10 Free Things to Do with Your Preschooler This Summer

When I was a kid, I remember the excitement of summer. Week after week of free time; the possibilities were endless! As an adult, I still feel that way, especially since I’m a teacher which means I have a *mostly* free summer. I started making my summer to do list a couple weeks ago (sorry about those late graded essays, kids!), and I was pretty impressed with what I planned to accomplish. Painting, home improvement projects, books to read, lesson plans to tweak. Sounds pretty amazing, right?

Then, I came across several “Summer Bucket List” posts on Pinterest. After giving my Summer To-Do list a second look, I felt a little guilty. NOTHING seemed remotely fun for my four-year-old. In an effort to make my summer more preschooler-friendly, here are ten things I’m adding to my Summer Bucket List:

1. Visit the library

I’m putting the library at the top of my list because it is something we haven’t fully-utilized during the summer just yet. However, I hear so many great things about the public library’s summer programspublic library’s summer programs!

2. Build a pillow fort

This is a regular event at our house. For my fellow Type-A, Neat Freak Moms, I completely understand the messed-up living room twitch you’re getting right now just thinking about a pillow fort. I also know how much my son loves to see the living room (or his bedroom) transform into something new and magical. Bonus points if you get in the fort!

3. Have a picnic

Here’s what’s great about picnics and preschoolers–they can get messy, and it doesn’t matter! It’s also super easy to throw together last minute.

4. Family game night

Teach your child how to play one of your favorite games, or let them choose! Some of our favorites include Hungry Hungry Hippos, Pie Face, Operation, and Hi-ho Cherry-O.

5. Make ice cream or popsicles

We’ve made popsicles with Kool-aid in popsicle trays and even ice cube trays. I received an ice cream maker as a Christmas gift, so I plan to make a few batches this summer, too. Know any good popsicle or ice cream recipes?

(Full disclosure: my kid is totally eating a store-bought popsicle in this picture)

6. Nature scavenger hunt

Whether you want to plan ahead with pictures, make a bingo-style board, or just bring a bucket, I think exploring nature and looking for something interesting is bound to be a win!

7. Play date at the park

It’s a classic for a reason. Text those moms and get those kiddos running around! Trust me, they’ll wear each other out in NO time. See also: play date at the splash pad.

8. Ride bikes on the lake front

Or go for a walk.  Pull a wagon; push a stroller. Check out a local nature trail, or make a few laps around the block. The options are endless.

9. Visit the farmer’s market

I always imagined farmer’s markets to be kind of…boring. Until I went to our local farmer’s market last year. We spent well over an hour there, visiting each booth and sampling locally-grown food.

10. Movie night at the park

Several local parks have free movie nights featuring kid-friendly flicks. All you have to do is check your local park’s website to see what’s playing. While we haven’t braved the movie night just yet, I think we are ready to give it a try.

Ok, mamas, let’s hear it. What are you adding to YOUR Summer Bucket List? Better yet, what can I add to mine??

Jaime Mackey
Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.


  1. My granddaughter’s family (lives in Terrytown LA) have a Friday Movie night. Order pizza (only time they get to eat in front of TV) watch Monana for the 100th time, then turn on music and dance, dance, dance. Kids are a 4year old and a 22 months. Of course videos are taken, posted to Facebook for Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers (me) . So my Friday night is waiting for the bong from Facebook telling me a video has been posted.


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