6 Fun Summer Activities for Kids
- by Zenovia Stephens of Black Adventure Crew
It's hard to believe Summer is here. It seems like Spring goes by so fast, and we're left scrambling to figure out our Summer plans every year. With only a few weeks left before kicking off everyone's favorite season, we wanted to set you up with some great ways to get your family outdoors and excited about being there!
We all know kids can be very sometime-y. Sometimes they love going outside to run around and play, whereas other times, they'd rather plant themselves anywhere but outside. This can be especially true when the weather isn't considered optimal. While Summer outdoors sounds fun, the temperatures may stifle outside activity if days aren't well planned.
To help keep kids excited, cool, and eager to get outdoors, check out these ideas.
Everyone thinks Summer Camp is only for kids, but we've discovered this isn't true! Gather the family and head to your local camp for a weekend of family fun. Attending camp as a family is a great way to unplug, recharge and strengthen your family bond. Typically, you'll have the opportunity to participate in Hikes, Canoe trips, Bike rides, Archery, and more. Depending on your local camp, you may also have access to special programs such as stream studies or even farm life, where you learn what it takes to operate a farm successfully.
No matter what, Family Camp offers a great way to beat the summer heat while keeping the entire crew engaged outdoors. My family's favorite part of camp is hiking to new places and spending time on the lake.
Go Chase Waterfalls
This is another highly satisfying family activity, and for a good reason. While many like to give up hiking during summer, I think it's a great time to turn these adventures into something new such as chasing waterfalls. The optimal time to catch a good flow is Spring, so this requires some research and pre-planning. You'll want to be sure to pick falls with a continuous flow; otherwise, your kids may wound up being disappointed. A good rule of thumb is to plan on chasing waterfalls after rainfall. Visiting after rain will almost guarantee you'll see some falls.
We love hiking to waterfalls any time of the year, but especially during the summer. Hearing the water as you get closer brings instant relief from the heat, and depending on the type of fall and how close you can get, knowing you'll soon be misted by water as you gaze at the falls is the cherry on top.
My family likes to pack in snacks and have a picnic by the water. It's a nice break from the hike, and often there's a swimming hole nearby that we can splash around in before heading back. Be sure to bring plenty of bug spray for these adventures, and make sure to pack out everything you pack in!
If you aren't sure where to find hikes with waterfalls or hiking trails in general, try searching your area on the Alltrails app. You'll find reviews as well as comments on current conditions from others that have visited recently. Alltrails app is also great for recording your hike, trail guides and keeping track of which you've completed.
Bonus tip: leave bags in the car for transporting wet and dirty clothes back home along with a change of everything. If your kids are like mine, you'll need it.
Speaking of summer hikes, another great way to get kids outdoors during the summer is by taking them on an evening hike. You'll miss the peak of heat and experience the trail in a whole new way. For this, you'll want to be sure to take a flashlight and choose a paved trail or somewhere you've been before. Hiking in the evenings is not the time to be super adventurous and try something new. You run the risk of getting hurt or lost, so keep this simple and go somewhere you know well.
The idea of exploring in the evening is usually enough to get my kids excited, but we like to add in things to bring it up a notch. Giving them glow lights and glow sticks is one of the ways we do that. They love seeing the bright colors up against the evening sky. We also try to look for fireflies. We don't find many, but it's always fun trying.
If the idea of venturing out to a trail at night sounds a bit intimidating, look for somewhere local that hosts guided night hikes. In our hometown, the local Botanical Gardens hosts guided night hikes, and it's a great way to try something new without having to do so on your own.
Kayaking & Stand Up Paddle Boarding
I haven't always been comfortable taking my littles out on the water, but it's become something we all look forward to over the last few years. From working as a team while Kayaking down the river to learning how to balance while paddling with kids in tow, both offer great ways to embrace summer outdoors.
These activities are both great for families to take up and learn together. It's always nice for kids to witness their parents learn a new skill because it helps show them it's ok not to know everything. They'll be proud to share how much fun they had learning alongside mom and dad all summer long!
If you want to try either of these activities, find somewhere that rents equipment, takes time to teach, and gets you started safely. Make sure they have life vests that will accommodate your family and that their SUPs are outfitted with a leash for easy retrieval if you fall off. Wearing life jackets is your first source of safety, but your board can provide another means of flotation if needed.
As great as big adventures are, sometimes you want a simple, no-fuss way to get the kids out. I hear you, and I have the perfect solutions for those days.
Splash pads are great! They require no work from you, the parent, no increase in water bills, and provide all the fun. Splash pads can be as simple as a few jets squirting out the ground or as elaborate as slides, moving water buckets, and water squirters for those looking to have an epic water battle. Best of all, they're typically connected to or very close to playgrounds giving you options for the day.
Depending on where you live, you may have many to choose from, or you've never come across one before. I recommend starting with google to see what's available nearby. From there, check out parenting blogs, city blogs, or peer-peer review platforms to select one that's right for your family.
If you happen to live in a place with no splash pads, don't worry. You can create this same feeling in your backyard or even a local park. Water toys, water balloons, and a sprinkler can take you far this summer!
By far, stomping and splashing in creeks are one of our summer favorites, and I know you'll love it too. All you need is a creek, water shoes or boots, and a good attitude.
We love to bring small bowls, strainers, and even little nets to see what we can collect from the water. We've found old golf balls, tadpoles, various snails, and all kinds of other treasures during our stomp sessions. My boys even like to see if they can catch fish using nothing but a bucket!
No matter how they play, creek stomping is always great. A simple way to turn this adventure into something more is by taking your kids to the local dollar tree and letting them select their supplies for the day. Involving the kids in the planning process is always a win for creating more excitement around anything you've planned.
Once everyone's tired from splashing, close out your creek session with a picnic lunch before calling it a day.
I hope these adventures help you and your family have a wonderful summer filled with great memories!
Packing for Summer Adventures is essential. These are my suggestions to help make your adventures more comfortable.
Summer Family Fun Packing List
- Kids' tube neck gaiters
- Bug spray
- Baby wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Water bottles (pack more than you think you'll need)
- Snack packs
- First aid kit
- Water shoes with good traction
- Extra clothes and towels
Zenovia is a self proclaimed outdoor enthusiast, freelance travel and adventure blogger, wife and mom to three young boys. She is the Founder and CEO of Black Kids Adventures, Inc, a non-profit organization which focuses on getting Black and Brown families to spend time together exploring and enjoying nature. You can follow along with her mom and family adventures and find inspiration for your own family adventures at Black Adventure Crew.