“What Should We Do Today?” A Summer Activities {FLOWCHART}

There is so much to love about summer! The freedom of slower-paced days, the opportunities that come with warm weather, the delight of fresh-grown food–yes, summer is nearly perfection.


There is one oft-repeated sentence that threatens to ruin it all. The sound of it is like nails on a chalkboard, a mosquito in your ear, storm sirens during pool day…

Parents everywhere can agree, this one sentence MUST GO: 

I’m bored.


So we’ve created this handy flow chart to prevent this sentence from ever being spoken again. Whenever you or your children can’t decide what to do, refer to this chart and discover new activities to suit your needs and preferences all summer long! 

It’s a water day!

  • Set up your sprinkler for some easy water fun!
  • Have your kids run back and forth across the lawn in their swimsuits while you hold the hose. Your goal: spray them with the hose. Their goal: get sprayed with the hose. Win win!
  • Summer Water Play Activities for All Ages has brilliant ideas ranging from super simple to crazy and complex! 
  • These Stress-Free, Mess-Free Water Activities made water play so easy and delightful, you won’t mind doing them as often as your child wants!
  • Does your car need a good wash? Get out some clean wash clothes and a bucket of soapy water and let your kids wash the car! They can wash their bikes, the garage door, and themselves while they’re at it, too!
  • Want to kick it old school? These ultra-simple water play ideas make it easy to make a splash at home!
  • If your flower are looking a little thirsty, send your kids to water the flowers, grass, trees, or whatever else looks too dry. 

Time to clean your rooms, kids! Woohoo!

  • Have a picnic snack! Fill up some snack cups or baggies with snacks, and grab a blanket. Find a cozy, shady spot and enjoy a little outdoor nourishment!
  • Let the kids cook! Give your kids as much freedom as their development allows, and they might surprise you with what they are capable of! 
  • Need some recipe inspiration? Try these simple summer skewers, fruity drinks for all, or this summer side dish recipe roundup.
  • Fire up the grill! This grilled pizza will blow you away.
  • Ride bikes in your driveway or go for walk/roll around the block.
  • Play hide-and-seek, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag, or another classic neighborhood game.
  • Books on a Blanket: gather up your favorite books and a picnic blanket, and head outside for story time in the breeze. 
  • Toys outside: Let your child choose some (washable) inside toys to take outside to play with. Farm animals in the grass? Monster trucks in the dirt? Baby stroller on the sidewalk? The possibilities are endless!

Our festivals are top-notch, and there’s always something exciting going on. Check the local calendars to see what events are happening in the area! 

  • Make a splash at one of Iowa City’s pools and splash pads!
  • Head to Lower City Park to ride the carnival rides! Take cash to buy your tickets.
  • Go get some ice cream! We have so many fantastic ice cream shops to choose from, so pick up some cones and sit outside to eat them!

Screen time! Follow your family’s rules for how much time each child is allowed. 

  • Movie Day! Pick a movie everyone can agree on and snuggle up.
  • Computer game! Check if your child’s school has apps or programs they use to help your child practice reading or math skills. 
  • If you have an IPad, smartphone, or tablet, choose a favorite game or app to enjoy. 
  • Alone time for everyone! Go to your rooms, read a book, and enjoy some peace and quiet.
  • Gather around the table and play some board games!
  • Get out some polish and paint your fingernails or toes in a fun summer color.
  • Art time! You can choose markers, crayons, pencils, paint, glue, scissors, or any other materials you have. Make your own creation. Maybe you can even choose a friend or loved one who lives far away to send it to!

Everyone get on your swimsuits! It’s time to clean the floor! Fill up a bucket with soapy water, grab a wash cloth, and get scrubbing! Depending on the type of flooring you have, you may want to use a vinegar-water solution in a spray bottle, or a store-bought cleaner that is appropriate for your floor. Stay away from nasty chemicals for this activity, though! 


  • Play hide-and-seek! It’s the game that’s fun for the whole family!
  • Dance party! Crank up the tunes and bust a move.
  • Indoor camping! Set up a small tent or build a fort, and then fill it with books, games, and toys. When the sun goes down, turn out the lights and use flashlights! 

The Iowa City Moms Blog exists to make motherhood more enjoyable, more connected, and more informed. We love bringing mothers together in our community, and we love bringing our community’s resources to moms! Have a fabulous summer, and make sure to smile and wave to other moms you see when you’re out and about. We’re all in this together. 

Lianna is a homesteading mama of three: a sparkly seven-year-old daughter, a joyful five-year-old boy, and a confident three-year-old boy. After graduating from the University of Iowa’s college of education, she started Wondergarten Early Enrichment Home, a multi-age, play-based early childhood program. A self-proclaimed Queen Dabbler, she has a long list of hobbies (from gardening and canning to sewing and painting), and doesn’t mind being only mediocre at all of them. She lives with her husband, mother, three kiddos, dog, cat, rabbits, dwarf goats, and chickens on an acreage in the country. The Cornally family spends their time talking about education, learning how to grow and preserve their own food, and romping around in their woods.


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