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50 Fun & Free Things to Do With Kids This Summer

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!

50 fun and free things for kids to do this summer. Young girl floating on a raft.

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.

Need a calendar to plan all this summer fun?

Fun Summer Activities Kids (and Adults) Will Love!

Kids having summer fun with water balloons.

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

Star gazing is a free activity that is perfect for summer fun.

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 

Free printable backyard scavenger hunt. Free things to do in the summer with kids.

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

Screen-free summer activity: Hot Rock Melted Crayon Craft

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

Free farmer'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 

Kids playing with giant homemade bubbles outside.

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 

Free summer fun - 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

Living room 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

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 

Kids selling lemonade at a lemonade stand during the summer.

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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