summer ideas for kids

7 Best Ways to Spend Summer Days with the Kids

Living in Alberta, Canada means my family spends at least half the year in a winter wonderland. When the snow melts, though, we have a whole new world of play and adventure. Chances are your kids are already starting to enjoy all that “outside” has to offer.

Many activities take on a new life when they are shared with dad.

But many activities take on a new life when they are shared with dad. Here are 7 summer ideas for kids from a Canadian who is ready to start enjoying outside.

1. Get wet.

Beyond pools and lakes, I’ve found that there is also plenty of water fun to be had in our own backyard. Adding a sprinkler to the slide on our backyard playground makes a great waterslide— and adding a blow-up pool at the bottom adds to the fun. A sheet of poly and a sprinkler creates an industrial-sized slip-n-slide and buying a pack or three of 100 (bio-degradable) water balloons from a dollar store makes anything outside a little more interesting.

2. Build a fire.

I still remember the pride I felt the first time I built a fire of my own. Taking your kids out and teaching them the subtle tricks of building a fire is a wonderful shared experience in and of itself—and it offers a second opportunity: the chance to cook over the fire. Whether it’s hot dogs, marshmallows, or something more involved, when your kids eat something they cooked over a fire they helped build, it always seems to taste a little better.

3. Go cycling.

Whether it’s a short ride to the park or something more ambitious in terrain or in distance, the chance to get out on bikes and feel the wind in our hair is a surefire way to say “summer has begun.” As an added bonus, it works as inspiration for the younger ones to learn how to ride a bike so they don’t miss out on the adventure.

4. Play sports.

There’s a reason dads playing catch with their kids shows up so often in fiction: It’s not only a great way to spend an afternoon together, but it’s a skill we often get to introduce them to for the first time. When they get older, every time they toss around the football or baseball, play Frisbee, or kick a soccer ball, it’ll remind them of summer afternoons spent with you.

5. Watch an outdoor movie.

In a wintry climate, drive-in movie theaters have gone out of style, but from time to time a community group hosts a family movie outdoors at a park or a pool. But even when that can’t happen because of social distancing, we can do it in our own back yard with a projector. I find it doesn’t matter much what movie it is or how often my kids have seen it. The chance to stay up a little later and watch a movie outside with me is an experience we all savor.

6. Fly something.

There’s a reason kids find whatever is flying overhead—whether it’s a bird, plane, or helicopter—to be fascinating. The chance to put something in the sky yourself and fly it around, whether a drone, a remote-control airplane, or even an old-fashioned kite, has been thrilling for a long time. Get outside and help your kid fly something.

7. Complete home renovation projects.

Summer for me often means I’ve got a little extra time for home maintenance. Many of these projects have me at the workbench in my garage fixing or building. Sure, it would be faster if I did the project on my own. But bringing my kids into cutting, painting, and fixing is a great way to spend time with them. As a bonus, my kids often look with pride on whatever it is that they’ve helped me with.

Sound off: What is your favorite thing to do with your kids in the summer?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What would you like to do the most this summer?”