We may be spending more time at home and less time with friends this summer, but there’s still lots of toddler-friendly fun to be had. From balloon tosses to making homemade treats—here are 20 must-do fun activities to squeeze in before the season changes.

photo: Lori Lange Via Community Table

1. Make Homemade Popsicles
An icy popsicle on a hot summer day is a treat that appeals to all ages. Plus, it’s cooling on the gums of teething littles. This summer, double the allure by making them at home as a family, using these amazing recipes.

2. Break Out the Bubble Machine
Babies love bubbles like new moms love a full night of sleep! So break out the bubble machine and watch your sweet babe try to catch those bubbles before they burst. Who knows, maybe they’ll get so worn out they’ll sleep better so you can sleep better.

3. Run Through Sprinklers
Nothing screams freedom like running through sprinklers in the summertime. Babies not walking yet will shriek with delight as you take them through the droplets.

photo: Paula Wiseman via Pixabay

4. Design a Masterpiece on Your Sidewalk
Get chalkin’ with some sidewalk art. It’s a great way to be creative outdoors, especially in the evenings. If you need some inspiration, try these 15 fun ideas that are sure to bring you and your mini-Matisse hours of fun. Younger babes will love to explore the chalk’s texture and bright colors.

5. Read a Book in the Shade
Being outside in the summer months doesn’t always have to be about high-energy, get-sweaty activities. Slow it down and read books under your favorite tree. Choose one of these kid classics or opt for one of baby’s faves. Either way you’re fostering a love of reading and spending time outdoors.

6. Go on a Picnic
Move dinner or lunch outside by packing some easy snacks and a few toys to play with, and you’re ready for no-fuss summer adventure with minimal clean-up.

photo: Pexels via Pixabay

7. Have a Water Balloon Toss
On a hot summer day, a water balloon toss is always a hit. Younger babies will love to touch and roll the squishy, colorful balloons, and toddlers will love to throw them.

8. Visit a Farmers Market (or Plant a Garden at Home)
One of the advantages of having kids that rise early is you can pretty much be the first to arrive anywhere on the weekend. Farmers markets open early, so they’ll be ready for you and your sweet pea. If you don’t feel comfortable being around crowds, buy herbs or flowers and watch them grow with your kids.

9. Watch a Movie in the Backyard (or Living Room)
Skip the high-priced local cinema and cuddle up under the stars to watch your family’s favorite flicks. It’s not hard to set up, and it’ll be a summer memory everyone cherishes. No yard? Find a blank wall in your home and set up blankets and pillows on the floor to re-create the experience indoors.

photo: Andris Romanovski via Unsplash

10. Make Homemade Ice Cream or Gelato
Once you’ve perfected your popsicle recipe, move on to the creamier stuff. Making homemade ice cream or gelato is easier than it sounds. We found a kid-friendly recipe that shows how you can make it with just a Ziploc food-storage bag.

11. Visit a Petting Zoo (or Watch Videos of Zoo Animals)
Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of local petting zoos, where kids can spend hours meeting and greeting their favorite furry animals. You’ll give your animal lover an up-close experience they won’t forget. If you’re not comfortable visiting zoos in your area or don’t have one nearby, check out the Facebook page for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The zoo has been posting videos of their amazing animals.

12. Go to a Concert at the Park (or Dance to Laurie Berkner)
Check your neighborhood listings to see if they’re offering concerts in nearby parks. If you don’t feel safe gathering in parks in your area, check out kid-favorite singer Laurie Berkner’s website for videos you can sing and dance along with.

photo: iStock

13. Go Stargazing
Clear, mild summer nights are ideal for gazing at the stars. Here are handy tips on how to have a stargazing adventure that your toddler will be talking about for years to come. Download one of the many apps that tell you what you’re looking at.

14. Visit a Water Park (or Set Up an Epic Kiddie Pool at Home)
Water parks can offer hours of fun on a hot summer day. Choose a weekday, if you can, when they tend to be less crowded. If you’re not comfortable with a public water park, wow your kids with an epic kiddie pool at home. Dress up a plastic or inflatable pool with a plastic kiddie slide, small chairs, adding bubble bath to the water, and tossing in plastic balls, bath toys or pool noodles.

15. Have an Outdoor Tea Party
A royally fun way to move an indoor activity outside for the summer! Set up your tea party under a shady tree or in a kiddie pool for maximum fun.

16. Fly a Kite
Soak up the summer days by flying a kite. Once it’s up, let your child help hold the string to watch it soar and glide.

photo: LittleBoulder via Pixabay

17. Paint Rocks
Painting outdoors is an easy way to let toddlers get as messy as they want without worrying about destroying the furniture. Gather some rocks and relish in a low-cost way to beautify the backyard.

18. Search for Four-Leaf Clovers
We can all use some extra luck! Show your toddler how to find four-leaf clovers and you can turn a lazy afternoon into hours of fun and exploration.

19. Host a Family Bike Wash
Get your whole family outside to give your tricycles and bikes a good washing. Suds plus water always equals a good time, especially when the temps heat up.

20. Pitch a Tent in the Backyard (or Living Room)
Not ready to take the plunge into a full family camping excursion? Test the waters by pitching a tent outside to play in or sleep in. Your little one will feel all of the excitement and you’ll have none of the stress of realizing you got to your campsite and forgot the one stuffed animal baby can’t sleep without! No yard? Camp in the living room!

—Aimee Della Bitta

featured image: iStock 

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