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Family-friendly fun for the summer

A child with brown hair wearing pink leggings sits on the shoulders of her father who is wearing a gray shirt. They are both smiling and enjoying a community event. There is a crowd of people in front of a white tent in the background.

Soak in summer fun with these budget-friendly activities that the whole family can enjoy.

The summer solstice arrives today, June 20, marking the year’s longest day. Celebrated by many, it is believed to symbolize renewal, new beginnings, and abundance. The solstice reminds us to honor the bounty and diversity of life including the vital connection between people and nature. Protecting the environment so that people can benefit from clean air and healthy, thriving natural spaces is part of our mission at the Hazardous Waste Management Program. 

Whether you attend one of the solstice events in the region, or simply spend some extra time outside today, we hope you enjoy the extra sunlight. Once solstice is over, you can continue to soak in summer fun with these budget-friendly activities that the whole family can enjoy. 

Get creative with chalk drawing

There is something quintessentially summer about chalk art. Sidewalk chalk is a budget-friendly option for creative fun, and it is considered nontoxic even if a small amount is accidentally swallowed. Of course, children should always be supervised to prevent any accidental swallowing or choking. When in doubt, read the product label to choose the safest option. In addition to the classic hopscotch, try drawing a checkerboard and use rocks as the checker pieces or draw a clock face where children can take turns being the clock hands as you shout out different times like 10:15.

If you’re exploring other art project ideas, especially those that include painting and using dyes – make sure you check the materials as some inks and dyes may be hazardous if they contain toxic pigments. Paint thinner and other solvents are hazardous! You can bring unused or partially used paint thinner and paint stripper to one of our collection sites. 

Grab those gardening gloves 

Gardening is an excellent, interactive activity for adults and children. For an easy activity, ask kids to help collect grass, leaves, dead plants, and non-invasive weeds to add to a simple pile or container to start a yard waste composting system. Learn all about how compost is nature’s climate champion.

Grown up gardeners – if you’re reaching for a chemical pesticide or herbicide to use in your home garden, please think again. Pesticides and herbicides can be very harmful to people, pets, and pollinators if used incorrectly or excessively. Try easy and effective natural yard and garden care methods instead like pulling weeds and trapping bugs by hand. Always keep toxic products away from the reach of children by placing them on high shelves or a locked cabinet. 

For those with limited outdoors space, try your hand at container gardening. The Garden Hotline teaches container gardening classes throughout the summer – check our events page for a variety of garden and yard care classes happening near you. 

Cook a meal together

If you ask us, there isn’t much that is better than sharing food with your loved ones. Get the whole family involved to make the experience even more rewarding. Challenge each other to create different meals with the ingredients you already have at home and vote for the winner for the most creative or most delicious dish. Whenever possible, use stainless steel instead of aluminum cookware to prevent accidental exposure to lead. If you can’t switch to stainless steel, learn how to take proper care of your aluminum cookware during cleaning, cooking, and storage to keep your family safe. 

Go on a family hike without needing a car 

Hiking boots, water, and safety gear? Check! A personal car? Not needed with Trailhead Direct. Trailhead Direct is a program operated by King County Metro and partners that provides access to hiking trails for those who don’t have a personal vehicle or don’t want to deal with traffic and parking. Plus, using public transit to get more people to trailheads is better for the environment. Check out when routes operate and get more information at

Catch an outdoor movie at Marymoor Park

Grab your blanket and low-back outdoor chairs and set up to watch popular movies with your friends, family, and even Fido the dog this summer at Marymoor Park. The BECU Movies at Marymoor series runs from July through August. Tickets and more information can be found at  

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