There are plenty of fun and free summer activities to do – enough to keep you busy all summer long! But some days you just want to stay home and hang out with the kids. This list should give you plenty of options to do just that.
Part 3 in our summer activities for boys series focuses on the lazy days of summer at home.
Some of the ideas listed are learning activities and some are just for fun (though your boy will learn doing those too!) Either way there are a lot of super ideas here that will allow for down time and for you and your family to hang out at home and enjoy yourselves.
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Activities for Boys: At Home
Photography & Music:
- Have your boy start a photo journal of all of his activities. Get a photo album or let him put it online in Flickr or Instagram for viewing during the cold days of winter.
- Get out childhood pictures—yours and theirs. We love sitting back on a super hot day and just looking at our pictures. Stories get told, laughs are shared and it is an enjoyable time for everyone.
- Listen to or make some music. Get a fun CD or download something interesting to listen to.
- Make your own music by getting out any musical instruments you have and letting the kids experience them. When my son was young he loved strumming the guitar while my husband changed the chords. You can also make some simple instruments yourself—remember oatmeal can drums (stretching a balloon over the top of the can works great!) and straw pan flutes? So easy.
- Have a photo scavenger hunt inside or out. Make a list of things to find and have the kids go around with the camera (this is the one we bought for my son – love it!) to hunt for those items. I like to include abstract items like love, freedom, or beautiful and also colors, light, and shapes. It is always interesting what he chooses to represent those. I should do a post on that!
- Set up a wading pool and make boats to float.
- Make a water blob. Google it, there are different ways to make it and I haven’t tried it. I’m a bit concerned it will kill the grass. However, I am rather tempted to have a go this summer. It certainly looks great.
- Play float or sink with various objects. Place items in the water to see if they will float or sink. Make things out of paper or cardboard and see what it takes to make something float. Come up with harder to figure out items for older kids–we are doing that this summer.
- Get out the squirt guns and while standing in the pool—blast away. Or run like mad through the yard spraying each other! Moms, boys will love it if you play too!
- Water balloons, need I say more? Ok, well just one little thing. I saw this neat idea on the Internet but no credit or link was given. Picture a basket full of water balloons and a note saying “I am armed with a squirt gun–meet you outside!” What boy wouldn’t love to find a note like that and have a water fight with his mom. I am so doing this for my son.
- Here are a few awesome rainy day things to do that your kids will likely remember for a long time to come. Sing and dance in the rain in your clothes or swimsuits. Jump in puddles. Go for a rain walk—what do you see . . . what do your hear? Walk barefoot in the mud puddles. Be on the lookout for rainbows!
Pick a topic:
- If your son has an interest in a specific topic, for example Dinosaurs, find some resources and dig in. I have a some resource lists on the site such as Dino Fossils, Robots, LEGO Landmarks, Star Wars and Rube Goldberg that you can use, or make your own by checking out library books on the topic, and finding a few YouTube videos.
- Go on a virtual field trip. These can be very neat (and educational!)
- Order 10 books from the library to read at home. Make them completely random and on topics you have never explored before. It is amazing what you and your boy will learn and he might even want to continue on with a specific subject that he finds interesting.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
- Plant a garden or a few seeds. We planted flowers, including sunflowers this year. Every single time we have planted sunflowers the rabbits and/or something else ate them while they were very young and tasty. This year it looks, fingers crossed, like they might actually make it. The miracle of watching seeds grow is always fascinating, even for an adult! Let your boy choose what to grow.
- Put a few seeds into a clear CD case or clear plastic cup—add seeds at the side, to really see the seeds growing!
- Use your garden project to try to attract birds and butterflies to your yard and make houses for each of them. If you haven’t tried this hands-on activity you could start with this book: Birdhouses You Can Build in a Day. We are excited about building bird and butterfly houses this year.
- If you attract birds and butterflies to your yard be sure to keep track of what you see. Maybe your boy would like to start a bird watching list or a butterfly list.
Fun and Games:
- Have an old-fashioned game day. Set up various games inside or out. I am thinking back to my childhood here: clothespin drop, bean bag toss, ring toss, or ball toss, try to get a peanut across the line with your nose only, egg on spoon races (outside!), hot potato, musical chairs, or pin the tail on the donkey.
- Or try these more active classics: Capture the Flag, Hide and Seek, Kick the Can, Simon Says, Red Rover or Tag.
- Create a backyard obstacle course with pool noodles, hoola hoops, croquet, balls, balloons, Frisbees and more. You don’t really need directions you can just set a bunch of stuff up one after another and have the boys go through them. It can be a competition, or better yet, have them try to beat their own time.
- Make kites and then fly them. Try this link for making a kite like Benjamin Franklin did. If you don’t have the space to fly a full-size kite your child can still do this in your yard by making mini kites or using long streamers of crepe paper or ribbon tied to a ring instead of a kite.
- Get out the cards and board games. Math Card Games & Math Board Games.
- Make your own game. Game board directions and ideas in this post.
- Play LEGO Math Games, Robot Memory Game or a fun Sight Word Game.
- Build a fort inside or out.
- Get appliance boxes and just set them up inside or outside. See what happens 🙂
- Flashlight tag or freeze tag. When the light hits you, you are it, or you have to freeze in place.
- Catch fireflies. Or, if you don’t have them near you (or don’t want to catch them) you can try a firefly jar made with glow in the dark paint.
- Family Movie Night. We love this and do it all year, but I am thinking of taking it outdoors this summer.
- Make shadow puppets with your hands, or with printables. Here are some free printable farm animal shadow puppets to get you started.
- Sit quietly, late at night, and listen for owls, watch for bats and experience the sounds of the evening.
- If you have a telescope, set it up for some night sky viewing from your backyard. No telescope? Try binoculars. They work great and are actually easier for kids to use.
- Camp out in your backyard or living room. Sleeping somewhere different is always fun for boys. Make staying the whole night optional. Backyard campouts can be simple or you can do the whole works. We usually cook out on a little joe and go for the whole experience.
Sand, Bubbles and Chalk:
- Have a dino, pirate’s treasure, or rock dig in your sandbox. If you don’t have a sandbox you could buy one bag of sand and dump it into a long Rubbermaid container—works fine. Bury things in the sand for kids to find. Even better make something to bury. There are a few ideas in this Dinosaur Fossils Roundup.
- Blow bubbles. Even older boys still enjoy this. Look at all the beautiful colors together.
- I am really loving these chalk pictures and hope you do too. The superhero one is our fav–of course.
- Make a sand volcano and create “lava” by placing a bottle with some baking soda and red (and other colors if you like) food coloring in it. Then pour vinegar into the bottle—a funnel works well for that–ask me how I know!
Arts and Crafts for Boys:
- Make puppets and have a puppet show. (see also Shadow Puppets under nighttime fun)
- Get out the paints and let imaginations go wild. Focus on color not product.
- Take a look at our boys arts and crafts Pinterest board for a lot of fun arts and craft ideas. I would love it if you would follow BrainPowerBoy as well!
- Put out a stack of paper, pencils (we love these) and an eraser. My son’s idea of heaven.
- Make comic books!
- Get out the easel or art pad and use paints and/or colored pencils. Take art making outside. Draw clouds, grass, trees, a flower, your house, the hose, bubbles . . .
Cooking with Boys:
- Make your own popsicles.
- Make crazy ice cubes with gummy worms in them.
- Try these cookbooks for boys for great ideas.
- Have your meals backwards. Let boys make pizza for breakfast and pancakes for supper!
- Make pudding (or pudding pops.) A nice cool treat for summer.
- If you and your boy like to make “fun food” see our Fun Food for Boys Board.
- Have a picnic with all the goodies you made.
Now before everyone gets all up in arms about this category I would just like to say that I enjoy playing on the computer with my son. He loves it and we have had a lot of fun exploring neat things, playing games, researching topics we both enjoy and having great conversations during the time we spend together.
- Go visit Bembo’s Zoo. The link is in this review. Wonderful!
- Play a few fun games: Fireboy and Watergirl is a cooperative game, LEGO has some games boys enjoy, as does Playmobil.
- Research a favorite topic, or let him come to this site and find a book he might like :0)
Hobbies and LEGO Fun:
- If those ideas were not enough for you how about trying a new hobby like, magic! or juggling, astronomy, coding, bird watching, coin collecting, sewing (yes, sewing!), or Arduino. Hobbies can be educational and give each child something different to focus on. Each member of my family has several hobbies that we enjoy and we always make time for them.
- Last but certainly not least do something with all those LEGO! See our big LEGO page for a lot of ideas!
- Read books: in bed, on the sofa, under a tree, in a fort, under the table, in a book nook, or even upside down.
- Watch clouds, sunsets, insects, rain, sunrises, fireflies, birds, and butterflies.
- Take a nap.
- Don’t plan a thing on many days, not one single thing! This gives you time to just relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer. Let the day go where it will, let the kids do what they want. A lot of learning will happen and you will all be relaxed and ready to try new things in coming days.
Don’t underestimate the value of downtime. Read about this: “I am convinced that quiet time leads to light bulb moments.”
A whole lot of learning happens when boys are able to have time to think, ponder, and make connections. They need time to process what they are learning and connect it to what they have learned before.
See also Fun and Free Summer Activities for Boys: Part 1, Store Programs and Part 2, On the Go! for more fun and free summer activities.
You can also check out these Great Summer Reading Programs for Boys for some quality programs that are fun and free.