10 Activities for Families to Enjoy Together This Summer

~Written by Marissa Moldoch ~

Summer is the perfect time for families to bond over fun activities and create lasting memories. Whether you're looking for imaginative projects, outdoor adventures, or delicious treats, we've got you covered! Use these engaging ideas and classical resources to help your kids cultivate new hobbies and sharpen their existing skills.

1. Start a Garden

Gardening is a relaxing activity that can help your children develop greater patience. Clear a space for a small garden in your backyard, or purchase pots if you have limited space. Your kids can help choose the plants, prepare the soil, and water the garden. It will be immensely rewarding to watch the plants grow and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Related Resources: A New Natural Philosophy

A man, woman, and boy tending to a garden

2. Upcycle Furniture

It’s time to give your old furniture a new lease on life! Pick a piece that needs a makeover and involve your kids in sanding, painting, and adding personal touches. Whether it's a colorful desk, a funky chair, or a decorative shelf, you'll be amazed at the transformation you can achieve together. This activity could simultaneously serve as an arithmetic lesson if it involves measurements.

Related Resources: Common Arts Education book and CU course

3. Start a Collection

Encourage your child's curiosity by helping them start a collection of their own. It could be anything from seashells and rocks to stamps or trading cards. Set up a display area where they can showcase their treasures and discuss their collection's significance. Alternatively, show them how to create a commonplace book, where they can keep a collection of thoughtful quotes, questions, musings, and more.

Related Resource: “Dickinson, Commonplacing, and a Bump on the Head

Seashells on a seashore

4. Go Stargazing

What better way to teach your kids about astronomy than to step outside on a clear summer night and gaze up at the awe-inspiring sky? If you want to enhance the experience and make it easier to locate different constellations, consider using a stargazing app or a star chart.

Related Resource: The Liberal Arts Tradition book and CU course; “What in the World Is the Cosmos?

5. Go Bird Watching

Want to turn your backyard into a bird paradise? Start with bird feeders, birdbaths, and nesting boxes to attract feathered friends; then grab your binoculars and wait for them to arrive! If you want to take your new hobby to the next level, invest in a bird identification guide or an app so you can differentiate the species you encounter. You can also take pictures and create a scrapbook of the birds you've spotted. This pastime will regularly remind your family that God cares for His creation (Matthew 6:25-27).

Related Resource: Science and the Symphony of Creation

A small bird with black, white, blue, brown, and yellow coloring sits on a branch

6. Have a Theme Day

Let your kids pick a theme like pirates, superheroes, or outer space, then dress up in costumes and engage in related activities. Whether you're embarking on a thrilling quest, defending the city from villains, or exploring distant galaxies, the immersive experience will foster creativity and become an unforgettable memory. With a little extra planning, it could also serve as a rhetorical exercise (think about scripts, gestures, and voice projection.

Related Resource: Performing Shakespeare in Your Classroom

7. Bake a Specialty Cake

Gather your ingredients, don your aprons, and prepare to indulge your sweet tooth! Now is the perfect time to pass down your family’s secret recipes or experiment with a trendier treat that took the internet by storm. Try a geode cake with colorful rock candy crystals or a fault line cake with a surprise design inside. Your kids can help with the mixing, decorating, and, of course, the tasting! While you’re waiting for the timer to go off, turn on some background music and challenge your kids to a game of Go Fish; or breeze through a chapter of that book you’ve been meaning to finish.

Related Resources: Common Arts Education book and CU course; Essential Music; Echoes of Eternity

A white geode cake

8. Paint Premade Pottery

Slow down and spend quality time together by decorating mugs, plates, or figurines at a pottery painting studio. Pro tip — put a date on the bottom of your kids’ keepsakes. You’ll want to remember how old they were when they were obsessed with the color purple and doodled a star on every piece of handiwork. 

Related Resource: Essentials of Drawing; The Age of Martha

9. Enjoy a Picnic

Escape the confines of your home and enjoy a delightful picnic lunch in a nearby park or your backyard. After preparing delicious sandwiches, fruit salads, and snacks together, you can pack a blanket, grab a frisbee or a soccer ball, and relish the beautiful outdoors while bonding over good food and fun games. Want to make this leisurely time more educational? Read a book together as a family and point out different grammatical concepts and rhetorical devices.

Related Resources: The Read-Aloud Family; The Lost Seeds of Learning; The Classical Reader

Picnic baskets, fruits, sandwiches, and plates spread on a blanket in grass

10. Go on a Treasure Hunt

A riveting treasure hunt will ignite your kids' sense of adventure and curiosity. Create clues and hide prizes around your home or outdoor space, then watch your kids decipher riddles and race to find the hidden gems. If they enjoy this kind of mystery and excitement, try incorporating treasure hunts into your lesson plans during the school year. Sure, it may be unconventional, but if it could help your students learn about subjects like history or science, then full steam ahead!

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