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17 Nostalgic ‘80s Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer

See recent posts by Alene Laney

There’s something about the 1980s that brings a big smile to anyone who spent their childhood in it. Maybe it’s all the time we spent outside, the bright colors we wore, the hair that aspired to reach Heaven, or the catchy rock music we danced to, but the 1980s was a decade full of fun. If you’re pining for the freedom and fun of an 80s childhood for your own kids, you may want to try one of these activities.

Make Homemade Popsicles

Remember when you made popsicles out of Kool-aid? You can do the same with your kids. You can also find a host of other creative options for making homemade popsicles on Pinterest and Youtube, like this watermelon popsicle or this rainbow recipe. 

Run Through the Sprinklers

How fun was it to race through the sprinklers on hot summer days? Attachments like these make water activities a blast. 

Wear Your Swimsuits All Day

Speaking of sprinklers, you probably ran through multiple times a day and just left your swimming suit on. Laundry was less of a problem and the convenience of running outside whenever you felt like it couldn’t be beat. 

Related: 21 Best Swimsuits for Moms That’ll Make You Look and Feel Good

Sleep on the Trampoline

If you’re a child of the 80s, chances are you had a trampoline and you slept underneath the stars on it. Learn a few constellations and try finding them with your child with resources like this or this

Learn to Jump Double Dutch Rope

If you’re a child of the ‘80s, I bet you can still feel the smarting pain of a jump rope smacking your ankle when you were learning to jump rope. Yet, this popular recess activity is fantastic for developing coordination and endurance in kids. You can watch a YouTube tutorial like this to get started with your own kids. 

Find a Drive-in Movie Theater (Or Make Your Own)

Aerial view of a drive-in movie theater

While drive-in movie theaters are fairly rare these days, you can also get a blow-up screen and projector to watch a movie in your backyard. 

Related: The 50 Best Family Vacations in America

Style Your Kids’ Hair Nice and High

You can make a faux-hawk, crimp your kids’ hair, or add banana clips, barrettes, and scrunchies to get that ‘80s look. Hairspray required. 

Dance with MC Hammer Pants

Hammer pants (otherwise known as parachute pants or harem pants) have elastic around the waist and the ankles (much like today’s jogger pants), but with a bunch more fabric from the waist to the thigh. And because the internet is magic, you can order all sorts of fabulous hammer pants online. You could also improvise your own with extra fabric and hair elastics for an afternoon of complete hilarity.

Build a Fort or Treehouse

Grandfather and grandson building a treehouse

You could go all out building a dream pirate ship treehouse with your kids this summer. You could also make a fort out of scavenged natural materials. Whatever you do, your kids will love it.

Related: The Best Kiddie Pools for 2021

Workout With Leg Warmers, Arm Bands, and Headbands

Throwback Jazzercise, Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, and aerobic dance workouts are a riot (and available on YouTube). Add in some leg warmers, arm bands, headbands and big hair for the full experience. Bonus if you can get the grandparents to do it with you.

Watch an ‘80s Movie

E.T.” and “Star Wars” are classics that everyone should watch. If your kids are older, they may enjoy “Indiana Jones”, “Back to the Future”, or “Ghostbusters”. 

Create Puff Paint Crafts

Get some white shoes (or a shirt), some puff paints, and create your own designs. You can find clever ideas like this DIY Pac Man shirt all over the internet. 

Tie Dye T-Shirts and Socks

Children dying t-shirt with the Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit Party Supplies, 18 Bottles Tie Dye Kit

I promise, we’re not in the wrong decade. The ‘80s loved anything colorful and the vibrant colors of a tie-dyed shirt fit the bill. If you want to try this with your kids, there are tons of kits available to help. 

Related: The 15 Best Women’s Flip Flops for Travel

Make Your Own Music Video

Remember when music videos were new? Those crazy costumes, hair, makeup, and dance moves brought an incredible energy to music we didn’t know existed. If your kids are performers, break out your camera to film them in some ridiculous costumes singing the words to a favorite song.

Try to Solve a Rubik’s Cube

Remember staring for hours at a Rubik’s Cube trying to figure it out? They’re still around–and still pretty mesmerizing. If you want to learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube with your kids, take a look at this how-to video.

Learn the Moonwalk

Is there anything more iconic than Michael Jackson’s moonwalk dance? Watch a YouTube tutorial with your kids and try it out! You could also try learning Thriller, The Robot, The Running Man, The Worm, or The Sprinkler–all dance moves from the ‘80s. 

Go Rollerblading or Roller Skating

Inline skates were pretty rad when they came out in the late ‘80s and it seemed like everyone had a pair. They’re still rad and can make for a fun family outing. 

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