The rest of the world might feel uncertain right now, but that does not mean your summer plans have to come to a grinding halt. Even if summer camp is canceled, pools are closed, your holiday plans are on hold, or you are quarantined at home with your kids, there are still so many ways to make unforgettable summer memories. 

With just a few household items and a ton of imagination, you and your family can create wonderful memories and maybe even start a few family traditions while you are at it. We have rounded up 29 awesome, easy, at-home summer activities that will get your kids moving, learning, and having fun…all at (or pretty darn close to) home!

DIY a water mister.

Public pools may not open their doors and kiddie pools may be tough to come by this year, but do not worry…you are not destined to sweat it out all season. Enter the DIY water mister! With a few pieces of PVC tubing and garden hose, you can create a fun and safe way for your kids (okay, and you too!) to cool off on blazing summer days. 

Play water balloon games.

Water balloons are so much fun but if just tossing them is not enough to get your kids laughing and playing then check out these awesome water balloon games that will have everyone soaked and smiling. 

Paint rocks.

Rock painting is probably the oldest camp activity known to man but it does not have to stay at summer camp. Bring the fun home with this quick and easy rock painting 101 activity. Create a mosaic or paint messages on rocks and then line your walkway with the brightly coloured rocks. Another fun activity is to paint plant names and use them as garden markers. 

Camp out in the backyard.

Some of the best childhood memories are made sleeping in a tent in the backyard. Grab a tent, some sleeping bags, and be ready to look out for stars and lightning bugs as your kids learn the joys of snoozing al fresco. 

Eat s’mores.

Is it even summer if you do not have a s’more at least a dozen times? We think not! Of course, backyard fires are not an option for everyone—especially if your kids are really little. So, instead adapt this summertime ritual for the living room by creating frozen s’mores bars, s’mores casseroles, and even oven s’mores. 

Play yard Twister.

You know what is more fun than Twister? YARD Twister! Your kids will love helping to spray paint the lawn and then spend hours falling all over each other in a wild family game of outside yard Twister. If Twister is not your game, you can make your own checker or chess board instead.

Build box fan tunnels.

This one is fun even for grownups. Grab some bed sheets, duct tape, and a box fan and in a few short minutes, you can turn your living room into an amazing fort that doubles as a welcome cooling station during the oppressive heat of summer.

Make squirt gun paintings.

Squirt gun paintings are super fun and super messy, which makes them perfect for the backyard. If you do not have canvas and paints, try food colouring in water and shoot at fabric or tee-shirts. The possibilities are endlessly fun and your child gets a neat piece of DIY art when they’re all done. 

'Bake' mud pies.

A mud pie station is a great way to give your kids a place to get dirty and have at the same time. You do not have to have an elaborate set up, simply grab some old pots and pans and spatulas and let your kid’s imagination run wild. Do not forget to hose off when you are done!

Hunt for ice cube treasure.

Summer can get really hot…so why not put your fun on ice? Fill a plastic container or ice cube tray with water and some fun plastic toys like dinosaurs and let it freeze overnight. With the help of a grownup’s watchful eye, kids will have a ball using various toys and household items to rescue their trove of frozen treasures. 

Go bowling…for tin cans.

Bring the bowling alley to your backyard with this super cute and fun activity. With a few soup cans, some paint, and a ball, your kids will be knocking down 'pins' in no time. Bored with rolling a ball at the cans? Try lining them up on a table and have your kids throw a ball at them and see how many they can hit.

Bury a time capsule.

These are definitely strange times so why not memorialise them? Gather your kids and create your own 2020 time capsule that you can bury in your backyard and dig back up in 10 years. Include things like a face mask, a diary entry about what it is like to be in quarantine, and photos. Your kiddos can contribute pictures they draw of their favourite toys and books. 

Interview each other.

If leaving the house just is not an option (hello, summer thunderstorms!), try this fun activity that will get your kids talking and laughing. Create a list of goofy questions to interview your kids with and write the answers down. Save them for a future time— maybe a year later—their answers make for a sweet keepsake. For extra laughs, ask your kids questions about you and see how well they know you! 

Blow giant bubbles.

Sure, blowing bubbles is okay…but have you ever created your own GIANT bubbles? Yeah, they are pretty cool and they will definitely wow your kids. Grab some craft supplies and have everyone make their own bubble wands and then mix together your own bubble solution. Then spend an afternoon seeing who can blow the biggest bubble.

Participate in a book, toy, or puzzle swap.

Is your kiddo sick of the same old activities? Make a trade with a nearby friend! Plan a contactless swap…leave a bag of goodies on your neighbour’s porch, and they can leave one on yours. 

Go on a neighbourhood scavenger hunt.

Stroll through the neighbourhood with purpose! Come up with a list of different items to look for in your neighbourhood (like a squirrel, a bus, purple flowers…whatever you think might be fun to look for!) and try to find them all. There are lots of printables to get your creative juices flowing, and this activity could be adapted for inside or the backyard as well!

Play neighbourhood bingo.

Put a twist on the neighborhood scavenger hunt: Use a printable bingo card like this—or one you make yourself—and try to get five in a row! 

Dig for dinos.

Plan a sandbox excavation (a sand bin, bucket, or tray will suffice if you do not have a sandbox!). Bury toy dinosaurs, or —if you are feeling ambitious—homemade dino bones for your kiddos to dig up. You could, of course bury other treasures, too! 

Splash in a pom-pom water table.

Think pom-poms are better suited for the craft table than the backyard water table? Think again! These fuzzy little orbs can be tons of fun with a little H2O. Kids can scoop and squish and stir and sort their pom-pom soup all day long. And if you do not have a water table, you can use pretty much any big container or bin.

Do a summer reading challenge.

Sure, reading is plenty fun on its own, but for some kids, making it even more of a game can add a little motivation to curl up with a good book. For that reason, reading challenges have long been a summertime staple for libraries. You can hitch your family to an existing reading program, or come up with your own challenge. The challenge could be a star chart that you use to track time spent reading or number of books read. Or, you can use it to broaden your horizons. Come up with a list of types of books to read…it could be like genre, or it could be characteristics like: a book with no words, a book with a character that does not look like me, a book with an animal on the cover, and so on! 

Level up your sidewalk chalk game.

Chalking the ‘walk is a timeless summer activity, but day after day of driveway doodles can get a little, well, dull. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make this activity feel fresh again. Use painter’s tape to create a stained-glass effect, use chalk stencils to up your art, or play a sidewalk chalk game

Build a tight rope for kids.

Are your kids dreaming of life under the big top? Bring the circus to your backyard with this summer activity. With very little prep work, you can create your own DIY tight rope that is safe for even preschoolers to play on. Try challenging each other to see who can make it all the way across.

Plant a pizza garden.

If you are looking for a way to get your kids excited about gardening, then check out this delicious idea: Plant the ingredients to make your own pizza! Not only will your kids love the idea of 'growing a pizza' but this activity will bring them back to garden on the daily to learn about how food grows. 

Create a fairy garden.

With a lot of imagination and little bit of stuff you can find in your own recycling, you can build an enchanted fairy forest in your own backyard. Make up a fairy story and create a little word where your kids can pretend that they have real fairies to take care of. 

Sing silly campfire songs.

Summer camps might be closed this year but that does not mean you cannot bring some of the magic home to your backyard. Even if you cannot play a guitar, you can still enjoy a campfire sing-a-long with your kids. Gather the family outside, under the stars, and belt out some goofy songs that will make some wonderful family memories. 

Tell (gently spooky) campfire stories.

You do not need a literal campfire to enjoy campfire stories! There are a ton of spooky, ooky, kooky stories for the preschool and elementary school set. Check out these stories and try them out while camping in your own backyard. For littler kids, a silly story can be just as much fun. 

Build a working telescope.

Stargazing and peeking at the surface of the moon is a mesmerising way to get kids to fall in love with science. Try building this DIY telescope that will have your kids proving once and for all the moon is not really made out of cheese. Because it involves a glue gun, Mum or Dad will have to take the lead on crafting it, but little ones may still get a kick out of using it.

Learn the constellations.

If you have built a telescope and you are wondering what to point it at, try learning how to spot constellations in the sky with this fun marshmallow and toothpick activity for kids. Not only will your kids love the sticky, messy science lesson but they will learn some really great stories about what is up in the sky at night.

Make moss paint graffiti.

Did you know that if you blend living moss with a few ingredients you probably already have on hand that you can make incredibly beautiful moss graffiti? Gather your kids and paint giant rocks or cement sculptures, paint your name on a tree or a wall, or let your imagination fly and turn your backyard into a wonder forest land.