12 Throwback Ideas For Summer Fun That’ll Give Kids A Taste Of What Childhood Used To Be Like

by Angela Andaloro

Every generation feels like they were the ones who did summers the right way. Some played outside from sunrise to sunset.

Others roamed the neighborhood in search of entertainment. What we can all be sure of is that Gen Z and Gen Alpha aren’t having the same experiences.

Look, I’m not knocking what childhood is today. Technology has brought us so many things that were once beyond our wildest dreams. We all want our kids to have the best of the best.

For many families, this summer will be different. Social distancing and continuing concerns over illness transmission will keep many families closer to home and in smaller groups.

Kids will quickly beat video games. Their eyes will tire of staring at screens. Eventually, they’ll whine about being bored.

This summer is a great opportunity to pass some of your childhood favorite summer activities on to your kids. It’s a great way to bond and keep them busy with siblings and friends as parents tend to other responsibilities. Here are some throwback ideas for summer fun.

Run a Lemonade Stand

girl counting money at lemonade stand

This is a fun idea that can also teach kids a thing or two about money and business. Make it as simple or as involved as your kids are up to, but make sure it’s more about fun than anything else. They’ll be so proud to have made a few bucks by summer’s end.

Set Up a Tire Swing

tire swing

If you have a nice tree with some space around it, you can find a way to hang a tire swing. You may not have a spare tire around, but don’t worry, you can get them for practically nothing on neighborhood Facebook groups and other community groups. The kids will have a blast getting a running start and flinging themselves onto this fun swing.

Hit the Drive-In

summer fun

With continued social distancing, drive-in theaters have popped up in many communities. Some even help benefit organizations in the community. If you can’t find a drive-in near you, consider getting creative with a projector and seeing what you can set up in your own yard or driveway.

Make Your Own Ice Cream

making ice cream

If you’ve never made your own ice cream, you’re seriously missing out. You don’t need an ice cream maker, either. Believe it or not, all you need is some half-and-half, sugar, ice, flavor extract, and a plastic bag to make ice cream at home. If you do some research, it can also become a fun chemistry lesson.

Swap Some DIY Friendship Bracelets

girl making friendship bracelets

Friendship bracelets are fun to make and share with your best buds. For little ones, it can also be a good way to develop fine motor skills. There are countless patterns out there, ranging from beginner to advanced, so it’s something you can scale based on the ages of the kids you’ve got on deck.

Fly a Kite

Fly a Kite

On a day with great weather, flying a kite can be so much fun. There’s nothing like seeing it soar up high while you guide it. If you’ve got creative kiddos, you might want to consider making your own kites.

Break Out the Sidewalk Chalk

girl drawing with sidewalk chalk

Some kids aren’t into drawing, but even their interest is piqued when presented with a huge canvas. Sidewalk chalk provides a fun way to pass the time that fosters creativity and has easy cleanup. You can also set up a number of great games, like hopscotch or foursquare, by drawing them on the ground.

Get Moving With a Jump Rope

girls playing jump rope

Jump ropes are seriously underutilized by today’s kids. We used to spend hours in the sun, sweating as we tried to time those jumps right. Whether you’re a classicist or prefer a loop-type rope, it’s a great way to get active and have a great time.

Have a Backyard Campout

backyard camping

If you have a little bit of yard space, you can enjoy a backyard campout. It’s a good way to try the idea out with little ones who aren’t ready to conquer the great outdoors yet. It also makes for a fun sleepover if you have some extra kiddos around.

Catch Fireflies

catching fireflies

For kids who can stay up after dark, this is a great way to burn off that last burst of energy before bed. You can use just about any kind of container, though most people are used to using glass jars. If you’re looking to help the fireflies in your area thrive, consider a firefly habitat.

Craft Your Own Slip-and-Slide

slip and slide

Sometimes, making your own slip-and-slide is as easy as throwing down a tarp and setting up the sprinkler. If you want to get a little more creative with it, there are a lot of options depending on the amount of space you have. DIY Network offers a safe and fun setup that should take no time at all.

Make Sure Your Summer Has a Soundtrack

dancing singing in the kitchen

Songs add something extra special to memories. You also never know when one will pop up and bring you back to a great time. Keep the radio on or make a playlist of your favorite favorites from summers past!