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Classic Summer Activities for Kids

Classic Summer Activities for Kids

I never went to summer camp. 

It feels good to get that off my chest. 

Some of my friends were repeat summer campers. They would come back from two weeks of camp with braided friendship bracelets, swimsuit tan lines, and cafeteria chants. They were annoyingly upbeat.

Personally, I learned about summer camp the old fashioned way: By watching The Parent Trap

Maybe the lake is always bluer on the other side because I still daydream about a classic camp experience. Also, 11-year-old Hallie Parker influences my adult purchasing behavior (see: mustard duffel acquired in 2022).

But my childhood didn’t include a wooded adventure in the Northeast.

No, I created my own damn fun. 

My siblings and I sorted through a sporting goods graveyard to invent games like “Backwards Baseball” and “Scooter Tennis Dodge Ball.” We set water sprinklers under the trampoline, caught tadpoles in giant puddles, and fell out of treehouses—the latter an unintentional occurrence. 

Our summers weren’t polished, but they did build camaraderie between my sisters, brother, and me. 

All that to say, I have a proposal for summer activities for kids in the remainder of 2023. 

Let’s draw on our own classic summer experiences and introduce our kids to the best of them. 

What summer activities for kids did you love to do when you were growing up?

Did you go to the library? Hit the snow cone hut? Make frozen bananas? 

Play croquet? Draw on the sidewalk? Ride your bike?

This could be the year your kids form core memories in the sand box of summer (read: figuratively or literally)—and they could directly relate to your own core memories. 

If you’ve been around the blog a time or two, then you know I’m not sending you out into the sunny wilderness without a guide. I’ve got you covered with the top summer activities for kids with nostalgic nudges for parents. 

Here’s a list of fun summer activities for kids that you probably enjoyed when you were their age.

Summer Activities for Kids - Water Toys

Summer fun for kids begins with sprinklers. I remember running through the lawn sprinkler at a very early age, dodging stickers in the yard and launching over the rising water. Sprinklers are summer simplicity at its finest, and these inflatable giant unicorn and shark sprinklers elevate a classic summer favorite into an absolute dream. Add the creme de la creme of summer icons by tossing a beach ball into the mix and seeing kids’ delight as they use it as a shield from the spray. Another classic water toy gets an upgrade with these inflatable noodles in fairy or sea creature motif, and we’ll round out the water recommendations with this water play set. It’s giving 1990s Vacation Bible School. Do you see it, too?


Water Toys



Summer Crafts for Kids

To be (Lisa) Frank, crafts are cool. Summer crafts for kids in the air conditioning are even cooler. So while I’m very supportive of scavenging for wildflowers with your kiddos, I present to you the modern daisy chain. Made out of tissue paper, this giant flower garland requires some hands-on assembly that your littles will love to tackle in the craft corner. More summer crafts for kids that remind me of millennial childhood include this heart embroidery kit, Land Before Time 26’ roll of paper, and handmade sidewalk chalk.


Summer Crafts

Giant Flower Garland // Heart Embroidery Kit // Land Before Time 26’ Roll of Paper // Handmade Sidewalk Chalk

Summer Games for Kids

How much fun would it be to introduce your kids to croquet? According to my research, croquet goes back to the Bridgerton era (the official term, I’m sure), making it an essential family activity for summer. Bocce is another absolute classic, and I’m dying over these foam beach bats in casa vintage black. Not the sporting type? Share the rules of pinball with your kids and play until you’ve mastered it.


Summer Game


Croquet // Bocce // Foam Beach Bats // Pinball

Summer Activities for Kids - Outdoors

If you have a safe place to ride, bikes and scooters offer joy, exercise, and increased coordination for your kids. I should know—I was the co-creator of Scooter Tennis Dodge Ball. For kids who need a more stationary activity, I love this outdoor summer sand box (with canopy!) and the Little Helper Backyard BBQ Play Stand. They’re going to eat up these fun summer activities for kids. 


Outdoor Activities


Bikes // Scooters // Outdoor Summer Sand Box // Little Helper Backyard BBQ Play Stand

Retro Summer Vibes for Parents 


Take a trip to your teenage years outside of your therapist’s office with this inflatable flashback chair. In this mobile-friendly recliner, reminiscing about your sister’s Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster or your first family game of Spinner (Double 9 Dominoes) is suggested, but not required. Oh, and it doubles as a pool float! Grab a SunnyD from this retro Cooler Radio as you watch your kids interact with the summer outdoor activities for kids that make memories last a lifetime. Then, casually mention that your tie dye tank and trendy bucket hat aren’t on their first lap around the sun. The good ol’ days are back, baby. 


For Mama


Inflatable Flashback Chair // Retro Cooler Radio // Coco One Piece Classic // Trendy Bucket Hat