Recreate Family Summer Activities at Home

summer activities at home
Written by Lily Rogers

As the world continues to change, so do the ways we adjust our plans, traditions, and activities. For many families, the sunny season means summer camp, outdoor activities, amusement parks, and vacations to new places. Some of those things aren't in the cards this year, but that doesn't mean you have to give them up entirely.

We love finding creative ways to make new memories, and what better way than to spend time together when it matters most? If you've had to cancel any summer plans, here are some ways you can use items—new and old—to recreate classic summer memories. Enjoy these fun summer activities at home!

1. Summer Camp

at-home summer camp for kids

Summer camp is a beloved childhood tradition, and many of the best parts of it—campfires, activities, crafts, and snacks—can be replicated at home. Here are some ways to turn the backyard, living room, or wherever you've got space, into a DIY summer camp at home.

At-home summer camp supplies and activities:

  • A portable smokeless propane fire pit is perfect for smaller backyard s'mores and campfire stories. If you don't have room for one or access to outdoor spaces, create a fake fire with fairy lights and colorful paper and make s'mores in the oven.
  • Add a fun spin to camp crafts by turning them into challenges. Put together a box of household items like paper tubes, aluminum foil, clips, and ribbons. Have the kids make a robot, machine, or sculpture out of as many of the items as they can. Score on creativity and function or keep things equal with prizes by category. 
  • Set up painting station or friendship bracelet and lanyard making area and set goals for gifting. For example, have them think about what friends or family members might like and create something special for each.
  • Turn the kids' rooms into their camp "cabins" with a camp theme and name. Switch out their bedding for sleeping bags and add themed details like posters, mosquito nets, and painted sign.  
  • Purchase a backyard zipline kit or build a backyard climbing wall to replicate favorite summer camp activities.
  • Keep the fun and games going by practicing camp skills. Try your hand at archery with at-home soft archery sets; practice knot tying, compass reading, and gadget building skills; participate in team building exercises; and learn popular camp songs and stories to perform around the fire.  

2. Water Park

at-home DIY waterpark

When the temperature rises, cooling off in the water is a refreshing break. If you had to cancel your big trip to the waterpark this summer, don't worry. With a few accessories you can create one of the easiest summer activities for kids at home.

At-home water park supplies and activities:

  • If you have a pool, you're halfway to amusement park status. Enhance your home pool with water slides, floating pool fountains, fun floaties, and pool toys.
  • Embrace the inflatable—slides, pools, and accessories that can be deflated at the end of summer are the perfect way to keep storing summer items manageable.
  • No pool? No problem. Toys like Slip ‘N Slides and sprinkler attachments turn your boring backyard into an at-home waterpark that provides hours of entertainment.
  • Up the ante and put together a water balloon toss. For a colorful spin, fill the balloons with food dye solution, buy some new white t-shirts or coveralls, and see what rainbow patterns arise.
  • Set up a concession stand with lemonade, hotdogs, popsicles, and other fun summer treats. Not cooking inside is an excellent way to keep your house cool in summer without AC.

3. Exploration and Educational Activities

vacation activities at home

A big part of family travel is learning about other places and cultures and experiencing art and science in new ways. Keep the spirit of knowledge fresh and exciting by taking a cue from popular children's museums and iconic destinations for creative home activities with the kids.

At-home educational supplies and activities:

  • If you were planning a trip to a different city or country, learn one or two popular dishes from that part of the world and make them together as a family. When the kids go to bed, mix up a DIY summer cocktail that represents a vacation state of mind.
  • Create your own hands-on children's museum or science museum with science experiments you can do at home. Learn about minerals and natural matter together with at-home scavenger hunts of commonly found items made of different elements.
  • Recreate famous paintings and iconic landmarks with collage, papier-mâché, and other materials. Or, go on an archeological adventure and dig for artifacts with fossil kits you can buy online.

4. Family Camping

camping at home with family

While many campsites are opening around the country, there are still limits on things like number of reservations. Creating your own campsite is one of the most fun summer activities at home and can save you the stress and worry of travel. Whether you spend the day in a nearby park or natural setting and finish the days at home, or you never leave the backyard, at-home camping is a fun way to change things up.

At-home camping supplies and activities:

  • If you live near water, take the day and go kayaking or sailing, then return home to camp in the yard or living room. Take a hike or long nature walk and use the skills learned at summer camp like marking the trail with rock-and-twig signals or knot tying.
  • Make sure your backyard is prepped for summer activity, then pitch a tent and set up camp. If you're new to camping this is also the perfect way to learn how to set up tents and campsites without the stress of learning on the spot.
  • Fire up the grill and share a cookout with hotdogs, potato salad, watermelon, and other fun summer treats.
  • Another way to create a camping atmosphere is to hang a hammock and take turns lounging or see how many can fit at once.
  • Summer camp activities like fishing are fun ways to learn new skills. Take a day trip to go fishing or set up a "fishing lake" in the yard in a plastic pool with magnet poles and magnetic fish.
  • Embracing outdoor adventure, even close to home means you'll need extra supplies. Don't let that stop you from creating lifelong memories with the kids. Rent a contact-free storage unit for when it's time to pack up summer and head into fall.

5. Summer Olympics/Sporting Events

host your own sports events at home

The best way to work off some pent-up energy is by staying creatively active. Make regular sports more interesting by upping the stakes by hosting your own Olympic ceremonies or making up your own hybrid sports tournament. If you want to know how to make your summer fun at home, it's all about giving a new spin to your regular routines and activities.

At-home sports supplies and activities:

  • For your own Olympic games, get the family involved in planning opening and closing ceremonies with props, costumes, performances, and songs.
  • Decide on your sporting categories—from track and field to rhythmic gymnastics to badminton—and make a schedule of events. Order bronze, silver, and gold medals online and make sure to celebrate each victory with a medal ceremony.
  • Stretch the imagination and create your own fictional countries to represent and task everyone with coming up with a flag and national anthem. Or, make up a brand-new sport with uniforms, rules, and tournaments.

If you're worried about all the gear that comes with summer home activities like do it yourself summer camp, don't be. Storage units for summer gear make room in your life for all kinds of new adventures. From portable fire pits to kayaks to recreations of famous landmarks, the items you need for newfound summer traditions can stay in a new storage unit until you need them again in the years to come.

About the author

Lily Rogers

Lily is a writer, editor, and content strategist. Her curiosity spans genre, from travel to pop culture to food, and she writes about all that and more. She's also a social introvert, literature nerd, and (slight) hoarder. When not in pursuit of her next adventure, she's most likely at home with her wife and two cats.

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