School’s Out Summer Activities

Schools Out Summer Activities

School is out and summer fun is here. Many times, along with the fun comes the familiar “I’m bored”. “I’m bored!” is an announcement by kids all parents despise. As the parent, or caretaker, we can only see all the toys and different things kids have or can do. Unfortunately, pointing those things out rarely helps. Whether it is difficult for us to believe or whether they are actually bored or not; the problem is the complaint of I’m bored. It needs to be solved. You need school’s out summer activities.

School’s Out Summer Activities

It has been a challenging year for kids and parents alike, so perhaps this is the perfect time to get imagination and creativity rolling. There are so many common household items that can be turned into fun games and activities. Many require little to no additional help once you set up the materials. However, as parents, this is a perfect opportunity to spend time with your child. While completing the activity you are also helping build skills as well as creating memories!

Paper Plate Activities

  • Frisbee: try to throw it back and forth like a Frisbee – motor planning
  • Mask: cut out 2 holes for eyes and draw happy, sad, or silly faces on the front and hold it over your face – visual, pretend
  • Shield: use as a shield for your paper towel roll sword – pretend
  • Lily Pads: lie several plates in a path on the floor and hop from one to the other – pretend, gross motor, coordination
  • Tambourine: staple 2 plates together with dry beans or rice in the middle. Shake to music – fine motor, auditory
  • Paper Shoes: stand on paper plates and slide across wood floor or tile – proprioception, motor planning. Add hole punches on each side of the plate and have children string laces and tie – fine motor, sequencing, motor planning

Paper Towel Roll Activities

  • Eye Spy: when spying for the object, use the paper towel roll like binoculars or a telescope – visual, cognitive
  • Telephone: whisper silly phrases to each other through the paper towel roll – auditorycognitive
  • Sword Fighting: use the paper towel roll as a sword – motor planning, gross motor coordination, pretend. Add decorating with stickers, coloring or painting – fine motor
  • Noise Maker: tape one end closed and fill half way with rice or beans, then tape the other end closed and shake – motor planning, auditory
  • Paper People: use paper towel rolls for arms and legs, paper plate for head and body. Tie together with pipe cleaner, color and decorate – sequencing, fine motor, cognitive
  • Bracelets: cut into smaller pieces and make bracelets. You can decorate them with markers, beads, or glitter – motor planning, pretend, fine motor
  • Stamp: dip one end in paint and use as a ‘circle stamp’ on paper – visual, motor planning

 Empty Box

  • Drum: flip the box over and pound on it with your hands or with sticks – proprioception, motor planning, auditory
  • Driving: pretend it is a car and push it around or get in it and pretend to drive it – motor planning, pretend
  • Knock-Knock Game: draw some squares for windows and a rectangle for a door and pretend it’s a house or cut out the windows/door – motor planning, pretend
  • Bean Bag Toss or Basketball: try tossing various items, such as bean bags or plastic balls, into the box from a short distance – motor planning, gross motor, coordination
  • Mailbox: cut a slot in the box and parent/child can be mailman and deliver mail. Child/parent can write real or pretend letters – pretend, fine motor, cognitive
  • Dog House: draw paw prints all over the box and cut some holds in the sides. Place stuffed animals inside or invite your dog to sit in the house with you – pretend, fine motor

 Empty Water/Pop Bottles

  • Stacking: take turns stacking them on top of each other and see how many you get until they topple over – visual, motor planning
  • Bowling: line up empty bottles and roll a ball into them – motor planning, cognitive, visual
  • Fill and Pour:  fill with water, rice, sand, etc. and pour into different containers or on hands/feet – fine motor, tactile
  • Drumming: use bottles as “drum sticks”. Imitate rhythm, drum to music, drum different places to hear different noise – auditory, pretend
  • Noise Makers: fill with rice or dry beans and shake! Listen to the different sounds various fillers make – auditory, motor planning
  • I Spy: fill with rice and add tiny items (beads, coins, pebbles) and then shake it up and try to find all of the ‘hidden items’ fine motor, visual
  • Volcano: put a little baking soda in the bottle and then some vinegar until it starts to fizz and bubble up (do this outside or over the sink). Put small plastic characters in the bottle and see if the volcano pushes them out – visual, pretend
  • Vase: decorate a piece of paper and tape or glue it onto an empty bottle. Then pick some wild flowers and put them inside with some water – fine motor


  • Tug-o-war: sit or stand across from each other and tug back and forth – proprioception, motor planning
  • Parachute: with 2-6 people, hold a section of the blanket and float it up into the air and back down – visual, motor planning
  • Blanket ride: fold the blanket in half and sit on one end while another person pulls it – proprioception, gross motor
  • Ghost: put the sheet over your head and make a Oooo sound as you walk around the room – pretend, visual
  • Cocoon: roll someone up in the blanket (with their face uncovered) – proprioception, self regulation
  • Fort: drape over a table or other furniture to create a small hideaway and pretend you are in a cave, underwater, etc. – pretend
  • Hammock: have child lie in blanket while 2 adults grab the ends and gently swings back and forth – vestibular, self-regulation


  • Make a Hand Puppet: draw eyes with marker and make the puppet talk, kiss, burp, etc. – pretend play
  • Bean Bag Toss: fill socks up with beans or rice and use it like a bean bag – motor planning, coordination
  • Calming Aid: fill it up with rice and microwave for 30 seconds (or just until warm) – tactile, self regulation
  • Guess What’s Inside:  Put small items inside sock and have child feel and guess what is inside, take turns guessing! – proprioception, cognitive

Quick Definitions

You may be reading this and thinking, I am not sure what some of these things are…proprioception, vestibular, self regulation?? Below are some quick definitions to help clarify some terms that may not be familiar and show how the activity goes well beyond just the play and finished project.

  • Sensory: Engaging one or more of the 8 senses (auditory, visual, olfactory, gustatory, touch, proprioceptive, vestibular, interoception)
  • Vestibular: The ability to detect changes in head position related to balance and knowing where your body is in space, etc.
  • Proprioception: Input to and awareness of position of joints, muscles, and tendons related to the amount of effort needed to move, play, etc.
  • Sequencing: The ability to complete a task or activity involving 2 or more steps.
  • Self regulation: A child’s ability to calm oneself after a period of distress, excitement, etc.

The above information was taken from the Play Project. This is a great resource for children with special needs as well as typically developing children. Pinterest is another easy source to find fun and simple activities for kids of all ages and abilities. Or check out Summertime S’mores and Summer Activities for more fun school’s out summer activities.

Summertime is a wonderful time to explore these activities and create new ones! Do not let the “I’m bored” or “there’s nothing to do” get you down. There are so many fun activities just waiting for you to create them by simply looking around your home. Now, let the school’s out summer activities begin!