Summer is here, and it’s time to create some memories! With a bit of creative thinking, you can keep your kids entertained without breaking the bank. Inside you’ll find a list of fun activities you can do with your kids on the cheap!
The kids are out of school, and you’re wondering how you will make the most of your time with them during summer break.
The last thing you want is for your kids to spend the summer months glued to screens like zombies.
Plus, you’re probably thinking, “How am I going to afford to supply a variety of activities every single day?”
However, it’s important to remember that the best things in life are free! With just a little bit of creativity and planning, you can have a ton of summer fun on the cheap.
Hoping to find some fun activities that the entire family can do together without spending a ton of money? Well, you’re in luck!
If you’re ready for the best summer ever, grab a piece of paper and fill up your summer bucket list with these family-friendly activities. This list is full of free and cheap summertime activities the whole family will enjoy.
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Fun Summer Activities Kids (and Adults) Will Love!
1. Have a Picnic
Pack a basket of snacks, grab some blankets, and head to your local park for an afternoon picnic! There’s just something about eating outside that makes it more fun. After lunch, lay back and watch the clouds float by.
2. Visit the Library
Local libraries are full of books, movies, games, and music for kids of all ages. Many locations also host weekly story times for young children.
3. Go on a Nature Walk
Get outside together and explore the outdoors! Collect sticks, leaves, stones, or even bugs if you have brave little ones. Bring your supplies back and use them to make a fun nature craft.
4. Play Outside
Whether it’s tag, hide & seek or frisbee golf, there are plenty of outdoor games you can play right in your own backyard.
5. Go Star Gazing
Looking for something to do at night with kids? Grab a blanket and head outside to look up at the night sky. See how many constellations you can spot!
6. Visit a Splash Pad
Many local parks have installed free splash pads for kids in the community to cool off hot summer days. Enjoy the afternoon running, laughing, and splashing the day away.
7. Family Movie Night
Did you know recent research suggests that shared screen time can actually have a positive impact on your child’s development? Pop some popcorn, gather on the couch, and watch some family-friendly movies together.
8. Make Homemade Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love ice cream? Get creative with ingredients like fruit and chocolate chips for a yummy treat! There are a ton of great recipes you can try.
9. Go Geocaching
An outdoor treasure hunt with GPS devices or just an old-fashioned map and compass!
10. Scavenger Hunt
Grab this free printable backyard scavenger hunt, or hide small objects around your yard for kids with little clues to lead them to the next spot.
11. Write a Story
Have each family member create a part of the story to create one big adventure! You can even turn it into a book and self-publish it on Amazon.
12. Visit a National Park
Have a 4th grader? Then they can get a free National Parks Pass that is good for the entire year and works for the entire family. Learn more about the Every Kid Outdoors Program.
13. Play in the Sprinklers
Turn on the sprinklers, or hook one onto your hose. You can even play one of these sprinkler games and spend the afternoon having a blast.
14. Go Bowling
With the Kids Bowl Free Program over 1500 bowling centers around the world offer kids 2 free games every day all summer long. A great way to learn a new sport and have some family fun in the A/C.
15. Paint Rocks
Head to a local creek or river to hunt for stones, then paint them with fun designs when you get home. You can even use the heat of the sun to paint them with crayons.
16. Create Origami
See what kind of shapes and animals you can make out of paper with this fun, free activity!
17. Put on a Play
Get your kids to write and act out their own plays! It’s a great way to encourage creativity.
18. Visit a Museum, Zoo, or Aquarium
You can learn about history, science, and animals all for free at these awesome places! Keep an eye out for free admission days that typically happen once a month. You can also check for major discounts through your employer, credit union or other memberships.
19. Play Ball
Get your kids, their friends, and the whole neighborhood for a friendly baseball game. Head to a local park and create some sandlot memories.
20. Check Out Famer’s Market
Not only is it free to get in, but you can let your kids sample all sorts of fresh fruits and vegetables while they are there.
21. Outdoor Art Auction
Let your little ones express themselves by displaying their artwork outside for everyone in the neighborhood to see! Hang them on your fence or post them on your garage door and let your bid on their favorites.
22. Make Instruments
Turn items you have around the house into your own musical instruments. You can find directions for making guitars, drums and kazoos online from items like cereal boxes and popsicle sticks. Or get creative and invent your own.
23. Create an Obstacle Course
Use objects from around the house to create ramps, tunnels and more for kids to navigate through! Incorporate furniture, hoola hoops, ropes, swings and anything else you have available.
24. Go Fishing
Whether you’re just having fun with some nets in a creek or actually trying your luck at catching something, this is always a fun activity for kids. In most states kids can fish without a license, but make sure you have one if you are going to catch anything yourself.
25. Homemade Bubbles
All you need is water, dish soap, sugar and some string to make hours of bubble-blowing fun! You can also make your own bubble wands from pipecleaners and beads.
26. Backyard Campout
Pitch a tent, grab some sleeping bags and tell stories around a campfire while roasting marshmallows and hot dogs!
27. Find a New Playground
During the summer months, my kids love finding new playgrounds in our area. A quick Google search will show you your options. Great for burning off excess energy on hot summer days! Swing, slide, climb and explore with your little ones.
28. Nature Walk
Whether it’s through a forest, lake shore or even around your own neighbourhood, kids will love exploring new places!
29. Make a Bird Feeder
Hang them around your backyard and see which feathered friends come to visit! Here are some ideas to get you started.
30. Family Bike Ride
Explore your neighborhood or head to a local trail while you burn off some energy and enjoy the great outdoors.
31. Get Crafty
Get creative with cardboard boxes, wood pieces or other craft supplies you have lying around. Set out some loose parts and spend the afternoon building, crafting and engineering.
32. Create a Time Capsule
Grab a box and fill it with mementos, drawings or even just words about what this summer meant to each family member.
33. Indoor Picnic
Perfect for when it’s too hot outside! Spread out some blankets on your living room floor and have lunch together there instead.
34. Sidewalk Chalk
Make funny caricatures on the driveway or create art pieces around your neighborhood. Need some ideas? Here’s a list of easy sidewalk chalk ideas that will keep kids busy for hours.
35. Dance Party
Blast some music and start movin’ and groovin’. Create your own playlists with everyone’s favorite songs and have some fun.
36. Indoor Mini Golf
Create your own mini golf course out of cardboard boxes, paper cups and other items you have lying around the house!
37. Learn How to Juggle
Start with something easy like bean bags or scarves and see if you can get your kids juggling in no time! A great screen-free skill your kids can use to keep themselves busy.
38. Make Eco-Art
Use old newspapers, magazines, bottles and more to create sculptures or paintings!
39. Visit a State Park
Many state parks have days that free admission is offered. Spend the day exploring and learning together.
40. Make a Slip-n-Slide
All you need is some plastic sheeting, soap, and a hose to make your own Slip-n-Slide! The perfect way to cool off and have fun on a hot summer day.
41. Make Shaving Cream
There are so many fun art and science activities that you can do with shaving cream, but the store-bought kind is filled with chemicals. Have fun learning how to make your own, then use it at bathtime, give it away as a gift, or get messy!
42. Make a No-Bake Dessert
No oven required! Whip up a delicious homemade dessert with no heat. Kids will have fun helping to measure and mix, plus they can eat the fruits of their labor afterwards.
43. Make Popsicles
There are so many varieties of popsicles that you can make. You don’t need special molds – just paper cups and popsicle sticks. Have fun experimenting with juice, soda, yogurt and more!
44. Soak Up the Sun at the Beach
Head to your favorite beach spot and build sandcastles, search for shells, or take a dip in the ocean.
45. Set Up a Lemonade Stand
Set up shop in front of your house and watch as the customers come rolling in! Teach your kids about counting money and customer service all while having fun.
46. Go to a Concert
During the summer months many cities host free live music events in local parks and amphitheaters. Check out your local events calendar and see what free concerts are happening near you!
47. Visit a Museum or Historical Site
Many museums offer days when admission is free. Take the kids on a fun educational trip to learn about history, science, the arts and more.
48. Play in the Creek
Find a nearby creek or stream and watch as your kids spend hours exploring, splashing, and playing the day away.
Things to do in the Summer for Free with Kids
Just look at all of the fun things you can do with your family members during summer vacation.
With these great ideas, everyone will have so much fun this summer season.
Whether you have little kids or older kids, I’m sure this list has something you will all enjoy.
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