101 Things to Do this Summer!
How can it be August already? That old saying that time flies when you're having fun seems to be especially true in Summer when the long days (and even nights) are filled with family adventures. But if you are running out of things to do with the kids... here are 101 ideas to keep them busy and entertained all August long!
#1 Amusement Parks
Are you in the mood for roller coasters or do you like being flipped upside down at racing speeds? For those thrill-seekers, visit an amusement park! They're definitely a sign of Summer!
#2 Conservation Parks
Conservation parks offer a great alternative for affordable Summer activities. Many only charge a nominal fee to get into the park. Once there, you have access to a multitude of activities: picnicking, barbecuing, swimming (pools or waterholes), hiking and walking trails, fishing, and more.
Go on a bug safari. Dig for worms, catch a fly, and hunt for spiders. Marvel at an ant carrying an oversized crumb. Pick up an inexpensive bug kit at a toy store and observe your creatures under a magnifying glass! Don't forget to feed them. Once you've had fun with your bugs, release them back into their habitat! Click here for tips.
#4 Cooking with Kids
Are your kids turning up their nose at their broccoli again? To encourage kids to eat, you need to make mealtime fun and get them involved in food preparation. Don't be afraid to use colour and eye-appeal to tempt their young taste buds. Give them some kid-friendly utensils and an apron and let them take over the kitchen!
#5 Read a Book
What a great way to pass the time - read! Make a trip to your local library where you will find tons of resources from chapter books, picture books, comic strips, CDs, software, and more. Best of al, it's free!
#6 Ice Cream
What's cooler than ice cream during the Summer! Pickup your favourite ice cream flavours, some whipped cream, caramel, chocolate, strawberry toppings, sprinkles, nuts, or other toppings. Set out all your favourite ice creams, toppings, and bowls on a table. Invite friends to make their own favourite ice cream sundaes! A great way to have a cool treat on a hot afternoon! Even bettter, have fun with the kids by making your very own ice cream. For different recipes, click here.
Enjoy a game of mini-putt (indoors or out!). It's an inexpensive outing that's fun and relaxing for the entire family.
Head out for a day at the beach. Enjoy sand, sun, and fun! Find one here.
When was the last time you visited a museum? Our city offers many little historical museums that can teach you a myriad of things and will reflect on the history behind cities and towns in the GTA. Or, visit the ROM for a complete, educational, and fun outing.
Pack a picnic with your favourite comfort foods. Take a huge blanket, some fun outdoor games, and head out to your favourite park. It's a great day spent outdoors with your family. Click here for best spots.
#11 See a Movie
Take-in a Summer flick. Summertime means there are a large number of new releases for kids and families.
#12 Fly a Kite
What a great way to spend a Summer afternoon! Fly a kite! Don't have one? Click here to learn how to build and fly a kite. If you don't want to build a kite, buy an inexpensive kite - it will still give you hours and hours of flying fun.
If it's getting too hot in the city, head for a waterpark. Many parks offer different attractions and thrills. Enjoy that ride of your life with the sprays in your face and have a great time! Or go slithering down some gigantic crazy slides. Whichever you chose, you're bound to stay cool!
#14 Tea Party
Have a tea party! Make little sandwiches or cookies. Stir up a pitcher of your favourite juice or lemonade. Invite the neighbourhood kids, teddy-bears, and dolls.
Summertime is a perfect time to visit a zoo. Check out the Toronto Zoo, Canada's premiere zoo with over 5,000 animals representing over 460 species. Have you event ventured out of the GTA area to see the different types of zoos that exist? Try African Lion Safari, a conservation theme-park showcases many different and rare animals from Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, as well as raptors and parrots from all parts of the world.
What would Summer be without swimming? Head for the nearest community pool or outdoor splash pad.
Take the kids to a local park or school playground. Swings, slides, and monkey bars can offer countless hours of fun! And if there's a sand pit, don't forget your sand toys.
There's nothing the like the magic of "live" theatre to catch the attention of children. Though many of the mainstreem theatre companies end their performances during the Summer months, you can still catch a few good theatre shows for kids. Local libraries will often have plays for kids as well. Check your local park for theater "after-dark."
Fishing can be a fun and relaxing family activity. Scout out fishing opportunities in your area. For local fishing sites in the Toronto Area, click here.
#20 Horseback Riding
Ride a horse through scenic forest trails. Many horseback riding stables offer adventures available for beginners and the advanced rider.
It's the new "in" sport with kids and many skateboard parks are popping up all over the GTA. Check your local parks and recreation guide for a park near you. Don't forget to observe all the safety rules.
Rent a canoe, paddle boat, or even go inner-tubing on a local lake or river.
Visit a farm! Many farms today offer tons of fun family oriented activities such as visiting a petting zoo or barnyard animals, or offer playground areas with toys, sand, swings, etc... It's usually an inexpensive (sometimes free!) way to enjoy an afternoon.
Take the kids out rollerblading. Remember to wear all your protective gear!
#25 Ice Skating
Yes, ice skating! Many local recreation centres still offer ice time and recreational skating in the Summertime. What better way to cool off than to head over to an ice rink. It will also help keep up your skills! Check schedules with your local recreation centre and arena.
#26 Scavenger Hunt
You can keep a large group of kids amused for hours with a few, well planned, treasure/scavenger hunts. You can create a map that will lead the kids to all the treasures or you can write up a list of common objects and have the kids find every item. If there's lots of kids, divide them into teams, and then give each team a list. Buy inexpensive token gifts at a dollar store for prizes.
#27 Build a Fort
Explore your backyard for possible fort locations. Build your fort with whatever materials you can find. Check if you have a tree in which you could build a tree house. Over time, collect good fort materials and put them where they won't get thrown out. You might want to have a fort notebook and draw or take a picture of each of the forts you make.
#28 Ride a Scooter
Take out the scooters! Don't forget your helmet and practise safe scooter riding!
#29 Turn on the Sprinkler
On a scorching day, get the suits on and turn on the sprinkler or the garden hose on the kids. It will provide hours of endless fun and will cool everyone down quickly -- not to mention, water your lawn!
#30 Ride your Bike
Go for a bike ride! Don't forget your helmet and practise safe bicycle riding!
#31 Skipping Rope
How about skipping a rope? Lots of fun and good exercise!
Outdoors bubbles can be lots of fun to play with. Try to set a record by making the most gigantic bubble! Click here for a recipe to make your own.
#33 Dress Up
We know how much kids love to play dress up! Collect funny hats, gloves, purses, flowing gowns, and "superhero capes" at a garage sale or thrift store. Slip into your new get-up, and have a make-believe garden party, Spider-Man adventure, or masquerade ball. Or, have a fashion show!
If it's raining or the kids just need some "down" time, take out a few puzzles. Puzzles also provide brain food for young minds helping children learn basic skills (colours, counting alphabet) and about their world. Eye movement and eye-hand coordination help prepare children for reading. Puzzles provide a form of less expensive entertainment and a way to spend more time with family and friends.
Set up a net in your backyard and enjoy a family game of badminton.
#36 Play Soccer
Grab a soccer ball and head to the nearest park.
#37 Sidewalk Chalk
Everyone loves sidewalk chalk. It's a great opportunity for your kids to show off their creative talents. Use glow-in-the-dark chalk so you and your child can obsverve your artwork from the window at night! Click here for a recipe to make your own.
#38 Arts and Crafts
Kids love arts and crafts so bring out the supplies and let them explore their creativity.
#39 Street Party
Have a street party. What better way to get to know your neighbours? Determine how far in advance you need to start planning. Delegate responsibilities to a committee but have a chairperson oversee the entire process. Check into permits if they are required. Look into the possibility of local businesses donating some of the items you may need.
#40 Petting Zoo
Petting zoos present a great opportunity for kids to see animals up close and to interact with them. Some petting zoos even allow you to feed the animals.
#41 Visit an Attraction in the City
Visit an attraction in the city! Become a tourist in our own city and check out the sites you've always wanted to see! Click here for 10 sites to see in Toronto.
#42 Face Painting
Buy some supplies (or take out your Halloween stock!) and get creative with the kids by painting themes on their faces. Let the kids do their own or help them out. Paint your favourite cartoon character, an animal, flowers, butterflies, or crazy masks! Take photos of your creations afterwards.
#43 Paint a Mural
Grab some non-toxic wall paint and some brushes. Let your kids express themselves and create a mural on a wall in your basement or in a craft room. You can also find some small cans of sample paint at the paint store, will will allow you to have a full range of colours. Don't forget to cover up the floors and the kids!
#44 Water Ballon Fight
Pick up a bag of water-balloons at your local dollar store. Help the kids fill them up and allow them to have a water balloon fight in the back yard!
#45 Read a Story
Reading out loud to your child can help them become a more successful reader and enjoy books. Getting your kids into good reading habits will help with school!
#46 Obstacle Course
Create a course with piles of "stuff" that kids can climb over. Use small tables they can crawl under, hula hoops, step stools, planks of wood, and anything else that you can find that would be fun and safe. Provide instructions as to what has to be climbed over, under, around, through, etc. It's great exercise and helps with problem-solving skills.
#47 Write a Letter
Write to a letter to a friend or a distant relative and make their day! This will also help your child improve their writing skills. What a thrill when your child gets a letter or card back in the mail.
#48 Board Games
Organize some family game time to play a board game and spend quality time together. Gather the troops, and on a rotation basis, let a family member pick a board game. Watch as the fun unfolds and everyone gets a chance to connect!
#49 Keep a Summer Journal
Encourage your children to keep a journal over the Summer. Not only will it help them practice their writing skills, but it will also help them keep a precious memento of how they spent their Summer.
Whether in your drive-way or at a local park, grab a few friends and shoot some hoops!
#51 Photo Albums
Summertime is the perfect time to catch up on projects such as updating family albums. Gather the kids and organize photos! It's a great time for reminiscing!
#52 Write Stories
Writing stories can help children develop their imagination and improve their writing skills. Allow them to invent their own stories or give them a theme to explore.
Homework in the Summer? Yes! School will be starting again soon. Go to your local bookstore and pick up some simple and fun Summer exercise books for your kids to work through. Keep it light and fun. Spending time with your kids just going over some basic math, spelling, and grammar concepts helps them keep up those skills and makes going back to school in the fall less difficult!
OK, so you might not be able to entertain your child all Summer long. Why not register them in a fun camp for a week or two, to break the monotony? Many camps still have spots in August! Click here to view our Camp Directory.
With the kids at home, it may be a great opportunity to train them to take on some chores around the house. Get them to pitch in when it comes to tackling some big projects like cleaning out the basement, the garage, or reorganizing some closets in the house!
#56 Slumber Party
Invite some of your child's closest school friends and host a slumber party. Rent a movie, make popcorn, organize some games. It will be a great opportunity to see some dear missed friends since school ended.
Mid-Summer in the garden is a time of pulling stray weeds, checking for insect damage, picking vegetables, and cutting flowers. Get the kids involved! If your property allows it, give them a small square of the garden where they can grow their own vegetables from seeds and look after their very own vegetable patch.
#58 Library Programs
Libraries in your community offer a ton of inexpensive (if not free!) activities, crafts, story-time, and more for your kids during the Summer. Check out the programming at a library near you!
Rock-climbing is a new exciting sport which offers the chance for your kids to release all that energy in a safe, fun, and healthy way.
#60 Indoor Playland
On a scorching hot Summer day, what better place to take the kids than to an air-conditioned, cool indoor playland. They provide tons of fun as kids can climb into endless tubes and structures and fall into ball pits... all while you can sit and relax.
Once in awhile, it's good to get away from the city. Pack up the kids and the car and head out to a famous attraction you've always wanted to see. A fun day away from home will become an instant Summer hit.
Parks in the cities offer many amenities and are a great place to enjoy your Summer days. Enjoy the playground; have a picnic or just stay cool in a splash pad.
Origami is a creative activity for families and kids. To learn to fold, see origami insects, dinosaurs, and other models, and to learn more about origami, visit this website.
#64 Pool Party
A pool party is a great way to have fun with your children. By keeping the festivities contained outside, you minimize the activity inside your house. You won't have to worry about spilled drinks, dirty fingerprints, kids running, or food on the sofa. When you invite your guests, let the parents know your intentions (a pool party) and ask them about their child's swimming ability. Suggest a life jacket or water wings for those who are at a beginner level. Reassure all the parents that there will be an adult watching the children at all times. Have outside decorations, music, fun activities for the children to play, and an alternative plan in case of inclement weather.
Summertime means great sales at the mall! Stock up on Summer fashions for next year.
Grab a volley-ball and some friends and head over to the nearest park.
Summer is here! It's time to pack up the tent and head into the woods for a fun weekend of camping. For a complete list of campgrounds, visit www.campinginontario.ca.
Hiking with children can be a great way to introduce young ones to the wonders of nature. By planning successful, enjoyable hikes when they're young, you'll set your children on the path to a lifetime of outdoor adventures.
#69 Write a Poem
Poetry can be a great way for kids to express their ideas and their creativity while improving their writing skills. For inspiration, visit: www.poetry4kids.com.
#70 Baseball Game
What would Summer be without baseball? Check out a game at a local park, join a club, or check out a Blue Jays Game!
#71 Fruit and Veggie Picking
Nothing ushers in Summertime like the first crop of sweet strawberries, corn, raspberries, and other fresh Summer vegetables at a farm. The simplicity of the harvest makes picking your own fruit and vegetables an ideal family outing that spans the generations. From young to old, everyone can get in on the fun! For more information, visit: www.harvestontario.com. You can also visit: www.farmersmarketsontario.com.
#72 Make Popsicles
Popsicles are definitely a sign of Summer! All you need are some popsicle molds and something sweet to put in them. Fill your molds with any of the following and freeze. Juice (any kind), soda, Kool-Aid, leftover yogurt, pudding, pureed fruit, chocolate milk, fruit cocktail or the juice from canned fruit, leftover fruit shakes, whipped topping and fruit, Jello or gelatin, apple sauce, or even cranberry sauce.
#73 Outside Games
Play games outside like hide and seek, kick the can, hopscotch, and tag.
#74 Lemonade Stand
Set up a lemonade stand in your neighborhood. The secret to great lemonade is to use simple syrup. The sugar is completely dissolved and blends beautifully with the tart lemon. Simple syrup is 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Blend well in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves completely. Let cool and refrigerate. Mix the syrup well with the juice from 4-6 lemons (strained or not) and stir well. Add 4 cups cold water and mix. Try using sparkling water for some fizz! Pour into thermos or large jug, adding thin lemon slices if you'd like. Make more lemonade and freeze it in ice cube trays, adding the cubes to the lemonade so it's never diluted.
#75 Pet Rocks
Search for some great rocks to paint. Kids can let their imaginations run wild when creating creatures out of rocks. They can think about how to use the different shapes to make their own creation.
#76 Tye Dye
Kids can create their own tye dye masterpiece! Visit this link for inspiration.
#77 Build a Sand Castle
Build a sand castle! Visit this website for all things sand sculpture, including free tips for beginners, information on the best sand carving tools, updated contests and master sculptor information, related links, and lots of photos.
#78 Learn to Play an Instrument
Learning to play an instrument can be a positive and rewarding experience which will introduce your child into the wonderful world of music-making.
#79 Pretend Camping
If you can't get away for a weekend of camping, allow your kids to pitch a tent in the backyard or in the basement. "Pretending" to be camping can be just as much fun!
#80 Make S'mores
You can't go camping without having s'mores! Here's the basic s'more recipe: graham crackers, chocolate candy bars of any kind, and large marshmallows. Roast a marshmallow over a campfire. Be careful NOT to burn it! Take one graham cracker and put a square of chocolate on it. Put your roasted marshmallow on top of that. You can add another chocolate square if you like, and top with another graham cracker. So good... you'll surely want s'more! Click here for a twist on the classic recipe.
#81 Play Tennis
Grab your rackets and head over to the nearest tennis courts.
#82 Family Getaway Resorts
Family resorts can offer a great mini vacation for families. Many provide tons of Summertime activities to make your stay more enjoyable, such as swimming, spas, crafts, camps for kids, boating, golf, and more. They are located in very scenic areas of Ontario and there are opportunities to also take in local attractions.
#83 Wash the Car
Get the bucket, some water, and some suds and make this a family activity.
#84 Family Movie Night
Hang a sheet in the backyard, rent a projector, and sit on beach chairs to celebrate a classic like The Wizard of Oz.
#85 Bird Watching
Get your kids interested in birdwatching. Get a pair of binoculars so that you can see the birds better. You can also attract birds to your backyard by providing them with the things they need to live: food, water, and shelter. Bird feeders, baths and houses, trees, bushes, bugs, and seed producing plants all help bring birds to your backyard where you can see them more easily. Keeping your cat or dog in the house also makes birds safer.
#86 Play Cards
Card games can be a great way to pass the time. For card games ideas for kids, visit this link.
#87 Put on a Play
Have your kids put on a show and hold the production outdoors. Help them work out the order of the story, the props and costumes they will need, and do a very rough run-through. Grab some fabric and turn it into a curtain. The kids can also design admission tickets and set up a concession stand with cookies and lemonade.
#88 Science Experiments
Let your kids have fun by allowing them to conduct at-home scientific experiments. Click here for some great ideas!
#89 Art Gallery
Visit an art gallery and give your children an appreciation for the arts.
#90 Free Outings
Summer outings can become costly, especially for large families. There are a ton of things that you can do in the GTA which are inexpensive or free - from museums, to gardens, to attractions, to events and more! See our Events Calendar for an extensive list. Just filter by Free Events.
#91 Put on a Magic Show
Amaze and stun your friends! Put on a magic show! Show an adult the tricks before you try learning them. They can help you with the act until you get it down pat. Click here for inspiration.
#92 Historic Places
Travel back in time to visit history and visit a local historical museum.
#93 Talent Show
Kids love to show off their special talents whether they sing, dance, do gymnastics, or a combination of all three. Give them the challenge of entertaining you and allow them to get dressed up in costumes, create a stage, and rehearse. They'll use their imagination, exercise their creativity and keep busy. You can invite the neighbours, or just have a private performance.
#94 Hula Hoops
Grab your hula hoops and have a competition!
Head over to the nearest park with your friends and a football.
Take the family out to a game of bowling. Click here to get more info on the Kids Bowl Free program.
#97 Splash Pads
Splash pads can offer a fun and refreshing way to cool off in the Summer and many splash pads are located in community parks.
It's skillful, exciting, and a real blast! Race against the clock or gather your mates and enjoy karting at locations across the GTA.
Make a scrapbook over the Summer of all your favourite activities. Keep photos, records, and ticket stubs of all the unique and interesting things you see and do. Your Summer scrapbook will provide many treasured memories for years to come.
#100 Puppet Show
Have the kids create finger puppets or decorate some paper lunch bags or use some stuffed animals and hold a puppet show based on a story they love.
There are many paint-your-own ceramic studios that are opening up all around the GTA. This is a great activity for kids. You pick your own ceramic piece which you can paint to your own liking. Pieces are then fired and you get them back a week or two later. It's a priceless piece your kids will treasure forever.
Enjoy the rest of your Summer. You won't be running out of things to do!