The beautiful days have arrived and school is over! It’s time to put the finishing touches on our children’s vacation schedule. Invitations to play with friends, day camps, summer courses, visits from relatives and family adventures… The weeks fill up quickly!

To be honest, the summer schedule is making my head spin. I grew up in the 90s and used to spend the summer months pedaling to the corner store, running in the water spouts, chasing the ice cream truck, watching the clouds and camping in family. In summary, I had plenty of free time to see my friends and play outside. What’s great is that we can offer the best of both worlds to our children: planned activities and a good dose of free time to have fun like in the old days.

Here are 15 simple, screen-free and inexpensive retro summer activities to keep your kids busy. With this, you will undoubtedly succeed in getting them out this summer.

1. Skipping 

This great classic from the 50s to 90s that stretches the legs and whips the blood is experiencing a resurgence in popularity among athletes. It’s an accessible and fun activity, and once your child has mastered the basics, they can learn dozens of variations: double bounce, double turn, cross pass or side pass.  

2. Tage-lampe de poche 

This well-known game mixes hide and seek and tag. All it takes is three people, a flashlight, and a dimly lit area. The designated player takes the flashlight and counts long enough for the others to hide. He then tries to find them and pursue them. To catch a player, just light him up with the light beam. This is a great game that will get your youngsters racing.Here are other perfect games for darkness.

3. Chalk drawings 

Easy and colorful, chalk drawing on concrete stimulates creativity and makes you want to move. Toddlers can learn to draw, and older ones create real works of art and fun games. Hopscotch, 4 squared, tic-tac-toe… the chalk games haven’t aged a bit. For more ideas: A piece of chalk, 8 active games

4. Water slide 

In 1961, Robert D. Carrier invented the Slip N’ Slide waterslide after watching his son slide on his stomach down his driveway. Ouch! His idea was a huge success and remains just as popular today. You can buy a ready-made slide, but making it yourself is easy, inexpensive and more durable. All you need is a camping tarp, liquid soap and water. Lay the tarp on a patch of soft grass, add some soap, sprinkle with water, and all to your jerseys!

5. Roller skates

Very popular between the 70s and 90s, roller skates are back. It’s a great activity for developing children’s balance and coordination…And it’s so much fun! You can ride on all flat surfaces. If you don’t have skates, shop your local thrift store or rent some from a club near you.

6. Building a fort 

Typically built with sticks, blankets, cardboard or cushions, forts are imaginary paradises for children. Most children love to build: all they need to get started is a little space and equipment. However, the youngest will need a little help.

7. Bike ride to the convenience store 

Pedaling to the neighborhood store was one of my favorite summer pastimes as a kid. I treasured my small coins to buy jigsaw candy, rolls of chewing gum and push pop lollipops. This activity has something special that many children would not miss for the world. Here are more ideas for developing your cycling skills. 

8. Race in the water jets 

Running past lawn sprinklers is a must-do and timeless activity that keeps kids cool on hot summer days. Plus, they can play lots of games that will have them running, jumping, dancing and laughing. Looking for ideas?  

9. Garden camping 

There’s nothing like a night in the garden to introduce your children to camping and have fun without leaving home! Here are some great tips for successful backyard camping: All the fun of camping without going far from home.

10. Hoop

The American company Wham-O’s Hula-hoop took the world by storm in 1958. Although this fad faded over time, it never completely died out. Today, the hoop is popular in the world of show business, exercise, and play! It is an excellent exercise for developing mobility, coordination and balance. Plus, hula hoops are easy to find and inexpensive, and making them yourself out of polythene tubing and tape is a snap. For more ideas, check out this list of seven games to do with a hoop.

11. Flag Game 

Nobody really knows where this game came from, but Boy Scouts have been playing it since the 60s. It’s a great summer activity idea for groups. Once they know the basic rules, kids can even add their own twist. It takes at least ten players, a large open space, two “flags” (old shirts, balls, brooms), two “jails” (hoops, cones, rope) and a line to demarcate the two sides of the field (long rope, cones). Start by forming two teams. Each team must hide a flag behind their camp and set up the prison. The first team to capture the opposing flag and bring it back to their side wins the game! On the other hand, the “tagged” players will have to wait in the prison. Back in the 90s, it was our favorite neighborhood game.

12. Balance board

The balance board made its debut in the 1950s and was quickly adopted by surfers, snowboarders and skiers. It started out as just a plank of wood on a log, but it got more sophisticated. Children’s balance boards are sometimes expensive, but you can make one yourself with foam noodles or PVC pipe and a piece of wood. Simply lay the piece of wood perpendicular to the noodle or pipe, and you have a rudimentary balance board that will help your child develop balance, coordination and proprioception.

13. Tie-dye

In the 60s and 70s, you only heard about tie-dye. Guess what… Fashion is coming back full force! Tie-dyeing is a fun summer activity, best done outside (to make cleanup easier). The easiest way is to buy a few white sweaters and a dye kit from your local craft store.

14. Frisbee

Invented by Walter Frederick Morrison in 1948, the Frisbee was brought to market by Wham-O in 1957. Since then, it has spawned unique sports like ultimate, disc golf, freestyle Frisbee and even disc dog. There’s nothing like a summer’s day to show your child how to throw and catch a Frisbee on the grass in the park, a great activity to improve their coordination and motor skills.

15. Skateboard 

Skateboarding has come a long way since the 1950s. Elevated to Olympic status at Tokyo 2020, it is now establishing itself as a fun, safe and inclusive sport for children of all ages. Skateboarding exercises the whole body and sharpens balance, coordination and perseverance!  

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