Welcome to Camp Bark! Summer Activities for Kids
**This blog post was updated on May 17, 2023.**
The birds have started chirping. There’s a slight morning chill to the air. You’ve been dreaming of a fluffy stack of pancakes and you emerge from sleep, dewy-eyed and cozied up in bed. Although for a few blissful moments you might think you’re back in seventh grade at sleepaway camp, you quickly realize you’re the parent now, and your kid sleeping down the hall is the one who desperately wishes they could be kayaking, weaving friendship bracelets, and making gooey s’mores.
It’s not always easy to think of summer activities for kids — no matter how long you’ve been parenting. For those seemingly endless days filled with nothing but “I’m bored,” we’ve put together some sample at-home summer camp activities that are sure to banish boredom in the time it takes to click a link.
Your kid can work their way through the list exactly as it is, or just use these suggestions to break up their TikTok time. Don’t have internet access or a backyard they can use? No problem! A couple of little tweaks can adapt these recommendations to your family’s specific situation. Once you get them set up with an activity, you should have plenty of time to join a team Zoom, call your BFF, or even clean the bathroom.
Warning: these ideas are so fun you may find yourself wanting to participate instead of doing your own work!
Summer Activities for Kids
For days filled with sunshine
- See who can identify the most types of plants and animals on a walk with Nat Geo’s Seek app. Warning: it’s a lot of fun.
- Volunteer to walk a neighbor’s dog and make a new furry friend.
- Bust out the garden hose, sprinkler, or squirt guns and have a watery showdown to cool off!
- Consider holding a car wash to make some spending money — or donate the proceeds to a worthy cause. (You could also hold a dog wash for all of the neighborhood pups.)
For rainy days indoors
- Learn some sleight-of-hand and magic tricks to impress friends and family.
- Build an epic pillow fort and read some silly camping stories. Or, for older kids, read some spooky classics!
- Tune in to a live stream and watch a red panda frolic at the Cincinnati Zoo, or check out the penguins at the Georgia Aquarium. Bonus points if you can come up with cool names for them!
- Create a personalized Disney theme park based on your favorite characters and movies.
- Make an indoor scavenger hunt around your house with clever clues.
For long car trips
- Print out these backseat games — you’ll find mazes, word searches, license plate games, and more!
- Flex your Jeopardy skills with Brain Quest trivia cards.
- Learn how to play the Movie Game. (Feel free to give it a better name!) One person names a movie star, then the next person names a film that the actor was in. The next person then has to name a different movie star from the same film, and so on. Example:
- Tom Holland
- “Spider-Man: Homecoming”
- Robert Downey Jr.
- “Iron Man”
- Stretch those achey, cooped-up, backseat muscles with a little car yoga.
- Purchase a tailor-made family game for road trips, Shotgun. One reviewer even said it was “Grumpy teenager approved!"
- Make homemade travel comics with these blank, templated comic book journals.
For a throwback '90s day
- Gather the crew and head out west on the Oregon Trail. Good luck fording those rivers!
- Make a super colorful tie-dye t-shirt (or socks, or pants, or shorts) to wear all summer long.
- Flex those language skills and play a rousing game of Madlibs.
- Brew up a batch of delicious, neon-green homemade Ecto Cooler.
- Take a tour of the real-life Titanic to learn about its passengers and structure.
- Have a '90s themed media day: listen to some old CDs, watch '90s movies, and listen to '90s playlists on Spotify. We recommend boy bands, grunge, and old-school hip-hop!
- Craft a cute animal bookmark with this quick craft.
- Recreate a famous work of art from the world’s greatest painters using a medium of your choice — magazine-collage “Mona Lisa,” anyone?
- Get out your paints and follow a Bob Ross (for kids) tutorial for an artistic, relaxing afternoon.
- Create an online storybook to bring your ideas to life.
- Choreograph a dance to your favorite song.
- Do some yoga to unwind.
- Learn a new hip-hop dance move.
- Have a neighborhood or family Olympics: choose events like the 100-meter dash, farthest basketball throw, long jump, and more. The sky’s the limit!
For kids that miss school
- Start learning a new language on Duolingo and practice vocab, pronunciation, and more.
- Explore the International Space Station from the safety of your own living room.
- Learn the history of toilet paper, handwashing, and more.
For making the world a better place
- Watch a PBS documentary on teens fighting food insecurity.
- Clean up your street or block with a trash party.
- Help raise money for the Child Rescue Coalition by learning some dance moves.
- Make no-sew blankets for children who need them.
For phone-free afternoons
- Grab a tub of chalk and decorate your neighborhood sidewalk/driveway.
- Take a trip to the local library for books and movies galore.
- Dust off the old family board games and play a rousing game of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit.
- Sit everyone down and brainstorm the ultimate dream vacation if your family won the lottery. Get into all of the details — like how big your yacht would be or exactly how many lightsabers (and what colors!) you’d buy at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World.
- Summer activities for kids can spread into the evenings! When the sun sets, head outside to watch fireflies. Be sure to learn about these lightning bugs beforehand so you can identify their lighting patterns!
- Camp out in the backyard if your family has a tent. Don’t forget the hotdogs and s’mores!
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