The sun is shining, the breeze is warm, and school's out for summer! It's the perfect time to kick back, relax, and have some fun with the family. Luckily, there are plenty of activities and outdoor learning opportunities to fill the extra-long days, all close to home.

Ready to get outside and enjoy the summer sun? Here are five ideas for family-friendly summer activities to get your started. Just don't forget to apply (and reapply!) sunscreen to keep your skin safe while spending time outside.

5 Family-Friendly Summer Activities

1. Have a Backyard Campout

There's nothing like sleeping under the stars. Why not grab your tent and sleeping bags and set up camp in your backyard? Pull out the binoculars and magnifying glasses and have your kids spy on the local birds and bugs. Bring along nature field guides too, and turn your campout into a fun outdoor classroom where you can identify and learn about local plants and animals. Light up the grill or fire pit for hot dogs and burgers, or pack a picnic dinner with plenty of easy-to-eat finger foods. Don't forget the s'mores for dessert! Then, gear up for a game of flashlight tag before settling in for a night of ghost stories.

2. Throw a "Pool" Party

Nothing says summer quite like a pool party. Don't have a pool? That doesn't mean that you can't cool off and have some water fun. Create your own make-shift water park with some squirt guns, water balloons, sprinklers, a kiddie pool, or even a good old slip and slide. Make sure to find and use the right sunscreen before your pool party; water-resistant SPF 30+ is a must for any outdoor activities that involve getting wet.

3. Compete in a Family Field Day

Organize a fun-filled day with obstacle courses, relay races, an egg toss, a limbo contest, and more to find the family champ. Whether playing for prizes or just family bragging rights, who doesn't love a little healthy competition? Even your older children will get a kick out of playing these old-school games if you challenge them. Alternatively, you can set up a game of Frisbee golf or kickball in the backyard or local park. These family-friendly summer activities are a great way to sneak some exercise into lazy days.

4. Explore the Great Outdoors

With longer days, summer is the perfect time of year to hit the trails. Hikes and walks are great outdoor learning activities for the whole family. It's a chance to immerse yourself in nature and discover the natural world at your own pace. You may encounter wildflowers, wildlife, and unforgettable views. Choose a trail based on how much time you have and your fitness levels. Sites and apps like AllTrails can give you a better sense of trail conditions and difficulty. Be sure to wear sturdy and comfortable shoes, and don't forget to pack water, food, and sunscreen. If you can't make it to a local trailhead, there's plenty to explore closer to home. Turn your neighborhood walk into a scavenger hunt or a game of "I Spy" with younger kids. It's a chance for you to slow down and pay closer attention to the world around you.

5. Work on Your Green Thumb

Whether you choose to plant flowers or vegetables, gardening can be a fun and productive family project. Kids can witness the life cycle of plants in action, growing from a seed to flower, fruit, or vegetable. Gardening also teaches kids about responsibility and caretaking. If you're feeling ambitious and have the room, you can try building some raised beds. But don't worry: Even if you don't have a yard, you can build a garden box on your porch, patio, or windowsill that will be great for bright flowers and tasty herbs.

These five ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Summer is the ideal season to spend time with family while celebrating life under the sun, so be sure to plan a special day (or many!) with the ones you love.


  • Christine Yu

    Christine Yu is a freelance writer covering health, science, wellness, and sports. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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