Times may have changed but there are still those simple summertime activities we did as a child that our kids can enjoy now too

Image: 12 things that we did in the summer that our kids do too

Photo: Personal Creations / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: personalcreations

1. Water play

Who remembers the thrill of running though the garden sprinkler on a warm summer’s day? Then there was splashing in a paddling pool, not to mention aiming the garden hose at a poor unsuspecting friend or family member. Yep, we did all those, and we love to see our kids relishing it as much as we did.

Water play

Photo: Allan Lee / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: the-lees


2. Ice cream vans

That inimitable jingle from the ice cream van will still make most of us head out the door in a frenzied search for a 99 and flake. And pleasingly, they don’t seem to have changed a jot since we were kids.

Ice cream vans

Photo: Henry Burrows / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: foilman


3. Bike riding

Exploring new areas or just riding around the neighbourhood, we loved that sense of freedom of the wind in our hair, and better still, we get to do it all over again as grown-ups with our own kids!

Bike riding

Photo: Stephanie Sicore / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: ssicore


4. Picnic times

Play. Eat. Repeat. The joys of a summer picnic; even if the weather didn’t cooperate, we didn’t mind at all. As grown-ups however, we’re more likely to take shelter under a tree while we watch the kids get muddy.


Photo: Tamara Hughes / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: tmh


5. Friendship bracelets

We made them to give to, and swap with, our friends. We got obsessed with colours and patterns and threads, and if we were particularly adept at bracelet making, we’d pin them to our knees for optimum weavability. The most treasured bracelets were from our best friend and we’d never take them off, so when we see our kids sporting their own increasingly worn versions, we can’t help but feel that warm nostalgia.

Friendship bracelets

Photo: PV KS / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: tworubies


6. Berry picking

Picking berries – the simple pleasure of picking fruit off a branch and being able to eat it immediately. Timeless!

Berry picking

Photo: DQmountaingirl / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: dqmountaingirl


7. Face painting

The only time as a child we’d be prepared to sit patiently for half an hour was for cat’s whiskers to be painted on our face at the community fair. And as a parent now, we certainly appreciate anything that keeps them still while we have a cuppa.

Face painting

Photo: melalouise / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: melalouise


8. Fort making

We had our fair share of castle making in the living room as a child when we were stuck inside during cooler summer days. And still today, nothing quite beats the fun of an indoor den when the rain pours outside.


Photo: Personal Creations / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: personalcreations


9. Beachcombing

Collecting shells, searching for sea creatures or making elaborate sandcastles, us kids made the best beachcombers.


Photo: kate hiscock / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: slightlyeverything


10. Camping

Even if it was just in the garden, we loved those nights camping outdoors gazing up at the stars and telling scary stories around torchlight. And we can’t wait to do it again with the kids this summer!


Photo: Honza Soukup / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: honzasoukup


11. Staying up late

No school the next day meant more playtime, later bedtimes and longer sleep-ins. We loved the thrill of staying up later as kids, but now we realise the risk involved as a parent. No one likes grumpy kids in the morning.

Staying up

Photo: Brandon Atkinson / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: atkinson000


12. Car or bike wash

As all kids past and present know, the only time summer chores are fun is when water is involved. Get out the sponges and buckets and clean/play!

Car wash

Photo: Courtney Carmody / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: calamity_photography