Summer is properly upon us and we're all beginning to struggle for ways to entertain the kids. Well, I definitely am! Kids of all ages gravitate far too easily towards their screens if they're not pushed in a different direction.
There's nothing wrong with screen time, but the long summer gives you an opportunity to try different activities to break up the Mario Kart. Read on for 33 fabulous screen-free ideas for preschoolers to teenagers!
Water is a no-brainer when it comes to keeping our children busy outdoors. Taming Little Monsters shows you how to DIY a splash pad for hours of fun.
We all need a playdough recipe up our sleeves for rainy days. I love this one from Living Well Mom, because it's super quick and easy. Make some vibrant colors of dough and you have hours of fun all ready to go.
Make your own bird feeder
This is a great activity for younger children to do with you, or for elementary kids to do on their own. For the bird lovers out there, Preschool Inspirations has clear instructions for your very own pine cone bird feeder.
Heading to the kitchen with your children might be your favorite thing to do, or it might be your worse nightmare. The Coffee Mom outlines why you should give it a go, and how to do it well.
Toilet paper roll crafts
Crafts are an easy win if you're trying to tempt your kids away from their screen. Hold onto some junk modelling materials in a box and it'll be easy to get them out and play. The Coffee Mom has some great ideas for crafts with toilet paper rolls.
A very busy spider web
For younger children tying activities into their favorite books can really help inspire their creativity. This idea for a woollen spider web from Rainy Day Mum is linked to Eric Carle's book "The Very Busy Spider".
Make your own ice cream
A summer-friendly treat to make in the kitchen is this yummy recipe from Happy Hooligans. Make your own ice cream with only 3 ingredients! Even better, it involves snow!
Sidewalk chalk drawing
One of the easiest ways to be creative, sidewalk chalk drawing also takes the mess outside, and washes it away if it rains! You can get suitable chalks from Amazon relatively cheaply.
At home treasure hunt
Family treasure hunts are fun bonding activities, and they can also be great ways of getting the kids excited for a big trip or family surprise. You can find our guide to the best at home treasure hunt here.
Build a wormery
If you have a little boy, or girl, who is fascinated with bugs and dirt, then this activity from Rainy Day Mum is an awesome fit. Build your own wormery and spend time over the summer watching your new wiggly friends.
Balloon paint pop
If you're planning your own neighborhood fete then this will be a pretty popular game! Alternatively, it will keep your kids busy in the backyard for a fairly long time! The Coffee Mom shows you how to make your own balloon pop paint game.
Ice block treasure hunting
Struggling to keep everyone cool? This ice block treasure hunt activity from The Inspired Home is the perfect antidote to the summer heat. You can freeze some cute little toys to hold their interest.
Homemade giant bubbles
I don't know if it's just me, but I'm constantly searching for a bubble mix that doesn't disappoint. Nothing I try holds up to the big bubbles my kids want to make. Well, this recipe from Happy Hooligans is epic. It will make the biggest and longest-lasting bubbles for a fun morning in the garden.
This photo challenge is our go-to boredom buster for an afternoon with your kids. You can get the printables you need here for 10 fun challenges and badges that your kids can earn.
I love kinetic sand, and my kids love playing with it. It's a lot easier to create with than regular sand, you can bring it indoors (as long as you don't get it on the carpet!) and it comes in awesome colors!
Animal photo cards
My son loves drawing, but sometimes he lacks inspiration. So these animal photo cards from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls are a really useful option to have up my sleeve. He can copy the animals, and learn about them at the same time.
Another great family activity for later in the evening is stargazing. You can find loads of information online to help you recognize the constellations, and it's fun to tie into a camping trip.
Screen-free angry birds
Ok, so this activity does lean quite heavily on knowledge of a video game. But the good news is that you can take the obsession outside in the fresh air with Fit Kids Club and their screen-free angry birds catapult!
Play or pay card game
With a pack of cards and some poker chips, you can play this fun family card game from Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls. I'm always on the lookout for another card game to play on family holidays, and this one is lots of fun.
Helping the homeless bags
Teaching your kids to think about other people is one of the most important tasks of a parent. These on-the-go bags for homeless people are a gentle way of introducing the concept of helping others in need. Thriving Home has some great tips to help you reach out.
Indoor herb garden
If your little ones have green fingers (or you'd like them to develop some) then growing your own indoor herb garden is a good introduction to gardening. You can find some great kits like this one on Amazon.
DIY bath bombs
Making bath time fun is always a good call. And turning bath bombs into an afternoon activity pre-bathtime is an added bonus. You can find a great recipe on DIY & Dinosaurs.
Family random acts of kindness
The world could do with a little more kindness. And with our list of random acts of kindness, you can add to the happy as a family. It includes some of our favorite things to do like leaving a note on a stranger's car.
Marble run fun
If you're a recycling beast then you'll probably have a lot of cardboard tubes on hand from the toilet roll and kitchen paper. Serving Pink Lemonade has come up with a fun way of resuing them and turning them into a DIY marble run!
No summer is complete without a lot of Lego building! Little Bins Little Hands has a load of free printable Lego challenges for your kids to get stuck into. These will definitely keep your kids away from their screens for a while.
Screen-free coding activity
Look, I know this is a screen-free activity list. But computers are here to stay, and our kids will benefit from skills like coding. Thankfully, Teach Your Kids Code has a brilliant screen-free coding activity that you can play in your backyard with chalk!
When you're trying to occupy older children, giving them space to themselves can be the best way of keeping them off screens. Why not hide some interesting books in hidden comfy nooks around the house for your teen to find?
Ninja obstacle course
From cosy quiet reading to becoming the next superhero! This obstacle course only needs a backyard with a few trees. Then you can watch your child scale new heights, literally!
From the fun to the functional. Your tweens and teens are growing up fast, and preparing them for the real world can seem a daunting task. Why not use the summer to teach them some essential life skills? You can find a pretty good list of the things they should be able to do here.
We might think kids have it easy, but growing up can be tough. All these emotions flying around, friendship issues, and working out who you're going to be. Journalling can help them get a handle on how they're feeling. So we have 50 mindful journal prompts here.
Maybe you're near a pool, or you have one in your backyard. Or perhaps you're near the sea. Swimming is a great physical activity, as well as being a lot of fun to do as a group. Head to your nearest pool with a towel and maybe play some volleyball too.
Explore your town
How much do you really know about your neighborhood? Were any famous people born there? Did anything exciting happen in the last 50 years? Where can you stand to see the entire town? Why not head out as a family and explore your town? You never know what you might find.
No screen until...
A final resource for those of you finding it hard to monitor the screen-free time (I feel your pain). Here is a summer rules checklist that you can print for free from Jasper and Willow. It lays out all the things your kids have to have done before they can settle down and play Minecraft!