Need indoor activities for hot summer days, but want to avoid screens? This list of 25+ indoor summer activities are for elementary-aged kids. Best of all: they're all free or very inexpensive!
Whether you're having rainy summer days or you're just trying to beat the heat, plan on spending time indoors with your kids.
Back when I was doing childcare over the summer months, I needed a lot of activity ideas for all ages. Indoor activities like these are a great way for older kids to play with younger kids.
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Whether it's pouring rain or just too darn hot, keep these indoor activities for summer on hand.
Indoor Summer Activities
If you have elementary school-aged kids at home, you’re probably wondering what types of free and low-cost activities you can get them to do. When you want them to take a break from the electronics over the summer, give some of these a try:
Get the kids to help you bake something (or do it themselves, if allowed). The easiest is always Cake Mix Cookies. Of course, if it's a super hot day and you don't want the oven on, a no-bake treat like fudge is a better choice.
Play a fun game of balloon volleyball. The kids can hit the balloon back and forth without worrying about breaking a window in the process. It’s a fun game that can quickly get competitive!
Board Games and Card Games
Pull out the board games and card games to keep the kids entertained. You may have some at home already, such as Clue. We have borrowed and traded with our neighbors to try new games.
Same goes for card games! There are a lot of fun card games you may not have tried yet–like Monopoly Deal or Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. Or, use a regular deck of cards to play Gin, Spoons or Go Fish.
Bubble Wrap Hopscotch
Kids can make and then play this noisy Bubble Wrap Hopscotch from Lifehacker. Start saving up your packages' bubble wrap so you're ready for the next rainy day! Be sure to have them write on the smooth side of the wrap.
No matter what age, kids love building using all kinds of materials. Whether they prefer Lego, K'Nex, blocks, or even recyclables, sometimes they need a little push to get creative. Print out the free summer building challenge and let them get to it.
Do you have some blank canvases at home? If so, let the kids paint images on them using any paint that you have at home. You can supply the kids with brushes, sponges, and other items to use with the paint.
Color by Number
Coloring by number is always fun. Let your children use crayons, markers, or colored pencils to color beautiful images while following the directions!
Crossword Puzzles and Word Searches
Have fun testing word skills with crossword puzzles and word searches. You can print lots of kid-friendly puzzles at home, like this free printable summer word search.
Get ready to dance to music! Put on Kidz Bop or any of your favorite songs and encourage everyone to have a good time. You can teach your kids some dance moves and vice versa. My sister does this often with her three boys, and they love having party lights to set the mood.
Easy Science Experiments
Doing simple science projects is another great option with multiple ages. Look at Brenda's 100+ STEM Activities for Kids for ideas for indoor activities for summer.
You can never go wrong with a few good puzzles. Be sure to choose puzzles with the right amount of pieces to make it a bit of a challenge without making it too hard for your children. Aim for 100-300 pieces for elementary-aged children. We love our subscription to Completing the Puzzle, which has lots of 300-400 piece puzzles available.
Hide and Seek
This one's a classic for a reason! Enjoy a fun game of hide and seek. Take turns to determine who will hide and who will seek. This can become a tradition to play on rainy summer days.
Homemade Obstacle Course
Make an obstacle course at home using different items, such as plastic rings, pool noodles, and more. The children will love it.
Teach your children how to use a hula hoop and then have a hula hooping competition. It’s a fun exercise! Don’t be surprised if you lose track of the time while having fun with the hula hoop.
Try this Simple S'mores Recipe with an Indoor Campout idea. Keep these ingredients in the back of the pantry for a bad weather day, and surprise your kids. It's also a great way to include little ones in s'mores without the danger of real fire. How fun!
Encourage your children to get active by supplying them with a jump rope. See who can jump the most rope in a specific period.
Listen to an Audio Book
Put on a relaxing audiobook for the kids to listen to. You can do this free at your local library or through the free app OverDrive. Make sure you’re choosing a good book that will keep them engaged. Then encourage independent reading with these free summer reading programs.
Make Paper Dolls
Get crafty and make paper dolls. You can draw them beforehand to trace the shape of the doll before you cut it out.
Have the kids make a memory box that they can look back on at a later time. It should include a list of their current favorite things, such as favorite food, favorite color, and favorite song.
Paint by Number
Not only is coloring by number fun, but so is painting by number. If you believe your children can do this with no problem, set them up with the paint and several coloring pages.
Keep Play-Doh available for the kids to use–or have them make their own with this simple recipe. They can mold it into different shapes and use cookie cutters to create even more with their dough.
Encourage kids to put on a puppet show. It’s a fun way to spend the day inside when it’s raining outside.
Grab some rocks and let the kids cover them with different colors. They can use their creative side to add images and special designs to the rocks to make them look even better.
Scavenger hunts are not just for outdoors! Look online for plenty of options for all ages, like this free indoor scavenger hunt printable.
Create a sensory bucket using sand, plastic dinosaurs, and other items. Let the kids dig through the sensory bucket to see what they can find. It’s good for their fine motor skills!
If you have a lot of stickers, let your children go to town with sticker art. It’s a fun way to make a creative picture without making a mess.
These 25+ free and low-cost activities for elementary age kids will keep your children busy all summer long! So, if you want to have some fun without electronics, be sure to consider some of these indoor activities for hot summer days.