With the heat hitting lots of us way earlier than expected, we thought we’d share some summer meal plan ideas we tend to share in July or August!  If you can’t get excited about home-cooked meals right now, we thought we’d focus on easy and fun.

We hope these 5 easy, fun summer meal ideas for the week ahead are ones that will make dinnertime enjoyable for your whole family too.

Related: Weekly meal plan: 5 easy meals using June’s freshest produce

Fun, Easy Summer Dinner Idea 1: DIY Pizza Night

How to grill pizza: Step by step instructions and topping ideas | Jane Sweeney for Cool Mom Eats

How to grill your own pizza | Jane Sweeney for Cool Mom Eats

We love our DIY pizza nights at my house, where we set out toppings that range from all the meats to tons of veggies. But when it’s summer, it’s too hot for a 450-degree oven! Check out Jane’s tips for how to grill your own pizza, then hit this list of creative pizza toppings for a DIY pizza night. Serve with salad if you’re so inclined,

Related: Fresh, creative summer pasta salads.

Fun, Easy Summer Dinner Idea 2: A Full Party Food Spread

Super Bowl recipes that satisfy your game day cravings and also serve as dinner: Chicken Skewer Nachos | Real Food by Dad
Chicken Skewer Nachos | Real Food by Dad

Search through our archives for some of our top recommendations for game day food or Oscar night menus — even New Year’s Eve menus — and you’ll be inspired with some fun and festive party food recipes that you might not usually consider for weeknight dinners. I love the delicious Creamy Chicken Enchilada potato skins that Stacie developed for us, because OMG yum. But if it’s too hot for the oven, I love these Chicken Skewer Nachos at Real Food by Dad which you can make on the grill. It’s nothing short of genius, I mean, nachos, but with dinner-worthy chicken skewers instead of chips as the base? Love.

Fun, Easy Summer Dinner Idea 3: A Charcuterie Board Dinner

Charcuterie Board Idea for Summer Dinners with the Kids: What to cook when it's too hot to cook

A charcuterie board is such a fun grab-and-go style dinner, that it might surprise your kids into eating dinner without complaining. I like the charcuterie board at Katy’s Cookin, which focuses on fruit, cheese, crackers, and meat…but we’ve seen other creative ideas like chicken nuggets, PB&J sandwiches, deviled eggs, or even a breakfast-themed board with waffles, fruits, and toppings. Fun. And no cooking!

Photo by Erik Dungan on Unsplash

Related: The best boards for charcuterie boards (like, the actual boards)

Fun, Easy Summer Dinner Idea 4: DIY Burger Bar with Crazy Toppings

Fun dinner ideas for hot summer nights with the kids: A DIY burger toppings bar

You can’t think about easy, fun, summer dinners without burgers right? We’re big fans because it’s so easy to turn them into a different dinner each night — or for each person at the table. Find tons of ideas for burger toppings from around the world right in this article.  Or get inspiration from your own favorite restaurant. You can also swap out the meat for grilled chicken breast, veggie burgers…you name it. It’s the kind of fun, easy dinner you might plan for a party but why wait? Your whole family will love it.

Also see: DIY food bar ideas for last-minute eating or entertaining

Fun, Easy Summer Dinner Idea 5 : An Easy Pasta Bar 

Weekly meal plan: Pasta Primavera at Cooking Classy

Rainbow Pasta Primavera | Cooking Classy.

Hopefully at this time of the summer, you’re not quite sick of pasta salad yet. Even so, find tons of inspiration in this post for fresh, creative summer pasta salads. They all make great use of summer produce. You can also set up a party-style pasta bar, which is a great way to feed picky kids and a family with different tastes. This article is filled with amazing tips from Marsha — who happens to be a fantastic cook and entertainer.  One more idea: See if you can get the kids to eat all the colors of the rainbow in a tasty Pasta Primavera using the recipe from Cooking Classy. It’s bright and easy, perfect for a warm summer night. It keeps beautifully in the fridge for leftovers too.