The weatherman was forecasting another rainy, July day and my daughter and I were locked in a battle of wills. She was desperately trying to get me to cave on the decision to have a screen-free day and I was trying equally as hard to stay strong. It would have been so easy to give in and hand over the tablet, but I was determined to help her find things to do on screen free summer days that didn’t involve pouting or arguing with me.
Maybe you’ve been engaged in a similar battle with your own kids. It’s exhausting and a hard line to hold when they give it their all and try to convince you that they need screen time. Thankfully, there are a ton of things to do on screen free summer days. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean there needs to be more screen time! Here are some of our favorite screen free day activities for summer.
25 Things to Do on Screen-Free Summer Days
1. Have a water balloon toss.
Fill up a bunch of small water balloons and have a water balloon battle (or toss!) with friends and family. It’s a great way to cool down.
2. Wash the cars.
Get out the hose and bucket of soap to give the cars a wash down. If you happen to get a little wet in the process, the more fun it will be!
3. Draw on the driveway with sidewalk chalk.
See how long of a line you can draw or write inspirational messages on your driveway or sidewalk.
4. Go for a walk around the neighborhood.
Take a stroll around the neighborhood and say hello to people you haven’t seen since last summer!
5. Take a bike ride around the park.
Load up your bikes and head to the local park for a family bike ride. It’s a great stretch of the legs and a whole lot of fun.
6. Make homemade ice cream.
Why go out for ice cream when you can make your own at home?! Homemade ice cream is a great science experiment – not to mention a delicious summer treat!
7. Tend to the garden.
Water the plants in your garden and weed the area. If you’ve planted fresh flowers, cut some for a pretty bouquet to bring inside.
8. Put together puzzles.
Whether you tackle a 50-piece puzzle or a 1500-piece one, putting puzzles together is a great family activity that will keep you busy for hours.
9. Have a dance competition.
Turn on the radio and dance the afternoon away for some great exercise and tons of laughter.
10. Set up a tent in the backyard.
Pitch a tent in the backyard and turn it into your summertime fort!
11. Go fishing.
Head to the lake and spend time fishing. Have a contest to see who can catch the biggest fish!
12. Have a bike wash in the driveway.
Invite some neighborhood friends over and have a bike wash in the drive. It’s the perfect time to get rid of the summer dust and grime.
13. Go swimming.
Head to the local pool and spend some time swimming! No local pool? Play with the hose instead!
14. Go hiking together in the woods.
Lace up those hiking boots and head out into the woods for some midsummer exploring.
15. Play board games.
Pick old favorites and try some new ones, because board games help chase away the boredom.
16. Have a lemonade stand.
There’s nothing that says summer more than a lemonade stand. Stir up some lemonade and see how many cups you can sell on a hot, summer afternoon.
17. Make slime.
Try some different slime recipes to see which ones work best for you!
18. Create a fairy garden.
Build a small fair garden in a pot or your actual garden using upcycled odds and ends you find around the house.
19. Have a picnic.
Bring your lunch outdoors and have a picnic in the grass. If you’re feeling really adventurous, head to a local park!
20. Run through the sprinkler.
Hook the sprinkler up to the hose and spend time cooling down by running through the spraying water.
21. Visit the library.
Sign up for your library’s summer reading program and head in to check out some new books. Libraries often have a ton of fun, summer programming, so be sure to pick up a schedule while you’re there.
22. Have a yard sale.
Earn some extra cash for vacation by hosting a yard sale. Spend the week before going through closets, bins, tubs, and toys to find all of the things you’re ready to part with.
23. Tie-dye t-shirts.
Grab some plain white t-shirts and experiment with tie-dying! Not fond of chemicals? Try some natural plant dyes instead.
24. Play hopscotch.
Use your sidewalk chalk to draw out hopscotch on the sidewalk. Challenge a friend to see who can complete it without tipping over or touching down!
25. Read a book.
Curl up in your favorite reading nook and spend a rainy, summer day reading a good book. It can be magical!
With so many things to do, there’s no reason screen time has to increase during the summer months. Instead of a quick boredom fix, encourage your kids to think outside of the screen and engage with people and their environment.