24 Fun Ideas for a Family Summer Night at Home

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By Deb Smyth

It’s summer! School’s out, and the kids need to be entertained. That can prove to be difficult, especially in a pandemic, but here are 24 fun ideas for those long, summer nights at home.

  1. Go stargazing
    By far, the most beautiful time of year to see the sky is in the summer, so be sure to
    take advantage of that. Take the kids out in the backyard, lay some blankets and pillows
    on the grass on a clear night, and do some old-fashioned stargazing.
  2. Play with play-doh
    What’s more fun than creating new things and playing with shapes and colors? Playdoh is a great creative outlet for kids, because it allows them to shape anything their
    little hearts desire, it’s colorful, it’s safe, and – thank god – it washes off. Let them run
    wild making summer flowers.
  3. Summer paintings
    I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like to paint, and summertime is the ideal season for it.
    Equip them with some bright colors and some paper and let them go to town. Have
    them paint using your own garden as a reference – you’ll be surprised at what your little
    ones can create. Get creative with your painting and fill water guns with colored water and hang paper on a clothesline or the fence and let the water fiends paint. It’s fun and creative.
  4. Sleep in a tent
    If I know one thing about kids, is that they all love sleeping in a tent or fort, no
    exceptions. So why not take them “camping”? You don’t need to go far, your backyard is
    right there. How convenient! Start a fire in the fire pit and roast marshmallows, tell ghost
    stories, and live your best camping life – with access to all the comforts of home!
  5. BBQ at home
    Summer is the season for endless barbecues, so involve your kids in preparing the
    meal. The ideal way for them to participate is to hand them little skewers and let them
    construct their own kebabs – fruit, veggies, meat or fish – and throw them on the grill.
  6. Have a water fight
    The best thing on a hot summer day is a refreshing water fight. Use everything in your
    arsenal – hoses, water guns, sprinklers – and splash around until there’s just one
    person left standing. Parents vs. kids, go go go!
  7. Paddling pool
    If splashing around and getting your whole yard wet doesn’t sound great, how about a
    paddling pool? The kids can get their feet wet for a quick refresh or splash around to
    their heart’s content.
  8. At home beach
    If you want to take things one step further, you can even create your own little backyard
    beach. Fill up the paddling pool with water, and place it near the sandbox. Put your
    bathing suits on and grab your tools: it’s sandcastle time!
  9. Picnic in the backyard
    Warm weather is for one thing – picnics! And you can even have one close to home.
    Just pack a picnic basket full of goodies, get a blanket, and have your dinner in the
    backyard, al fresco! The kids will love eating on the grass, and it’ll make a regular meal
    just a little more special.
    10.Evening bike rides
    Encourage your kids to be more active, especially since the weather is nice. Lead by
    example and grab your bike so you can join the children for a nice evening bike ride
    around the neighborhood.
    11.Watch the sunset
    You may be shooting too high trying to get the kids to wake up to watch the sunrise, but
    the sunset is just as beautiful. Make an evening of it and spend some time admiring
    everything that nature has to offer – culminating with the sunset. They’ll never forget the
    night they were allowed to stay up late.
    12.Build a LEGO castle
    Every kid wants to be a princess or a knit, but you can’t do that without a castle! LEGOs
    are the perfect medium for your children to create that fairytale and live out their
    13.Play with chalk
    Do you want to encourage their creativity and artistic inclinations? Turn your driveway
    into an art gallery – with chalk! It’s a cheap, easy activity that’ll allow them to let loose
    and has the bonus of decorating your driveway. None of the neighbors will have your
    unique artwork, that’s for sure!
    14.Make ice cream
    What do we want? Ice-cream! When do we want it? Now! Why buy ice-cream, when it’s
    so easy to make tasty, healthy ice-cream at home? You just need milk, fruit, a mixer or
    blender, and some freezer space. Let your kids get their hands dirty and work for their
    icy dessert – they’ll appreciate it more.
    15.Build a bird house
    Birds need somewhere to live, too, so if you want to attract them around your home, you
    need to build one for them, too. It’s a great lesson to teach kids – taking care of animals
    and a creative pursuit, all in one. What’s more satisfying than building a little home and
    then seeing birds live in it?
    16.Plant flowers in the garden
    Involving kids in “fun” chores not just teaches them responsibility, but it helps them learn
    to enjoy the skill that you’re trying to teach them. Give them a sunhat and a pair of
    gloves and let them help you plant a new rose bush. They’ll have loads of fun digging in
    17.Movie in the backyard
    At-home projectors have become super popular in lockdown, as people are creating at home movie experiences. Hang a white sheet in the backyard and project your kids’
    favorite movie. Bonus – the popcorn is much better, and cheaper, and you get your
    choice of a healthy drink, instead of sugar-laden soda.
    18.Go “fishing”
    Remember that paddling pool? You can also use it to teach a man – or err, a child – to
    fish. Fill it up with water and drop in some fish. You can use live fish, and cork on your
    tackle, just to make sure that any fish you catch remain unharmed.
    19.Make pizza
    Kids love learning new skills, especially if they’re messy, so cooking fits the bill perfectly.
    Tech the kids to make their own mini pizzas. Help them make the dough, and then let
    them decorate them on their own, they’ll love adding their own toppings.
    20.Paint a fence
    Imagine how cute your children would look in little overalls, and covered in paint. Let
    them help you give the fence a fresh coat of paint. After all, kids love painting, and you
    could use the help.
    21.Make a scrapbook
    They grow up so fast. They’re small right now, and next thing you know, they’ll be gown
    up and off on their own adventures. Take this opportunity to create a scrapbook with
    pictures of the kids – they’ll be grateful for it when they’re older, and putting it together is
    really creative and fun.
    22.Set up a scavenger hunt
    Send your kids on a wild goose chase to find the ultimate treasure. Write up clues, hide
    stuff around your house and backyard, and offer them the satisfaction of discovery.
    23.Write a story
    Oftentimes, the best inspiration is real life. Encourage your kids to be creative and write
    a story together. Your family can be the characters and you get to go on all sorts of
    adventures. It’ll provide hours of fun.
    24.Work on a puzzle together
    Giant puzzles are the ultimate rainy day activity. The best part about them is that the
    whole family can participate and contribute bits and pieces. Talk about teamwork!
    Final thoughts
    Coming up with fun stuff to do for your kids isn’t always easy, especially when the
    summer is long, and all the usual kids’ play spaces are closed. Fortunately, there are
    plenty of ideas to entertain the kids, even without leaving your home.