The summer months can be particularly intense for families, especially if everyone is at home all the time, and so, with that in mind, today I’m sharing some fun get-out-of-the-house activities for the whole family.
I’ve included both indoor and outdoor options, as well as activities if you have toddlers and preschoolers, or teenagers.
Basically, there’s something for everyone. 🙂
I’ve also included a three-day family activity plan, which will help you plan three activity-packed days with a budget option, an indoor option and an outdoor day option.
Outdoor Summer Activities for the Family
1. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Get yourself some nature scavenger hunt lists, print them off and either hand them out individually or form teams and hand them out to each one.
Then head off to a local park or forest and scavenge away! The winning team could also win a prize, for instance, a home-cooked meal made by the other team.
2. Mountain Hike
For younger children you may need to drive up the mountain and just do a short walk at the top, but if your kids are older, why not try a full-on mountain hike?
You could also combine this with a picnic and nature scavenger hunt.
3. River Walk
My family and I did this the other day, and it was lovely.
Find a local river town and spend the morning or afternoon walking alongside the river bank and spotting fish, boats and riverside houses.
You could also combine this with a trip to an ice-cream parlour, to get your kids motivated for the walk. 🤣 Or you could promise them a boat trip at the end of the walk.
4. Boat Trip
If you’re visiting a seaside or riverside town, check out boat trip options for families.
To jazz it up a little, you could also do a treasure hunt spotting where you look for certain landmarks, objects or animals during the ride.
Plan your zoo visit for a whole day if it’s a large zoo, or just part of the day if it’s a smaller one. You can also plan your visit according to the schedules for the animal shows.
You could also combine a visit to the zoo with a picnic, if they have a picnic area, or a meal at an outdoor restaurant nearby.
6. Outdoor Restaurant/ Café
If your kids love eating this is a great option for mealtimes. Look for kid-friendly cafés and restaurants that serve quickly and have kids’ menus or family budget options.
If your kids are into all types of food, try exotic foreign food to make the experience a bit more special.
7. Picnic at the Park
This is a simple activity you could do on a sunny day and it’s a great budget option. Grab a blanket, a pack of cards, and a picnic basket, and you’re all set.
Need picnic food ideas? Check out my 20 healthy and delicious picnic food ideas for families, which includes drinks and desserts.
This is my kid’s favourite summer activity. Funnily enough, my husband and I aren’t very beachy people! But, having said that, we do ok with river beaches so we take the kids often in the summer.
When looking for a beach check to see if there are restaurants or toilet facilities nearby, in case your kids suddenly need a quick trip to the bathroom. 😅
Also, get information about currents, tides and water safety as some rivers and beaches are not safe for swimming.
9. Outdoor Market
Take your kids to an outdoor market with local produce, vintage items and handmade goods, and “window” shop.
Alternatively, if your kids have pocket money, you could get them to choose items to buy for themselves or to give as presents to other people. (You could even think ahead for Christmas or upcoming birthdays!)
10. Garden Tea Party
Get your children to put on some fancy dress clothes and do an English cream tea in your garden or outdoor space.
To make a simple English cream tea, just make some scones and serve with clotted cream (or whipped cream if, like me, you live somewhere that doesn’t sell it) and jam. Serve with tea for the adults and lemonade for the children.
For a fancier affair, serve the scones and drinks with some cucumber and cheese sandwiches, a cake or two, and some fresh fruit.
You could also get your kids to set up the table with a beautiful tablecloth and a jar of fresh flowers, and you could even decorate the outdoor space with some bunting.
11. Outdoor Theatre
Check local tourist websites and travel guides for outdoor theatre exhibitions in your area.
If you can’t find any and your kids are older, you could always get them to make their own play and produce a show for you in your garden.
If your kids are younger, you could get them to do a talent show where you give them a task like “tell a story” or “do a dance” and they take turns to do so.
Make the show extra special and have some snacks and drinks available: popcorn, lemonade, cookies, ice cream.
12. Local Fair
This one is an absolute winner for children of all ages and sizes, and, dare I say it, adults, too! 😂
Go in the evening for an extra special experience, but if you’d like to escape the crowds try an afternoon visit, instead.
Indoor Summer Activities for the Family
1. Board and Card Games
If your kids are older you could plan a family game afternoon, and make it a competition with a prize for the winner or winning team at the end.
My kids love children’s Cluedo, Dobble and Kids Pictionary at the moment, but as they get older I’d like to teach them Monopoly, adult Cluedo, and Taboo.
This is a great option for a rainy (or sweltering hot day!). With covid restrictions eating at the cinema is not allowed in many places, but you could combine a trip to the cinema with a trip to a restaurant or café on a rainy day.
Some shopping centres also sell combined family tickets that include a meal and a cinema session at discount rates.
Visiting museums is a great learning opportunity for adults and kids, but you may find your kids prefer hands-on learning centres rather than Art galleries and History museums.
Try several according to your children’s interests and go back time and time again if they enjoy the experience.
4. Kid-friendly Restaurant
If your kids are into food take them to a kid-friendly restaurant (quick service, kids’ menus, and kid-adapted chairs and utensils).
Also look for restaurants with good ratings on Trip Advisor, as that gives you a good idea of the overall quality.
Check your local library for children’s book readings, crafts, films and other activities. Or just go in, choose some books and then read them at home.
Some libraries also have a home delivery service during lockdown restrictions. Check your local library’s website to find out more.
If you are staying somewhere near a theatre check out if it’s currently showing any kid-friendly plays or musicals.
Also check out children’s theatre performances in your area. Get your kids interested in the arts early!
7. Train Ride
This is a great activity for a rainy day when you don’t want to drive but you do want to go out. Go somewhere local, for a quick ride or make a longer experience out of it, if you have more time.
Also, have a couple of game ideas up your sleeve in case your kids get bored: card games, I spy, charades.
The circus is a great place to visit as a family and you can often get special family tickets. Check different options, and always choose reputable circus companies that will comply with all healthy and safety measures.
9. Music Concert
Try kids’ music concerts, such as Disney in Concert. If you can’t find any good, affordable concerts, watch one online or on TV. You can also get your children to learn the music scores if they know how to play an instrument.
10. Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses
If you’re visiting a historical city, take your kids to local castles, palaces or manor houses. You could even get them to wear their princess/prince fancy dress clothes.
Read up on the people that lived there, and try to engage your kids with questions and stories throughout the visit.
Family Activities if you have Toddlers and Preschoolers
1. Water Play
This is a great activity for a hot day. Make the most of your sprinkler system, garden hose or paddling pool and provide waterproof toys, and get ready for hours of fun. At the end, put your kids in the bath for bubble play.
2. Special Story Time
You can do this by telling the story yourself, or by playing an audiobook. To make the experience special provide a snack and do storytime on a blanket in the garden.
You could also provide an activity sheet, colouring sheet or a blank piece of paper for your children to draw on after the story has finished.
3. Animal Farm
Find a local animal farm and plan a morning or day trip. To get your kids interested beforehand you could read stories with farms animals, and even tell a few of your own.
You can also show them a couple of photos of farm animals and get them to do animal activity sheets.
4. Toy Theatre
Create a toy theatre by using the back of a sofa or bed, choosing some toys your kids love and creating a little story. Get the toys to interact with your kids and ask them questions, and your kids will absolutely love it.
5. Fairy Garden
This one is great as a project to do with girls, but you can also adapt it for boys and create an animal farm with toy animals, or any other toys your sons like.
This is also a great way to get your children interested in gardening.
6. Activity Centre
Take your kids to activity centres such as outdoor adventure centres, soft-play centres and hands-on learning centres for younger children.
Also check out activities for young children and parents such as horse (or pony) riding, and swimming-lessons.
7. Baking and Cooking
Even toddlers enjoy this as cooking provides a lot of sensorial stimulation. Start by making some easy pancakes and then progress from there.
For great kid’ baking recipes check out BBC GoodFood.
Family Activities if you have Teenagers
Ever taken your teenagers out into the wild? Try it even if they’re reluctant at first. New experiences are great for bonding, and camping will provide a change to the normal routine.
To make it extra challenging go camping in a remote area, and go off the grid for a few days.
2. Outdoor Sports
Do an outdoor sport with your kids. Try out tennis, cycling, swimming, basketball, or whatever you and they like. You could do this just as a family or you could invite some friends to join you and create teams.
If you live in or are visiting a hot country make sure to visit a Waterpark with your kids. They’ll really enjoy themselves and maybe you will too!
4. Safari Park
Safari parks are perhaps a little bit more exciting than zoos for teenagers and more likely to be open during covid-19 lockdowns.
5. Road Trip
Take your kids on a road trip and get to know each other again. Choose interesting places to stop over at, create challenges or games to do along the way, and listen to music and podcasts about subjects your kids are interested in.
Road trips are also great opportunities to talk, and, most of all, have fun.
6. Dri-thru Cinema
Choose a film you would all like, buy some snacks and enjoy!
7. Shopping Centre
This was a hit with me when I was a teenager. I loved going shopping and then eating lunch in the food court. If your kids get an allowance teach them to save up before the trip and help them to budget for their shopping.
Three-day Activity Plan – Summer Activities for the Family
Here goes a three-day family activity plan with three different options for you to choose from. You can follow each day’s plan, or mix and match, according to your circumstances.
Day 1 – Budget
9 a.m. – Visit a local farm
12.30 p.m. – Picnic at the park
2 p.m. – Nature scavenger hunt
4 p.m. – Outdoor games
8 p.m. – Sunset or stargazing dinner in the garden
Day 2 – Indoor
9 a.m. – Train ride to a local town
10.30 a.m. – Library
12.30 p.m. – Restaurant lunch
3 p.m.- Cinema
8 p.m. – Talent show / theatre at home
Day 3 – Outdoor
9 a.m. – Zoo / Safari park
12.00 p.m. – Picnic lunch
2 p.m. – Beach (seaside, river or lake)
7 p.m. – Al fresco dinner (outdoor restaurant, or street food)
8 p.m. – Fair
There are many summer activity options for families and what you choose will depend on the weather, and the ages of your children. In this post, I share indoor and outdoor activity ideas, as well as suggestions for family days with teenagers and toddlers, and a three-day activity plan.
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