Learn how to plan summer activities for kids that will help you turn the tables — and take back summer! A big thank you to Evite® for sponsoring today's awesome list of classic summer activities.
School is OUT! This year we're slowing down and doing things differently — We're going to take back summer.
Stress-free days away from school and rigid schedules. A little sunshine, popsicles for lunch, barefoot adventures, and evenings catching fireflies. This is the nostalgic summer I want for my kids.
Here are a few ways for you to help give your kids an unforgettable summer...
- Turn three everyday activities into memorable "summer parties" with these simple suggestions
- Read tips on how to use fun summer activities to turn the tables and take back summer
- Pick and choose a few suggestions from our list of 15 Summer Bucket List Ideas
This summer, Evite is hosting a sweepstake inviting families to TAKE BACK SUMMER. Enter for a chance to win $2,500 toward a family getaway, where families can spend more time face-to-face and device-free. Check out all the details here!
How to Use Fun Summer Activities To Turn the Tables + Take Back Summer
In past summers, I've found myself frantically trying to schedule summer camps and grand adventures that we're too busy to truly enjoy. This year we're doing things differently — we're going to be intentional. We're going to take back summer. Having a slow and peaceful summer with your family doesn't mean "do nothing," it means enjoying each day "on purpose."
It is astounding how quickly summer calendars fill up. Pause right now, pull up your family calendar, and assess the things you genuinely want for yourself and your family this summer. We need to ask ourselves what's important and then have the courage to plan our summers around that answer.
If you're not 100% sure what you "genuinely want for yourself and your family" take a moment to read through the list of 15 Things To Do With Kids In The Summer list below or pop over here for more fresh ideas on how to take back summer.
Each of the summer activities below is meant to be laid-back, stress-free, and straightforward. The only real commitment for parents is scheduling whitespace into the calendar.
Just because we've committed to doing a slow summer doesn't mean other families and friends have too. We love using Evite invitations for get-togethers and summer adventures with even the busiest of moms. This approach sparks fun and ensures these activities get added to both our calendars!
3 Unforgettable Slow Summer Activities For Kids
You don't need to be an expert crafter or party planner to be the hero of summer. Here's a quick parent-to-parent tip, if you add the word "party" onto ANY everyday activity, it automatically makes it special. It also lets your family know that you'll be spending more than fifteen minutes on the task. In other words, a party is a signal to slow down and genuinely engage.
1. Plein Air Outdoor Art Party
Let creativity soar this summer. Host a stress-free afternoon of playful fun for the little artists in your yard.
No need to search Pinterest for a parent-led art activity! Send out an Evite invitation, pop up an easel, and put art supplies out in the yard — you've got an instant outdoor art party.
Plein-air, Adjective /plānˈer/
Denoting or in the manner of the 19th-century style of painting outdoors, or with a strong sense of the open air, that became a central feature of French impressionism.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Come Paint With Us!
You can keep it as simple as a single community easel or go a step further and have art stations set up for the kids. Additional stations for your Outdoor Art Party might include:
- Decorative Fort Building Pins — AKA: Have the kids paint clothes pins to take home for rainy day fort building.
- Painting Pottery — Get some inexpensive terracotta pots or plastic planters for the kids to paint and then plant flowers!
- Community Yard Art — Create a collaborative group art project by setting up wood poles for a bean tepee. Have the kids take turns painting this one-of-a-kind living fort.
2. Personalized Pizza Party
Mini Naan bread is the key to a super-simple personalized pizza party. Keep it easy — marinara, pepperoni, and cheese make most kids smile! Warm these personalized pizzas up on the grill, eat outside, and you've got a slow evening of summer fun.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Let's Get Cheesy
You can set out cheese and pepperoni then call it good. If you'd like to take things to the next level, here are a few additional things you can do to make this summer activity special...
- Write "Pizza Night" on a chalkboard from the house. Grab a flower pot from somewhere in the yard and prop your chalkboard up to welcome your friends and family. This simple invitation makes the evening a party vs. "just dinner." No chalkboard? Grab a marker, write a welcome note on a piece of paper, and tape it to a chair. Keep it simple, friend!
- Throw a tablecloth on the patio table and pop on some music. This small act takes the event from everyday to memorable in a matter of minutes.
- Have the kids help with veggie chopping and prep work. If it is age-appropriate, have your kids help set-up the patio table, cut veggies, and prepare the meal. They'll feel invested in the experience, and it will make the evening memorable.
3. Summer Sprinkler Party
Put out the sprinkler, the kiddy pool, and then round-up the kids into the yard. Be sure to send an Evite invitation to friends — The more kids, the merrier!
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Fun in the Sun OR Summer Splash Party Invitation
The key to making this classic summer activity memorable? Saying "YES."
Mom, can I wear my life vest? YES.
Can we play with the umbrellas? YES.
Can we eat our popsicles in the pool? YES.
The only rule during our Summer Sprinkler Party was anything the kids brought out they had to help bring back into the garage at the end of the day.
How to Use Fun Summer Activities To Turn the Tables
Here are three tips for how to use stress-free summer activities to turn the tables and slow down this summer.
A.) Scheduling Whitespace In Your Calendar For Slow Summer Activities for Kids
Busy has a way of unexpectedly creeping into the calendar. It is crucial you schedule padding into your calendar. Whitespace is especially necessary if you and your partner both work during the summer. There are a limited number of weekends available!
Use customizable Evite invitations for getting together for everyday summer adventures with even the busiest of families. This playful approach of officially inviting friends to everyday activities ensures your fun plans get added to both of your calendars!
B.) Create a Screen-Free Summer Bucket List
Now I admit, our family doesn't limit screen time. That being said, if you read Why Our Family Doesn't Limit Screen Time, you'll see this tip:
When you see your child on a screen, entice him or her with an offline adventure, project, or idea.
Summer is a time to soak up the sunshine of life. All the fun summer activities below are about getting together for more face-time, rather than screen time. After all, kids won't remember their best day of television. My motto for the season is inspired by Shanti...
At the end of a summer day, your kids' feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and everyone's eyes sparkling.
C.) Slow Down When Planning Things to Do With Kids In Summer
Below are some simple bucket list ideas for summer! You'll find affordable and easy-to-make summer crafts and other fun activities to do with your children from making meals together to creating pillow forts and going on backyard adventures. I encourage you to slow down when planning things to do with your kids this summer.
Don't rush through these summer bucket list ideas and turn it into a to-do list. Slow your pace and enjoy these activities with your kids! After all, it is crucial we teach our children that the best portions of life are the small nameless moments spent with people who matter to us.
Go through the list of ideas, pick your favorites, and then send an Evite invitation to a friend to ensure you follow through.
Be sure to pad adequate whitespace around the activity. Something like building a fort *can* be done in less than fifteen minutes, but if you tell your kiddos you've invited friends over to help and that you've got three hours scheduled for it, the activity turns into a totally different experience.
15 Additional Summer Bucket List Ideas!
Use these lists of ideas as a jumping-off point for turning the tables — be intentional and take back summer. Schedule these slow summer activities for kids with friends and family during the week or on weekends. We love all the adorable Evite invitations available, so I've include design suggestions to round up the gang for some of the bucket list ideas. These summer fun ideas are fun for little kids, but our teens still love these kids' activities too!
1. Reading Picnic Party
Pack a blanket and a few snacks, then head to the library to check out some books. Spend the afternoon at a local park reading together.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Picnic At The Park
2. Lemonade Mixer
Do your kids love lemonade as much as mine do? Invite friends over for an afternoon of lemonade experimentation. Get our classic lemonade recipe here and find twenty-five ways to play with this traditional drink!
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Sunshine & Sweet Lemonade
3. Summer Costume Party
Welcome friends over for a dress-up party. Be sure to add on the invitation that they should bring at least two dress-up items to add to the group collection for the day!
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Costume Party Invitation
4. Ice Cream Party
Waiting for the local ice cream truck makes ice cream taste better. Our neighborhood truck comes every Wednesday night! Send an Evite invitation and have friends over for a slow evening of listening, playing, and waiting for the ice cream truck to arrive. If you don't have a local ice-cream truck, buy a gallon of your favorite flavor and enjoy with friends.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Two Scoops Invitation <— SO CUTE!!!!
5. Friends & Family Game Night
Don't be afraid to host "Family Game Night" during the day to ensure your kids have the mental energy to rock a few board games! We've also coordinated an early-evening game night with an Evite invitation where we have the kids bring PJs. We set the kids up with a movie after a few games and spend an evening with friends.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Board Game Night
6. Sunrise/Sunset Soiree
There is something powerful about watching the sun rise or set. This kids' bucket list item takes a bit of planning, but it is guaranteed to be memorable.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Customize this Sunshine Invitation with a photo OR customize the text on the Under the Stars invitation
7. Farmers Market Adventure
Make plans to meet friends at the local farmers market and spend some time together, enjoying your fresh bounty. Our market is next to a river playground, so we schedule a few hours of playtime while munching on fresh blueberries, sugar snap peas, and local bakery items.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 5 Tips For Fostering Independence at the Farmer’s Market with Kids
8. Fairy House Party
Head to your backyard, a local park, or even the beach to encourage the kids to build fairy houses.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Customize a Butterfly Garden Invitation
9. Sandcastle Building Party
Whether you're hosting this meet-up in your backyard sandbox or at the local beach, this is sure to entice your little engineer.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Sandcastle Invitation
10. S'more Party
Light up that backyard fire pit and grab the 'mallows.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: S'more Fun Invitation <— Love this retro design!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: S'mores Life Lessons That Will Make You Smile
11. Twirling Party
Honestly, if you're looking for fun things to do in the summer, twirling or spinning has to be on the list. Meet friends at a local park and wait for the giggles.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Twirl on Over OR Jump Jump Invitation
12. Slime Party
Whether you make homemade slime or buy some from the store, this is bound to be a memorable afternoon.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Slime Party
13. Milk & Cookies Party
Have the kids help make the cookie batter or buy a classic pre-made cookie log. Just invite them friends over for a slow afternoon of cookies & milk, and you've got a party.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Milk & Cookies
14. Smoothie Soiree
From cocoa powder with frozen bananas to traditional mixed berry and yogurt, there are SO MANY fun (and healthy) ways to play with smoothies. Welcome friends for a morning of experimentation.
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Lemon Lime Invitation
15. Dinosaur Party
Got plastic dinosaurs? Then you've got what it takes to host a just-because dinosaur party! Pull out playdough for creating impressions or find some un-used plastic bins in the garage and make dinosaur gardens!
Evite Invitation Recommendation: Dinosaur Roar Invitation
Remember, Don't Let this Summer Bucket List For Kids Overwhelm You!
Remember, this is a list of simple ideas to help you asses the things you genuinely want to do this summer. It is not a must-do collection of kids' activities. Pick a couple of your favorite ideas, be intentional, and have fun.
Now and then it is good just to pause and be happy. THAT is our goal for this summer, and we hope you'll share in that with us.
Let's take back summer, together!!!
P.S. Don't forget! Evite is hosting a sweepstake inviting families to TAKE BACK SUMMER. Be sure to enter for a chance to win $2,500 toward a family getaway, where families can spend more time face-to-face and device-free. Check out all the details here!
Love this collection of kids activities for summer? Sharing it would make our week. ?
It would make our week if you took a second to share this post on your favorite social media spot. (That's how we know we're on the right track and should continue writing more posts like this!)
Want to save this list for later? Pin it:
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” This content was written as part of the Evite Influencer Program. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”