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If you’ve got kids, you’re probably all too familiar with the summertime blues—that is, the constant, annual struggle to think of fun kids’ activities, preferably that don’t involve screen time, to help you and your family enjoy a simple summer together. Fun activities for kids’ summers don’t have to be elaborate, and they definitely don’t have to be expensive—in fact, most of our ideas below are perfectly free. Read on for 40 family fun ideas that are sure to engage kids of all ages, and parents, too!

Get Moving

Get Moving

1. Sign up for Walk and Talk, a free program for parents and kids to connect and get to know each other better while they take a walk. Marathon Kids provides the conversation starters and mileage logs to help you cover a full marathon together by summer’s end.

2. Have a jump rope contest—see which family member can jump the most times in a row, who can jump the highest, or who can achieve two turns of the rope in one jump.

3. Have a dance party in your living room, taking turns playing each family member’s favorite tunes.

4. Go hiking together at a state park or greenbelt.

5. Take a family walk after dinner, or even after dark (bring flashlights!).

6. Find an online kids’ yoga video so you can stretch and build strength together.

Get Creative

7. Make coffee filter art: Draw on a white coffee filter with washable markers. Then use a spray bottle filled with water to spritz your creations and make the colors run. Let the filters dry and then hang them in the window to enjoy their colorful beauty.

8. Make up your own ghost stories, and take turns telling them—at bedtime with a flashlight, if you dare.

9. Make puppets out of socks, gluing on googly eyes and yarn for hair or drawing faces on with markers, and then hold a puppet show.

10. Make a fort using couch cushions or dining chairs draped with sheets, and have snacks or just hang out inside.

11. Clip paper to an easel and fill water guns with watered-down paint to make squirt-paint art.

12. Make your own bean bag toss by cutting holes in a cardboard box and filling socks with dried beans or rice.

Get Outside

Get Outside

13. Linger outdoors at dusk to catch fireflies.

14. Stay outside past dark to gaze up at the stars and see how many constellations you can find—or make up your own.

15. Get a pack of sparklers and use them to trace your names or the words “I love you” in the air—even if it’s not the 4th of July.

16. Head to the park for swinging and sliding fun.

17. Roll down a grassy hill with your kids—it’ll make everyone giggle.

18. Hold a scavenger hunt in your yard or neighborhood, or make up a treasure map for your kids to find “treasure” that you’ve buried (think plastic beaded necklaces, pennies or cool erasers).

19. Blow bubbles, and see who can catch or pop the most.

Get Cool

20. Have a water balloon fight.

21. If you have a trampoline, toss water balloons while jumping!

22. Run through the sprinklers together.

23. Visit your local splash pad. Don’t forget to bring water bottles and snacks!

24. Visit your neighborhood pool and do “whale rides”—a kid or two riding on the parent’s back while the parent swims (head above water, to keep everyone safe!).

Get Out of Town

25. Take a quick day trip to a nearby town.

26. Visit an antique store or swimming hole that’s far enough away that you normally wouldn’t make it a priority.

27. Go camping at a state park.

28. Visit a state fair in another city or county.

Get Comfy Indoors

29. Set up your camping tent in the living room for a family sleepover, and enjoy true “glamping” with all the comforts of home.

30. Have a family card or board game night.

31. Play hide-and-seek. Switch it up by playing a zombie or reverse version of this timeless game. (In reverse hide-and-seek, only one person hides, while everyone else seeks. When someone finds the hider, they join them by squishing together into their hiding space—no matter how small it might be!)

Get Bookish

32. Head to your local public library for new books, magazines, videos or music to enjoy, or check their schedule for story times and other family fun listings.

33. Attend a reading by a children’s or young-adult author at a local bookstore.

34. Write a story or make a picture book together, collaborating on words, plot and artwork.

35. Have a family book club—everyone reads the same book, either together or independently, and then meets up for snacks and discussion about what they read.

Get Yummy

36. Make s’mores together in your back yard, or simply over the stove.

37. Make lemonade from scratch. Mix it up by adding fresh orange or lime juice, strawberry slices, or frozen berry puree.

38. Find the nearest fifties-style diner where you can enjoy a slice of pie, or make your own pie at home from scratch.

39. Make simple popsicles: Freeze a mixture of pineapple and orange juices, or any juice you enjoy, in popsicle molds, and enjoy their sweet, drippy goodness together.

40. Have a blindfolded taste test with ice cream treats, or have each family member review their ice cream like a professional food critic.

ABOUT MARATHON KIDS

Marathon Kids is on a mission to get kids moving. The nonprofit organization offers free physical education programming through Marathon Kids Connect, a cloud-based PE and run club management platform that includes a mobile app for digital activity-tracking. 

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Depending on where you live, summer vacation is either here, or just around the corner. Are you excited, nervous, or maybe a little of both? Whether you’re filled with glee or dread at the prospect of your children being out of school for the next few months, Marathon Kids has got you covered. We want you to rest assured that this does not have to be a long, hot summer of battling with your kids over screen time. Quite to the contrary, it can be a fun, active summer of connecting with the people you love most in the world. How? By taking the Walk and Talk challenge, free for all ages and fun for the whole family.

Free Summer Program

Families across the country are registering to Walk and Talk with their kids — committing to creating a happy, active and interactive summer as a family. Research shows that kids are more likely to connect with their parents when they’re engaged in activities together, whether it’s cooking, doing artwork together, or taking a walk around the neighborhood. There’s just something about getting the body and the brain engaged at the same time that breaks down communication barriers and eases the way to opening up.

When parents sign up for Walk and Talk with their children, they are signing up for a summer of getting their bodies moving alongside their kids ­— building healthier habits together, and getting to know each other better along the way.

Here’s How It Works!

When parents and children register for Walk and Talk, they commit to walking one mile at a time together. When you Walk and Talk with your child, you set your own schedule, which means you can take your walks at any point in the week and at any time of day that works for your family, whether that’s first thing in the morning, after lunch or before bedtime; on weekday evenings or weekend mornings; or anytime that is a good time for you and your child to get outside and walk a few blocks together.

Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to walk outside! We get it — summer is hot, by definition, and any miles you cover count toward your goal, whether you log them inside or out. You can choose to stay cool while walking indoors the local mall, by heading to your local rec center, or find another way to make it work for you and your family.

That’s how the walk portion of the program works; what about the talking? We provide you with daily topics to discuss, as well as a mileage log to keep track of your progress — all free with this free-of-charge program. There are 26 conversation starters total, one for each mile you’ll walk together this summer. By the time summer comes to an end, you and your child will have walked a full marathon together — a total of 26.2 miles — and you’ll have gotten to know each other a little better along the way.

Free resources, including our mileage log and conversation starters, are available for download now. Click here to register today!

It Truly Takes A Village!

We’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of our wonderful Walk and Talk sponsors and content partners! Without the generosity and support of these incredible businesses, organizations, and individuals, we couldn’t do what we do at Marathon Kids — and they are so very appreciated:

>H-E-B

>MedSpring Urgent Care

>Half Price Books

>Athletes for Hope

>Active Schools

>It’s Time Texas

>Get Grounded with Kerry Foreman

>¿Que Means What?

>Firewheel Communications

>Christine Burke, Keeper of the Fruit Loops

We look forward to helping you and your family connect and continue to build healthy habits together this summer!