Mother with smiling child

17 Activities to Entertain Your Children this Summer

Keeping Your Kids Busy While Safeguarding Your Sanity During the Pandemic

As summer approaches, it can be daunting to think of how to entertain your kids. This is only compounded when you factor in the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, many of us have stayed home and struggled to keep our sanity.

If that sounds like you, don’t worry about summertime activities! We’ve compiled a list of easy DIY projects as well as virtual games and family fun. Most of these only require household items or cheap materials.

A few may require adult supervision, but others are safe when paired with an older child. Whether you’d like to participate or buy yourself some time to work, there’s a little something for everyone on this list!

1. Decorate Your Planters

Potted plants

Though all ages of kids can enjoy this project, it’s a particularly good choice for tweens!

Bonus for parents: It will also give your planters, mugs, or pencil cups a makeover. Older kids may like finding patterns that match their bedrooms. All you need is a printer and a handful of other supplies.

If you don’t have a printer, you can always use a bunch of store-bought, temporary tattoos.

What Supplies Will I Need?

According to the tutorial from A Kailo Chic Life, you and your little ones will need the following supplies for this project.

  • Printable tattoo paper
  • A planter/pot
  • Medium decopauge
  • Sponge paint brush
  • Squeegee or credit card
  • Your own pattern to print

Who Can Participate?

This project is great for kids who:

  • Like to decorate
  • Want to revamp mugs, pencil cups, etc.
  • Are artistic
  • Have patience

2. Visit Outer Space!

Space Museum

Thanks to the internet, your kids can take all kinds of FREE virtual tours. Not only does this include the cosmos, but places like museums, castles, world wonders, and more.

Looking for examples? Some of these visual destinations include England’s Natural History Museum, the San Diego Zoo, Yellowstone National Park, Stonehenge, the World of Harry Potter theme park, mars surface, etc.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Internet access—that’s it!

Who Can Participate?

Virtual tours are great for kids who:

  • Are curious
  • Feel bored
  • Are natural explorers
  • Have parents that like fun-yet-educational activities

3. Turn Pencil Cases into “I Spy” Bags

Flowers made from objects

Do you need a cheap yet fun DIY project? Look no further!

You can turn a “windowed pencil case into an armchair treasure hunt.” This one doesn’t require any sewing or complicated steps.

The gist: You’re adding small, household items to the pencil case and obscuring the “treasures” with poly pellets. A little online shopping may be required, but all of these items can be cheaply found. Assembly only takes a few minutes, too.

What Supplies Will I Need?

The Six Sisters’ Stuff tutorial states that you will need supplies like the following:

  • A pencil case with a transparent front
    • Tip: If you don’t have one, Wal-Mart sells them for 98 cents.
  • About 8 oz of poly pellets
    • These are the clear, filler balls used in stuffed animals. Find them at Hobby Lobby for $3.99. This will buy you 16 oz—enough to make 2.
  • Random little toys/objects/buttons/beads around your house
    • You’ll need about 25-30 items.
  • Hot glue gun
  • Piece of ribbon
  • Camera

Who Can Participate?

“I Spy” bags are great for kids who:

  • Need stimulation
  • Like games or brain teasers
  • Want to be pirates
  • Have pencil cases

4. Make a Scavenger Hunt

Smiling girl

One easy and excellent way to entertain your kids is through scavenger hunts. Just about anyone can create a hunt, making this a cheap solution to indoor boredom. It will also get your kids up and moving around.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Any odd or fun items you can find around your house. Some suggestions include a straw, an old coin, a bookmark, an unused sticker, etc. If you have a backyard, you could also use a pinecone or unusual pebble.

Who Can Participate?

Scavenger hunts are fun for the whole family. In particular, they may appeal to kids who:

  • Are ages 8 and up
  • Have older siblings to help supervise
  • Enjoy physical games
  • Like treasure hunts

5. Incorporate Exercise with Online P.E. Classes

Mother and daughter stretching

Online P.E. classes are another way to incorporate exercise! Every day, Joe Wicks hosts a P.E. lesson for all children stuck inside during the pandemic. In the U.K., the first session garnered views from more than two million kids.

Each lesson lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Since the class using principles of high-intensity workouts, it’s ideal for children ages seven and up.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Just internet access!

Who Can Participate?

These P.E. lessons are great for kids who:

  • Crave exercise or physical movement
  • Need more stimulation indoors
  • Have excess energy
  • Are ages 7 and up

6. Paint and Fold Your Way to Cute Bracelets

Craft supplies

For the crafty or jewelry loving child, try these DIY paper bracelets. Not only are these colorful and cute, but they give your kids some time to paint and fold their artwork. Older kids can help the little ones cut paper into strips. Bonus: This project sneakily allows your kids to practice their math skills, too!

What Supplies Will I Need?

To get this wearable art, check out the tutorial from Picklebums. They advise that you obtain the following supplies.

  • 16-22 strips of paper
    • Note from Pickblebums: The strips of paper need to be 12cms x 3cms. Bigger or smaller is fine, as long as the size ratio is 1:4.
  • Painting supplies
  • Scissors

Who Can Participate?

These pretty bracelets are great for kids who:

  • Like arts and crafts
  • Need to practice their math skills
  • Enjoy painting
  • Like wearing jewelry

7. Put Together a Memory Box or a Time Capsule

A child coloring

Not only will this activity keep little hands busy, but it will be a wonderful treat for the future. It’s also an ongoing project that your kids can contribute to in the future. Write from the Heart designed this project to rouse imaginations.

They advise that you pick a box large enough to hold many items. After that, your kids can start decorating! Some ideas? They could write their name on the box, shower it with glitter, draw their favorite things or memories, etc. Later, you can join them and look through photos or objects to put in the box.

What Supplies Will I Need?

  • A large box (wooden is best)
  • Sentimental objects or family photos
  • Markers, glitter, crayons, or other decorating supplies

Who Can Participate?

This sparkly project is great for kids who:

  • Are around age 7 or higher
  • Like to draw or decorate
  • Need to keep busy
  • Enjoy continuous projects

8. Make a Thumbprint Family Tree

Personalized tree

Not only is this a fun arts n’ crafts activity, but it teaches kids about their roots and produces a super cute result. Tackle this hands-on genealogy project with a print-out template.

According to the Good Housekeeping tutorial, children who know their family history tend to be happier and have higher self-esteem. They can also make these family trees for future holiday gifts.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Who Can Participate?

This activity is great for all kids!

9. Dip Your Toes into Audio Stories

Young girl using headphones

Some people are audio learners. Well, the same is true for kids! Try a free trial with audible or check out children’s publisher Puffin. Since April, Puffin has been airing 20-minute story-time episodes every weekday on their YouTube channel. You can also find the episodes on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

Thanks to Good Housekeeping, we know that these sessions include readings and draw-alongs with both authors and illustrators.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Internet access is all you need. Maybe a pair of headphones, too.

Who Can Participate?

Audio stories are great for kids who:

  • Are ages 7 and up
  • Prefer audio learning
  • Like reading, writing, or drawing
  • Have active imaginations

10. Make Glow-in-the-Dark Bubbles

Young girl with bubbles

Did you know that adding highlighter ink to a bubble solution creates glow-in-the-dark bubbles? Us, neither! A tutorial by Paging Supermom details how to start your very own “Blacklight Party DIY Glow Bubble Recipe.”

What Supplies Will I Need?

For this one, you’ll only need a few things:

  • Large bottle of bubble solution
  • Two highlighters
  • Pliers/wire cutter

Who Can Participate?

DIY glow bubbles are great for kids who:

  • Love bubbles, of course!
  • Like glow-in-the-dark fun
  • Can do this with an adult or older sibling
  • Yearn for Halloween year-round

11. Play Games with Friends and Family Remotely

Two people playing video games

Jackbox Games says it best: “Are you looking for ways to connect with a friend in a different city? Are you not feeling well, but tired of only talking to your pet all day? Want to replace that weekly call home with a wholesome family game of Fibbage? Congrats! You’ve found the perfect blog post. Jackbox Games are local multiplayer games, but with a few extra steps, it’s easy to get a game started with others in remote locations.”

Check out their blog post for a guide that details how to play with friends, family, or anyone else. It even shows you how to play Jackbox Games remotely with Zoom.

What Supplies Will I Need?

  • Gamepad, remote, or mouse and keyboard
  • The Internet
  • Access to Jackbox
  • It’s not always free—see their website for more details.

Who Can Participate?

Jackbox Games are great for kids who:

  • Want to connect with friends or family
  • Need more social activities
  • Enjoy trying new games
  • Like word games

12. Create Window Art with Just Two Ingredients

Mother with smiling child

DIY window art can be so simple yet fun for your kiddos. The item list is short, and the art is completely removable. Although, you might enjoy these creations so much that you ask for more!

What Supplies Will I Need?

A tutorial from And Next Comes L keeps it short n’ sweet:

  • Transparency sheets
  • Water

Who Can Participate?

This activity is full of natural-light play and is great for kids who:

  • Have an artistic streak
  • Like arts and crafts
  • Need some time in the sun
  • Develop more fine-motor skills

13. Fashion Your Pool Noodles into an Obstacle Course

Colorful pool noodles

As summer approaches, kids will probably miss pool time and water play. Distract them with a DIY pool noodle obstacle course. Whether you have a backyard, a balcony, or an apartment, you can tweak this tutorial to make it work. Make sure you create obstacles that kids can “climb through, crawl under, balance on, or jump over.”

What Supplies Will I Need?

Not only is the supply list short, but the tutorial from Raising Dragons includes links.

Who Can Participate?

This awesome course is great for kids who:

  • Are missing outdoor fun
  • Love water parks
  • Enjoy obstacles
  • Have excess energy

14. Test Your Family’s Agility with a Laser Maze

Children studying a laser maze

Like the obstacle course, this laser maze can be fun for the whole family. You can create it in any hallway using crepe paper. Tape long strips between the walls—any form works. Just make sure it’s challenging for your family to go over and under!

The goal is to get through the maze without getting caught on (or breaking) the crepe paper.

What Supplies Will I Need?

We can thank Brassy Apple for this afternoon-of-fun activity.

  • Red crepe paper
  • Tape
  • Hallway

Who Can Participate?

Laser mazes are great for kids who:

  • Like to play spies, ninjas, etc.
  • Are agile
  • Enjoy climbing
  • Love a challenge

15. 6 DIYS Using Stuff You Already Have Around Your House! ~ DIY Compilation Video

Keep your kids busy revamping stuff you already have around your house. This compilation video provides six indoor activities. Some of these include gradient book ends for the book worms, stylized phone chargers for each family member, and cool photo boards for everyone to share.

What Supplies Will I Need?

It varies for each DIY project. Most of the supplies can be found around your house, though!

Who Can Participate?

These activities are great for kids who:

  • Want to change their personal space
  • Love to decorate
  • Have an artistic flair
  • Can try these with an older sibling

16. 10 DIY Indoor Activities for Kids During Quarantine!

If you’re looking for more indoor activities, this video keeps it simple, fun, and cheap! Some of their ideas include tube tunnels, color and shape scavenger hunts, and more. They also suggest letting your kids “draw on the walls.” Hint: they’re drawing on construction paper taped to the walls.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Like the previous video, it varies for each indoor activity. Check out the video to learn more.

Who Can Participate?

These activities are great for kids who:

  • Need to practice their spelling or writing
  • Enjoy exploring
  • Like scavenger hunts
  • Have good imaginations

17. 30 Cool and Fast DIY Projects for the Whole Family

This video may be two years old, but it still holds up! A lot of these cool and fast projects can be completed in a matter of minutes. They’re also a lot of fun for the whole family. They cover everything from miniature swimming pools to DIY lights and lamps.

What Supplies Will I Need?

Again, it varies for each craft idea. Be sure to check out the video.

Who Can Participate?

These DIY projects are great for kids who:

  • Want to practice arts and crafts
  • Help you transform areas of the house
  • Like to experiment
  • Have an older sibling or parent to help

Staying Sane in Troubling Times

Getting your work done and keeping your kids happy can be tricky, but it’s definitely not impossible. These seventeen resources can provide you with great summer entertainment. While some are just for kids, others can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Over the coming months, remember to also make time for yourself. Our communities have pulled together during the pandemic. Everyone is doing their part, and you’re doing an amazing job with yours.

We’ll pull through this together.