Time Well Spent//

7 Family-Friendly Ways to Have the Best Summer Ever

From outdoor movie nights to app-enabled scavenger hunts, find easy ways to keep the summer fun (and learning) going.

Feel like you’re going to run short on ideas to keep your kids occupied and entertained throughout the dog days of summer? Look no further. Dozens of cool, crafty, and creative ideas for kids of all ages are easy to download, stream, read, and share.

Outdoor movie night

Transform your backyard into a movie theater with a projector and a bed sheet, and pick a family fave streaming on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Create a cozy space to recline, pass the popcorn, and voilà: instant blockbuster with the fam.

Set your sights on stargazing

Point kids’ eyes skyward for the extraordinary Perseid meteor shower, which happens between July 17 and August 24 and peaks on August 12. For nights leading up to and after it, download an astronomy app or two for constellation spotting year-round.

Scavenger hunts

Kids love scavenger hunts, and there are plenty of ways to make them interactive (and even lesson-packed). Turn little adventure seekers into budding botanists using an app like Project Noah to identify plants, map a hunt at the local library to take a tour through kids’ literature, or give geocaching a try to uncover secret treasures near and far.

Beachy book club

Find a fab page-turner to devour ocean-side (or poolside, or park-side, or couch-side) with your kid. Early readers will love exploring a read-aloud book with Mom and Dad, and older kids will enjoy diving deep into books that really resonate with them and discussing them with you.

Hit the road

A road trip to somewhere spectacular guarantees to be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Use National Geographic’s National Parks app to plan which of America’s must-see spots you can fit in, and read fun facts aloud en route. Don’t leave home without a few essential travel apps and backseat babysitters (think audiobooks, puzzle games, and sing-along karaoke from movie hits like Frozen — if you can stomach it).

Enroll in a virtual summer camp

From coding and cooking to gaming and summer reading, there are plenty of cool ways to keep little minds engaged throughout the hot days of summer … without even leaving the house.

Make a mark

Get a jump on those “What I did this summer” essays by encouraging kids to create digital mementos. Whether it’s a scrapbook or a journal documenting their days, a work of visual or musical art, or a virtual world born of their very own code, Common Sense Media’s modern kids’ guide to creativity will fuel endless hours of creative inspiration.

— By Angela Zimmerman, Common Sense Media Editor 

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.