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84 Ideas for Keeping the Kids Busy this Summer

84 Ideas for Keeping the Kids Busy this Summer

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It’s that time of year again when the children in the UK are let loose on the world for two months of free time, otherwise known as the school summer holidays. “Help me” we hear you cry. ”How do I entertain them for a whole two months? ”

Save the day (and your sanity) by sitting down with your children at the start of the holidays (eg now) and, together with them, draw up a Summer Holiday Bucket Wish List of things you’d all like to do during the summer. Write it down and stick the list somewhere you can all see it and then next time everyone is wondering what to do, you have a go-to list ready of ideas that you have all agreed you’d like to do.

To help you get started, we’ve set out our favourite 84 Ideas for keeping the kids busy this summer to get you inspired.

Enjoy and do let us know how you get on and which are your favourites. Pictures welcome too!

Things to do for free:

Play your favourite board game

Build a fort with all the cushions in the house

Go to the library and borrow some books

Write a poem about your favourite things

Go to the National Gallery and draw your own version of a painting

Have a thumb wrestling contest

Go to the park and play on the swings

Complete your favourite puzzle

Go to the beach

Write a letter to a friend or family member

Donate some old toys and books to Charity

Put on a magic show

Build a massive Lego house or castle

Play Twister

Have a dress up day and put on a show

Put on a puppet show

Have a bubble blowing competition

Make a summer music playlist or CD

Tell ghost stories in the dark

Have a hide and seek tournament

Take a photo every day for a journal

Have a tea party

Learn to juggle

Teach granny how to send a text


Get them outside and away from their phones, consoles and the TV. Apart from the ideas below The Great Gift Company has a large range of Outdoor Games to get them playing and using up some of all that energy (where do they get it from?)

Go for a nature walk and see how many bugs and beasties you can find

Pick berries in the countryside or at a pick-your-own, then scoff the lot or make yummy jam

Go swimming at the beach, paddling pool or local pool. Get splashing

Pick flowers in the garden and make a pretty arrangement for the kitchen table

Learn to roller-skate

Sleep under the stars

Make a lemonade stand and sell your neighbours home-made lemonade

Play Frisbee

Learn to hula-hoop

Make an obstacle course in the garden

Climb a tree

Melt marshmallows over an open fire

Play in the sprinkler

Find animals in the clouds

Make a mud pie

Plant your own flowerbed and look after it

Wash mum and dads cars

Find a four-leaf clover

Take the dog for a walk

Things to make:

Bake cookies with extra chocolate chips

Make paper aeroplanes and see whose goes the furthest

Make ice lollies in all your favourite flavours

Make a summer scrapbook

Finger painting portraits of each other

Home-made play dough

Home-made Pizza for supper

Design your very own family flag

Create a brand new type of sandwich

Paint smooth pebbles to look like your favourite bugs

Tie-dye some old clothes

Make a bird feeder or lard balls

Learn to make some origami animals

Kids cook supper for a night

Make potato stamps

Create pasta jewellery or picture frames

Make a map of your village or town

Make banana-splits

Turn a cardboard box into something new

Bake cupcakes and decorate them

Things to do as a family:

“Let’s go fly a kite up to the highest height”

Go fishing

Have a water balloon/water gun fight

Go to the zoo and find your favourite animal

Go to the park and feed the ducks

Bird watch in the garden or on a walk

Have a scavenger hunt

Watch a sunset and a sunrise

Build a time capsule

Have a treasure hunt

Go camping

Have a bowling tournament

Everyone has to eat something they have never tried before

Host a family movie night

Go to a local farmers market

Visit your grandparents

Take a train journey

Go for a picnic

Make shadow puppets

Have a no talking contest

Learn the Macarena dance

Do send in your own ideas – pictures welcome too.

If you’re still stuck for Unusual Gift Ideas, check out for dozens of outdoor games, indoor games, books and toys