Summer Fun

Once the kids are out of school, we know you need to keep them busy. Find creative tips to inspire summer fun so that your children stay active, but cool, even in the heat of the sun.

01 of 14

Beach Babe

Beach sandcastles

This summer, take your little ones for a special day at the shore. Be sure to bring pails and shovels of different sizes to build palaces and forts of sand. (Remember that sand is more easily molded when damp.) Then send your kids on a hunt for seashells to decorate their creation!

02 of 14

Lemony Fresh

Real Strawberry Lemonade
Peter Ardito

When summer gives you lemons... make lemonade! Teach your children the responsibility of operating a simple lemonade stand. Let them help from start to finish by bringing them on your shopping trip for ingredients and letting them stir up the fun in the kitchen using our recipe. Then encourage your little artists to make lawn signs and teach them to dole out change. Your kids will have a blast with business and your neighbors will love the refreshing drink.

Check out our recipe for Real Strawberry Lemonade.

03 of 14

Water War

Squirt Bottles
Heather Weston

Get ready for some backyard fun. Gather the neighborhood kids (or play this at a summer birthday party) and split into two equal teams. Cut out circles from two different colors of construction paper, one color per team and one circle per child. Each player gets a spray bottle in her hand and a circle taped to her back. If your circle gets wet, you're out. Last team standing wins!

04 of 14

Ice breaker

Colored Ice Cubes
Heather Weston

Just as in an egg-on-a-spoon race at classic carnivals, kids must balance a slippery ice cube on a spoon and run to the finish line. First one to the finish line with his cube (don't let it melt!) wins. For some extra fun, you can put a few drops of food coloring in your ice tray before the water freezes to add a splash of brilliance.

05 of 14

Dig In!

children's garden in old toys
Alexandra Grablewski

Cultivate your child's green thumb by starting a garden. This wagon garden is the perfect way to reuse an old toy -- and you can wheel your plants in and out of the sun as necessary. Use a metal drill bit to create drainage holes about 6 inches apart, and cover with screen mesh to prevent any loss of soil. Fill with potting soil, plant seeds, and go green!

06 of 14

Style Your Sandals

Flip-Out Flip-flops
Ed Judice

Does your old pair of flip-flops need sprucing up? Customize a pair of cheap sandals to create fun footwear in a snap.

Download our flip-flop template below and cut the shapes from craft foam. Use glue dots to attach the stacked pieces of the flower and to adhere the bird's wings and beak to its head. Add eyes with permanent marker. Attach the shapes to the flip-flop's straps with heavy-duty mounting tape (we used Scotch brand).

07 of 14

Summer Bulbs

Glow-loons
Ed Judice

Plant these homemade fixtures on your dinner table for some mood lighting. To make one, cut the neck from 12-inch-round yellow and orange balloons. Stretch the opening of the balloon over the top of a battery-operated tea light. To fill out your balloon, open a section of its base and puff some air inside. These glow-loons will be sure to brighten your night.

Idea by Camilla Fabbri

08 of 14

Driveway Décor

Crayola Chalk Maker: Caribbean
Bryan McCay

Blacktop drawings are a staple of summertime. The pavement is your kids' biggest canvas and moves little artists to an outdoor "studio." This year, take it one step further and make your own chalk with Crayola Chalk Maker: Caribbean. Pour the paste into molds and create chalk creatures for doodling. $13; crayola.com

09 of 14

Ice, Ice Baby

Fruity freeze pops
Peter Ardito

No treat beats a homemade freeze pop on a scorching day. Easy to make, and healthy, these delicious desserts will have your kids screaming for more.

10 of 14

Fresh Direct

Summer Fruit Compote
Tina Rupp

Stock up on the yummy seasonal fruit that's available and whip up a summer compote. If you're feeling really ambitious, churn your own homemade ice cream.

11 of 14

Tropical Treat

Grilled Pineapple Shortcake
Tina Rupp

If you're looking for something a little warmer for dessert, try this juicy and scrumptious grilled pineapple shortcake. Your kids will be begging for more (and we bet dad won't mind spending more time at the grill)!

12 of 14

Backyard Barbecue

Grilled Chicken Sliders
Frances Janisch

Kids will love these delicious grilled chicken sliders. Topped with kiwi for sweetness, these sandwiches are packed with flavor and nutrition.

13 of 14

Explore Pasta-bilities

Gazpacho Pasta Salad
Alan Richardson

Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish soup that's just right for a cooldown in the summer heat. But little ones aren't always keen on spicy cuisine, so mix in some noodles for a refreshing and milder gazpacho pasta salad.

Get the recipe for gazpacho pasta salad.

14 of 14

Grill Skills

Grilled Corn with Lime Butter
James Baigrie

Show off your cooking talent with this vegetable serving of corn on the cob. Slather the ear in delicious lime butter for a tangy summer taste.

Get the recipe for lime butter corn.

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