Make the most of summer’s sunny days with everything from cloud dough and water play to DIY ice cream and splatter paint
Why does summer always seem to go by so fast? We can’t slow it down, but we can help you make sure it’s packed with fun and amazing memories with activities that take full advantage of the summer season. While you won’t find any indoor activities on this list (hint: you can find indoor play ideas here), what you will find is 21 summer activities for preschoolers that are so easy to do anyone can pull them off. Balloon tosses. making homemade ice cream, and plenty of water-filled activities are on our list. Your job? Squeezing them all in before the weather cools down.iStock
1. Make Homemade Popsicles
An icy popsicle on a hot summer day is a snack everybody loves. Especially teething littles, who get soothing comfort along with their sweet treat. Make them at home as a family using these awesome recipes.
2. Break Out the Bubble Machine
Babies love bubbles like new moms love a full night of sleep! So turn on the bubble machine and watch your sweet babe try to catch those bubbles before they burst. Who knows, maybe they’ll get so worn out they’ll sleep better so you can sleep better.
3. Run Through Sprinklers
Nothing screams childhood like running through sprinklers in the summertime. Babies not walking yet will shriek with delight as you take them through the droplets.
4. Design a Masterpiece on Your Sidewalk
Get chalkin’ with some sidewalk art. It’s a great way to be creative outdoors, especially in the evenings. If you need inspiration, try these 15 fun chalk ideas that are sure to bring you and your mini-Matisse hours of fun. Younger babes will love to explore the chalk’s texture and bright colors.
5. Read a Book in the Shade
Being outside in the summer months doesn’t have to be about high-energy, sweaty activities. Slow it down with a children’s book under your favorite tree. Choose one of these kid classics or opt for one of baby’s faves. Either way you’re fostering a love of reading and spending time outdoors.
6. Go on a Picnic
Move meals outside by packing some easy snacks and a few toys in a diaper bag or wagon, and you’re ready for a no-fuss summer adventure with minimal clean-up.
7. Have a Water Balloon Toss
On a hot summer day, a water balloon toss is always a hit. Younger babies can touch and roll the squishy, colorful balloons, and toddlers will be all about throwing them.iStock
8. Set Up a Sensory Station
Nothing engages preschoolers quite like a sensory bin filled with things to touch, smell, and see. Find recipes and ideas for cloud dough, sponge bombs, rainbow spaghetti and more in our sensory play guide
9. Visit a Farmers Market (or Plant a Garden at Home)
Here’s the upside of kids who wake up super early—you can be the first to arrive anywhere on the weekend. Farmers markets open early, so they’ll be ready for you and your sweet pea. If you want to avoid crowds, plant herbs or flowers and watch them grow with your kids at home. When it comes to summer activities for preschoolers, you can’t go wrong with this one.
10. Watch a Movie in the Backyard (or Living Room)
Skip the high-priced local cinema and cuddle up under the stars to watch your family’s favorite flicks. An outdoor theater is not hard to set up, and it’ll be a summer memory everyone cherishes. No yard? Find a blank wall in your home (or hang up a white sheet), and set up blankets and pillows on the floor to re-create the experience indoors.iStock
11. Make Homemade Ice Cream or Gelato
Once you’ve perfected your popsicle recipe, move on to the creamier stuff. Making homemade ice cream or gelato is easier than it sounds; there’s a reason it makes out summer activities for preschoolers hit list. We found a kid-friendly recipe that shows how you can make it with just a Ziploc food-storage bag.
12. Visit a Petting Zoo
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of local petting zoos, where kids can spend hours meeting and greeting their favorite furry animals.
13. Go to a Concert at the Park (or Dance to Laurie Berkner)
Check your neighborhood listings to see if there are concerts in nearby parks. If not, check out kid-favorite singer Laurie Berkner’s website for videos you can sing and dance along with.
14. Go Stargazing
Clear, mild summer nights are ideal for gazing at the stars. Here are handy tips on how to have a stargazing adventure that your toddler will be talking about for years to come. Download one of the many apps that tell you what you’re looking at.iStock
15. Visit a Water Park (or Set Up an Epic Kiddie Pool at Home)
Water parks can offer hours of fun on a hot summer day. Choose a weekday, if you can, when they tend to be less crowded. You can also wow your kids with an epic kiddie pool at home (hint: it’s one of our favorite summer activities for preschoolers because it’s an easy win). Dress up a plastic or inflatable pool with a plastic kiddie slide and small chairs, adding bubble bath to the water, and tossing in plastic balls, bath toys, or pool noodles.
16. Host an Outdoor Tea Party
A royally fun way to move an indoor activity outside for the summer. Set up your tea party under a shady tree or in a kiddie pool for maximum fun. Drink chilled tea or water; the fun comes in nibbling on pastries and small sandwiches.
17. Fly a Kite
On the next windy day, go fly a kite. One of the easiest summer activities for preschoolers this one doesn’t take much prep. Simply, choose a smaller kite that kids can control. Once it’s up, let your child help hold the string to watch it soar and glide.iStock
18. Paint Rocks
Painting outdoors is an easy way to let toddlers get messy without worrying about destroying the furniture. First, gather and clean some rocks, and then paint them. Finally, place them together in the yard for all to enjoy.
19. Splatter Paint
Summer is a great time for kids to take it outside. And that means their art projects too. Check out our guide to messy, fun outdoor art projects to get kids splatter painting on a massive canvas, making bubble art, and even using squirt guns to color a canvas.
20. Host a Family Bike Wash
Get your whole family outside to give your tricycles and bikes a good washing. Suds plus water always equals a good time, especially when the temps heat up.
21. Pitch a Tent in the Backyard (or Living Room)
Not ready to take the plunge into a full family camping excursion? Test the waters by pitching a tent outside to play in or sleep in. Your little one will feel all of the excitement and you’ll have none of the stress of realizing you forgot something your baby needs! No yard? Camp in the living room!