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Summer Activities are something that most parents, including myself, go looking for, every time the temperature rises. It’s no wonder either, considering how many of us are trying to come up with ideas to keep kids engaged, happy and healthy through a 2-month break.

Tween kids running in a group towards the camera in an open field indulging in summer activities

Five years ago, I wrote a post on 62 Summer Activities for Kids, thanks to a parent group on Facebook. The moms there came up with some brilliant suggestions and I’ll be forever thankful to them for that.

Read it here: 62 Gadget-Free Summer Activities for Kids

(Okay I just checked and I published that post on March 24th, 2014! That’s exactly 5 years ago!).

While that list is more or less geared towards the younger age group, today’s list is for tweens and teens. I even asked my 12-year-old for input and she came up with some ideas. Talk about a collaborative post. πŸ˜‰

But don’t worry if you don’t have a tween/teen. At the end of this post, I have linked to some lovely articles/posts by other moms who have created their own list of activities for kids of different ages. So, make sure you don’t miss any of them!

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click and purchase any item that I recommend. Read my full disclosure policy here.

So, without ado, here’s a list of Summer Activities for Tweens and Teens that will help you too.

Cultivate a Reading Habit

You do know that if I am going to talk about activities for kids, reading will always rank as the first item on the list. That, and the fact that Gy asked me to put it first on the list. πŸ˜‰

Want ideas for books for tweens?

Here’s a list of great books for tween girls

Here’s another list of book series for tweens and teens.

Here’s an important tip if you have kids who aren’t readers. Let them read anything they like, even if it’s a comic and you think they’re too old for it, please let them read.

Raising a reader needn’t be a challenge. That’s what Allison McDonald and Amy Mascott talk about in this book.

For one thing, it will keep them away from screens (which is a HUGE plus) and for another, it will encourage them to slowly pick up the habit of exploring more books.

Leave books lying around the house and resist the urge to clean up every single day. (As a recovering dusting fiend, believe me, this is hard!)

Summer Activity TIP: Give them a reading challenge of sorts. Introduce them to the Goodreads Challenge and ask them how many books they’d like to finish in a two-month period. You’d be surprised how many kids love a challenge. πŸ™‚

Learn a skill like knitting

I know how this sounds and I can hear your brain cells whirring: ‘Knitting? Really?’

Absolutely and this is actually not gender-specific. I remember getting this knitting kit as a gift for Gy when she was 7 or 8 years old. It’s a different matter that she only took it out and looked at it when she turned 11.

But the good news is, once she did, she was completely hooked! So much so that she made an entire scarf from scratch, all by herself and with zero help from me. Kept her completely occupied.

So very impressed at the kid's enthusiasm to learn something new. She got this knitting kit as a gift, six years ago!…

Posted by A Parenting Diary on Thursday, December 28, 2017

Summer Activity TIP: Anything which lets kids use their hands in a DIY exercise is good for the brain. So if knitting doesn’t work for your child, find something else that will.

Encourage storytelling

I remember how thrilled I was when Gy came to me one evening and made up a story using nothing but a set of story blocks.

In fact, I immediately captured it on video and it was something so many parents loved!

The best part? These story blocks are so inexpensive! They’re quite ideal to carry on road trips as well, especially if you have a large camper of sorts where the kids can use the rear space in the car to play.

Summer Activity TIP: I’ve discovered that open-ended toys are especially useful for introverted/shy kids. It helps build their confidence in social interactions. Try it out and let me know.

Collect Stamps/Coins

Remember doing this as kids? The idea came to me when Gy stumbled across her dad’s stamp collection from 30 years ago. He has an entire album full of stamps from various countries.

I know it’s the age of e-mail, but get a friend or a relative to send some postcards every now and then. Gy has been building her own collection for a while now and she intends to sort and organise her dad’s collection in a new scrapbook.

The same can be done with coins. Did you know that in most zoos/ tourist spots they give you custom coins, made by a special machine? On our trip to the Boston zoo in 2010, we collected quite a few like these!

You can get a piggy bank to store these or even a scrapbook like the one above to keep track of different coins from various places.

Summer Activity TIP: Collections can be extended to anything that catches the kid’s interest. Rocks, leaves and twigs, birds’ feathers are all ideas for a Nature scrapbook, for example.

DIY Kits: Science/ LEGO/ Terracotta

April 2018 was one of those months when I watched the creative side of Gy truly blossom and take shape. I’d always known that she was more craft-inclined than I was, but this particular activity blew me away.

Sorry for the terracotta jewelry spam but I'm just in so much awe of these! Also because I couldn't do something like…

Posted by A Parenting Diary on Tuesday, April 3, 2018

A simple 10-day Terracotta workshop, a DIY terracotta kit, some paint brushes and 3 hours every afternoon, were all it took to make these lovely designs. The instructor was pretty patient and after 3 days, the kids managed everything on their own.

I couldn’t find an identical kit for this on Amazon, but if you just want a terracotta painting experience, you could start with this cute piggy bank version.

Other great DIY kits I’d recommend are those that encourage learning and fun simultaneously. LEGO and Science kits are pretty fabulous.

Lego kit : Lego technic Mack Anthem (The one grouse I have against the marketing here is that it is labelled for ‘boys’. Gy is a girl and has loved LEGO for the longest time. She builds everything from doll houses to airplanes. Gender stereotyping should really not happen anymore, but that’s a subject for another post).

If you’re in the space for a STEM subscription box, this award-winning one by Green Kid Crafts comes highly recommended. Spans a whole gamut of age groups too!

Summer Activity TIP: Pretty much any activity- Science, Craft, Lego- can be made interesting, if you look for the fun element. Research some ideas that will help kids remain occupied and learn something at the same time.

Maintain a Habit Tracker Journal

This warms my productivity-filled heart like nothing else can. πŸ™‚

You know that expression that kids learn more by watching and observing than by direct instruction? It’s never been more true than in the case of Gy.

She’s quite the sponge when it comes to watching and learning. Over the period of one month, she noticed how I worked on my journal and my personal habit tracker and then asked if she could start one too! You can imagine my delight. πŸ˜‰

And so , I helped her make one from scratch. Now, she’s keen to add stickers and other items that will make it more colourful. Okay, yes, she’s a stationery junkie like her mom.

If you want an idea for a DIY habit tracker, check this post below.

If you’d like some add-on features like reward stickers, I loved the look of these ones here.

Summer Activity TIP: Habit trackers are great to keep track of chores, household duties, school assignments, fun activities to do daily- the list is pretty endless. Once I started doing this, I noticed how Gy automatically became more responsible in other areas too.

Play Indoor Games

I’m a big fan of board games, strategy games and card games myself. Turns out Gy is no different.

On the days when the heat is just too much to bear, a good stack of board games can help beat boredom and keep the children entertained.

From UNO to Sequence, Monopoly to Scrabble, the sheer variety of indoor games is mind-blowing these days.

We’ve got all of these, by the way. The Monopoly Game in particular is a huge hit, with the electronic credit card machine to track money instead of the paper money of yore. πŸ˜€

Summer Activity TIP: Get more open-ended board games and indoor games that are not necessarily age-restricted. I love these varieties since they encourage long-term use.

Go on a hike/trek

If the outdoors gets your kids more excited than the indoors, the one way to burn off all that excess energy is to take them on a hike.

Every year, Gy’s school organises two or three treks in nearby hillocks and Nature spots. Apart from building strength and stamina, this is a fabulous way to encourage the exploratory nature of kids.

If you’re slightly more adventurous and are willing to try them, send the kids for overnight camps with a trusted guide. We’ve done that four or five times and although the first time was a bit apprehensive, her sheer joy at the end of the camp was enough to send her again.

Read: Adventure camps for kids: Is it the right age?

Hikes and treks require a one-time investment in hardy camping gear as well as sturdy shoes and backpacks. Find all of these at reasonable prices in your local stores or just order them online.

Summer Activity TIP: Hikes and treks may not be suitable for kids of all ages/ dispositions. If you are unsure about sending your kids on a hike alone, accompany them so you can be certain if this something they can manage by themselves later.

Hit the beach

Beach Toys for Children laid out against the sand.
Image courtesy via Shutterstock

Nothing spells Summer like a trip to the beach, am I right?

The sun, the sand, the waves are all designed to give you a most memorable experience. Add these lovely beach toys to the mix and you have hours of playtime for kids of all ages.

Gy had a huge stack of these when she was younger and even now, we take a few of them when we visit the beach. Hey, sand castles are for everyone, even the young at heart.

Summer Activity TIP: Don’t forget to use plenty of sun protection gear such as sun hats, suntan lotion, sunglasses both for yourself and your kids. Stay safe outdoors.

Be a tourist in your home town

Ever noticed that you tend to visit the hot spots (pun intended) in your home town, only when family and friends come over to visit?

It’s natural. Most often, we don’t look at our own backyard as an option when it comes to activities to do. Here’s how you can change that.

Set aside an entire day to devote to sightseeing around your city. Take a map (a regular one, not Google maps) and mark out the best spots for tourists.

Ask the kids to draw up an intinerary, plan the transport and carry scrapbooks or notepads along to take notes. Don’t forget to pack a good point-and-shoot camera as well. Armed with these, plus a bag of snacks and water, you’re now ready to explore the city you grew up in.

Summer Activity TIP: After the day out, ask the kids to either record their experiences in a journal or create a scrapbook of memories they can cherish.

This lock journal is something Gy has and absolutely treasures. And yes, mom and dad are off-limits when it comes to this book of hers. πŸ™‚

Looking for more screen-free activity ideas for kids? Check out these links below. Thank me later. πŸ™‚

Liked this post? Pin it to your favourite Kids’ Activities Board on Pinterest!

Summer activities Collage of images. Shows beach toys, kids reading, a child with binoculars, a child on a hike, DIY kits, stamp collection, hands knitting some yarn.

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Ophira · March 25, 2019 at 11:39 am

These are really creative ways to engage a child. I remember as a child using a lot of those Jumbo activity and Puzzle books during the summer holidays in the village. A cheap and easy way to keep the kids busy.

    Shailaja · March 26, 2019 at 11:38 am

    I loved those books which had mini-crosswords and word finder puzzles, do you remember those? So much fun πŸ™‚ Thanks again for the link to your post, Ophira.

Shilpa Gupte · March 25, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Perfect post for me as nephew is a free bird now! ;P
Will share the reading challenge with him, oh and that habit tracker, too!

    Shailaja · March 26, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Ha ha, am sure he will thank you for the tips πŸ™‚ Thanks, Shilpa.

Obsessivemom · March 25, 2019 at 6:56 pm

What a useful post. I love the idea of the knitting kit. I haven’t seen anything like that. It would be great for N. H is a whole different story. Although he is a reader it is H.A.R.D. to keep him away from the screen. Sigh! Need to get creative this summer.

    Shailaja · March 26, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    It’s really cool too! The knitting Jenny is quite intuitive but you can check YouTube videos to get her started.

    As for screen time, the one thing that works is keep time limits. Gy has never been fond of screens as such and V/I have encouraged that trait to a large extent. But for kids who are used to screens you can try setting time restrictions in place. 30 minutes a day at the end of the day, after all chores are done, that sort of thing.

Rajlakshmi · March 26, 2019 at 2:29 pm

I remember the beautiful jewellery Gy had made. It’s wonderful to see her interest in variety of activities. These are the things that usually kids remember from their early days after growing up.

    Shailaja · March 26, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    She sat and painted terracotta pots today. Apparently, it was a set someone gifted a while ago. I didn’t even know about its existence! The good thing is she is sufficiently independent now such that I don’t need to oversee her every task.

Anamika Agnihotri · March 26, 2019 at 4:21 pm

I loved all the 10 points of keeping the kid engaged over the summer holidays. I remember that knitting tool from the past year. This year if we visit India during summer holidays, I have thought of taking D to visit the historical places of interest in Delhi. It will be challenging in Delhi’s hot and humid weather of August, though.

    Shailaja · March 26, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks Anamika πŸ™‚ I just knew parents would relate to this one. I can well imagine the heat in Delhi at this time! Let me know what you decide if you do make the trip. Hope you’re keeping well otherwise.

Vidya Sury · March 28, 2019 at 10:23 pm

I so love that knitting kit and want one! Great ideas for kids. I remember growing up we had extra chores around the house and also did math and “handwriting”. My Mom encouraged book reviews and some free writing every day. Wish I’d kept those! The terra cotta jewelry is gorgeous! Happy summer holidays to your angel!

Rachna Parmar · March 29, 2019 at 1:59 pm

I am writing a post as well on things to do in summer for teens. I guess, it is on our mind, but naturally. πŸ™‚ I liked all the activities you suggested. And now that I am back from vacation, time to implement the time table I’ve made. πŸ˜‰

Unishta · April 6, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Great ideas all! I specially love the story block one . Haven’t heard of that. Our favourite activity while growing up was learning a new skill every summer. So one year I learnt to swim , another year to touch type. One year I collected and pressed flowers and made a scrap book with all the names etc .

RoF · May 13, 2019 at 10:29 pm

Yes we gotta include the older kids and ensure that they are enjoying themselves too! This is a great article. The things we overlook.

Divya Agrawal · June 12, 2019 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for sharing such wonderful activities for kids.

Sara · September 7, 2019 at 12:37 pm

thank you for article! Interesting content and tips) I think I will use some of these)

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