20 Activities American Families Are Flocking To For A Summer Digital Detox After Quarantine

by Angela Andaloro

Throughout our time at home, parents have grappled with how to handle screen time. It was a necessity for remote learning, which made it hard to deal with recreational use.

Many moms have tried to be more forgiving with themselves. We relied more on screens to get through the long days, and that’s OK.

As those days come to an end and summer approaches, it feels like everyone’s had it with screens. A recent survey of 2,000 American parents of children ages 2 to 18 shows that families are craving a summer digital detox. Of the families surveyed, 76% want to spend more quality time this summer with less screen time. Families are turning to old-school summer activities to fill the hazy days ahead.

“In many ways, this summer will look a lot more like the summers that parents and grandparents experienced in their youth, with long, unscheduled days completely free of structured activities,” said Katie Mills, vice president of product at Circle and mom of two boys.

“While this may be a big adjustment for many, the key to success is finding a balance between time spent online and off. Creating a routine that incorporates nostalgic indoor and outdoor activities like water balloon fights, scavenger hunts, and baking as well as specified time online is the key to success this summer.”

“This summer, families could reexamine the simple joys of summer that are sometimes overlooked — backyard sprinklers, road trips, outdoor movies, and family BBQs,” Katie added.

“The truth is, the time we spend together — no matter where it is — is priceless. By taking control of that time and ensuring we limit distractions from digital devices, families can create memories that will last a lifetime.”

Here are some of the activities American families are eager to fill their summer days with, according to the survey.

Playing Board Games

Playing Board Games

Four in 10 parents were ready to break out the old board games to keep the kids occupied this summer. If your kids aren’t big on the classics, there are so many niche board games out there that you can find something for everyone. Let family members take turns picking the game to prevent meta warfare.

Camping in the Backyard

backyard camping

Backyard camping can be a lot of fun. You don’t have to worry about managing your space among other people. It’s also great to get younger kids introduced to the idea of camping. If things go south, you’re close enough to home that it doesn’t have to spoil the night.

Making Arts and Crafts

mom and daughter arts and crafts

Almost any kid you meet is probably a fan of arts and crafts projects. There is such a large variety of projects to choose from. We have a few great ideas right here. Why not try creating DIY slime or even learn how to make a pair of homemade binoculars? Your kid can follow along with simple instructions and create something fun and magical!

Reading Books

Reading Books

Back when we were kids, some people took the summer reading challenge as a competitive challenge. Make a scaled-down version for your family, or just freestyle your joy of reading. Regardless of what your summer plans are, make sure to work in a healthy dose of reading.

Building Blanket and Pillow Forts

pillow fort

Building blanket and pillow forts is so much fun because there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Let kids’ imaginations run wild as they set up their own little refuge. Whether it’s kids only or for the whole family, parents can pride themselves in the structures kids create.

Making Breakfast as a Family

family cooking in the kitchen

Cooking together isn’t just fun; it’s also a great opportunity to teach kids a life skill. Breakfast is a favorite for families to make because there are so many components you can assign to different family members. Have fun with it, and you can even make it a weekly tradition that only gets better as the kids grow.

Teaching Kids a New Skill

changing a tire

Summer presents a lot of opportunities for kids to learn something new. Teaching them life skills in a casual setting can really help build confidence in kids that serves them well as they go into a new school year. Finding age-appropriate skills can really help them and help you in the long run.

Making a Home Movie Theater

home movie theater

Turning your house into a movie theater is a fun challenge to get the whole family involved in. Hang some holiday lights for effect. Get your pillows and blankets and change into your comfiest clothes. Break out the popcorn and the candy. Whether you use a projector or the TV, a little atmospheric decorating can go a long way.

Playing With Water Guns

family water gun fight

Water toys are a fun way to cool off on a hot summer day. The whole family can get some of that pent-up aggression out safely while also staying active. It’s a great solution if you don’t have space for a pool or a sprinkler setup.

Eating Popsicles


Popsicles are a family favorite for many because they’re a delicious, refreshing way to tide kids over until their next meal without spoiling their appetites. Pick one up from the ice cream truck, or make some of your own. They’ll keep you cool and make your kids feel like you’re a cool parent, too.

Having Water Balloon Fights

water balloon fight

Playing with water balloons can be so much more than just throwing them at each other. There are a lot of fun activities you can do, such as playing hot potato with a water balloon. Get creative and stay cool!

Playing on the Trampoline

playing on the trampoline

A lot of families have invested in trampolines to get their kids’ energy out while stuck at home. Enjoy it all summer long. It’s a great way to keep kids active. Make sure you’re following all safety regulations for outdoor trampoline use in your area.

Making At-Home Science Experiments

at home science experiment

There are so many areas of science you can explore with your kids! From botany to chemistry and everything in between, they could learn something new every single day of the summer. It’s fun to see what the different members of your family gravitate toward.

Playing in the Sprinklers

family playing in sprinklers

If you have space to set up a sprinkler, it can provide a lot of entertainment for your family. A quick run-through is a nice way to cool off during outdoor play. It’s also a lower-contact way to enjoy the water with friends while continuing to maintain social distancing.

Making S'mores

making s'mores

Making s’mores as a family is so much fun, especially for the family with a sweet tooth. Kids will be fascinated by building a fire, but no one would complain if you make them indoors, either. Their taste is something your kids will associate with summer forever.

Playing Flashlight Tag in the Backyard or Neighborhood

kid flashlight

Flashlight tag is a fun game for kids who are up after dark. It’ll burn off some of that late-night energy and get them good and tired for bed. It’s also a great opportunity to get kids used to the dark in a nonintimidating way.

Playing Hopscotch


Hopscotch is an old summer classic that we should enjoy way more often. It’s a fun game that’s easy to teach little kids. It’s also challenging enough to keep the older ones entertained, so you can have siblings of all ages join in.

Flying Kites

flying kites

Flying kites is a really fun way to pass a beautiful day. It’s also fun to make your own kites, if your kids are up for it. Whether it’s handmade or store-bought, getting that kite up into the sky will really light up a kid’s day.

Going Hiking

family hiking

Hiking is a great way to get the whole family exercising. Go somewhere scenic, and enjoy everything Mother Nature has to offer. Depending on where you live, it can be a great way to explore your area or make for a nice day trip.

Going Camping

Going Camping

A family camping trip is something every family should experience at least once. It’s a very special bonding experience that’s also a great learning opportunity for kids curious about the outdoors. It’s also an activity you can pursue safely if you choose to share it with another family.