Your summer plans may have been canceled, but the warm weather and long days ahead have not. So why not make the most them? Whether you’re looking for ways to soak up the sun solo (with a glass of rosé in hand) or need summer activities that will entertain the entire family, there are plenty of fun things to do at home. Look no further than your backyard — or whatever patch of green space you’ve got — and a water source for good times. Here, we’ve rounded up some fun summer activities for adults and kids alike (because who doesn’t enjoy a slip ‘n slide?), plus everything you’ll need at home to get started. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!
Who ever said inflatable pools were reserved for kids? Whether you’re looking for a quick way to cool off or going for more of a pool party vibe, they’re fun for adults, too. Imagine soaking in a chic blowup pool, like the Minnidip Luxe Palm Print Inflatable Adult Pool ($38; qvc.com) shown above. Or, sipping a watermelon margarita in this Minnidip Slice of Confetti Kiddie Pool ($45; minnidip.com) with a matching melon print. Looking for something even more Instagrammable? You’ll love this Sunnylife Inflatable Mermaid Pool ($50; burkedecor.com). And the best part about blowup pools: They’re easy to set up and don’t cost a fortune, plus the pint-sized swimming pools are a great option for those working with a smaller outdoor space.
Find a shady spot and settle into a hammock — preferably with a good book in hand! — for a summer of rest and relaxation. The Jethro Double Classic Hammock ($106; wayfair.com) shown above adds a bohemian touch to your outdoor space, and the soft, breathable Brazilian cotton wraps you in cocoon-like comfort. If you’re looking for a freestanding option, we highly recommend this Laga Tufted Sunbrella Hammock ($385; wayfair.com), which feels more like an airborne bed with plush padding. It even comes with an attachable pillow! Working with less space? Try a hammock chair, like this Cotton Swing Chair by Belize ($140; wayfair.com).
According to Pinterest, “garden wall art” searches are up 360 percent, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is fence decorating a great way to dress up your outdoor space, it can also be a fun activity for the entire family. You can create colorful murals using electrical tape and chalk, or order some large stencils online, like this sunflower set by Cutting Edge Stencils ($27; amazon.com). Or course, you can always get creative and work on a freehand design — it washes off, after all.
4 Build your own water park
There is no shortage of fun to be had on an aquatic play center. Complete with water slides, slip ‘n slides, splash pads, sprinklers, blasters, and more, these inflatables immediately turn a boring backyard into an exciting water park. There are plenty to choose from, too. If you’re looking for something basic, consider this Cyclone Splash Park ($80; walmart.com); it’s an affordable option with a 16 ft-long curved slip ‘n slide. Expect to pay more for features like inflatable water slides and climbing walls. For example, this Double Hurricane Inflatable Slide ($772; wayfair.com) is a splurge, but it features double slides and a large, lagoon-style pool. Another cool option that costs a little less is the Shark Bounce House ($460; amazon.com), pictured above, which comes with extras like a water cannon and tunnel.
You’ve stocked up on board games and puzzles, but now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to opt for games that allow for a little backyard competition. Cornhole is always a crowd-pleaser and can be played with two or four people. Arguably the best part, though, is that you can play one-handed, with a beer or spiked seltzer in the other. Plus, you can build the platforms yourself, given you have the tools and skills necessary, or simply order a set online. The GoSports Solids Wood Premium Cornhole Set ($127; amazon.com) has rave reviews. Some other fun lawn games include bocci ball, ladder ball, inflatable darts, and the always-classic croquet; for something more high-energy, try Spikeball.
Another activity to take outside this summer: movie night. Seriously, there’s no better way to watch your favorite film than under the stars. Start by picking up a projector that’s compatible with your laptop or tablet and preferably wireless. We like this CineBeam Projector by LG ($647; amazon.com) since it provides a clear picture, has a maximum screen size of 100″, and allows for wireless streaming. Next, you’ll need a screen. While a sheet or solid white wall will work, a portable screen will provide the best experience. This Airblown Inflatables Deluxe Movie Screen ($130; walmart.com) is a great option for big back yards, while the Pyle Portable Projector Screen ($50; amazon.com) is better for smaller patios or rooftops. Finally, you’ll want to make your outdoor space super cozy with lots of blankets and pillows.
7 Get your hands dirty in a garden
The benefits of gardening are abundant, and there’s no better time than now to get growing. Whether you choose to makeover your yard with beautiful blooms or would rather tend to fresh fruits and vegetables, the outdoor activity will boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment. In this article, we rounded up some brilliant ideas for creating a backyard garden on a budget — from herb gardens made of show organizers to strawberry crates made with laundry baskets.
8 Become a grill master
Summer is traditionally a time for backyard barbecues, and although large social gatherings may not be possible due to social distancing, you can still use this time master the grill or try new recipes, like grilled fruit for dessert. If you’re new to grilling, go with gas since these offer the best control of over cooking temp and are the most multi-functional. The Weber Genesis II E-310 3-Burner Natural Gas Grill ($699; homedepot.com) is your complete grilling system and has a wide variety of functions. If your strapped for space, try the new George Foreman Smokeless Grill Series ($70; walmart.com), which can be used inside or outside and is about the size of a laptop.
The last thing your backyard needs for the ultimate summer spent at home: an outdoor bar station. This Bamboo and Raffia Tiki Bar ($160; walmart.com) will turn your backyard into a tropical paradise. All you have do is stock it with the accessories needed to make your favorite summertime drinks — think a cocktail shaker for margaritas, a blender for frozen concoctions, an ice bucket, and some plastic glassware.