10 Fun Things to do With Your Kids This Summer

Simple ways to capture the magic of sunny days in your own backyard.

  • Swing in a Hammock Snuggle close to your child, and sway the afternoon away. Look for pictures in the clouds and watch them change, or read books to each other.
  • Do Yard Work Together Toddlers can help pull weeds and sprinkle the flowers with a tiny watering can. Have a kid-size rake and a bubble-blowing lawn mower on hand.
  • Play Dress-Up Collect funny hats, gloves, purses, flowing gowns, and "superhero capes" at a garage sale or thrift store. Slip into your new finery, and have a make-believe garden party, Spider-Man adventure, or masquerade ball.
  • Build a Secret Fort Drape old sheets over lower tree limbs and clotheslines. Eat dinner there. Stay up chasing fireflies and listening to "night sounds."
  • Hold a Car Wash Line up toy cars and trucks (or any waterproof playthings), and let your child give them a good scrub in a pot of water or with the garden hose. Rinse and let dry in the sun.
  • Go on a Bug Safari Dig for worms, scout for lizards, and hunt for frogs and tadpoles. Marvel at an ant carrying an oversize crumb.
  • Befriend a Firefighter Bake cookies (or pick up some ice pops), and deliver them to your local fire station. The firefighters will appreciate the surprise -- and your child will meet some heroes, see those awesome trucks up close, and learn a lesson about giving to others.
  • Chalk it Up Everyone loves sidewalk chalk. Use the glow-in-the-dark kind so you and your child can glimpse your artwork from the window at bedtime.
  • Make Beautiful Music Spread a blanket in the backyard for a stage. Ask preschoolers to create (and collect) "tickets" to the big event. Invite kids to bring their instruments and perform -- even your littlest musicians can join in using pots, wooden spoons, and shakers. Set up lawn chairs for the audience, and cheer your little stars.
  • Dance in the Rain Surprise your kids by taking them outside during a gentle summer shower. Dance around in swimsuits, catch raindrops in your mouth, and jump in all the puddles.