9 Kid-Friendly Yard Activities To Replace Beach Day This Socially Distanced Summer

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

Even though certain places are starting to open back up, global health concerns haven’t disappeared.

People are still getting sick, and certain communities are bringing in a record number of positive cases. So it makes sense if you’re still a little iffy on that beach vacation.

While it’s a bummer to cancel summer plans when spring was already more or less canceled, keeping our neighborhoods safe is one of the most important ways we can fight this. But here’s the good news. There are plenty of ways we can make our homes more fun and exciting for the kids.

It might not be the same, but let’s face it — it’s much better than nothing.

Can you remember back in the day when all you wanted was a Slip ‘N Slide, but your parents said no? You can relive that moment with your kids and watch them revel in the fun of saying yes. Even very small backyards can turn into a mini water park with the right tools. If you make the most of sunny days, your home is bound to feel less cramped — and your kids will likely have a summer they’ll always remember.

It’s also kind of thrilling to see your kids playing in your yard. With technology improving the way it has in the last two decades, it’s become more of a rarity. So you might be able to relive some of your own summer childhood memories by making your background more summer-friendly.

Here are nine great yard activities and games for your kids this summer. Most of these are even more exciting than the beach.

1. Backyard Twister

You don’t need a mat — just some grass and spray paint will do. Twister is one of the easiest games to re-create, and if you have a large family, it may be a good way to get them outside and laughing. Feel like crafting a Twister spinner is a little daunting? Well, here’s some good news: Amazon sells them for less than $10.

2. Backyard Kerplunk

If Twister isn’t your thing, maybe you’ll get a little more out of backyard Kerplunk. The game, from Mattel, may not be as well-known, but it’s still a big party hit. This one also requires a few more supplies, such as wire fencing and some wooden dowels. However, unlike Twister, you’ll be able to reassemble this game quickly whenever you’re in the mood to play.

3. DIY Movie Theater

You might want to give your neighbors a heads up prior to, but it’s fairly easy to turn your backyard into an outdoor movie theater if you have the right equipment. Not only will this give you the feel of the cinema, but you’ll able to experience movies you love in a whole new way. Amazon has plenty of projectors and screens that can make this moment possible. Or you can make your own with a white shower curtain, like the clever ladies in the video.

4. Splash Pads

Splash pads are slightly better than inflatable pools, since they’re much easier to clean up. But they’re still great ways to beat the summer heat. The SplashEZ pad is currently $34.99 on Amazon, and it also serves as a mini wading pool. Or if you have a lot of kids, the 65-inch Abida Splash Pad may be your best bet. All you really need is a hose.

5. DIY Nature Activities

Kids really enjoy gardening. By putting together a nice garden area, you make it easy for them to learn all about growing their own crops. Herbs are often an easy place to start. But that’s not all. You can also create a craft station outside where they can create more exciting and fun projects for the environment. Whether it’s pine cone bird feeders or jewelry made with safe, natural items found outside, they’re bound to find something to enjoy in the world outside.

6. Balloon Darts

You might remember this fun carnival game back when you were a kid. Why not bring it back? Water balloons are always a lot of fun, and darts are easy to find. The geniuses over at Makeful even made this game more fun by attaching the balloons to a canvas and filling each balloon with a different color of acrylic paint. That way, when the game is done, you have a new piece of artwork to hang in your home.

7. Corn Hole

One of the biggest revelations I’ve had as an adult is that there’s a game out there called corn hole, and people are obsessed with it. As I’ve learned, corn hole is more or less a beanbag tossing game. Sometimes, those who want to play make it a full project by building their own setup. Or you can order one 0nline. This is a great game that’s fun even if you want to practice by yourself.

8. A Big Outdoor Chalkboard

Sidewalk chalk is fun by itself. But why not let your kids draw and explore with an outdoor chalkboard? They can jot down some fun summer ideas or just play endless games of tic-tac-toe or hangman. A chalkboard has many uses. After summer is over, you can easily bring it inside to help with at-home learning. If you’re handy, you can even learn how to build your own.

9. Homemade Slip-and-Slide

Yes, you can make your own slip-and-slide that’s safe to use outdoors. Just make sure your backyard offers the right amount of room to slide. The key ingredient to building your own is plastic sheeting. Spare baby soap will also help improve the speed, in case your kids are looking for something a little more fun. If you’re successful, you may have saved their summer.