75 Summer Activities for Toddlers at Home (Big Kids will Love Too!)

It’s the summer break and we’re all looking forward to those long lazy days with no school run and plenty of sunshine. But after a couple of weeks it can be hard to know how to keep children entertained, especially toddlers. So here I’ve put together the ultimate guide of the best summer activities for toddlers that bigger kids will love too.

Many of us are planning to spend the summer break at home.

But it can be pretty daunting to figure out how you’re going to keep your little ones entertained the whole summer long.

Am I right?

And we don’t want to rely on screen time to fill those long summer days and keep from hearing the world “I’m bored!”

So here I’ve compiled 75 fun and easy summer activities for toddlers that preschoolers, school age kids and even tweens will love too.

These summer activities for toddlers are all budget-friendly, and easy to do at home.

And because there’s 75 different activities in this ultimate guide, you can choose 2 to do each day and still have a few left over to do another time.

Your Ultimate Toddler Summer Activities Survival Guide

I’ve split this guide to summer activities with toddlers into different sections:

So there’s lots of different activities for toddlers to keep your little ones busy, entertained and happy all summer break!

Nature Activities

  1. Frozen flower blocks: kids big and small absolutely love to play with ice blocks. This fun twist will give your little one lots to explore and talk about as the ice melts away to reveal a pretty flower.
  2. Plant a late summer flower garden: this is a great summer activity for toddlers and bigger kids and it doesn’t matter whether you have a garden, or just a window box. Some great seeds to sow in August are Calendulas, Cornflowers, Forget-Me-Nots and Wild Carrot.
  3. Make your own Stickman: we’re big fans of Julia Donaldson’s books and my kids have hours of open-ended play once they’ve made their own Stickman.
  4. Go on a leaf hunt: how many leaves can you name? This is a fun summer activity for kids that will help you and them connect with nature and become more familiar with our native trees.
  5. Make nature wands: fallen leaves, petals and feathers all make great decorations for nature wands. All you need is a stick and a little imagination. This is such a fun activity for toddlers (and bigger kids) in summer. Perfect for open-ended play.
  6. Cloud spotting: clouds are mesmerizing. We often like to take a few moments, chill out and look up to the sky to see what shapes we can see in the clouds. Someone always spots a dragon and a duck! What shapes do your little ones see?
  7. Make a bird feeder: there are lots of ways to make homemade bird feeders, but one of our absolute faves is to fill leftover grapefruit or orange with birdseed to hang off our tree. We also love to make sunflower bird feeders – read how here.
  8. Bird spotting: it won’t take long for the garden birds to find your newly made bird feeder. Why not make your own toilet roll binoculars and watch to see which birds visit your garden,
  9. Make a rain stick: super-simple to make and lots of fun to play with. All you need is an empty bottle, a couple of twisted pipe cleaners and some dried rice.
  10. Nature prints: just like printing with potatoes or sponges, leaves, flowers and grasses make beautiful abstract prints.
  11. Make a nature picture / poster: this is so much fun. Take an empty picture frame and place it over a piece of white card. Your little one can have endless fun making different pictures with leaves, grass, flowers, pine cones and any other bits and pieces you find in the garden.
  12. Make a mini pond: it’s often said that the best way to increase the biodiversity in gardens is to add water. But ponds can be expensive and a lot of work to maintain them. But a similar effect can be achieved with a small washbowl. Put some rocks in so small creatures can easily enter and exit the water. Your kids will have lots of fun making the mini pond, watching to see which creatures come to visit.
  13. Explore the night sky: okay so I know the sunset is quite a lot later in summer, and that means having a late night. But children are fascinated by the night sky. There are lots of great free apps that will help you find different planets. You might even see the International Space Station on its orbit around the Earth. This can lead on to some great space-themed activities and play the next day.
Summer activities for toddlers - flower in an ice block
Flower in ice block

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Water Play Activities

  1. Car wash station: fill a tub of soapy water and watch with amusement as your little one washes her toy cars over and over.
  2. Wash the pots: same with toy kitchen pots and pans. Kids, and especially toddlers, love to wash up. Take this outside for another fun summer activity for toddlers.
  3. Baby wash: Roo used to love washing her dollies. She’d pretend she was mama washing her baby.
  4. Pom pom scoop: pour some water into a bucket or tub and tip in a load of pom poms. Give your toddler a big spoon, or an ice cream scoop, and see how much fun they have trying to fish the pom poms back out the water.
  5. Make paper boats and see whose floats longest: did you do this as a child? Great fun isn’t it. You each make a paper boat. Decorate it and race them down the stream. You could use a paddling pool in your back garden if you don’t live near a stream, duck pond or boating lake.
  6. Water pouring station: Roo once spent a good 45 mins stood at the sink filling a cup with water and pouring it out again. Toddlers just love to pour. You don’t need any fancy toys for this either. Clean yoghurt pots, beakers and measuring jugs work perfectly for this.
  7. Play with bubbles: make the perfect bubble mixture at home from 1 part washing up liquid to 6 parts water. Try not to make too many bubbles while you mix them together. Let the mixture rest for a while. Hey presto – homemade bubble mixture for lots of bubbly summer fun.
Summer activities for toddlers - blowing bubbles
Toddler blowing bubbles

Rainy Day at Home Activities

  1. Bake and decorate cookies: the BBC Good Food website has lots of simple recipes for homemade cookies. Find out how to make the perfect icing for cookies here.
  2. Play board games: we’re big fans of playing board games together. I wrote about our favourite board games here.
  3. PomPom pick up: both my girls absolutely love to play Pom Pom Pick Up together.
  4. Homemade puzzles: quick, easy and very budget friendly. We often make homemade puzzles for GinGin and Roo.
  5. Petal Art: this is another one of a favourite activities, suitable for toddlers to adults. Petal art is great fun for kids of all ages.
  6. Make jewellery with beads: threading beads is such a good activity for toddlers and preschoolers to develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Have fun making different colour patterns.
  7. Matchstick shapes: another easy and budget-friendly activity. All you need is a tub of Play Doh and some matchsticks for this toddler activity. I’ve even seen mums using dried spaghetti and marshmallows and it works perfectly.
  8. Read together: this is quite possibly the best activity you can do with your toddler, preschooler and even school age children. Reading to your child everyday is brilliant for helping them develop their language skills, word recognition and sparking their imagination.
  9. Home cinema: pile the cushions on the floor, make some homemade popcorn and snuggle up to watch your kiddo’s fave film.
  10. Make a fort: all you’ll need is a couple of blankets or bed sheets, some cushions and chairs. Guaranteed fun for toddlers and bigger kids. Once they’ve built their fort, they won’t want to come out of it!
  11. Colouring: this is something GinGin and Roo love to do come rain or shine. They spent hours drawing pictures to colour in. This will really help toddlers develop their pencil grip too.
  12. Tongue-twister challenge: “red lorry, yellow lorry” say it over and over, faster and faster. And how about, “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” I’m sure you have your own favourite tongue-twisters. This is great for all the family. And it’s a real confidence booster for children who see that their parents get things muddled sometimes too!
Activities for toddlers and preschoolers - reading
Reading with toddler and preschooler

Active Toddler Activities

  1. Bouncy ball or hacky sack pong: set out a few buckets or beakers, depending on the age of your child, and see if they can bounce a ball into them. Hacky sacks work well for toddlers to throw, rather than bouncing a ball.
  2. Make your own obstacle course: possibly one of our favourite fun summer activities for toddlers (and bigger kids) and really easy to do. Set out a few toys or objects for them to hop, skip, jump, crawl over, through and around.
  3. Egg and spoon race: not just for Easter, the classic egg and spoon race makes a brilliant summer activity for kids of all ages. Why not decorate the eggs with summer themed images or patterns too.
  4. Hula hoop challenge: how many different ways can you play with a hula-hoop? Set your kids this challenge and watch them have endless fun discovering just how versatile this classic garden toy can be.
  5. Hop skotch: a fab summer activity for toddlers and preschoolers for developing gross motor skills as well as number recognition.
  6. The floor is lava: my kids use our sofa cushions for this game, but you could make different colour card circles and lay them randomly over the ground. The idea is to hop or jump from circle to circle because the floor is made of lava!
  7. Play catch: playing catch is one of those great summer activities for toddlers and bigger kids because it helps develop gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and teamwork.
  8. Toddler yoga: Cosmic Kids Yoga is absolutely brilliant for getting kids moving and practicing mindfulness. The yoga routines are often themed with popular fairytale stories or nursery rhymes too, perfect for little ones.
  9. Play piggy in the middle: just like catch but with the added fun of someone in the middle trying to get the ball.
  10. Scoring goals: when I was a kid we’d use jumpers to set out a goal in the garden or local playing field. One person tries to defend the goal while the other kicks the ball, then swap round. This is a brilliant summer activity for kids of all ages.
  11. Red light, green light: put those listening skills to the test with red light, green light. When someone says “green light” everyone can move. And when someone shouts “red light” everyone has to stop. This is such a fun activity for toddlers (and bigger kids) in summer.
  12. Ride a bike: balance bikes are a brilliant way for toddlers to learn to ride a bike. They get to whizz about practicing how to balance without the added complication of pedals.
  13. Play hide and seek: this is one of those classic fun summer activities for kids at home.
  14. Ride a scooter: another fun way to practice balancing and enjoy the summer sunshine during the school holidays.
  15. Learn to skip: okay so this is quite tricky for toddlers, and even bigger kids can find it challenging. Try French skipping for a fun alternative. I still remember our routine: in, out, in, on, in, out, together, in and away!
  16. Host your own sports day: this was GinGin’s suggestion. She absolutely loves sports day. Put together 3 or 4 of your child’s favourite outside activities and host your own sports day at home.

Craft and Art Activities

  1. Decorate the path: all you need is some giant chalk and a clear bit of path, pavement (sidewalk) or driveway. The kids will have great fun drawing. This summer activity is so simple and cheap to do. Better yet, it’s fun, creative and easy to wash away.
  2. Paint with water: another brilliant summer activity for toddlers that makes no mess and helps to develop fine motor skills.
  3. Cooker cutter painting: cookie cutters are great to paint with, especially if you have some fun shapes.
  4. Finger painting: okay so this can be done in any season, but what makes this a good toddler activity in summer is that all the mess can be taken outside!
  5. Pointillism: create a beautiful picture just using dots. We’ve done this using q-tips but small circle or dot stickers work just as well too.
  6. Shadow drawing: take a big piece of paper. Line toys or different objects up along one side (with the sun behind them) and trace the shadows. GinGin and Roo like doing this summer activity with their dinosaur toys best!
  7. Rock painting: my girls have been known to collect a pebble or two from the beach and they love nothing more than painting them. We sometimes hide them on our local walks for others to find.
  8. Make a stained glass window with tissue paper: stick some double-sided sticky paper to a window low to the ground and tear up some tissue paper for your little one to make their own stained glass window.
  9. Paint butterflies: this is really simple to do. Take a piece of paper, fold it in the middle and then lay it flat. Let your toddler paint one side and then fold it together again. When you open it out the paint will have transferred to the other side, leaving beautiful colours like a butterfly’s wings.
  10. Flower sun catchers: you’ll need a paper plate, some contact paper and flowers picked from the garden (please don’t pick wild flowers). Cut the centre of the paper plate out. Stick the contact paper over the back of the plate (you should have a sticky surface in the hole you cut out). Your little one will enjoy sticking the flowers down to make their very own flower sun catcher.
  11. Decorate flower pots: the creative possibilities for this fun summer activity for kids are endless. You can use paint, string, shells or whatever else you have to decorate flower pots all ready for sowing those later summer flower seeds.
  12. Make a beach picture with shells: I don’t know about your kids, but mine bring back a collection of their favourite shells every time we go to the beach. This is one of those brilliant summer activities for toddlers that really helps develop their creativity and fine motor skills.
  13. Homemade body paint: this is something we discovered last year and the girls loved it! It’s quick and easy to make and really easy to clean off too!

Explore Activities

  1. Dig for dino bones: if you have a sandpit you can hide a few toy dinosaurs for your little one to dig out again. Alternatively, there are some great dinosaur kits you can buy, like this one, where blocks of soft rock have to be chipped away to reveal dinosaur bones. These are brilliant for the emerging paleontologist!
  2. At home beach clean: I got this idea from the Eden Project who hid tokens of rubbish in a huge sandpit that the kids had to find and then sort into recyclable and non-recyclable waste. A smaller version of this would make a fun activity for kids at home in summer.
  3. Teddy Bears’ picnic: a classically fun summer activity to do at home for toddlers and bigger kids. This makes a perfect story time too.
  4. Make paper aeroplanes (airplane) and see whose flies furthest: test out different designs, add a sellotaped nosecone and see whose creation flies furthest. This is a fun and creative activity that encourages gross motor skills and even measuring for older children.
  5. Make a marble run: fun to do indoors or outside, making a marble run is a fun summer activity for kids at home.
  6. Ice excavation: fill an empty ice cream tub with water, drop a few toys in and put in the freezer overnight. How long will it take your little ones to excavate all their toys?
  7. Hunt for minibeasts: how many different creatures can you find in your garden at home? Can you identify them all?
  8. Performing stage: there’s nothing my girls like more than to make up their own dance routines and songs to perform for us. This is a great summer activity for confidence-building.
  9. Make your own giant tic-tac-toe three in a row: what items do you have round the house to make a giant game of tic-tac-toe three in a row? Get your toddler or preschooler moving and thinking with this fun spin on a classic game.
  10. Mud kitchen restaurant: my kids are always thinking about food. Playing restaurants is a good way for them to engage in open-ended imaginative play. Taking this outside, and maybe making a mud kitchen, is one of the best summer activities for toddlers and big kids too.
  11. Make a den: an outdoors version of the fort, help your little ones create their own space outside to play in for summer fun at home.
  12. Shadow puppets: you can either make physical puppets from card stuck onto lolly sticks, or try and create animal shapes with your hands for this fun summer activity for kids. (Remember to stay safe in the sun. Wear sun cream and a hat. And avoid being in the sun when the sun’s at it’s hottest, between 11am and 3pm).
  13. Scavenger hunt: a brilliant summer activity for kids at home. Hide a few objects around the garden and watch as your kids have fun searching high and low for them. You might want to write clues for older children to work out, to add that extra level of difficulty (and fun!) for kids that can read independently.
  14. Make a kite and fly it: so simple and hours of fun. Make different designs so everyone has their own kite to fly. This is another of those fun summer activities for toddlers that kids of all ages will also enjoy doing.
Summer Activities for Toddlers - hunting for minibeasts
Toddler hunting for minibeasts

75 Summer Activities for Toddlers at Home (Big Kids will Love Too!)

So there you have it. This is my ultimate guide of the 75 best summer activities for toddlers that bigger kids will love too.

If you have some suggestions that don’t appear in the list above, please do add them in the comments below!

I’m featured in Twinkl’s Fun Outdoor Activities for Families blog, where you can see other brilliant ideas to keep your children entertained throughout the summer!”

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75 Summer Activities for Toddlers
The Ultimate Guide to Toddler Summer Activities at Home

Jennie (GinGin & Roo)
Jennie (GinGin & Roo)

Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m the blogger and content creator behind the award-winning blog GinGin & Roo, a UK parenting and lifestyle blog.

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  1. June 5, 2022 / 3:37 pm

    I love this list! Not only are they great ideas, but they are inexpensive as well. This will definitely help me plan our summer better!

  2. July 30, 2021 / 8:36 pm

    Oh my gosh, there are so many great ideas here. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. July 29, 2021 / 1:41 pm

    Wow this is an awesome list. I have to share this with my husband & my babies! Very beneficial for our homeschooling journey! Thanks for sharing!

  4. July 29, 2021 / 1:24 pm

    I love that most things on this list are low prep that I can just find your list and do something right now! I think we will try the matchstick shapes on this rainy day!

  5. July 29, 2021 / 12:47 pm

    Awesome list. We love looking and listening for birds. Bubbles are also one of our all-time favorite outside activities.

  6. July 29, 2021 / 11:10 am

    Thanks for all these cool ideas, I bookmarked the post!
    Love the scavenger hunts, it’s so fun and entertaining for kids!

  7. Marnie
    July 29, 2021 / 10:34 am

    So many amazing ideas! I’ve bookmarked your post 🙂 I like no 14 – maybe get them started on your car too?! Marnie xx

    • July 29, 2021 / 10:42 am

      Hi Marnie,

      I’m super-happy you like my ultimate guide to summer activities for toddlers. My 9 year old daughter loves doing most of these, so I know bigger kids will have fun doing these summer activities too. Your comment reminded me of that episode of Friends when Ross tells everyone how he made his dad cry by washing his Porsche with rocks! 😀 😀

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