25 Screen-Free Summer Activities for Kids

Use these 25 Screen-Free Summer Activities for kids to keep them busy!

25 Screen-Free Summer Activities for Kids

The summer months have arrived, and that means school is out for many families. And for many families, that means hearing “Mom, I’m bored!”

Sometimes it also means an increase in screen time as the weather heats up and no one wants to go outside because “it’s too hot!”

I don’t like for my kids to spend a lot of time with devices or in front of screens. And yet, sometimes we default to allowing more screen time than we would like, just because we can’t think of anything more creative for them to do.

Screen-Free Summer Activities

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Here’s a list of 25 simple ideas to keep kids busy and not vegging out in front of the computer or TV screen this summer.

1. Run through the sprinkler.

Before we had our little backyard swimming pool, we just used the lawn sprinkler or hose spray attachment.

The kids had so much fun cooling off in the water in our own backyard.

If you can afford an above-ground pool, I highly recommend getting one, as this will occupy our kids for hours on hot summer days. (Make sure children are always closely supervised around water.)

2. Make popsicles. 

This is a simple kitchen project that our kids love to do in the summer months!

Any juice can be turned into popsicles easily, or you can come up with more elaborate recipes.

All you need are popsicle molds and juice of your choice. It’s really that easy!

making popsicles as a summer activity

3. Make playdough.

Younger children really enjoy helping to make this and play with it. Here’s our favorite recipe.

4. Play with bubbles outside.

You can make your own bubble solution, but I find it’s simpler to just get some at the Dollar Store or Walmart. 🙂

You can even get a bubble machine gun for extra bubbly fun!

screen free summer

5. Make S’mores Indoors.

I don’t know exactly why, but my kids are in love with s’mores!

They’re the most fun to make when you can do it over a fire (here’s how to make your own fire pit), but desperate times call for desperate measures.

If you can’t do it outside, you can make S’mores inside in your oven!

6. Read a book.

If your children are too young to read, give them a pile of picture books and set the timer for 30 minutes. Recorded books are also great (find them at the library).

These are some of our favorite summer read-aloud books, and here are some excellent audiobooks for long family road trips.

7. Make a blanket fort inside.

All you need is some chairs and sheets or blankets to make the “roof” of your fort.

8. Make homemade granola bars.

These granola bars are a favorite with my kids.

9. Write and illustrate a story.

We’ve used this kit before, and it’s great!

Kids can write and illustrate their own story, send it in, and they get back a bound book!

Or, you could just use some scratch paper and a stapler (kids love simple, too).

10. Play in the sand box.

I love having a sand box for younger children to play in. It provides hours of creative fun.

I do recommend a cover for your sandbox if you have a cat around!

11. Make edible sand.

This edible sand recipe only takes 1 ingredient!

Or, make this sand pudding. We did this a few years ago and my kids thought it was so neat.

You can see our sand pudding below (and in this post). It looks just like real sand when you serve it in a new, clean sand pail! 🙂

sand pudding in a pail

12. Play store.

We have a toy cash register that makes this more fun, but you could also use a calculator or even a box with pretend buttons drawn on the front.

13. Go to the library.

Check out this list of summer books for summer reading inspiration.

14. Play with water balloons.

Water balloons are always a hit with kids during the hot days of summer.

15. Bake cookies.

Kids love to help in the kitchen (particularly with desserts and snacks)!

These cookies are a favorite, and these bird’s nest treats are another fun treat!

16. Go to the park.

If you have a local park with a playground, this is a great way to spend some time.

playground for summer activity

17. Go on a picnic.

Kids love picnics, and packing up a picnic basket with some sandwiches and cold drinks can be a fun summertime activity.

18. Play with sidewalk chalk.

Sidewalk chalk is another fun activity for summer. Play hopscotch or just let the kids make chalk doodles!

19. Make homemade ice cream.

Nothing says “summer” like some delicious homemade ice cream (This is our family favorite ice cream recipe).

My older girls can do this independently with our electric ice cream maker.

20. Ride bikes.

Riding bikes is a great way to stay active and burn off some energy.

21. Make mud pies. 

Let kids exercise some creativity in making homemade mud pies!

22. Play board games or cards inside.

There are so many fun board games for kids to play on their own or as part of family game night.

23. Build a fort outside.

We have a collapsible tee-pee that my mom made for the kids years ago, and they’re still playing with it.

But sometimes they also build forts with fallen tree branches and old lumber.

summer nature study ideas

24.  Go on a nature scavenger hunt.

Having a nature scavenger hunt is another fun screen-free summer activity.

Or try some of these 25 summer nature study ideas.

25. Go berry picking. 

We’ve been blessed with wild blackberries in our backyard, but we also enjoy going to a berry farm to pick blueberries.

It’s especially fun to make jam with the berries we’ve picked. This Blueberry Freezer Jam is a simple recipe.

Do you have any other ideas for screen-free summer activities that you’d add to this list?

Related Posts:

25 Summer Nature Study Ideas

25 summer nature study ideas

32 Simple Summer Activities for Kids

summer activities for kids

Summer Screen Time Rules Printable

I'm using this free printable to help my kids have a more memorable summer!


  1. I saw your link on the Tuesdays with Twist Blog Hop. These are great summer ideas for kids! I pinned the granola bar recipe too…they look tasty! We’ve started a new thing where if one of the kids says, “I’m bored,” we hand them a cleaning rag. It’s been really helpful. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. So many great comments here! I just picked up a book from the library that has 400 screen-free ideas. Can’t wait to browse through it and implement the ideas in my home. I’m also reading “Hands Off Mama” by Rachel Macy Spafford which is encouraging me to have less screen time too. Thanks for the post!

    1. I read her book a couple years ago, and it was so inspiring! I agree, moms need to monitor their screen time as well!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Melanie! And I’m so glad you liked the list—thanks for sharing! 🙂

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