Creating a family summer bingo board can be a fantastic way to get everyone at your house excited for summer!
So, what exactly is a summer bingo board?
It’s a fun way to display and keep track of summer activities that you want to do as a family. And when you complete a row or column of activities, you get to celebrate even more!
We’ve been doing a summer bingo board for the past six years in our family after we were introduced to them by my sister-in-law. All five of my kids absolutely love it – even after all this time!
Since we know we will be sticking close to home this year, I really want my kids to have some fun things to look forward to regardless! Creating our bingo board has really helped them get excited for summer. The kids can’t wait to get started with it in June!
Creating your own summer bingo board is super easy. Keep reading to see how simple it is (and for a surprise I’ve already prepared for you!).
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How to Create Your Summer Bingo Board
Step 1: Gather supplies
The first thing you’ll need is the board. I recommend something sturdy – such as this 20×30 inch foam core board that I’ve reused for years. You could definitely do with a smaller size, like these 11×14 inch foam boards that come in a pack of 10 from Amazon.
A cork board like this would be great too. You definitely want something that will be durable enough to stand up to your kids!
Also, if you are going to be stapling the bingo marker pieces onto your board, it will need to be thick enough to take a staple.
I like to cover our board with a large piece of butcher paper. You can choose any bright color or keep it simple and go with white. I do this because I have kids who love to draw on EVERYTHING, and I don’t really want to see last year’s scribbles on my board every year!
The board title
Next, I love to give our bingo board a fun title. I happened to have some old pre-made letters on hand from some of my old homeschool projects, so that is what I used. You can get similar 4-inch letters inexpensively right here on Amazon. I’ve had mine for years and reuse them over and over! If you are crafty (in which case, I applaud you!), you could make or even hand-letter a bright and exciting title instead.
The next thing you’ll need will be cards with the summer bingo activities written or printed on them. To make this as easy as possible, I’ve created summer bingo printable cards for you!!! YAY!!
These cards are 1.5 inches square and would be easy to arrange in a 5×5 or 6×6 grid on any foam core board or cork board. My family helped me come with 64 different summer bingo ideas for you to choose from AND there is page of blank cards so you can completely customize your board too!
The last thing you’ll need for your summer bingo board will be some type of bingo marker. I punched out lots of bright 1-inch card stock stars with this fun paper punch to use as markers. You could cut out squares or circles to use as markers too. Although I’m not super crafty, I do use my star punch all the time!
If you know that you don’t want to reuse your bingo activity cards from year to year, you could simply write a check mark or an X on the activities you complete.
Step 2: Brainstorm activities
Once you have all of your supplies, it is time to think about what summer activities you want to include on your summer bingo board. I recommend sitting down with your family and having a quick brainstorming session. With the current pandemic, it may be wise to give some parameters to what types of activity ideas you are looking for.
Write down all the ideas everyone comes up with – no matter how crazy they might seem! Asking your family for activity ideas will really help you create a summer bingo board that everyone in your family will enjoy.
You can certainly include activities on your summer bingo board that your child already loves to do. They will feel more special just because they’re on the board!
Our favorite activities
Here is quick list of some of our very favorite summer bingo board activities to help you get your creative juices flowing:
-Make a special treat
-Play a board game
We love pretty much all board games, but these cooperative games from The Peaceable Kingdom have been great summer activities for my younger kids!
-Have a stuffed animal fight
I honestly don’t know why my kids love this, but they do. We remove all the fragile items (it’s not like there’s a lot!) from one of the kids’ rooms. All of the other kids bring in their stuffed animals and they throw them at each other. This causes all types of hilarity. One personal recommendation from past experience: don’t use an old favorite stuffed animal that is on the brink of falling apart.
-Hold a theme day
For more on this awesome summer bingo board activity, check out my post on our favorite indoor activities for kids.
-Go on a nature walk or hike
-Campout in the living room or the backyard
-Have a “snowball” fight
Okay, I promise we do more than fight in our house. But this one is too fun to not share. For a summer snowball fight, my kids used to bundle their (clean) socks into balls and throw them at each other. Now we use these soft white “snowballs” that my kids love to get out several times a year. Again, it’s a good idea to clear out fragile items from the room where the snowball fight is going down.
-Star or cloud gaze
-Host a LEGO challenge
You could have your kids build a LEGO creation while blindfolded or with only one hand. You can also divide your family into teams and give each team a challenge to build the same item within a certain amount of time (ie: a castle or a spaceship in 15 minutes). Then have the teams go to different rooms of the house to create their masterpieces.
-Create a puppet show, movie or play
-Have a water balloon or water gun fight
We’ve been using these self-sealing water balloons for years! They are so easy to fill too.
-Have a marshmallow war
This is similar to the stuffed animal and snowball fights – except in place of stuffed animals and socks, we like to use giant puffy marshmallows. There is something hilariously satisfying about throwing marshmallows at each other. I highly recommend counting out a specific number of marshmallows to use for the war (we usually do five per person) – that way you’ll know how many to look for when the war is over. No one likes finding an old, wrinkly marshmallow underneath the living room curtain six months later. Just saying. Better yet, make this one an outdoor activity!
-Do a science project
There are so many great science kits out there for kids. We had some especially good success growing our own crystals with this kit from 4M.
-Play catch, ping pong, tennis, etc.
-Make a sidewalk chalk mosaic
I was so pleasantly surprised that ALL of my kids got into this project! Start by using duct tape to outline your mosaic on the sidewalk or driveway. Decide if you want anything specific in the center, and then place the duct tape in random straight lines all over the rectangle. Have the kids fill in each of the spaces with sidewalk chalk (make sure two adjacent shapes are different colors!). Once colored, lightly rub each shape with paper towel to make it look finished. Then pull up the duct tape and voila! Your awesome mosaic is done! Be sure to take a pic before it rains!
-Practice sumo wrestling
This is so much fun. Use masking tape to mark out a large circle on the floor. Then put down a small mark in the center of the circle too. Take two bed pillows and put them on the front and back of your children’s torsos. Use ribbon or a belt to keep them in place. If your kids’ hair is long enough, put it into a high bun on top of his/her heads. Then have them square off against each other in the “ring”. The first person to push the other sumo wrestler out of the ring is the winner!
-Play charades, hide and seek or other simple games
-Write and mail a letter
-Do a craft or paint
-Try an escape room
There are pre-made kits available that have been a ton of fun for all of my kids! Check out my post to read more about our experience with these escape room kits as a fun indoor summer activity!
-Have a picnic lunch
-Participate in a puzzle challenge
You can divide the family into two teams and race to finish two puzzles with the same number of pieces and difficulty levels. Or you could all work together and race the clock. You may also consider putting together a puzzle with only one hand or while standing on one foot.
For more great summer bingo board activities, this article from Parents has a ton of great ideas too!
We usually end up with more activities than we can fit on the board, and that’s okay! Check out the video in the next section to see how we narrow down our choices in a way that usually makes everyone happy.
Step 3: Choosing our activities
We put all of our activity idea cards into a bowl and the kids take turns pulling out one card each.
After reading it aloud, they vote on whether they want that activity to go on the bingo board. If three kids want to keep an activity, it goes on the bingo board!
If three or more kids veto a specific activity it is set aside to save for later.
Taking the time to have everyone contribute to the board really helps them to feel invested and excited when it is time to start doing the activities from the bingo board together!
Step 4: Assemble your bingo board
To put your board together, start by putting your title at the top.
Next, arrange your summer bingo activity cards in a square grid. In our experience, a 5×5 or 6×6 grid works best. With a 5×5 grid, you can easily put a FREE SPACE in the center position.
If you want to make it more challenging and take longer to get a bingo, try the 6×6 grid. (We tried a 7×7 grid one year because we had so many activity ideas, but it was TOO massive and took forever to get a completed bingo!)
Once your cards are arranged, either staple, glue or tape them to the board. I like to staple ours so we can carefully pull them off and reuse some of them in a different arrangement the next year!
Step 5: Display your board in a prominent place
Be sure to put your summer bingo board in a place where members of your family will see it often!
You could put it in the family room, a kids’ bedroom, in the kitchen, by the fireplace, etc. Basically, anywhere will work, as long as it is not stuck away in a closet somewhere!
As you start to play, staple a star or other marker over each activity that you complete. You’ll be getting bingos in no time!
Decisions to Make About How You’ll Use Your Bingo Board
Before you start using your board, it will be important to decide on a couple of things:
How often will you do activities?
Will you do a summer bingo board activity everyday? Two or three times a week? Or even just once a week?
The frequency has varied for us over the years, depending on whether we were traveling, moving, or having a new baby join our family!
The important thing is to come an agreement so no one is left with unfulfilled expectations.
One thing that has been helpful for us is to talk about our board at the beginning of each week and talk about what activity or activities we’d like to do that week.
What will you do to celebrate a bingo?
The point of the bingo game is obviously to get a bingo! (If bingo is new to you, a bingo is a row or column of completed activities.). So once that happens, what will you do as a family to celebrate?
We try to keep our bingo celebrations fairly inexpensive because we usually get quite a few completed each summer!
Some of our typical rewards for a finished bingo are:
- a trip to the ice cream store
- having a late night family movie at home
- picking up a box of donuts from the local bakery
- adding a new pool float to our pool
- making a special dessert (other than the ideas already on the board!)
- doing any activity that didn’t make it on to the board
Final thoughts on family summer bingo boards
Now, I have some really exciting news! If you think a summer bingo board sounds great, but don’t think you have the time or resources to put one together, don’t worry! I have already done it for you!
I’ve made two different versions of our favorite family summer bingo boards as a printable download for you! (You even get a choice of backgrounds for each version!)
There are also completely empty bingo boards for you to fill in your own family summer bingo board ideas!
I’m so excited for you to give this a try with your family!!
Related articles about family summer fun activities:
I’d love to hear if you create your own family summer bingo board or use one of the ones I’ve already made for you!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!