Summer is in full swing! Now that the kids have been out of school for a few weeks, you may be scrambling to come up with enough activities to keep them busy and entertained through the entire summer. Whether you’re planning a fun family trip or looking for casual backyard activities, we’ve gathered some easy DIY projects you can do with your kids — all while enjoying the outdoors! Bonus: They’re easy on the budget too.
1. Create Sidewalk Chalk Art and Games
Age-old favorites like chalk hopscotch and sidewalk art never disappoint. Look up different patterns online to help spark your kids’ imagination and then let them create their own designs on the sidewalk by your house or on your driveway. All you need is some multi-colored chalk -- preferably the thicker sticks so it’s easier to make large patterns people can see. This is a fun activity that can involve the kids and their friends in the neighborhood too.
2. Plant a Vegetable Garden
For an ongoing activity that will last all summer, try planting a vegetable garden with your kids. Seeds are super affordable, and then you just need a garden bed with the right soil. Help your kids till the soil a bit, then create small divots in the soil where they can place their seeds. Make a point of going out to the garden together regularly to water and check on your seedlings, and when it comes time to harvest, you can make a meal together. If this doesn’t get them to at least try some vegetables, nothing will!
3. Make a Bird Feeder
Go on a pinecone hunt and gather up your favorites to use for DIY bird feeders. All you need to do is tie some twine around them and create a loop for easy hanging. Then, cover them in peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Hang up in a bird-friendly spot and watch them (or those pesky squirrels) come flying in for a snack.
4. Collect Leaves and Create Artwork
This activity is free if you already have some paper and drawing tools at home. Go on a nature hike or simply take a stroll through your neighborhood park to collect some leaves or greenery. Then when you get home, you and the kids can use crayons andpaper to trace over the leaves for a fun artwork piece.
5. Go All Out with Finger Painting
Summer is the ideal time to embrace any ultra-messy activities — basically anything involving paint! This is the perfect time to tackle a painting project inside; let the kids have fun finger painting on the wall before you cover it up with a new color. For an outdoor activity, grab a large plastic tablecloth or ream of butcher paper to cover your outdoor table, set out some paper and kid-friendly paint, then let the kids do their thing. Channel your inner child and join in with your own finger-painted masterpiece.
6. Go Flower-Picking and Create Sachets
Whether you’re picking some blooms from the back garden or scavenging nearby wildflower fields, this is the perfect activity for letting the kids roam around and get out some of that energy. When you’re ready to return home, you can use those bundles of (probably crushed or mangled) flowers for something useful, like a floral sachet for your cabinets and drawers. Pick up a packet of drawstring sachets at your local craft store. Then, let your flower pickings dry out in the sun, pick them apart or chop them finely, and divide between the sachets.
7. Collect Seashells to Build a Fairy House
If you live near the beach or you’re planning a family trip, this is a great activity to do with the kids. Put all those collected seashells to use with a cool craft, like building mini fairy houses out of popsicle sticks, then gluing the seashells to the outside. The kids will have a ball creating their own fairyland. Grab some moss for faux grass, pebbles, twigs, and other fun pieces they can use for decorating and landscaping inside and out.
8. Create Garden Stepping Stones
A kid-friendly activity (with supervision) and an easy home improvement project in one! Pick up a tub of cement mixture for about 15 bucks along with a few concrete molds in the shape of your choice, and then you can make custom stepping stones for your garden. Simply mix up the cement, lay down a tarp, then pour the mixture into the molds. Before the mixture dries in about an hour, your kids can make handprints or cool designs in the concrete.
Summertime is always the best part of childhood — school is out, the weather is warm, and delicious frozen treats abound. Make this summer one to remember with lots of budget-friendly outdoor DIY activities for you and your family.