28 Fun Ideas to Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

Summer is here! And now that school is out for many families, lots of parents, scout troops, youth groups and clubs are looking for fun and meaningful ways to keep kids and teens engaged. At the same time, lots of families are remaining cautious about COVID, especially if any of their kids are too young to be vaccinated. That’s why we’ve put together a whole list of activities you can do this summer to help your community, all of which can be done safely, and most can be done from home.

We know that keeping busy, learning, and having fun go together really well, and so here’s a list of must-try, hands-on, all-ages activities for your family this summer. You can do all of these activities from home, and they all make a direct, positive impact in your community and beyond. This represents only a small fraction of all the activities we have available! Even if some of these activities are for organizations outside your area, use them as inspiration for reaching out and helping local ones.

Be sure to check out what we’re doing with the Give Back Hour this summer, too. You can join us and families across the country online for live, interactive, hands-on projects!

Make Gratitude Art for Firefighters

This summer firefighters are already working hard and risking their lives to save homes and forests from wildfires. And every day, local firefighters do all sorts of good in the community that go beyond putting out fires—they answer all kinds of emergency calls when someone in the community needs help. You can show your thanks for their service to the community by making artwork that shares your gratitude! This is an easy, fun, and meaningful way to help these heroes know how much they are appreciated. It makes a big difference. Let us know if you did this project by sharing pictures with us!

Gratitude Art for Firefighters 

Make Bee Bombs for Pollinators

Local pollinators—bees, butterflies, moths, wasps, hummingbirds—all need flowers to support them. This is a great project to not only support pollinators but to learn about local wildflowers that are native to your area! These make great gifts, too. If you do this project, send us pictures of your bee bombs! We’d love to see them.

Make Bee Bombs to Help Develop Pollinator Habitat 

Make Yummy Treats & Toys for Shelter Animals

Kids love to make a mess, and it’s even better to put those sticky fingers to use for a great cause. Our partner Pasadena Humane has shared a healthy, delicious, no-bake dog treat recipe that is super easy, and dogs love it! If you don’t live near Pasadena Humane, be sure to check ahead of time with your local rescues to see if they will accept these delicious treats for their dogs. There are also lots of ways to use these treats… deliver them to your  local shelter (check with them first), share a few with your own dog, or you can even sell them to friends, family, and neighbors to raise money for your local animal rescue. 

Shelters and rescues take in all sorts of animals, so we also have dog, cat, and even rabbit and hamster(!) toys you can make! If you don’t live near our partners you can either pop them in the mail or give them to your local shelter or rescue (be sure to check with them before you start to see what they will accept). 

Send us pictures of your treats and toys, we’d love to see them! And when you deliver them to the shelters, be sure to let them know Project Giving Kids sent you!

For Dogs

For Cats

For Other Critters

Choose the Aid the Animals filter in Activities to find more >>

Adopt a Beach, River, Trail, or Other Nature Area

Plastic pollution and litter are pretty major problems for the world’s beaches. Adopting a local public beach is a great way to get outside and give back to your community. You can organize a clean-up event with friends or your local group, or just go with your family. 

Heal the Bay volunteers clean up a beach in California. Courtesy of Heal the Bay.

No matter where you live, if you have a local beach, river, trail, forest, or other natural area, you can help the planet by picking up litter and helping to keep those areas clean. 

Even if you don’t live near one of the areas covered by the activities below, you can use their tips, tools, and instructions to volunteer and help keep your local parks, beaches, trails, lakes, and rivers clean. You can also use it as inspiration to look for other local organizations doing organized clean-ups. Wherever you end up doing this, let them know Project Giving Kids sent you!

Collect Toiletry Supplies for Homeless Individuals and At-Risk Families

Whether you clean out your cabinets to find unused/unopened hygiene supplies, or set up a drive in your community, your family can make a meaningful difference in the everyday lives of people who have no housing or who are at risk of homelessness. You can do these activities for our partners or for any organization that’s local to you, just be sure if you’re not working with our partners that you check with your local organizations to see what they need before starting your drive. We’ve included a variety of organizations in different areas to give you a place to start.

Bay Area



Assemble Toiletry Kits for Homeless Individuals and At Risk Families

If you want a project that will immediately impact someone’s life for the better, making toiletry kits is a great project. So many people have to go without basic hygiene supplies because they simply can’t afford them, so these kits are really invaluable both for people who are unhoused as well as those at risk of losing their housing.

To get your kits together you can either buy supplies or start a drive (see above). You can turn this activity into an easy and fun sorting game for younger kids, safely gather your local group of kids or teens to assemble hygiene kits (try setting it up outside!), or use it as an opportunity for your whole family to learn and talk about the root causes of homelessness, as well as the things you can do to help both as a family and in the broader community. We have a number of these projects for our partners in different parts of the country, but these kinds of kits are usually welcome at local shelters and organizations working directly to help unhoused individuals wherever you live (just be sure to check in with them first to see what they need). Some families also hand them out directly to individuals in their local areas. 

Wherever you distribute your kits, be sure to tell them about Project Giving Kids!

Bay Area


Want to see how easy it is to make these kits? Check out this video from our Give Back Hour where we made them with our partners Imagine LA and Downtown Streets Team, together with families all across the US.

This is just a short sampling of the hundreds of activities we’ve got for your family to try. Click here to search all our activities and find more ways to give back to your community and beyond!