Summer Activities to Fend off Boredom

summer activitiesWith summer’s arrival comes advertisements for all the latest fun water and outdoor toys. Many of them are great options to promote development of language, fine and gross motor skills, as well as social interactions and independence. As much fun as it for children to pick the most eye-catching item in the store aisle, making thoughtful purchases of new toys and activities at the beginning of summer means you’re more likely to get longevity and repeat play opportunities for months to come. There’s nothing worse than buying a new set of toys only for them to be “old news” in a week or two.

Additionally, many toy options are great across a variety of ages – meaning less purchases for you and more simplicity across siblings. So, here are some easy to find, simple items to get you started on creative summer fun:

Water Table

  • Offers sensory exploration and imaginative play opportunities
  • Simple vocabulary opportunities including: up, down, splash, on, off, cold, hot, my turn. Throw in some water beads for added fun!

Sidewalk Chalk

  • Make your own  sidewalk chalk with crafty kids
  • Offers sensory play opportunities, turn taking, imaginative play
  • Play games with chalk, such as tic tac toe, or give each other directions to make a special creation
  • Get creative with surfaces – chalk doesn’t need to stay on the sidewalk. Explore coloring your fence, on paper, on rocks, or tracing shadows


  • Easy and inexpensive at most stores, or make your own from home
  • Early vocabulary opportunities: pop, mine, more, up, down, blow, big, little
  • Easily provides turn taking and social routines

Hoola Hoops

  • Gross motor: have a competition, jump through a row of them, use as a jump rope substitute
  • Throw bean bags or colored water balloons for turn taking and game play
  • Turn a hoop into a craft by adding string, lights, or treasures from around the yard. Tying and cutting are great fine motor tasks!

Spray bottles

There are more activities with this simple Dollar Store item than you’d think! Spray bottles are great for grip strength, motor planning, and fine motor development.

  • Knock over animals or army men.
  • Have a water fight.
  • Stack and crash plastic cup towers.
  • Fill with colored water and spray water targets to make a picture.
  • Race to clean off the chalk from the fences

Don’t limit your summer experience because of your budget, storage space, or ability to shop frequently. Many of these activities can be taken from your front porch to the backyard and even to the park. We know that summer time looks a little different still, but the fun doesn’t have to stop. Consider going simple and allowing your child’s imagination to bloom! Additionally, for more summer activities, check out our Summer Scavenger Hunts.