Every year just before school lets out, I get anxious. I’m going to have two energetic little boys at home all day..every day! That is a scary thought my friends. Bouncing off the walls is an understatement.
Being that I’m the appointed event coordinator, I have to find things to with kids near me to keep them busy or they’ll drive me crazy. Therefore, I compiled a pretty comprehensive list of Free and Fun Things to do This Summer with Kids to help you save money.
Because you know what happens if you can’t find activities to do in summer vacation..
Some of these free and fun things cost money but, they’re reasonable especially for the amount of time it consumes. That’s our goal…consuming time without spending a lot of money.
Most of these things to do with kids are things you’ve heard of but, probably just forgot. Let me remind you.
Get FREE printable below! Includes both indoor and outdoor summer activities.
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Free and Fun Things To Do This Summer with Kids
- Creek hopping– Put your kids in their bathing suits and take them to a shallow creek. Let them throw stones in the water, hop from rock-to-rock, get wet and find fish, toads, etc. Collect rocks to paint. Pack a picnic lunch. This activity is so fun!
- Orchard Pick Your Own Fruit– Take your kids to a pick-your-own-fruity orchard. It’s fun for them to actually see where fruit really comes from.
- Go to the beach– Not all beaches are free but, if you can stay all day, it’s pretty cheap. Pack a lunch and lots of snacks. Collect sea shells and build a sand castle.
- Water gun fight– Get out water guns and have a water fight.
- Wash your car– Kids will love getting wet on a hot day. They may even do a half decent job!
- Water Balloon fights– Buy Buncho balloons or let your kids fill them by hand to make it even cheaper.
- Bike riding– Go on a bike trail and take a long ride. Pack a lunch. This will also make them tired!
- Go on a Picnic– pack up your “pic-a-nic” basket and head to the park! Bring some of those cookies you baked and a soccer ball. Check out the Recipe Index here.
- Plant a rock garden, flower garden or vegetable garden– Maintaining the garden will allow you to delegate tasks and responsibility.
- Go fishing– Some areas have privately owned ponds where kids can fish without a license.
- Fly a kite– Go fly a kite! If you don’t own a kite, borrow one or buy one at a garage sale. New ones are pretty reasonably priced though.
- Chinese Sky Fly Fire Lanterns– Paper lanterns are reasonably priced on Amazon and are really cool to light up the sky. Get your cameras ready!
- Playground or park– Take your kids to a new playground or a new park.
- Dance in the rain– Mommy is included in this fun activity! This is a fun thing to do when it’s raining but, be careful you don’t slide into a mud pit! Guaranteed laughs. Don’t do this in a lightening thunderstorm though.
- Collect fireflies or lightening bugs. See who can catch the most and then let them go at the same time.
- Camping in your backyard– You can do this on a screened in porch too if you don’t have a tent or borrow a tent.
- Star Gazing– On a clear night, check out the stars…the big dipper and little dipper, north star, etc. Borrow someone’s telescope!
- Make S’Mores in a Fire Pit- Make a fire in your fire pit or make a fire pit in your back yard and makes S’Mores!
- Have a yard sale– Ask your kids to find toys they no longer want, label them bring them out to your yard. They can put any money they get from selling their toys into their piggy banks. Have them help with other household items. They’ll like helping and you’ll get some clutter out of your house. This is another way to introduce commerce to them.
- Park Scavenger Hunt– Print out a list of things you’d find in a park i.e. park bench, Maple trees, birds, squirrels, etc. Spend a morning or afternoon at the park and circle everything on the list. This can be indoor or outdoor.
- Regal Summer Movies Express $1 Movies– Even though this is screen time, it’s still worth mentioning because this is the cheapest way to go to the movies. Although these movies are not new movies, they’re only $1 each for kids and moms! They play two movies per week on Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings. It’s a great deal! Movie Tavern has $5 Tuesdays with free popcorn. This is great for rainy days.
- Home Depot Kids Workshops where kids do free workshops, build something to take home while learning hands-on skill building, creativity and work safety.
- Kids Bowl Free program allows kids to play 2 free games daily all summer long. Enter your zip code to see if there is program near you. This is a great rainy day activity.
- 4H Clubs– Kids learn from doing hands on projects in health, science, agriculture and environment and are taught leadership skills by mentors. There are many programs in different age groups for your kids to join. They meet weekly or monthly with minimal costs to families.
- Vacation Bible School– Enroll your kids in week-long, free Vacation Bible School camps this summer. Many of them are free, cheap or asking for church donations. Our kids go daily for one week from 9-12 every morning to 2 or 3 vacation bible school programs. They’re fun and full of activities. It’s a great break for stay-at-home-moms.
- Make a scrapbook of summer experiences-Save your ticket stubs, pictures, and anything you can add to a scrap book to make a keepsake of your summer vacation. Make one of the kids artwork from the past school year. This can be a diary.
- Write and illustrate a kids’ book– Make up a story, write, illustrate and color it. Or, make one recapping the summer.
- Build a fort or a tepee– This can be done inside or outside. Help your kids build it.
- Make Jello Jigglers– Kids love Jello. It’s easy-to-make and fun to jiggle.
- Bake cookies– Make a batch or two of cookies. You can freeze some of the dough to bake another day. Take the cookies to a local nursing home or hospital. These Old Fashioned Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies are incredible.
- Make homemade ice cream- Make no churn if you don’t have an ice cream maker.
- Homemade lemonade– Your kids will love squeezing lemons to make lemonade. They’ll see how many lemons it takes. You can make variations of lemonade too. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc.
- Construct a Lemonade Stand & Sell it– The kids will have fun making a lemonade stand out of card board, painting it and talking your neighbors into buying lemonade. Their first steps to becoming entrepreneurs.
- Fruit slushes or smoothies– Kids love seeing ice, fruity and yogurt spinning in a blender as much as they love drinking them. Plus, they’re much healthier than convenience store ones.
- Make homemade Popsicles– Make up new flavors. It’s fun and cheaper than buying them at the store.
- Make Jams and Jellies- Use all of that fruit from pick your own orchard and make jams and jellies with it! Show your kids what canning is all about.
- Pizza from scratch– The kids will like kneading the dough, rolling it out and twirling it.
- Go to the library– The library has many kids activities to do that are free or almost free. Take out some books too. They have summer reading programs. I take my kids every week.
- Wild Life Refuge– Check to see if there is wild life refuge near you where you can see lots of animals, even exotic ones, for free.
- Do Puzzles or board games- Boys and girls alike will have fun putting puzzles together.
- Build Something with Wood Scraps– Using scraps of wood and metal, build a dog house, bird house, book case, table, etc. Paint your creation.
- Sewing, Knitting or Quilting- Make doll clothes, pot holders, purses, quilts, pillows, etc. If you don’t have a sewing machine sew some smaller projects by hand with a thread and needle.
- Visit a Water Conservatory-Learn how to conserve and protect natural resources. Check out their events.
- Visit a museum– Go to a nearby free or almost free museum. Take a day trip to the closest city and visit a couple museums.
- Make a bird feeder– Then fill it with bird feed and keep track of the different birds that come to eat from it. Learn about which feed attracts which kinds of birds.
- Make a message in a bottle– Take it to the ocean if you live near the beach.
- Visit a pet store– They’ll like seeing hamsters, fish, reptiles, etc.
- Crafts– Make crafts with paper towel holders or egg cartons.
- Finger painting or water colors- This can be done on pottery, rocks, frames, etc. not just paper.
- Make simple science experiments– baking soda and vinegar volcano
- Make the solar system– Make a 3D one with styrofoam balls, paint them and put it together with wire hangers. Or, make one with construction paper and glue it to a poster board.
- Make sock puppets– Find old socks and sew some buttons and yarn on them. This can be a really creative activity.
- Flashlight scavenger hunt. Indoor or outdoor. This is fun to do after catching fireflies.
- Make Halloween costumes– In the good ole days, we had to make our own costumes and it was really fun.
- Make slime– Kids love making slime.
- Visit the local Fire House– You may need to make an appointment but, this typically is free and they’ll let the kids in the fire trucks. This is a three-year olds dream. Have them dress up like firemen.
- Make pasta jewelry– get out the rigatoni, string and paint! You can make necklaces, bracelets and ankle bracelets.
- Make tie-dye shirts– Have your kids pick the colors.
- Construct a time capsule– Find or save a big plastic jar and fill it with memorabilia you can save for years down the road.
- Rock Painting– Remember pet rocks? Find rocks and them paint them. It’s easy and paint is only a few dollars. You can glue them to card board and add hair and clothes to make them look like people or characters.
- YMCA Free Activities– Check out free activities that are open to the public.
Print this FREE list and put it on your refrigerator. Cross off what you’ve done already and the add it to your scrap book with pictures and stories.
When you’re looking for fun places to go with kids and make summer memories this summer, refer to this long list so you can keep them busy and yourself sane.
These activities to do in summer vacation are great for reducing your kids’ screen time too.
Save money on your summer vacation with this Vacation Meal Plan: 7 Easy Dinners with 5 Ingredients Each!
Download here: Free & Fun Things to Do This Summer With Kids
What a great list!
I had forgotten about Home Depot’s program, thanks for the reminder! 🙂