Summer is officially here! That means that school is over, and we need to keep our toddlers busy! Here’s a list of 101 Fun Summer Activities for Toddlers!
Enjoy, and please share it if you find it useful!
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1. Play with Magic Sand.
We built a simple magic sand play station for our son. He spends hours at a time just filling and refilling buckets everywhere! It’s definitely one of our top summer activities for toddlers!
All you need is:
Of course, you can always go for a magic sand playset, too. They are both fun, and the Magic Sand keeps the mess at a minimum!
2. Make Popsicles
What’s better than cooking something delicious with your toddler?
Cooking something yummy and healthy, and then eating it below the summer sun!
I love this compilation of popsicle recipes by Michelle, they are easy to make, tasty, and there’s a sangria popsicle for mom and dad after the kids are asleep!
3. Play with Bubbles of Soap
Making bubbles of soap and popping them is one of my son’s favorite summer activities for toddlers!
He still doesn’t know how to properly make them and needs mommy’s help, which makes it all too adorable!
There are all kinds of creative games that we play with bubbles, such as:
- Bubble popping (the classic)
- Bubble chasing.
- Taking pictures of bubbles.
- Dodging bubbles.
I love this list of 21 bubble games to encourage sensory development, by Wiz Therapy.
4. Play in the Inflatable Pool
Oliver loves so much the inflatable pool that we have had to literally chase him around the house with his swimming trunks in our hands to prevent him from jumping into it fully clothed.
And we haven’t always been successful.
The minute he sees us filling the pool, he jumps up and down in excitement.
We also have some pool toys that he loves. We particularly like to play Nemo’s catch game with his Finding Dory toys.
5. Make your own Storybook
We take traditional stories, like The Emperor’s New Suit, and add Oliver to the story. The picture above is our very first storybook with Ollie’s face (badly) added to the story.
We then print it and lace it together, and we have a brand new book!
Ollie likes to paint the drawings and decorate the cover. And it makes for a great storytime book!
6. Plant a Tree
In this digital era, I believe it’s important for children to learn about nature.
In our community, we go to every event that involves planting trees. And, during the summer when the weather has picked up a little bit, we plant trees in our backyard!
We then have a lot of fun taking care of them as they grow.
7. Plant a Bonsai Tree.
As an indoor nature project, you can plant a bonsai tree.
You can start one with a Bonsai kit like this one, and care for it over the summer.
It’ll give your toddler a fun responsibility, and contact with nature without having to leave your house.
8. Wash the Car
Washing the car with mommy and daddy can be super fun!
You can make a day out of it, go outside to get the supplies, get into your bathing suits.
Have some fun with the garden hose!
9. Ride a Tricycle
Go around the block in your toddler’s tricycle!
10. Allow some Screen Time
I have been a game developer specializing in toddler games for the past 7 years. As someone who’s behind the scenes, I can tell you that screen time isn’t necessarily bad if it is limited.
And limited is the keyword in that sentence. We allow Ollie 15 minutes of screen time per weekday, and 30 minutes during weekends or in the summer.
I have been using Amazon Freetime Unlimited, and I have been amazed at how much Ollie has learned playing the games there. I can control which games he plays and for what amount of time, and it’s amazing. He has learned the colors, animals, and is well on his way to the ABCs, not too shabby for a 2-year-old!
You can get a free month of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited by signing up here. You won’t get charged if it’s not right for your family!
11. Play Ball
You can play catch, goalie, and make creative uses of the ball.
It doesn’t get any more creative than that!
12. Cook Together
Cooking is a great bonding activity. And doing it with your children makes it even better.
Here are some recipes that you can make together. Have a laugh and get messy!
You can also have a lot of fun eating them! This brings me to my next activity…
13. Do a Picnic
There’s something magical about a good ol’ picnic and there’s no better time than when it’s warm and sunny.
We usually grab our picnic basket and stuff it with homemade cooking and get out and explore. Oliver loves it.
All you need is:
Pro tip: if your child is a picky eater, or doesn’t like to eat at all, a picnic may help. Changing the scenery may be a great idea!
14. Camp in your Garden
You can set up a tent in your backyard!
My husband and I love camping, but it gets a little bit more difficult with a toddler. So we moved our camping site to our own home. It’s practical, and lots of fun!
Camping may be a bit extreme or time-consuming for some people. If that’s your case, you can always set up a play tent during the day. It’ll be tons of fun for your toddler!
15. Build a Fort
How about building a for with some blankets and chairs?
All you need is:
- Blankets and Pillows
16. DIY Sensory Bags for Little Brother or Sister
If you have a baby at home, you can ask your toddler for help with DIY sensory bags!
It’s a fun time for the toddler and the baby. And more time for us work-at-home moms to get to work!
I love Claire’s Little Tots Googly Eyes sensory bags, they are so easy to do. Ollie loves them as well, we have a lot of fun making the eyes appear and disappear!
17. Make a Home Garden
Having a home garden is the dream of many moms. It’s one of the most time-consuming summer activities for toddlers on this list, but one of the most rewarding as well.
You can make a routine out of it. Ask for your child’s help watering the plants, and planting the seeds.
It’ll be so much fun to watch your plants grow!
18. Repaint your Toddler’s Room
In our case, Oliver still had his baby room, so we did both. And, we included him in the redecoration process.
Without fear of getting messy… Ok, with a little fear of getting messy, but we let him do it anyways.
After repainting his room from blue to white, we glued some glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling. And daddy held Ollie so that he could put up a few.
That simple task has done wonders for us, Oliver loves his room now so much that he doesn’t want to sleep with mommy and daddy anymore!
19. Organize Scavenger Hunts
The good thing about scavenger hunts is that you can do them anywhere!
We have done them inside the house, in the garden, in the pool, you name it!
It doesn’t matter what you hide, what matters is the process of finding it!
20. Play Hide and Seek
Ollie has always loved hide and seek. He likes it when he counts and I hide, so that’s the way we play it.
What I have found out that works for us, is letting him lead playtime. Especially hide and seek. He gets so creative, and it’s so funny when he bosses us around demanding that we hide where he says.
21. Play with Flashcards
We have a flashcard-only drawer, and Oliver brings them out one by one and tells us what each one is.
It’s so cute the way he enjoys it! And we have a lot of time to work while he brings us each card!
Pro tip: You can hide the cards in the Scavenger Hunt and ask your toddler to say the name of the element in the card when she finds them!
22. Sort Stuff by Color
Have you ever found yourself grocery shopping with your toddler going “This is red, this is blue”?
We found a great learning opportunity there. When I say stuff, I mean everything!
We bought a set of colored beach pails and we try to bring them everywhere we go.
They go into our grocery shopping trips for sure.
Now, when we say “this is blue”, we ask Ollie to put the item in the blue pail. Trust me, it has made waiting in lines so much more bearable!
23. Go to the Beach
Ah! So refreshing, don’t forget to go to the beach if you can!
Pro tip: You can collect seashells and paint them at home.
24. Go on Walks
Even a simple walk around the neighborhood will do.
Explore new venues, race each other on the sidewalk, jump around, and show your child new places!
25. Go to the Theatre
I know, I know, going to the theatre with a toddler sounds dreadful. We were so afraid when we tried it.
We were so sure we’d have to leave after it all even began.
But we didn’t.
We chose a short musical for children, it only lasted 30 minutes. And we started going to longer plays from there. Ollie loves them!
26. Chase Butterflies
You can even catch them with a net, just make sure you don’t harm them and release them right away.
27. Feed the Birds
Why not leave bird feeders for your child to see them!
You can take a look at all of these kid-made bird feeders for inspiration! I can’t pick a favorite.
28. Play Fetch with your Dog
If you have a dog, or if you can take care of a friend’s dog for the day, you can play fetch with it.
Our son loves playing with our dog, they play all sorts of games together.
Yes, even dog painting. (Rolls eyes.)
But the one game that makes him laugh the most is throwing a stick for the dog to retrieve. No wonder it’s so popular…
29. Go to the Park
You can try exploring a new park. Or take a new toy to the same park.
Parks are an infinite source of creativity and a great place for the kids to blow off some steam!
30. Stamp Hands on White Shirts
If you have a couple of white tees, and some finger paint, you can make adorable family shirts for you and your little one!
From time to time we do our cloth painting project with:
31. Dance to Kid’s Songs
Who doesn’t love dancing? (Besides my husband, I mean…)
There are several game songs that you can dance to with your child.
Our top five are:
- If you’re happy and you know it.
- Old McDonald had a farm.
- Row, row, row your boat.
- The wheels of the bus.
- I sent a letter to my love (a tisket, a tasket).
Pro Tip: Find songs that enhance motricity and promote learning!
32. Play in the Rain
Didn’t you use to splash your way into muddy, rainy puddles when you were a child?
33. Read Books Together
Our toddler doesn’t know how to read, and he loves it.
He makes it up, babbles, and we all have a good laugh. Most of the nights I ask him to read me a bedtime story, and we chortle our way to sleep.
Our top 5 stories are:
- Our most recent book starring Ollie (see Make your own Storybook)
- Two Monsters.
- The Colour Monster.
- Giraffes Can’t Dance.
34. DIY Music Instruments
We made some maracas (the one in the picture above) using:
- An old yogurt bottle.
- Rubber from a popped balloon.
- A string.
It was super easy, and our stepping stone to do other instruments. You can find some inspiration in this post by meaningful mama.
35. Make an Excavation Site
You can build your child’s fine motor skills with a homemade excavation site. All you’ll need is:
And voilá! You got an activity that’s entertaining and educative!
36. Go to the Pool
Teach your toddler how to swim by playing with her in the pool!
There are several creative pool games that your little one will love, but just swimming around with you might be enough!
Soon, you’ll be the one chasing them around the pool.
37. Prepare a Family Meal Together
Prepare an entire meal with them, explaining to them what you’re cooking.
It’s safer if you make breakfast with them or just sandwiches.
No knives and no need to turn on the stove.
Let your child add the ingredients to your sandwiches. And then, feel free to dote on them proudly telling everyone that they helped!
Pro Tip: Making your toddler own the food he eats may help her eat if she’s a picky eater!
38. Build a Castle with Duplos
You can also use wood blocks, the important thing is the building part.
Built castles, towers, houses, whatever they want, just let your children lead the game. It’ll enhance their creativity, and it will provide a fun time for all the family.
Pro Tip: Take pictures of your toddler with their creations, and then proudly display them in a frame that you make with them! This brings me to my next activity…
39. Make Picture Frames
Why not redecorate your living room by changing your current picture frames for your toddler’s homemade ones!
You can do a simple picture frame like the one shown above with just:
40. Make a Kite
More in the DIY department, my dad, and my son’s bonding activity: Making kites!
You can make one from scratch, I love these ideas from momjunction.
Don’t have time for that?
You can always get a kite design kit and get it ready to fly!
41. Fly the Kite
Put your kite to the test!
When it’s windy outside and go fly your kite. You can bring your picnic basket and your homemade sandwiches along! It’ll be such a fun day.
42. Colour Pasta
Use some of that finger paint to color some cooked pasta and have sensory fun!
You can also paint uncooked rice and add it to your picture frame creations.
Filling a tray with some pasta or rice and getting messy is a great idea!
43. Look at the Stars
On a clear night, you can sit on the lawn and look at the stars.
If you have a constellations app, you can tell your child all about the different patterns in the sky.
44. Ice Cube Painting
What’s cool, awesome, messy, and develops fine motricity?
You guessed it! Ice cube painting.
- An old ice tray.
- Popsicle sticks
Add different colored paint to an ice tray, fill it in the middle with paint and the middle with water. Mix it really well, freeze it a bit and stick popsicle sticks to each paint cube. Then let it completely freeze.
Once you take it out you’ll have painting cubes stuck to your popsicle sticks! Paint on paper and let the fun begin.
Pro Tip: Use special watercolor paper so that it doesn’t break with the water.
45. Build your own Cork Boat
You can build a simple cork boat, that really floats, and then bring it to the pool!
Frogs and Fairies has a super simple set of instructions in this post.
46. Make your own Snow
I love this DIY project by Laurie, with shaving foam and cornstarch she built warm, moldable, white… Snow?!
47. Play I Spy
You can learn colors, shapes, numbers, ABC, by playing I spy with your toddler.
48. Play with Play-Doh
On with the messy activities!
Pro tip: You can wrap a table with plastic food wrap to keep the sticky messy levels at a minimum.
49. Go to a Petting Farm
A trip to a petting farm can do wonders for your toddler.
Being close to the animals and actually being able to feed them has some magic to it.
We’ve been taking Ollie to the patting farm ever since we had the green light from his doctor and he enjoys it more and more.
Pro Tip: Try to keep the kids awake on the car ride back, and enjoy a night of heavy sleep courtesy of your toddlers!
50. Paint each other’s Faces
Who said face painting was only for the pros?
Get some face crayons and paint each other faces!
Pro Tip: Reinforce color and geography concepts by painting flags in each other faces.
51. Make your own Puppets
You should totally try Ali’s sock puppets. They are easy, creative, colorful, and incredibly fun to do.
Pro Tip: Build a puppet show for the rest of the family in a week-long project. You can base it on key concepts like the colors of animals!
52. Go Shopping Together
Why not turn that summer shopping into a playtime activity.
Switch that quick drop-in at the store into a day at the mall!
53. Find Shapes in the Clouds
On a cloudy day, lay down in the grass watching the clouds and looking for shapes.
Pro Tip: Bring your animal flashcards and compare the animals in the clouds with the corresponding flashcard for your child to get a better grip on the game.
54. Roll in the Grass
Find a safe hill in the grass and roll down with your toddler. Make sure it’s a small hill, and that daddy’s there to catch her.
Pro Tip: If there’s an outfit you’re about to throw away, either for your or your toddler, use it for rolling down the hill. It’ll get dirty!
55. Explore Neighbor Cities or Towns
Is there a nearby town that you’ve always wanted to go?
Visit without a plan, just go and be there for the day. Walk along the sidewalks, go to the parks, try the restaurants. Carpe Diem!
56. Go to the Museum
If there’s a children’s museum in your town, go visit with your toddler.
It’ll be fun and educational!
Pro Tip: It’s best if you go in the least busy hour since most of the activities are interactive. You can check the busy hours in Google and plan your visit to get the most out of it.
57. Go to the Movies
My husband and I love going to the movies. I have been very impatient about having to wait so long to take Oliver to the movies!
Enter matiné shows!
Find a screening without many people, a good children’s movie, and watch your delighted child laugh with glee.
Pro Tip: Go with two adults per toddler, and if your child is too young, every 30 minutes go outside for five minutes, even if your toddler doesn’t seem tired. (Unless she screams when you try to leave.) It’ll keep things fresh for everyone.
58. Go on a Playdate with a Friend
Don’t miss out on hanging out with your child’s friends in the park.
You can also grab some coffee with the moms and share your problems with them! Mom power to the rescue!
59. Get a new Pet (or Take Care of a Friend’s Pet for a Week)
Go to the animal shelter and get that puppy (or kitty) and bring them home.
Give your child small responsibilities related to your new pet like:
- Naming it.
- Pouring its food and water.
- Playing fetch
60. Paint Eggshells
For tomorrow’s breakfast, collect the shells and wash them with hot soapy water. Let them dry and add them into bowls with paint.
Cover the floor with paper, and you can then splat-paint the floor with eggshells.
61. Homemade Karaoke
All you need to sing to your heart’s content is:
- Some music on speakers.
- A toy microphone.
Pro Tip: You may want to have your phone ready to record, so maybe put the music on your laptop!
62. Have a lazy Sunday
Taste the magic of staying in your PJs all day. Order food, watch movies, put puzzles together, play board games.
Everyone will rest and be ready for the upcoming week.
63. Have a Class Together
Ollie and I signed up for a mom and son swimming class together.
It was so fun that we were addicted. Did you know that you can even take a robotics class with your toddler?
Find out something you think you both might enjoy and go for it! You won’t regret it.
64. Ride-on Toys
Push your toddler to the park and back in the cozy coupe.
Have your toddler push the empty car, pretend your car is a spaceship.
Or maybe you can go grocery shopping with it!
65. Feed the Ducks
If there are ducks in your area, you can go with your toddler and feed them.
Be careful not to feed them anything that could potentially harm them, though.
In this article, you can find a list of food that you can safely feed a duck! Good luck!
66. Make a Costume
You can find many many ideas for DIY costumes online. So, why not try it?
When our boy was starting school, his teacher asked us to dress him like a koala. We had just arrived in a new city and had no idea where we could get a costume overnight.
So we made one using only scissors, foam paper, and a glue gun. Above you can see the koala mask we made. Yes, my husband was in charge of cutting the foam paper.
Still, Ollie looked so adorable in his koala costume.
67. Have a Costume Party
Now that you have your costumes, it’s time for a party!
Make a costume contest between family members, and have your little one show off all the costumes that you two designed together.
Talk about a summer project!
68. Get the Mail Together
Seems simple, and cute, but it can be even more fun than it sounds.
Go get the mail, open it with your toddler, explain to her what it means, and repeat it the next day. It’ll make for a fun routine
Pro Tip: If you know the time that the mail arrives at your home.
You can bake cookies with your toddler and surprise the mailman by waiting for her outside with goodness fresh from the oven.
69. Collect Rocks
Simple, yet effective.
Everywhere you go be on the lookout for your rock collection. By the end of the summer, you can add them to your home garden to decorate and prepare it for the cold.
Pro Tip: Try some rock painting!
70. Take Pictures of Flowers
Make a plant scrapbook and take pictures of flowers with your toddlers.
Practice different colors and sizes, with simple instructions like “Find the red flower.”
We got one of those instant cameras for our plant scrapbook, we don’t regret it!
Pro Tip: Frame different pictures of flowers into DIY picture frames. Make them color-themed, for instance, the picture of the purple flowers can go in the purple frame.
71. Go to the Local Library
What’s better than a nice book?
Thousands of nice books!
Most libraries have a complete section dedicated to children with reading nooks, and fun things to do.
Don’t miss out on a trip to the local library!
72. Play with Water Balloons
You can play water balloon war in your backyard.
Or you can just throw the water balloons at each other.
A favorite of ours is a baseball water balloon. We hang the balloons from strings, and with a foam baseball bat, we smash them all!
Fair warning: you’ll get wet, so put on your swimming suits!
73. Learn New Words in a Different Language
We are raising Ollie in a bilingual household, and introducing a third language seemed like pushing it.
Until we decided not to.
As opposed to forcing a completely new language, we decided to engage our son with animals in another language.
And it has been so much fun and educational for everyone.
Pro tip: Have a week per animal. If this is, for instance, the lion week, make sure that all your toddler is exposed to is lion-themed, if possible. That way, your toddler will learn to say lion in different languages seamlessly.
74. Clean a Beach.
Go to the nearest beach right before the sun rises and clean it.
Be sure to wear some gloves and bring bags, and a rake.
Cleaning beaches not only benefits your community, it also helps your toddler to be conscious of our environment.
75. Finger Paint
Painting with your fingers never gets old!
You’ll have as much fun as your toddler’s stamping hands all around!
Pro Tip: We bought a wood child’s table, and we decided that it needed a painting job.
So, we finger-painted the table. It looks awesome now, and Ollie loves it even more!
76. Paint the Sidewalk with Chalk
See your front door differently by painting the sidewalk with chalk. Just remember to wash it later, and have some water fun doing it!
Pro Tip: You can paint the sidewalk to play games like hopscotch!
77. Go to a Local Street Market
A local market or a flea market can be a magical place.
Bring your toddler along for a walk, and show her all of the amazing things they sell!
It’s one of the busiest summer activities for toddlers on this list, so make sure you have everything under control.
78. Practice Yoga
We started joining a mom-and-son yoga class.
I noticed a change in my toddler’s attitude almost immediately. We felt an even stronger bond, and it really helped him master his emotions.
He is still a toddler, of course, so temper tantrums are at the order of the day. But they are less frequent and shorter than before.
Pro Tip: If you can convince your husband to join in (I couldn’t), I’ve heard the benefits are even greater.
79. Build a Water Park in your Yard
Set up a pool, sprinklers, and a DIY plastic water slide on a hill, and what do you get?
80. Paint a Box
Do you have a big box where your toddler would fit?
Don’t throw it away.
Add a box of crayons, and have your toddler sitting inside it painting the inside of the box!
81. Have a Water Blast Fight
You can get these foam water blasters and splash each other!
It’s even more fun if you’re fully dressed and you challenge your toddler to soak you.
Spoiler Alert: I always lose!
82. Do the Laundry
Doesn’t sound like fun at all? It is!
Our son loves doing the laundry with us, plus, it’s an added responsibility.
He hands us clothes for us to hang, or put in the washing machine.
A word of warning, it does take twice as long as it’d take to do it on your own.
Pro Tip: You can ask your child for help sorting clothes by color!
83. Play in a Ball Pit
Who said pools are only for water?
You can make your homemade ball pit and have your little one play there for hours. This is one of the least time-consuming summer activities for toddlers on this list.
Hours of fun!
84. Catch Fireflies
At night, you can catch fireflies in a jar (with holes in it), and briefly see them brighten your little one’s face.
Be sure to release them safely!
85. Make a Lemonade Stand
Why not make a lemonade stand out of cardboard boxes.
Even if it’s for the family.
You can then sell or give away free lemonade. Just for fun!
86. Watch Ant Colonies
My husband loves watching ants coming and going out of their colony. And he brought our son to show him.
I didn’t think he’d have any fun watching ants, but I was proved wrong.
Now every time we go to the garden, Oliver is on the lookout for what ants are up to!
This is probably one of the most surprisingly fun summer activities for toddlers.
87. Play Bowling in your Yard
With bowling set for kids, you can play bowling in your own yard!
Set the pins, and don’t keep score!
Pro Tip: Use this as an opportunity to teach your child some colors. Give her simple instructions like “Knockdown all the green pins!”
88. Hammer Pegs to a Cardboard Box
Your child will have lots of fun hammering pegs into the box.
It’s safe, fun, and it’ll give you time to get some work done for the day!
Pro Tip: Do this activity every time you’re putting furniture together.
89. Play Fishing in the Bathtub
Or in the pool, you can get a fishing set and fish with your little one!
90. Play Simon Says
This is a fun outlet for creativity.
Of course, your child will eventually be the one bossing you around. But by letting them drive playtime, we are encouraging their independence and creativity.
So go with it. See what other summer activities for toddlers spring from this one!
91. Do a Photo Collage
Find some old kids’ magazines that you may have lying around the house or some publicity in the mailbox.
Cut faces, bodies, and backgrounds and put them together with your little one.
92. Look for Crabs in the Rocks
Simple as that.
Next time you’re at the beach, sit down to look for crabs
Every time a crab appears, show it to your little one.
93. Water the Flowers in the Neighborhood
Fill a watering can and walk around your block watering flowers.
A word of warning, don’t go outside without your camera, you’ll want a picture of this later!
94. Play with Stickers
Just give your toddler a ton of stickers and let her go wild around the house!
95. Turn a Box into a Spaceship
This one was my favorite pass time when I was a toddler.
I collected caps, colored papers, and bottles and I used them all to build my very own spaceship in a cardboard box.
I passed this on to my own toddler, and he can sit there for hours pretending he’s an astronaut!
96. Water Paint
The real no-mess paint is the water paint!
We started by dipping a brush in water and just painting on colored construction paper.
We then got our son a water painting mat, it’s inexpensive, not messy, and the markers can be refilled with water!
It was a no-brainer and he loved it!
97. Ride a Merry Go Round
Some parks and malls have a toddler-friendly merry-go-round.
Oliver likes riding them so much that he has done it 6 times in a row (we counted!) and only stopped because we made him.
We were getting dizzy!
98. Visit the Grandparents
As a relaxing activity (for you), you can take your toddler to grandpa and grandma.
If they live in another city, you can make a short trip and enjoy the vacation!
99. Eat Ice Cream
With your tongue out and without being afraid of the mess. Like in the movies!
100. Organize your Toddler’s Fall Clothes
Summer won’t last forever, so it may be a good idea to start getting ready for the fall!
Try your toddler’s fall outfits. After all, they grow up so fast you gotta check that they still fit. And, we want to be ready when the cold wind arrives!
101. Have a Bath Outside
Give your toddler a bubble bath in your front yard!
Let her play with your bathtub, and splash away happily under the summer sun!
There you have it! Don’t run out of things to do with toddlers this summer, and keep creating!
Please pin this article to Pinterest, or share it with your friends and family if you found it useful. And, give us a shout in the comment section. What are you up to this summer?