on a family road trip and explore the fun attractions along the way?!  This Road Trip Adventure in a Box makes it so easy to make some seriously fun memories.  There’s a fun activity for every hour PLUS printable car bucks and a road trip mix CD cover.



Indoor Family Adventures

{For when you want to get out of the house, but it’s too hot or rainy to stay outside.}

Indoor Family Activities

11.  Library Scavenger Hunt  Too hot to be outside?  This library scavenger hunt is a fun way to spend a hot summer afternoon with the kids.  Just grab the printable clues and let the kids have fun exploring the local library and getting in some summer reading.

12.  Mall Scavenger Hunt Wouldn’t this be a fun family night?  Just split everyone into two teams so half the kids are with dad and half are with mom, then race to see who can finish first.  The free printables are included and there are even FOUR different hunts to choose from!

13.  Walmart Bingo  Use our printable bingo card for a quick, easy, fun, and free family night at your local Walmart.  Divide into teams and see who can get “Bingo” or “Blackout” first.   There’s even a blank bingo card if your family wants to make your own.

14.  M&M Bowling  Take the family to the local bowling alley for some summer fun, but this time bring a bag of M&Ms for an added a twist!  Before each person bowls, they must pick an M&M out of the bag without looking.  The color of the M&M will tell them how they have to bowl.  Trust me- this is no boring bowling night!

15.  Hotel Pajama Party  You don’t have to go on a vacation or out of town to stay at a hotel.  Surprise the kids by staying at a local hotel over-night.  {Watch for great deals and discounts on Groupon.}  If you pick a hotel with a pool you can swim all day and then have a family pajama party at night.

For even MORE ideas, check out our 85 Indoor Activities for the Whole Family!


At-Home Family Fun

{For when you want to cook up some fun at home.}

Family Night Ideas

16.  Wacky Game Night  Host a fun family game night featuring pudding Pictionary and ice cream sculpting.  Who wouldn’t love painting pictures with pudding and sculpting their own ice cream masterpieces with a couple of spoons?!  This one is a winner with my kids.

17.  Taste Testing Night  Here’s a fun (and yummy) family night idea- host your own taste testing party.  Every wonder which brand is the best?  Make it your family mission to find out!  It doesn’t matter if it’s popcorn, pizza, soda, ice cream or anything else- just get 4 different brands and use the printable score cards to record your results.

18.  Movie Night Popcorn Bar  If your family loves movie nights and popcorn, then this popcorn bar is the perfect way to take it up a notch.  Just set out a giant bowl of popcorn and your favorite toppings and mix-ins and let everyone make their own personalized bowl of yummy goodness.

19.  Family Waffle Bar  OR if you’re looking for more of a meal, then give this build-your-own-waffle bar a try.  It’s a quick, but fun, way to turn lunch or dinner time into a party.  Just cook up a stack of waffles then let everyone choose from a variety of toppings.

20.  Fairytale Mystery Dinner  Download the free mystery dinner menu and let the kids order a fun 3 course dinner using the silly secret code names.  The kids are always giggling when they find out what they ended up ordering, especially if they get dessert before dinner.

Summer Family Fun Ideas

21.  Fancy & Formal Family Dinner  Let the kids help turn your dining room into your own family restaurant for the night and host a fancy, formal dinner- just because!  Pull out a nice table cloth and eat by candlelight.  Teach the kids how to set a proper table setting and go over dining etiquette.  You could even have everyone get dressed up in their best clothes for the occasion.  Any day can be a special occasion if you make it one.  (It might be fun to use our Dinner Conversation Jar for this one too!)

22.  Make a Family Time Capsule  The free printables make this an easy family activity to pull off.  Some of the pages include: family memories, current events, all about me, a letter to my future self, family recipe, and even a current prices page.

23.  Make Your Own Family Mission Statement  Dedicate a night to creating your own family mission statement together.  It’s a great way to set some family goals and focus on what you want to work on and improve in your home.  And I love that you can put it on display in your home afterward.

24.  Paint Night Make a quick trip to the craft store and let everyone pick out their own paint-by-numbers.  They’re usually really inexpensive and they even have grown-up paint-by-numbers kits for adults, so it doesn’t matter if you’re not a natural artist.  We spent a whole day painting together as a family and had SO much fun!

25.  Family Nerf Gun Battle  Grab some nerf guns and plan a friendly family battle.  You can even divide into teams and have everyone get dressed in their “team color.”  You can get started with some fun target practice games and then use the printables provided to start your “Nerf War.”

Fun Summer Family Activities

26.  Build a Blanket Fort My brothers and sisters and I used to love making blanket forts when we were kids.  But it was a million times more fun when my parents joined in on the fun.  After all, they were so much better at constructing them AND they let us bring snacks and drinks into the fort when they were with us.  (Oh, and if you haven’t tried making an air fort before- you totally should.  Or go all out and make a fort using pool noodles like this.)

27.  Indoor Camping  OR just grab your tent and set it up in the front room.  I love that you can get some of the fun of camping out without having to sleep on rocks or use the bathroom in the woods.  When we do this, we like to let the kids roast marshmallows over a candle and we’ll even make foil dinners in the oven.

28.  Head’s Up Game Night  If you haven’t played Head’s Up yet- you have to check it out.  You don’t even need to run to the store to buy it.  It’s a hilariously fun app that you can get on your phone or iPad.  All you have to do is pick a category, then the person who is guessing holds the phone (or iPad) up in front of their head so everyone else can see the words. Players have a set amount of time to get the guesser to guess as many correct words as possible.

29.  Family Karaoke Night or Talent Show  Grab a karaoke machine (or a karaoke app) and sing the night away.  Or open it up to any talent with a family talent show.  You could even host your own version of American Idol or America’s Got Talent.  Just have two or three people in your family be the judges and the rest can be contestants.  I had a roommate whose family did this all the time and it was hysterical!

30.  Christmas in July  We love celebrating Christmas in July!  There are so many ways you can do this- watch a Christmas movie, play Christmas music, make a holiday treat, draw a “Secret Santa” name, or get ahead of the game and start working on some homemade presents.


Backyard Family Fun

{For when you want to stay home but still get some sunshine.}

Backyard Family Fun Ideas

31.  Backyard Splash Bash  Who wouldn’t love a wet and wild water party in the backyard?  From slip-n-slide baseball and water balloon volleyball to sponge ball tag- there are tons of fun water game ideas to keep you busy.  There’s even some FREE party printables included too!

32.  Squirt Gun Painting This one just might win you mom of the year.  Squirt guns are fun and painting is fun- but put them together and your fun just went to a whole new level!  This is something the kids will be talking about for awhile and it doesn’t require much effort at all!

33.  Paint Slip-n-Slide My kids would go crazy for this!  Just lay out a long tarp in the backyard and cover it in different colors of paint.  Then dress the kids in white shirts and shorts and let them go crazy “painting” their clothes by sliding down the tarp.  Then grab some soap and the hose to clean the kids up before coming back inside.   (If you pick comfy shirts and shorts, you could let them use their new “masterpieces” as pajamas.)

34.  Backyard Shaving Cream Fight  Or skip the sliding altogether and just have a fun family shaving cream fight in the backyard!  Grab a some bottles of shaving cream (and maybe some sunglasses for eye protection) and let everyone go at it.  You’re sure to get some great, silly pictures from this one!  And you should– just in case they ever forget what an awesome mom you are. (Not gonna lie- these shaving cream balloons look like a blast to add to your fight too!)

35.  Shaving Cream Slip-n-Slide If your kids like slip-n-slides, they’re going to LOVE shaving cream sliding!  If you don’t mind a little mess, you can make some crazy fun memories!  It’s pretty easy to pull off to- you’ll just need a tarp or last tablecloth and lots of shaving cream.  (If you have a play slide-  you should check out this fun idea too!)

Summer Family Night Ideas

36.  Backyard Movie Night You don’t have to get elaborate with this one (although you can if you want)- just borrow a projector and throw a white sheet over the fence.  Grab a movie and some snacks and enjoy a backyard movie night.

37.  Backyard Obstacle Course  Make your own obstacle course in the backyard using whatever outdoor toys you can find.  (Hula hoops, balls, stools, jump ropes, and kiddie pools all work great.)  Then take turns timing each other and racing through the course to see who can get the fastest time.

38.  Frisbee Golf  If you don’t have a frisbee golf course near you, you can make your own in your own backyard.  Check out the post for all the details and printables to pull it off.

39.  Backyard Campout  Now this is a family activity they’ll remember forever.  You don’t need to drive to a campground to go camping.  Just set up your tent in your own backyard and get ready for some serious fun.  (If you wanted you could even have a backyard barbecue or grill your own “fate burgers” before camping out for the night.)

40.  Summer Picnic and Party Games A backyard picnic makes for a fun summer family night.  Especially if you throw in some fun summer party games like this watermelon seed spitting contest or the squirt gun shoot-out.

For even MORE ideas, check out these 75 Outdoor Water Activities AND 65 Outdoor Party Games for the Entire Family!



After Dark Family Fun

{For some family fun after the sun goes down.}

Summer Night Family Activities

41.  Park after Dark One of my kids favorite parts about summer is that I’m not so strict about bedtime.  Hey- you don’t have to get up early to catch the bus, might as well let them stay up a little late and enjoy sleeping in.  For some after-hours fun, get a bunch of flashlights or glow gear and go play at the park.  It’s only happened once so far but they loved it!  Flashlight tag was their favorite after dark park game! {Bonus if you live in a place like we do where you can catch some fireflies.}

42.  Night Bowling  Who needs a bowling alley when you can create your own glowing bowling alley in your own backyard?  All you need are some empty soda or water bottles, some glow sticks, and a ball.  It’s a fun way to burn off some energy on a summer night before bed.

43.  Glow-in-the-Dark Game Night  This fun group date night would also work perfectly as a fun family night!  From glow-in-the-dark baseball to glow-in-the-dark ring toss and capture the flag- there are lots of fun game ideas for an after dark family party.  There’s even some FREE party printables included too!

44.  Swimming Pool Stargazing Star gazing is fun, but this idea totally takes it up several notches.  Just put a blow-up pool in the backyard and fill it up with lots of pillows and blankets.  Not only is it more comfy, but it’s perfect for keeping the itchy grass and bugs away.

45.  Movie in Mom & Dad’s Room This one is SO easy to pull off, but my girls loved it.  Just tape a sign on their door inviting them to a special movie night in mom and dad’s room.  We have family movie nights a lot, but for some reason just changing the location to our bed made it exciting and new for them.  (And the special snacks didn’t hurt either.)

Fun After-Dark Activities for Families

46.  Family Slumber Party  Here’s another super easy one to pull off.  Just blow up an air mattress and stick it in the living room for a fun family sleep over.  Or if you don’t have an air mattress, grab some sleeping bags or even just blankets and pillows.  We popped popcorn, watched a movie, and played a couple of games.  We even took turns telling “scary” stories by flashlight.  (And I have to say, it’s pretty funny what my little girls consider “scary.”)

47.  Flashlight Games & Shadow Puppets  These games and ideas and perfect for some late night summer fun.  Just stock up on flashlights and batteries, then when the sun goes down- pull them out and try a new game.

48.  Glowing Water Blob–  You’ve probably seen all of the fun water blobs on Pinterest, but I bet you haven’t seen this fun glowing water blob! Takes it to a whole new level, huh?  Yes, this idea takes a little more time and preparation than the others, but I think it’s worth it.  My kids would totally LOVE this!  What kid wouldn’t?!

49.  Make Fairy Jars This fairy jars are super easy to make and they glow for up to 8 hours.  They’re perfect for making together and then taking outside on a summer night.   (If your boys are not into fairies- just call them glow jars.)

50. Glow-in-the-Dark Sidewalk Chalk Make glow-in-the-dark sidewalk chalk and then play a fun family game of Pictionary on the front or back porch.  If you try this one, you should totally make some glow-in-the-dark drinks to go with it!

Do you have any other fun family night ideas?  Let us know in the comments!  We’re always looking for more ways to make fun family memories.  

If you liked this post, you’ll love 101 Things to Do With Your Kids Besides Watching TV and 101 Summer Boredom Busters– they’re FULL of fun family ideas!  Then go grab our printable Summer Bucket List to write down your favorite ideas so you’ll be sure to try them out.

Oh, and make sure you follow our “Family Fun Ideas” Pinterest board!  It’s loaded with hundreds of great ideas and we’re always adding to it.

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