The Ultimate List of Fun Things to Do in the Summer – Fun Cheap or Free Edition!

Jun 4, 2021 | Baby and Kids, Lifestyle

School's out for summer! Do you know what that means? Every time a bell rings, someone's child is saying, “Mom, I'm bored.” Not yours after this post! We've pulled together a MASSIVE list of fun things to do in the summer!

family playing in the backyard during summer, from Fun Cheap or Free

Mamas, we feel you. SO many of you have asked for help doing block schedules with kids this summer, finding screen-free activities, and more. We can sense the stress building, so let's all pause for a few deep breaths, okay? Close your eyes for a quick second, and picture one of your favorite childhood summer memories.

Do you remember the days when summer was just FUN? Well, we're on a mission to get back to that, and we've got tons of ideas to help make that happen! If you're ready to make this the best summer ever, keep on reading!


summer clipboard system for kids, from Fun Cheap or Free

Did you guys know that Jordan answers your questions every week on Instagram? Go ahead and “follow” her (@JordanPage) so you can get in on that action! During a recent Q&A Tuesday, one question kept flooding our feed: “how can I block schedule during the summer when my kids are at home?!” We got lots of variations of #SendHelp messages, too. So, if you're stressing about summer at home with the kids, know that you are NOT alone. And if you need help, check out these resources:

  • Summer Systems: Clipboards & Chore Checklist – Walk, don't run, over to this post about summer systems, because we've got a free printable for you! These systems work, and they will save your sanity.
  • Summer Routines – Give yourself a little grace this summer. Routines won't be the same as they are during the school year, and that's okay! You can come up with a new summer routine that works well for your family. Watch Jordan's “Day in the Life” summer video to get a feel for what her family does!
  • “Stuck at Home With Kids” Block Schedule – Want to see an actual block schedule that applies to the summer months? Well, ask, and you shall receive! Here's a peek at Jordan's exact block schedule when the kids are at home.
  • Banish the “B” Word With These Bored Sticks – If you're sick of hearing “I'm bored,” then you NEED these genius bored sticks!

Alright, now that you've got routines, systems, and chores down pat, are you ready to move on to the fun stuff? That's the beauty of these systems. Bringing order to chaos frees you up for more things you love, so here we go!


kids raising money at summer lemonade stand, from Fun Cheap or Free

One of our all-time favorite things to do is help you find fun, memorable things to do with your family that won't break the bank! You should definitely take a quick peek at this post to learn how to find fun things to do near you (the easy way!), but we have a few extra ideas to share, too:

  • Volunteer Together – We've got tons of summer service project ideas! Serving the community together as a family is one of the best ways to raise compassionate, capable kids.
  • Complete Our Summer Bucket List – We've got dozens of ideas for you on this free printable summer bucket list!
  • Try One of These 100 Kid-Friendly Activities – Still looking for inspiration? Well, these 100 (yup!) kid-friendly summer activities are a good place to start.
  • Go on an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt – We put together a super easy scavenger hunt for your kiddos, with a free printable included. Head to your favorite park and have some fun!
  • Paint the Town – Well, paint the sidewalk, at least! This sidewalk paint is so easy to make, and the kids will love it!

Now you've got at least 200 activity ideas to try! Ready for a snack break?!


homemade fruit punch for summer, from Fun Cheap or Free

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Anyone else think the best part about summer is the food?! If you're looking for some new summer treats to try, we think your family will love these:

  • Tropical Popsicles – Grab this easy, fruity popsicle recipe from our sister site, Shelf Cooking.
  • No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie – Name a better cookout dessert. We'll wait. Now, go get the strawberry cream pie recipe from Shelf Cooking!
  • Party Punch – This easy party punch is the perfect treat to serve at your next neighborhood barbecue. It's so fun and refreshing!
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries – If your freezer is still full of strawberries from that berry patch trip, make a huge batch of chocolate-covered strawberries. Ooooh, you fancy!
  • Homemade Caramel – Caramel isn't just for fall! Make a big batch of this easy DIY caramel and serve up an ice cream sundae bar.

If you still want more, we've got TONS of ideas in this post about summer treats! And if cookouts are your jam, make sure to try these grilling hacks from Shelf Cooking.


mom and daughter reading, from Fun Cheap or Free

If your kids are anything like ours, we bet they love spending lots of time outside during the summer. But what do you do when the weather's not so great? Instead of reaching for the screens, try one of these fun, cheap, and easy indoor activities for kids:

  • Start a Reading Challenge – Make reading fun again with this summer reading chart and free printable!
  • Finger Paint – Feeling crafty? Keep those little hands busy with this DIY finger paint.
  • Make Playdough – We happen to think this Kool-Aid playdough recipe is pretty dang cool. Wait until you smell it!
  • Break Out the Slime – We've yet to meet a kid who doesn't love slime! And we know what you're thinking, but this DIY slime recipe post even includes cleanup instructions. We try to think of everything for our Freebs!
  • Movie Night – There's nothing better than a family movie night!
  • Family Dinner – Summer is the perfect time to slow down and bring back family dinners!

Have toddlers in the house? Definitely check out these cheap and fun toddler activities that will keep your littlest littles busy!


dad and daughter visiting zoo, from Fun Cheap or Free

Summer is the prime time for family vacations! Whether you're staying put this year, planning to fly, or hit the road, we've got advice galore. Check out these summer travel tips:

  • How to Plan a Staycation – If you're running short on time or money, try planning a staycation this year!
  • Tips for Flying with Kids – Don't let travel stress steal your joy this summer! Check out these tips for flying with kids.
  • Road Trip Tips – Before you hit the road, check out these road trip tips, and read this post for road trip food ideas!
  • Packing Hacks – Packing is pretty much the worst part about vacation, but these packing hacks will make your life much easier!
  • Vacation Food – Don't spend your life savings eating out on vacation. These easy vacation meals will save your money and sanity.

And whether you're heading to the beach or the mountains, these summer hacks will help make your trip a breeze!


Jordan Page holding a bowl, from Fun Cheap or Free

Summer should be fun for the grownups, too! Here are some fun things you can do with your honey, neighbors, or friends this summer:

  • Summer Date Night Ideas – We've got date ideas that will last the whole summer! 30, to be exact, and they're all cheap and fun.
  • The Bowl Game – Plan a neighborhood game night! You have to try the bowl game. It's so, SO fun. Promise!
  • Active Date Ideas – Summer is the perfect time to break a sweat! Get out there with your sweetie and get that heart rate up. Here are some active date night ideas to try!
  • Read Together – If your kids are doing a summer reading challenge, you should get in on the fun, too! Here are some marriage books we HIGHLY recommend.
  • Hit Up a Yard Sale – Summer is one of the best times to shop for deals, and with these tips, you'll become a yard sale ninja in no time!

If you love yard sales, you should check out our thrift shopping tips, too! Now is the prime time for deal hauls.


July 4th cookout, from Fun Cheap or Free

You know we couldn't write a post about summer without mentioning our fave summer holiday, right?! Well, in case you're looking for tips to plan the perfect July 4th festivities, we've pulled them all together for you here. You can thank us later!

And if you're looking for food ideas for your cookout, be sure to take a peek at all the cookout content on the Shelf Cooking blog!


Phew! So many activities, so little time. From mastering your schedules to building new routines and making memories outdoors, we hope this post has you pumped up for the best summer ever!

We'd love to hear what you're up to, so please leave a comment below. What's your favorite thing to do in the summer? Spill the deets, please!

Families having fun together, from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for more helpful tips?

Stay cool!

1 Comment

  1. Sage

    Love all these ideas! I will definitely check out your other posts. We finally finished our backyard remodel and got our new fence installed, so we’re ready to play outside. I can’t wait to try out your ideas!


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