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With summer vacation in full effect, kids everywhere are ready to drop the books and head outside to spend their break with friends and games. Sure, television and video games (and hopefully the occasional book!) are also on the agenda, but nothing beats running around with a group of friends during a big game of hide-and-seek or capture the flag.

Here are a few outdoor activity ideas to keep the fun rolling, as well as a few that can help to beat the summer heat!

Water Balloon Dodgeball

Water balloon dodgeballDodgeball is always a PE favorite, even though the stiff rubber balls may easily be the stuff of nightmares for the kids on the receiving end. This version will not leave kids diving out of the way in terror, but instead will see them soaking wet (and adequately cooled off on a hot day).

Fill up a decent amount of balloons and fill two containers, one for each side. Then divide the play area with cones or string or whatever is available, and then watch the balloons fly.

For more reusable ammo — that requires less popped-balloon hunting through the grass — you can use wet sponges.

Be sure not to aim for faces!

Capture the Flag… At Night

glowsticks Capture the flag is a neighborhood favorite. I remember getting all of the kids on my street together and (after a brief period of negotiations regarding rules and boundaries) running around for hours in search of the other team’s flag. These summer events were so much fun, but the game usually died down as the sunset due to the flag being near to impossible to find in the dark.

Looking back, the solution was simple. We just needed a few glow sticks! Grab some of the jumbo glowsticks to use as flags and watch the fun escalate well into the night.

Give each child a flashlight as well for an extra level of safety and to give the game an extra level of depth — it will be much harder to hide, so kids will need to stay on their toes!

DIY Ping Pong Table

painted ping pong tableWho doesn’t love ping pong? Sure it can be incredibly infuriating at times, but at the end of the day it is a fun and easy game to pick up and waste some time ponging back and forth.

Personalize your pong by making your own custom ping pong table! Grab a large sheet of wood, as well as some wood for the legs of the table. Build the table and get a few cans of paint for your kids and have them paint their designs onto the table. After it has dried all you need is a net for the table, a pair of paddles, and some ping pong balls.

Now you have a table for your kids to use all summer long, and they will be ping pong champs in no time!

[UPDATE: We've published our own kids coloring book! Get a free digital copy of Dongler's Dinner Quest (a $24 value!) by downloading it here!]

Balloon Paint Party

Balloon painting This activity is easy (and super messy!) You just need some canvases, paint, balloons, and darts!

Fill some balloons with paint and tape or pin them to each canvas and set them up in a place that can get messy. Have your kids throw darts and make a painting (in the most fun way possible!)

You can designate a point system by balloon color or size and turn it into a competition, or you can just let your kid’s creativity run wild as they complete their Pollock-esque masterpieces.

Remember to stay creative as you come up with even more summer activities for your kids to do during their break. And stay open-minded, as your kids are sure to have a few ideas of their own! Encourage creativity by helping them with their game ideas as they come up with new and unique ways to have fun!

custom stuffed animals

Are you looking for the perfect personalized gift? Check out Budsies, custom stuffed animals made from a kids’ drawing! They make great gifts for kids of all ages.

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My name is Tucker Berardi, and I am an intern at Budsies as well as a college student. I love to write and am an aspiring journalist -- I am curious and driven and I believe there is always a story to tell! For me, the world is filled with adventures to be had or dogs to pet and I like to seek out and experience as much as I can. Coffee is my drink of choice.