Summer is finally here and I could not be more excited. You guys, I saw this quote the other day and it just stuck with me. “You get 18 summers with each of your kids. This is one of them.” Wow, it made me take a step back and realize that the days are long but the years are beyond fast. I really want to make this summer amazing and filled with lasting memories for me and my toddler. What better way to make sure that happens than doing a list of great summer activities for your kids?!
Summer Activities for Kids and Toddlers
Summer is such a great time to slow down, really give that one-on-one with our kids that they desire SO much. From water sports to ice cream…summer is filled with magical moments. Since summer can be such a fun season, I put together this list of 101 summer activities for kids and toddlers so you can be inspired to share more moments with your kids this popsicle season! I hope you try lots of these this summer.
Outdoor Summer Activities
- Go on a Bike Ride- Those kids bike trailers are AMAZING. Order one on Amazon now, you’ll have hours of exercise and an entertained and stimulated toddler without any screens!
- Sidewalk Chalk– Let them get creative and messy, but don’t just watch. Draw a picture of their favorite thing…together!
- Finger Paint- Do it outside, just a diaper, then a bath. Simple cleanup for mom and an hour of fun for your toddler!
- Go “Camping”- A perfect addition to any summer activities for toddlers list! Doesn’t have to be overnight. Set up a tent for the day, let them fish, build a fire and do s’mores!
- Do a Backyard Bonfire- Read their ultimate favorite storybook and have their favorite blanket with some homemade hot chocolate.
- Enjoy Popsicles on the Porch- You can even get the popsicle molds and make homemade ones with fresh fruit instead of giving them loads of sugar!
- Fly a Kite- Kids have been enjoying kites for centuries. Don’t let it die out!
- Introduce them to Fireworks- Everyone loves the 4th of July. Get them pint-size fireworks for them to try out and explore! This is a great summer activity for toddlers.
- Play Capture the Flag -If you have older kiddos in your home, this is a great game for them! Capture the Flag REDUX is a fun game that can accommodate up to 20 players for an hour or more of energy burning fun! With 12 alternate ways to play, glow bracelets, jail markers, and glowing orbs to use as the flags, getting a group together for some serious outdoor fun will be easy!
Outdoor in the Garden
- Find some Mud- Toddlers get told “no” plenty. Go find some mud for once, get em down to just a diaper and let them play without a “no.” Messy play is so good for toddlers, then just do a bath right after 😉
- Plant a Flower- Show them how to dig a hole, put the flower in, cover it back up, and water!
- Plant a Tree- You can’t have a “summer activities for toddlers” list without planting a tree together! Find a place in the backyard you will enjoy some shade from in the future!
- Collect Rocks and Paint them- Want something free your toddler can paint to their heart’s content? Collect some rocks and then let them pick their paint colors and make it the finest rock in town.
- Do a Nature Scavenger Hunt- Print off a picture of a leaf, rock, stick, flower and help your toddler find each item in nature!
- Paint Leaves- Gather leaves, paint them their favorite color and help them “stamp” the leaf onto a new, white sheet of paper!
- Pick Flowers- Go pick wildflowers and deliver to grandma or a friend!
- Pick Fruit or Vegetables from an Orchard- Find a local orchard near you, grab a basket and pick some together.
- Plant a Garden– You don’t have to go all out. Let them plant their favorite veggie or fruit and teach them about how it needs sun and water. Get a little water can and let them watch it grow as they nurture it!
- Wash your car– Get out a bucket, grab your swimsuits and get wet! Turn on their favorite music while you wash, too.
- Water Balloons– Order some water balloons or go to the dollar store and let them unleash in the backyard. Tell them to throw it as hard as they can…for once 😉
- Freeze Toys- Freeze their favorite toys in a block of ice and let them chip away to get it out, keeps em’ cool outside and gets out all that bottled up energy (we love so much)!
- Go to the Pool- Be SO safe around the water, teach them to never get in the water without mom or dad and then have loads of fun!
- Get a kiddy pool- This keeps it safer, having only a couple inches of water but if you give them so bath toys and plastic cups on a hot afternoon…they will play for forever!
- Teach them Water Safety- This is SO important. Wondering where to start? Our friends over at Josh the Otter are perfect for this!
- Water Gun Fight- Whether your little toddler is a handsome little man or pretty lady, they will love wielding a water gun and spraying mom and dad and their sibs!
- Take them Fishing- Get a baby fishing pole and help them add the worm and real one in. Their face, when they see a fish for the first time, is PRICELESS.
- Get out the Good ol’ Fashioned Sprinkler- What kiddo doesn’t love running through the sprinkler on a hot summer day? Make sure you get in, too 😉
- Try a Slip n’ Slide– They have perfect ones for your toddler and this can be a great way for toddlers to be as clumsy as their little heart desires!
- Teach your Toddler to Float and Swim- Water safety is huge during the summer months for little ones. Equip your toddler for excellent water safety. Whether you put them in swim lessons or teach them yourself, this is super important!
More Outdoor Ideas to Do with Friends!
- Start a Play Group- It’s important for toddlers to spend time with kids their age. Get some moms together with young toddlers and meet once a week or once a month at a park!
- Feed the Ducks and Geese- Every kid loves throwing some bread to the ducks and geese at a local pond!
- Go on Walks- This is one of the simplest ways to entertain them and get them (and you) enjoying some fresh air!
- Sandbox– Sure they may be a little messy, but that’s what summer is all about! Get them some shovels and hide little animals and toys in the sand for them to find!!
- Bubbles- Get a bubble blower, classic bubbles or a big bubble maker. Bubble fun is simple and a blast!
- Swing Set– This one is an investment but is totally worth it. Invite friends over to play!
Unique Outdoor Ideas to Try
- Play Swords with Pool Noodles- This is another great way to play rough and get out some much-needed energy outside! They are so floppy that it will turn into a clumsy, laughing activity usually 😉
- Tub Play- Fill an outdoor tub with a little grass and a couple of rocks, bring out plastic fish and whales and sharks and let the toddler imagine its the ocean and help the fishies swim around!
- Plant a Tub- Get a clear plastic tub. Fill it with dirt, make some hills, plant some fast, growing grass seed and flower seeds together. Once it blooms, add some cars and trucks and animals and let them play and dig and tear up their little play yard.
- Chalk Paint and then Wash the Driveway- I don’t know which your toddler will enjoy more, painting the driveway or washing it off with a big sponge and soap and water?!
- Popsicle Sticks in Dirt- Find an area of the yard, usually the garden or somewhere with some landscaping and give your toddler popsicle sticks from the craft store. Let them stick the popsicle sticks in the dirt wherever they want. You may just be inspiring a future architect.
- Attend a Parade or Carnival- Watching toddlers see a parade or carnival is so exciting to them. Its almost like they are excited to see that they aren’t the only ones with energy to spare!
- Colored Christmas Lights Backyard Party– Grill out with your toddler’s friends and decorate the backyard with all kinds of colored Christmas lights to set the mood for a fun, outdoor evening!
- Build Sand Castles- Whether this is at the beach or in your backyard, packing sand into pails and creating castles is great for toddlers and super fun for everyone to do!
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Indoor Food Ideas
- Bake Cookies Together- Eggs, flour, mix it up! Turn on the oven light and let them watch it “grow”! All while teaching oven safety.
- Make a Sandwich- The simplest things can get them SO excited. Instead of making their sandwich for lunch, set out the ingredients and let them build it while they watch you make yours!
- Decorate Sugar Cookies– Have different colored frosting, sprinkles and let them create and enjoy a special treat. Yum.
- Make Homemade Ice Cream- This will be a hit for all your kiddos, no matter their ages!
- Make Pizzas- Make pizza dough for the whole family, layout toppings and then let them create! You can even get a pizza attachment for your grill and make cook them the old fashioned way!
- Make homemade Lemonade- Get a bunch of lemons and let them squeeze the juice out and try the tart treat.
- Get them a NEW cup- Get them a brand new sippy or kids cup with their favorite animal or character on it for them to enjoy the summer drinks in. Teach them “cheers,” they’ll love it.
- Make Veggies Exciting- This is a great way to introduce healthy eating habits. Give them lots of colorful veggies and let them pick them out at the store to try too!
- Make a Pancake Breakfast Extravaganza- Make up tons of waffles and pancakes on a Saturday morning with ALL the fixings. Whipped cream, fresh fruit, and sprinkles!
Indoor Toddler Games to Try this Summer
- Play Music Together- Grab pots and pans and spoons and shakers and create music together!
- Play Hide and Seek- It teaches great concepts, and my toddler learned how to count to 10 in one night because it was so fun to LEARN.
- Do Bubble Baths- Sweaty days will lead to longer, cool baths. Get some toddler bath bombs and bubble bath and keep re-warming the water while they play forever and you can get some reading time in 😉
- Movie Night- Pop in their favorite movie, have everyone watch the whole movie together. Pop popcorn, get snacks and treats, lots of blankets- make it a big deal.
- Nerf Gun Wars- These are so fun in our house, everyone gets a little nerf gun and we all go around trying to get each other and end up all laughing together!
- Wrestle- Studies show that toddlers need physical affection from mom and dad. Wrestling and tickling is a GREAT way to give your toddler the physical affection they need and helping them grow and develop.
Fun, Indoor Learning Activities
- Get a Bird Feeder- Go get a bird feeder with food for local birds. Place it outside a window your toddler has easy access to and let them watch birdies come and go all summer. Even do a nesting box and let them see the eggs and baby birdies!
- Create a Reading Corner– Make a tent in the corner and add stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, and some summer-inspired titles to encourage reading together!
- Go to the Library- Every summer activity for toddlers doesn’t have to be outdoors. Take a break from the heat and enjoy a free way to read new books all summer long!
- Go Shopping for a New Shirt- If they love airplanes or flowers, go to a kids clothing store and let them pick out their favorite shirt. They love autonomy!
- Stretch with Them- Showing our toddlers how to be healthy is important. Stretch together or do yoga with your toddler. It will be cute to watch them try and copy you.
- Workout Together- No seriously. Just watch your toddler try their first “squat.” 😉
- Let them Take Care of a Pet- If you don’t have a pet right now, maybe consider one fish and let them sprinkle some food in the water each day. If you already have a pet, let them help pour the food or fill the water bowl and teach them that all livings things need to be cared for and fed!
Get that Little Brain Movin’
- Potty Train– If you haven’t started yet, this summer may just be a perfect time. Summer usually has less going on and you may be a little more available to help your little one! While this may not be on everyone’s list of summer activities for toddlers…it’s an important one.
- Buy a Gardening Book- This will help them to understand the blooming world around them! There are lots of gardening books for the toddler age group.
- Help them make a PBJ- A classic summer staple, they will love spreading the ingredients on their bread and they may just eat lunch a little better since they owned it!
- Learn Nursery Rhymes– Singing with them helps them to learn some basic memorization and is a great way to introduce music!
- Start a Piggy Bank- Start saving for your little one as they grow. Then, once they are ready and you can help them learn how to make small purchases and be wise with their little spendings.
- Teach them to Say, “Hi”- Work on having them introduce themselves to new friends. This starts at this age with the courage to talk to a new person.
Art Inspired Learning
- Coloring Books- Get them a new coloring book or two of their favorite animal, trucks, puppies, flowers. Lay on your tummies together and color pictures. Art is something that must be included in any summer activities for toddlers list as they need a break from the heat!
- Get a cement Garden Keepsake- Grab one from any local craft store and put your handprints in to remember this summer by.
- Color Pictures and Take to Nursing Home- Give back together. Color pictures and hand them out at the local nursing home.
- Cut Some Paper- This is great for helping them with fine motor skills. Get them a pair of baby scissors, some colored paper, and stickers and let them go to town!
- Try some Shaving Cream Messy Play- I love this idea from And Next Comes L!
- Have a Dance Party- Turn on the lamps, turn down the lights, crank up the living room subwoofer and turn on a family-friendly dance party!
- Play Classical Music- Introduce them to classical music. It’s great for their brains and you might be surprised how long they entertain themselves while they are being inspired by Mozart!
Unique Indoor Activities to Keep your Toddler Busy
- Build a Fort- This can be inside or outside. You can use blankets or big cardboard boxes.
- Try Children’s Audio Books- You can purchase these or get them at the library. They are a great way to initiate some “quiet time” for your toddler.
- Do Puzzles- So many pretty puzzles are out there for our toddler age group. You can pick puzzles with images you know your toddler will love and do one together each day.
- Play-Doh– A classic art-form for toddlers who need a calm break and relief from the sun!
- Balloon Party- Blow up a package of dollar store balloons before your little one wakes up. When they walk out in the morning to a living room full of balloons…it will be a day of EXCITEMENT and PLAY!
- Cardboard Box Track- Breakdown an old cardboard box and create a track with a sharpie marker. Show your toddler to grab their favorite cars, buggies, trains and to follow the track all the way around the box.
- Card Game- Cut a little slit in the top of an old food box and give your toddler a deck of cards. Show them to insert one at a time for a quiet game that will keep them busy!
- Eye Dropper Game- Fill a cup with water with an empty cup next to it and give your toddler an eye dropper. Show them how to suck the water up and squirt it into the other cup!
- Golf Tees Game- Poke holes in the bottom of a box and give your toddler a handful of golf tees, show them to use their fine motor skills and place the tees in the holes!
- Draw Daddy a Picture- Have your toddler draw daddy a picture and frame it for Father’s Day this summer! Be sure to add the name and year to the back so you can always remember. We can’t forget Father’s Day on our summer activities for toddlers checklist!
Outdoor Places to Visit this Summer with Toddlers
- Visit the Zoo– Toddlers LOVE animals so any “summer activities for toddlers” list, should have the zoo. Seeing them interact with living creatures is truly remarkable.
- Go to a Park- Do the slides together, swing, get dirty, let them play in the mud!
- Do a Drive-thru Safari- Lots of places have a drive-thru safari within driving distance. Your toddler can unbuckle while you drive 5 mph through fields of deer, elk, and more. They will love this!
- Go to a Baseball game- Get a hotdog, bring a blanket and sit in the berm. The experience will keep them busy.
- Take them to a Horse-barn- Most toddlers haven’t seen an animal that big up close. This will be an adventure filled with new sights and smells and courage!
- Show them Somewhere New- Maybe that’s a beach vacation so they can see the ocean or maybe it’s a cool cave or state park. Let their imagination take off once they see a new marvel in this world!
- Check out your Local State Park- Usually this is really easy to find. Go explore nature, find sticks, nests, bugs, birds, turtles.
Indoor Places to Visit this Summer with Toddlers
- Find a Children’s Museum– Get on your hands and knees mama, and explore with them, they will light up.
- Visit a non-chain Ice Cream shop- Sit on the curb, let them pick whatever kind they want (even if it looks gross) and take selfies.
- Visit a Pet Store- They love animals (even if you don’t). This is a great, free way to spend an afternoon!
- Visit an Aquarium- Watching the underwater world is so exciting and is one of my favorite summer activities for toddlers. Help them learn and explore. All of this is so inspiring to them!
- Go to Lunch- Just you and them. Get a baby sitter for the other kids. Let them do it with dad, too! They love the one-on-one attention!
- Go to Dinner- Dress up. Make it a date. Take them somewhere “fancy.” They will love being handsome/pretty and eating “nice” food.
Take Pictures of you doing your Summer list- At the end of the summer, imagine having pictures of each one of these. Then put them all in a scrapbook. What a summer to remember.
This list of summer activities for toddlers is a great start to your summer plans. I hope you, your toddler and the whole family have a great summer checking each of these off together! Now go start creating lasting memories. Your summer is a-tickin’!
Which Summer Activity for Toddlers is your Favorite?
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