You know we're on top of all the fun, cheap or free things to do with kids in summer. We want to help you defeat summer boredom and enjoy all the fun summer activities there are to do so we've got tips for how to do it all! Grab your free printable list below!
Summer is in full-swing around here, and if your house is anything like mine, a bit of affordable (or free!) entertainment is in order! To help bust summer boredom, I'm bringing you a list of some of our favorite Fun, Cheap, and even FREE summer activities for kids!
It's important to keep the kiddos moving all summer long!! Am I right? And don't worry, we even have it in a free printable for you so you can make it an official summer checklist!
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
Side note, if you don't follow me on Pinterest, you probably should! I have a board dedicated to summer fun, kids' activities, and parenting hacks. It's full of goodies that you don't want to miss. But before you sneak away to get lost in Pinterest-land, let's check out this list so you can make the most of summer without the stress!
HOW TO PLAN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
Having fun this summer doesn't have to break the bank. There are so many family-friendly activities that are 100% free. If you plan it right, you can have your vacation and enjoy the rest of your break, too.
Here's the summer dream! We want to…
- Enjoy the BIG and more costly activities – ya know, the highlights of the summer that kids like to report on when they go back to school
- Have an intentional summer with quick and affordable ready-to-go ideas so we don't have to listen to kids complaining of their never-ending boredom
- Spend time together having fun and making memories
So here's how you do it! Just before summer break sit down as a family and come up with one big thing each person would like to do. These are things like theme or water parks, weekend trips, more expensive museums, family fun centers, etc.
They are higher in price and take a good amount of advance planning. Once those have been decided, everyone must think of as many fun and affordable ideas to fill up the rest of the summer list. We love this part because we smile and laugh thinking back on past summers and remembering fun things we did like building forts or roasting s'mores over the campfire.
NOW IT'S TIME TO SOAK UP THE SUN WITH YOUR SUMMER LISTS
With our lists in hand we are ready for summer! Pencil some of the bigger activities into your calendar so your kids know what they have to look forward to.
If you need help thinking of some fun things to add to your list, we've got you covered. Here are 100 summer activities for kids that are fun, cheap, or free that will have you wishing days had more hours and summer lasted just a little bit longer. Plus there's some extra fun that the kids can enjoy on their own. You're welcome, mama!
SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS THAT ARE FUN, CHEAP OR FREE
If you're looking for something “out-of-the-box” to do to entertain your kids… this list is for you!
- Go for a nature walk
- Set up an obstacle course
- Visit the fire station
- Make microwave s'mores
- Make a painters tape race track
- Visit the library
- Scavenger hunt
- Visit an aquarium
- Pool day
- Visit a local farm
- Go hiking
- Fly a kite
- Make a DIY craft
- Finger paint with pudding (or I have a regular fingerpaint recipe if that's more your style!)
FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES KIDS CAN DO ON THEIR OWN
We all want to have a list of summer activities in our arsenal that we can just say “go …” and know that the kids can handle it with zero supervision. This is that list!
- Build with Legos
- Make marshmallow and toothpick houses
- Play hide and seek
- Make paper airplanes – Have a contest to see whose flies the farthest
- Jump on the trampoline – Here is a list of 50 ideas to do on a trampoline this summer!
- Write a story
- Stack cups game
- Watch learn-to-draw videos
- Play Simon Says
- Have a staring contest
- Play Would You Rather
- Hula hoop
- Play hopscotch
- Blow bubbles (Set up a bubble refill station for hours of fun – with less mess!)
- Put on a fashion show
- DIY Tic-Tac-Toe
THINGS KIDS CAN DO WHEN THEY'RE BORED
This is an awesome list of ideas that you can give to kids when they're complaining about who knows what… if none of these summer activities float their boat, you can always hand them a broom, mop, or vacuum and set them to work. 😉
- Walk a neighbor's dog
- Make a blanket fort
- Do a puzzle (Here are a few ways to make puzzles more fun for kids!)
- Make paper bag puppets
- Get creative with duct tape arts and crafts
- Watch a how-to YouTube video
- Visit a friend
- Sidewalk chalk art (Try my 3-ingredient homemade chalk recipe!)
- Water activities in the backyard
- Play a card game
- YouTube karaoke
- Write letters to family
- Jump rope games
- Dance party
- Play an instrument
- Make fruity popsicles (Shelf Cooking has a deliciously easy popsicle recipe!)
FUN ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Some of these fun summer activities might need a little more parent involvement, but the kids will still love every minute of these once you get them set up!
- Go mini golfing
- Ride a train
- Go on a bike ride
- Make homemade ice cream
- Freeze toys in water
- Build a cardboard box castle
- Head to the park
- Put on a skit
- Water balloon fight (You MUST try the DIY water balloon station!)
- Have a picnic (Packing frozen PB&J's is my favorite picnic hack!)
- Pillow fight
- Play charades
- Homemade playdough (We've got a super easy homemade playdough recipe that literally lasts forever!)
- Shaving cream table art
- Paint rocks
- Create sock puppets
SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY
If you're looking for ideas that you can schedule on the calendar and plan out in advance, these are some of our favorite summer activities that everyone in the family can enjoy together.
- Go to the dollar theatre
- Try out geocaching
- Enjoy a beach or lake day
- Plan a day trip
- Visit the zoo
- Go fishing or camping
- Check out a state or county fair
- Have a family movie night
- Host a BBQ
- Play some Minute to Win It games (These prizes on Pinterest would make an awesome ending to your games!)
- Volunteer in the community
- Go to a sports event
- Host a talent show
- Bake cookies (May I suggest the $400 Cookies recipe?)
FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES
Big or small – this is such a fun list of activities that all ages will enjoy! Some more independently than others.
- Make a lemonade stand
- Practice origami (Need a few ideas? Pinterest has lots of great ideas!)
- Take apart an old appliance to see how it works
- Go stargazing
- Plant a flower or vegetable garden
- Hit the park to play a little frisbee golf
- Serve someone
- Window shopping at the mall
- Visit Mom or Dad at work
- Flag football at night
- Water sports (Do giant slip and slides count?)
- Wash the car
- Check out a free museum
- Nickel arcade
- Go bowling
- Eat snow cones (We have a machine… and it gets LOTS of love!)
DON'T FORGET YOUR FREE SUMMER ACTIVITIES PRINTABLE!
Consider this your Fun Cheap or Free summer bucket list, with endless ideas for affordable summer fun. Print it out, put it on the fridge, and start making memories!
Now that was an amazing list of fun… your kids will LOVE you for it!
What summer activities do you have planned? How do you keep your kids busy throughout the summer? Share with me in the comments below!
Looking for more great ideas?
- We've come up with the ultimate list of dinner ideas so you don't have to waste any time coming up with your own!
- Help your kids earn some money for the things they've been saving for with these great ideas! Then, have them use our free printable savings tracker to track the money they have coming in!
- Have a family reunion coming up? We've got some major fun ideas to make the most of your reunion!
I created a list of challenges in 7 different categories for my kids (mostly my olde boys, age 10 and 8). The categories are: spiritual, reading, service, cooking, earning money, art, and physical. They can earn a certain amount of tickets (our family economy system involves them earning a certain amount of tickets for chores completed each week and they can either redeem them for money or put them toward a date night with either me or my husband) for each challenge completed. Some examples of the challenges I gave them are: run a mile without stopping, read at least 5 chapters of a book you think you won’t like (my kids love to read but don’t like trying new books), make breakfast by yourself, have a bake sale (they earned $75 doing this along with selling lemonade and they did almost all the work themselves), do three secret acts of service for someone in our family, make a mosaic that fills a whole page, read your scriptures at least 4 times, etc. It’s been fun to see their motivation! They haven’t been motivated on everything but they’ve done quite a few of the challenges and they love earning the extra tickets!
Lots of fun ideas, thank you! Our family really likes #90 – Bubbles! If you’re in need of a easy bubble recipe for making small to HUGE bubbles, I recently shared the one I like at https://instructodad.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/guar-gum-bubbles-wand/
Love this! And the summer/winter bucket list idea. We often spend money we don’t really have on days out because we’re just bored. Love this list!
Awesome post! Thanks for sharing the knowledge and keep up the good work.
I love how this article is broken up into different groups. The list provides a variety of activities to have intentional fun and memorable moments with your kids. Thanks for sharing!
play with my cousins and spend the summer with my cousins.