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10 Screen Free Activities to Make It a Summer to Remember

Hiking is a wonderful activity for kids instead of screen time

The sun is out, and the days are long. It’s summer! Time to toss the notebooks, put on your shades, and get ready for some fun in the sun. You did it! You finished your homeschool year. It’s time to celebrate whether it was your first or tenth year. Even if you have school year-round, most families take a break from academics during the summer. Maybe you have all the plans to fill your days with constant wonder and excitement. But perhaps you don’t. Hi, it’s me. I don’t. So I am always searching for summertime screen free activities for my kids.

More Screen Time or Less Screen Time?

With all the unstructured free time that summer break brings, we can become reliant on screens to help occupy our kids. Now, here me on this, friend. I genuinely believe there is no incorrect way to approach screen time in your family.

You can have a lot or a little, and neither choice is better than the other because each family has unique needs. However, I get it if you want to avoid extra screen time. So, here are 10 screen free activities to make your summer memorable.

#1 Create an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

The best thing about summer is spending hours and hours outdoors. Keep your backyard interesting by creating a scavenger hunt for your kids. You can look for nature objects, colors, flowers, or clouds. The possibilities are endless! If making up clues is not your thing, hide some small toys outside and let the kids find them. There are many ways to do “search and find” activities outside.

#2 Water Balloon Fight

There are endless ways to enjoy water play, but water balloon fights are my favorite. Nothing will bring out your inner child more than the cold splash of a water balloon hitting an unsuspecting player.

If your kids don’t like to get hit (I mean, I definitely don’t), you can still enjoy water balloons. Draw a target with sidewalk chalk on your house or sidewalk and take turns trying to hit the bullseye. My youngest, honestly, has a blast just watching them burst when he throws them on the ground. Whatever floats your boat, dude.

#3 Go for a Bike Ride

Bike rides have been a summer pastime for decades. And for good reason! They are so enjoyable and give kids that little sense of freedom. My daughter loves her bike. She rides up and down our street every day.

Furthermore, family bike rides are a great way to add movement and exercise to your day. And they create lasting memories for your children. One of my favorite memories is after-dinner bike rides with my dad trying to conquer that dang hill on our street.

#4 Explore a New Trail

Nature cures just about everything, in my opinion. The trees, the breeze, the silence. There is something so special about getting out into nature. So get out and explore a new trail!

One of my summertime goals is to take my kids on a hike once a week. Are they long hikes? No. My kids are typical elementary-aged kids who would rather be on their iPads. But exploring a new trail fills my spirit. And I hope these day hikes instill a love of the outdoors in my children.

#5 Arts and Craft Projects

Are you a craft mom? I definitely am not. But arts and crafts in the summer are low-pressure, fun, and accessible. It can be as easy as painting a picture of the sky or using a pinecone to make a bird feeder with peanut butter (please tell me you did this as a child, too). The best part is you can do them outside! No mess to clean up in your kitchen!

Pinterest is my favorite place to source craft ideas. So many people on the internet create awesome art project ideas for kids. not one of them. *wink*

#6 Build a Fort

Building a fort is one of the best screen-free activities. They can be done inside or outside (I know sometimes it is too hot for kids to play outside). Check around. Maybe someone in your neighborhood is getting rid of a giant refrigerator box. What a score that would be!

Often, I come downstairs in the morning and find all my kitchen chairs and blankets are being used to create an awesome fort. My kids love this. They will bring their favorite books and toys into the fort and spend hours playing in their unique world.

Kids reading a book by flashlight under a blanket fort

#7 Play Board Games and Card Games

I love board games, and I love that my children are old enough to understand and play them. My older kids love Catan, Clue, and Sorry!, while my youngest is all about Candyland and Count Your Chicks.

Did you know board games and card games foster critical thinking skills, communication, and many other excellent life skills? They do! These are great options for summer activities instead of screen time.

#8 Learn a New Skill

Summer is the perfect time to try out new hobbies and skills. Many homeschool families enjoy adding handicrafts to their routines. Summer allows the opportunity to try out many different skills without committing.

The possibilities are endless, whether it’s knitting, cooking, woodworking, or calligraphy. My fifth-grade teacher taught us calligraphy, a skill and pastime I have enjoyed my whole life.

#9 Plant a Garden

Starting a garden is so easy! Anyone can do it. This is an activity younger kids love. Digging in the dirt, playing with the water hose, and watching flowers and vegetables grow…what’s not to love?!

You don’t need a lot of space to have a garden. Many things can grow in three and five-gallon buckets. Additionally, herbs only need a small pot.

Child digging in a vegetable garden.

#10 Play Backyard Games

Is your family competitive? I tend to think mine is not…until we start playing a game. We are in it to win it! Playing backyard games is a beautiful way to end (or start) a summer day. Badminton, ring toss, corn hole, or the always classic freeze tag are perfect ways to end a summer day.

Don’t be shy; get out there and run with your children! Even if it is only a few minutes, I promise they will soak it up! These are the days they are creating and storing memories.

I hope this list of summertime screen-free activities encourages and inspires you to enjoy this season with your family! What does your family like to do in the summer? I would love to know! Share in the comments below.

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