Easy, Fun, Free Summer Activities for Kids

Summer break is right around the corner! It can be fun for kids and relaxing for parents when you plan ahead a little and include some imaginative activities, like telling stories about summer camp and playing games in the dark.

While summer is an excellent time for kids and adults to relax, they can get bored or lose their focus if they’re not given something productive to do. So here are some ways that your family can have fun together and keep everyone entertained:

Take a Hike, Literally

Hiking adventures are easy. The best hiking trails may be right in your backyard. Explore nature together! Find a kid-approved local park or nature preserve with walking trails. The fresh air will be refreshing and good for everyone! Don’t miss these 7 Places to Enjoy Nature in Collin County.

Play Games in the Dark

For kids, some of the very BEST times are spent in the dark:

  • Flashlight tag is a favorite. It’s like hide and seek, but with lights instead of hiding places. And it’s great for developing teamwork and tactical thinking.
  • Blindfolded games are a hit too. Use touch or sound to navigate. For instance, you can make an obstacle course out of empty moving boxes or couch cushions and race against the clock to find the right path through it all. The sillier the challenges you create, the better. You can also play Marco Polo-style games in your pool or hot tub by blindfolding one person while they try to tag others as they swim by.
  • Breathe new life into traditional indoor games by playing at night. Play board games or hide and seek with flashlights. It sounds so simple to an adult, but kids are all about this kind of thing.

Go Camping at Home

All the fun of camping, with none of the hassle!

  • Pitch a tent in your living room. Use tarps for walls and a blanket for the roof. (If you don’t have a tent, use chairs to create an A-frame structure that the kids can hide under.)
  • Make a campfire by stacking sticks and “lighting” them with a flashlight. Roast hotdogs or marshmallows on it—or hold them over the lightbulb for extra authenticity! (For more “campfire” ideas, check out this article on DIY indoor campfires.)
  • Go on an adventure! Take turns choosing suggestions from a list of scavenger hunt items in your backyard or neighborhood.
  • Explore nature! Do some bird watching, bug catching, leaf collecting…the world is your oyster.

Put On a Play

Getting your kids to write a play is simple, but here are a few tips:

  • Encourage your kids to write about something they love. If they’re obsessed with dinosaurs, then have them write a play about dinosaurs.
  • Let them use basic materials that you have at the house. For example, have them construct the set from cardboard boxes and other recyclables. Provide markers, paint, and glitter for their props and costumes.
  • You can help by supplying construction paper for the backgrounds or writing down their ideas when they tell you how their script should look.

When it’s all said and done, sit back and enjoy the show. And make sure to record it so you can watch it again whenever you want!

Go Geocaching

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunting game that anyone with an internet connection and GPS-enabled device can enjoy. Simply download the Geocaching app from the App Store or Google Play, then search for caches near you.

Once you find one close by, the app will help guide you to its location using GPS. To make it even easier, check out “Trackables” in the Geocaching app—these are physical items (such as a keychain or figurine) that also have a unique tracking code associated with them and are hidden worldwide. (Pretty fun!) You can find a Trackable by entering its corresponding code into the app to see where it has recently been found.

Visit a Nearby Nature Center or Park

Nature centers are great for summer family fun. Usually located in a wooded area or around a body of water, they have well-marked trails that make it easy to spend some time outdoors with your kids. Nature centers are often free or inexpensive to visit, but it’s good to check before you go and make sure they don’t require a reservation or any other preparation. Don’t miss these 7 Places to Enjoy Nature in Collin County, which has lots of good suggestions!

And most nature centers offer educational opportunities for kids! Check ahead for special presentations about animals or plants, guided hikes, field trips, story time sessions, or anything else that sounds interesting!

Set Up a Routine & Plan Ahead for Summer Fun

We’re all waiting for a break, and it’s right around the corner! But we also know the dog days of summer set in very quickly, and kids will be screaming that they’re bored before you know it. With a little routine and planning, you’ll have some activities at the ready, and it won’t cost a cent!

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan
Jennifer Slingerland Ryan knows a thing or two about kids and families. First, she knows they are joyous, exhilarating, loving and so darn fun. Second, she knows they suck your life dry and make you weep like a baby. By day she’s a psychotherapist; by night she’s a mom and wife. She claims to love therapizing couples, educating parents, reading dystopian fiction and sleeping in her free time (read: she never sleeps). Jennifer is a mom of twins, two 15 year olds. Her youngest is...a joy. Let's just stop there. Most days you can find her in her office seeing clients, doing laundry, loading or unloading the dishwasher, or catching up on the latest episode of Real Housewives of (Insert City Here), Walking Dead or This Is Us. She is a tree-hugging country girl from West Texas who reads, writes, and teaches about human development and families as a hobby and profession. You can read more from Jennifer at her therapy blog, ichoosechange.com


  1. Love 💘 this website! After pandemics, news of wars, rising food and gas prices,etc., WE ALL NEED A GREAT BREAK TO PLACES TO LIFT ALL OUR SPIRITS!!♡♡♡♡♡

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