(Inside: We want to raise creative kids who grow up and create better technology, cure the diseases we couldn’t, and make this world a better place. This post contains 85+ kids’ activities that promote creativity and help your raise creative kids.)
All the high-fives and wahoos and dancing feet happened yesterday, the last day of school. But, then your kid woke up today – the start of summer – and the first words out of his/her mouth were…
But I thought…
We’ve been counting down to your “freedom” for months…
When I was a kid it was easy to find something to do…
(Face to palms. *Somebody help.*)
Here’s what I think happens. Our kids’ school years are saturated with school, homework, sports, band concerts, and activities…all good things, but… The downside to busy-school-year-schedules mixed with screen time is that something else is constantly entertaining our little humans. They forget the creativity in them. Which we don’t want…we want to raise creative kids who grow up and create better technology, cure the diseases we couldn’t, and make this world a better place.
But now – our kids have the key ingredient needed to unlock their creative minds…time. We just might need to nudge them to start.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try”Dr. Seuss
Below are ideas for your kids to spark their creativity this summer. They’re broken up into different categories with links to videos, articles, and inspiration. However, if you want a tidier, more concise printable of the 80+ kids’ activities that promote creativity to put on your fridge CLICK HERE. I’ll email it to you instant access to the freebie library that contains that printable and more.
Also, you might want to PIN THIS POST HERE to come back to later. And/or have your child bookmark this page on their tablet for when they need creative inspiration.
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Creativity in Games
1. Have a “dumb jokes” contest: Face each other and take turns telling your best dumb jokes. Both participants must keep a straight face. The first person to crack a smile loses. Watch Dude Perfect’s Bad Joke Telling Contest here for inspiration.
Need a great jokebook? Check out the below from the library:
2. Play minute it to win it: Grab a sibling, friend, or parent and watch Minute to Win It here for inspiration. Now make up your own games.
3. Play capture the flag: Invite the neighbor kids or other friends and make your game epic. Here are the rules:
- Break up into two teams.
- Split the yard into two equal parts (Your safe-side and the opposing teams’ safe-side.)
- Hide your flag on your side. (It can be visible or hidden, you decide with the other team what you want to do.)
- Strategize how you are going to find the opposing team’s flag with your “offense” while you defend your own flag with your “defense.”
- If someone tags you when you are on the opposing team’s side, you must go back to your own side.
- The first team to grab the opposing team’s flag and run it back to their side wins.
- Now, mix it up and make new rules.
4. Start a Nerf Gun Battle: Put out tables and other places in your yard to hide behind. Aliens are invading and you must defend your home. Imagine the scariest aliens you can and don’t let them “take you.” Or invent your version of this game. Nerf gun ideas here.
5. Learn to yo-yo: Try yo-yo tricks like the ones below.
- Breakaway yo-yo trick
- Elevator yo-yo trick
- UFO yo-yo trick
- Eiffel Tower yo-yo trick
- Now make up your own yo-yo tricks.
6. Rediscover the absolute JOY of classic games: Check out jacks, pick-up sticks, cats-cradle, and checkers. Ask around – someone you know has these games. Or grab a different board game. Create a tournament, change up the rules, just have fun.
7. Race your remote control cars: Make courses with ramps or other cool paths and race your remote control cars. Watch Dude Perfect here for inspiration.
8. Play these games:
- hula hooping
- wiffle ball
- jump rope
- or make up your own game
Creativity in Reading/Writing:
9. Write your own adventure book:
- Think about what adventures you’d want to go on.
- List out 3-5 places you’d like to explore.
- Write about each one, for your chapters.
- Title your book, put it together in a fancy report cover to make it look PROFESS.
- Give it to your parents as a birthday gift. (Trust me, they’ll love reading your words.)
10. Make a comic book: Read Calvin and Hobbes for inspiration.
(Beware parents, my son read this, put his little brother in a wagon, and pushed him down the hill like Calvin did to Hobbes. Leading his tearful little brother nursing his arm inside the house my older son says, “At least I had him wear a helmet!” Awesome. *Kids, do NOT try this at home.*)
11. Go on an adventure in your backyard: Read the adventure books like Magic Tree House, Swiss Family Robinson, Nancy Drew, The Prince Warriors…then dream up and execute your own adventure. Except it has to happen in your own backyard, like Phineas and Ferb or The Backyardigans.
12. Write a letter to someone: Get super creative and make your letter artsy and interesting. The fun part is – the friend you write to just might write back.
13. Read. Read. Read. Books are the best thing ever! You can experience new things and go to awesome places from the comfort of your home. Your teachers aren’t just telling you to read to torture you, they’re giving you a gift! Embrace it!
14. Check out books on tape from the library: Enjoy listening to the story as you play with your favorite toys.
15. Create a news story: Pretend you’re a reporter and interview people, play with stringing your words together creatively to tell the story in a concise interesting way like seen on television. Record it to share with others.
16. Find five words you didn’t know in the dictionary: Use one of those words to use in your conversation for the rest of the day.
17. Create a book club: Pick a book, invite your friends and meet a handful of times over the summer to discuss what you read. Answer these questions (Or come up with your own):
- What was the chapter(s) about?
- What did you learn?
- How can you apply it to your life?
18. Journal: Use writing prompts or just write a little bit each day about whatever is on your mind. You’ll have fun looking back and reading what you wrote. I love this beautiful leather journal, and here are writing prompts to get you started:
- My favorite thing about summer so far is.
- What was the hardest thing about school last year? How can I use that to make me a stronger person next year?
- If I could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
|CLICK HERE and I’ll email you a link to the freebie library where you can download a tidier, more concise printable of this list to put on your fridge.|
Creativity with Food
19. Recreate Chopped (The Food Network Show) using what’s in your pantry (Watch inspiration here.): For example,
- Grab a couple other siblings and/or friends.
- Take 4 dessert ingredients out of your pantry.
- Set your timer for 20 minutes.
- Each person has 20 minutes to create your best dessert that includes those 4 ingredients. (Each contestant can use other items from the pantry, but the dessert is made primarily out of the 4 “basket” items.)
- Taste and declare the winner of the best dessert.
20. Research the best food places in your area: Read online reviews, interview your friends and neighbors and come up with a fun place for your family to go out to eat. Tell your family why you choose this restaurant.
21. Learn to bake: With a parent, bake bread, cakes, pies…and take them to the neighbors to say thank you for being such great people.
22. Pack a picnic lunch: Eat in your backyard or at your local park. No need to make the food boring – get creative with what you pack. Check out fun lunch ideas here.
23. Bob for apples: On a hot day, fill your kid pool with water and try to catch the apples with your teeth. Now, what other games can you come up with using the apples and pool?
24. Plan dinner for your family and help cook it: You’ll get to eat something you know you’ll like AND, more importantly, you’ll make your family so happy!
25. Make a museum: Collect rocks and outside stuff and set up a museum. Invite your friends over to see it.
(Parents, my kids worked for hours with the neighbor girls on their below museum. They made $160 in admission donations for charity. Who knew THAT would happen when I said NO (again) to video games?)
26. Be a scientist:
- Buy a science kit (or two) and follow the instructions. Now, try and invent things on your own.
- Use kitchen ingredients to make these science experiences.
28. Put together a model airplane or car: Follow the directions or don’t. It’s your thing.
29. Rearrange and redesign your room: It’s your space, make it a place you love to be. Update it and make it more appropriate for your school grade. Highlight your interests, your hobbies and things that inspire you. (Look at these fun kids rooms for inspiration.)
30. Make a fort in the backyard or house: In your house use blankets, pillows and rearranged furniture. In your backyard, use tarps, wood, a swing set, boxes and outdoor furniture. (Check out cool fort ideas here.)
31. Create something useful out of recyclable items: Be inspired by the house Tom Kelly made out of bottles in the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada. Watch this video here – it’s amazing!
32. Create a classroom. You be the teacher and come up with activities to do with your students. Grab your friends to help you entertain the younger kids. Develop your leadership skills as you create your classroom.
Be in the Moment
33. Watch the sunset: Grab a popsicle, sit on your deck and take in the golden hues.
34. Play with your toys: Go nuts. Pull all your toys out, create adventures, and unfold your stories with your toys as the inspiration hits you.
35. Cloud watching: Lay in a hammock or on the ground (with sunglasses) and watch the clouds go by. What shapes/images do you see in the clouds?
36. Embrace boredom: Lay on the couch or your bed and let your mind wander. What do you think of? Share your thoughts with your parents.
37. Create a gratitude journal or video diary: List everything you are thankful for. It’ll be a quick “mood booster!”
Creativity with Sports:
38. Coach a Sport: Watch online videos of your favorite sport or a sport you want to learn and be your own coach. Train yourself or getting a group of friends together and coach each other. Develop your leadership skills while conquering your activity.
- Or come up with your own drills for your favorite sport.
39. Play games on the trampoline:
- Ghosts in the graveyard
- Wall ball
- Or check out this list of other trampoline games.
40. Run and jump: Who can jump the highest? Who can run the fastest? Create a cool course. Enjoy running and jumping.
41. Play American Ninja Warrior: Go to the local park or set up an obstacle course in your backyard. Watch here for inspiration
42. Play soccer or volleyball with the sprinklers going: (My youngest declared this the best soccer game he’d ever played!)
43. Make your own putt-putt course: Be super creative and have the ball go under, around and over objects. Be inspired by this video of a homemade golf course a dad made for his son.
44. Get on wheels: Skateboard, rollerblade, bike, find something with wheels and explore your corner of the world from it.
45. Go for a walk or jog: Grab a water bottle and make a parent come with you. Notice all the sights and sounds around you. Chat about what’s on your mind.
46. Practice trick shots: Dude Perfect is the best at this. Watch their trick shots with:
- soccer balls
- Nerf plus slip ‘n slides
- real life objects
- watch more videos here
- come up with your own trick shots (With caution. I’m sure Dude Perfect would say that too…)
Creativity in Nature:
47. Fish: Bait your fishing rod and go after some catch and release. (My niece caught a catfish in the smallest of ponds. We couldn’t believe it.)
48. Embrace beach life: Hang out at the beach or lake and build sandcastles, find sea/lake creatures, collect shells, splash through the water, snorkel…entertainment will find you.
49. Hike: Find a new hiking trail you haven’t been on and dominate it like a champ.
50. Catch frogs and crawfish in the stream: Look at them closely, notice everything about them, then carefully put them back.
51. Plant a fairy garden in a pot: Buy inexpensive succulents, then use your Legos, princess figures, Star Wars figures and other small toys you have to create the look you want.
52. Plant a garden: Plant seeds or move plants around. Ask friends/neighbors if they have any perennial plants to split. Add cool rocks you’ve found on hikes/vacations or paint rocks for decoration. Go to the dollar store and find cool things to accent your garden. Enjoy creating using nature.
53. Play in the rain: Jump through puddles, sing, dance, or play mud volleyball. Enjoy the cool water.
Creativity with Crafts
54. Fold Origami: Grab some fun paper and learn to fold it into beautiful things. Watch these videos of how to create:
- a dog
- a frog that actually hops
- a butterfly
- a turtle
- a rose
- Now you come up with something cool to fold your paper into.
55. Learn to sew. Two of my three boys loves to sew with their Nana. She gives them a cross-stitch pattern of flowers and they turn it into a snake or firecracker because flowers just won’t do.
56. Rediscover paint: Paint frames, rocks, furniture, canvasses, décor you are tired of, pieces of wood, almost anything can be painted…
57. Craft Cards: Pre-make birthday cards so you don’t have to scramble during the year for birthday cards to make. Get creative with cut-outs, stickers, stamps – you can have a blast with this one.
58. Make jewelry. Do you have broken jewelry you can pull beads off? Or grab a kit and create your own loveliness to put around your neck or wrist.
59: Create leather crafts: Bookmarks, bracelets, wallets…buy a leather-making kit and have fun.
60. Draw: Put objects in the center of a table and draw them. Or draw something from your imagination
61. Play with clay or playdough: Create animals, cities, spaceships…whatever you feel like.
Creativity in Performing
62. Write your own song or music: Perform it for your friends and family.
63. Puppet show: Make puppets, borrow puppets, or used your stuffed animals as puppets and create a puppet show. Perform it for the younger kids on your street.
64. Create your own musical instrument(s): Create a band. Sing your favorite songs and play your heart out.
65. Create a stage: Read poetry, act out a puppet show, act out a play, sing, play your instruments – whatever.
66. Create a dance routine or stomp routine. Watch below for inspiration:
Creativity in Activities (Bond with your Family/Friends)
67. Rediscover chalk: Draw with chalk on the driveway – make a city complete with roads, or an aircraft carrier in the ocean, or a military base…or whatever you like.)
68. Embrace the fire pit: Talk your parents into starting a fire in the fire pit. Have them help you roast marshmallows to put between chocolate/peanut butter cups/peppermint patties and graham crackers. Then run around the backyard, play games, climb a tree and work off all the sugar.
69. Conduct an interview: Interview a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or family member on camera. Appreciate the history in your family.
70. Make a video: Using a tablet or phone, grab your friends and make a short movie. Or tape just a scene from a movie. Or use your toys and create a stop-motion video. You are the director, find a cast and be creative.
71. Try something new. What have you always wanted to do but haven’t had the chance yet? In the summer your have time. Run the idea by your parents, ask for help if you need it and go for it!
72. Make an outdoor waterpark: Grab a slip ‘n slide, kid pools, sprinklers, water balloons, buckets…etc… and make the best waterpark you can think of. (Now, can you think of games to play in your water park? Water balloon baseball, maybe?)
Creativity in Self-Care
73. Create a spa for pedicures: Fill a bucket with soapy water and soak your feet. Then paint your toenails, add accent stickers (small jewels, flowers…etc. from the dollar store), and finish with a clear coat. Next, set your feet on large stones you’ve warmed in the sun for comfort while your toes dry. Invite your mom to join you. (You’ll make her day. Sons, surprise your moms and do this for her!!!)
74. Paint your fingernails: Be creative – have you ever tried to tie-dye your nails? Watch this how-to video.
75. Be a make-up artist: Ask your mom if you can use her make-up and have fun with colors, brushes, and lipstick.
76. Practice kindness: Read this kindness article on how you can work on being a kinder person. Feel empowered to brighten people’s day with your kind actions.
77. Plan a vacation or stay-cation: Think of a place you want to travel to and research it. Go find a book about it at the library. Find it on a map. And maybe – if you show enough interest – someday your parents will take you there!
|Related Self-Care Article: Baby Fun in the Sun – What are the Safest Baby Sunscreens for your Baby and Toddler?|
Creativity with Pets/Animals
78. Visit an animal shelter: Pet and play with those sweet, neglected animals.
79. Make a pet toy: Watch this video on how to make a dog toy. Search for other ideas or create your own.
80. Walk your pet: Or play catch, spend time petting them…just hang out and enjoy your pet.
81. Make dog treats: Check out these dog treat recipes and create something yummy for your pets. Or donate your treats to a local animal shelter. (Read more about best dog treats for training here.)
82. Visit the local nursing home: Bake sweets and pass them out. The sweet elderly people will dote over you and not only will you brighten their day, but you’ll walk away feeling loved.
83. Clean the house: (I’m serious!) It’s fun to take care of your space and rewarding to step back and see how your two hands improved life for yourself and those you live with.
84. Pull weeds: Ask your friend, neighbor, or family member if you could help them pull weeds. (For free!) Now look around the yard and notice what else needs to be done. Volunteer to help them with that too.
85. Volunteer: What is a local organization that could use your help? (Feed My Starving Children, food shelves…etc.) You’ll bless other and feel good about it.
86. Execute your own unique idea: Can you think of something else you could do for others that would improve their lives? Like write your teachers a thank you card, set up a lemonade stand and give the money to charity…you decide. Run it by your parents, work out the kinks, then go for it!
Kids, being bored is okay…because that’s when your brain looks for something to do. And you discover all sorts of magic in you.
And parents, when your kids forget the above and tell you they’re bored, point them back to this list of resources, then walk away. Come back later and see what they came up with. Hopefully, it’ll make you smile.
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens…
You just dropped one kid off at practice, picked up another, and are trying to decide what to make for dinner. Your days are filled with work, parenting, and waiting for password reset emails.
You are parenting tweens and teens.
It’s an amazing life phase, but also challenging in unique ways. In it all, you’d love a little encouragement to help you laugh, grow in faith, see parenting hacks, get ideas to connect with your kids, feel empowered in your personal growth, and celebrate the awesome momma you are.
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For more ideas, read the full “Entertaining Tweens and Teens” series.
The other day, I saw of picture of when my kids were little (like when I wrote this post), and I thought I so deeply want to go back to this season of life. I miss it.
But just as quickly as that thought came, another thought followed Someday, I will see pictures of my current parenting phase (raising tweens and teens) and wish to come back to today.
So, I want to do my best to enjoy this season of life. These ideas on how to connect with and entertain tweens and teens can help…
Entertaining Tweens and Teens Series
146+ Best Chapter Books for Tweens that will Also Build Character
Compelling Books That High Schoolers Will Want to Read
Home Exercises for Your Teens & the Whole Family (Feel Healthy & Happy)
Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.