Following up on my 101 things to do this summer, here are 99 more fun, educational and just plain neat things to do with the kids before fall sets in.
From preschoolers to high schoolers, there are activities for everybody.
- Write a letter to the editor.
- Cook with some sort of edible wild food, such as milkweed. Be sure the plants are untreated and okay to pick, plus that you know what you’re picking!
- Play Book Cover Bingo.
- Make clothesline forts from sheets and blankets.
- Do science experiments with straws.
- Memorize the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Gather lots of smooth, round stones and write words on them in permanent marker. Be sure to write nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on, the more interesting the better. Put them in a large bowl or bag and have the kids pull out words to make silly stories or poems.
- Make a rain gauge and chart the precipitation over time (use a short, wide jar such as a salsa jar and have kids use masking tape and a permanent marker to mark inches).
- Do ant science experiments.
- Learn how to make jam.
- Write a play.
- Go see an outdoor play like Walnut Grove’s Wilder Pageant.
- Watch for bats at twilight.
- Go to an outdoor concert.
- Have a taste test between store bought and garden produce.
- Learn to say “hi” in five languages.
- Pick fresh rhubarb (if you don’t have a patch, I’m sure someone you know will be happy to share!) and make something tasty with it like rhubarb soda.
- Learn to sew.
- Play basketball in the park.
- Check out a book of world records and pick one to try your hand at.
- Play jump rope games.
- Go to a water park.
- Write your legislators.
- Research your family tree.
- Order and release beneficial insects in your back yard.
- Do footprint painting in the driveway.
- Make homemade popsicles.
- Take part in the KidsReadScience summer reading contest or a similar one.
- Learn to play a song on the guitar (or another instrument).
- Host a slumber party.
- Print out a blank state map and color in states as you spot cars with those license plates. Here’s printable maps with states labeled and without, according to how challenging you want it. This is a fun way to learn US geography!
- Put out a variety of materials like bits of wood, washers, bottle caps and such, plus electrical tape or a glue gun (for older kids or with an adult to help) and make crazy sculptures and inventions.
- Make some educational games like tree leaf bingo, the photosynthesis relay race or the organic molecules card game.
- Have a tea party in the yard.
- Use a flashlight and learn to make shadow puppets.
- Go to one of the fun and educational 2 o’clock programs at the Jeffers Petroglyphs or a similar science and history site.
- Wade in a stream and see what you can discover in it.
- Learn the amendments to the constitution.
- Stage a back yard circus.
- ID 50 kinds of birds.
- Learn to dive off the diving board.
- Picnic on the banks of Plum Creek (or just pretend that’s where you are!).
- Alter a book.
- Use boards to make a design or letter in a sunny part of the lawn and see how many days have to pass before it shows up. (Don’t worry, the lawn will green up again after you remove the boards!)
- Learn a new swim stroke.
- Catch, study, and release some guppies.
- Learn how to do short division.
- Chase a rainbow.
- Build a tree house or design your dream tree house.
- Sell something at the Farmers’ Market.
- Pour vinegar, salt water and boiling water on weeds in the driveway and see which one works best.
- Head out to a wooded area and try to get as close as possible to something wild — deer, birds, squirrels, whoever you can find.
- Throw a camping party.
- Learn Russian Peasant Multiplication.
- Set up the tent in the back yard and play games inside.
- Try to find as many elements from the Periodic Table of Elements as possible.
- Play Blackjack (21).
- Learn all of the words to the National Anthem.
- Attend a summer festival.
- Hunt for fossils, petrified wood and other neat rocks in someplace rocky. Even parking lots often have really good specimens!
- Play educational games online.
- Lie in the back yard and watch clouds.
- Make Artist Trading Cards
- Make nature journals.
- Put out washable tempera paint and paintbrushes, and let the kids paint large rocks or other items in the yard. Use the hose or wait for the rain to wash it all off afterwards.
- Submit a short story, poem or article to a magazines that accept children’s writing.
- Bury a time capsule in the back yard.
- Learn to do kukuro puzzles (which involve simple addition and logic) or suduko puzzles (which are simpler).
- Play one of these 101 summer games.
- Go to a matinee.
- Set up a hummingbird feeder where you can view it.
- Make a fantastic sand castle together.
- Hold a rummage sale. Put the kids in charge of pricing and money, and give them a cut or use the profits for a fun family treat.
- Check a magic book out of the library and learn some magic tricks.
- Use old silverware, fishing line and bits of things to make homemade wind chimes.
- Make a flour and water beach collage of treasures.
- Make some outdoor collages with cardstock, glue and whatever natural materials the kids can find to glue down.
- Make a colored density column.
- Go for a drive (or bike ride!) in the country.
- Lie in the back yard after dark and learn some new constellations.
- Wash the dog.
- Roll down a hill.
- Make a cereal box marble run.
- Get together a bunch of musical instruments (or make some) and have a jam session outside.
- Go horse back riding.
- Make easy lollipops.
- Live for one day (and evening!) like it’s the old days. Do without gadgets, electricity and modern conveniences. Play old fashioned games, make old fashioned meals and read books from the past.
- Have a spelling or geography bee.
- Make Barbie clothes.
- Fasten a clear baggie securely around a leaf on a tree outside and see what happens.
- Start a journal.
- Play Back Seat Bingo.
- Have a watermelon seed spitting contest.
- Make toad houses.
- Make magazine collages on the garage. Put out old magazines and buckets of water, and let the kids rip the paper, dunk it in the water and “paste” it to the garage wall. They can make designs or try to make pictures. When finished, simply pull it off and toss!
- Gather some craft materials like paint pens and glue, and head outside to make natural dolls. Use pine cones, acorns, drift wood and other bits of nature for people, animals, furniture and more.
- Play at the playground together. Swing, use the seesaw, slide and chase each other around.
- Give each child a sketchpad and some charcoal pencils or colored pencils and go find a picturesque spot to sketch.
- Teach the kids to make boondoggle or friendship bracelets.
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This article originally appeared on examiner.com