Every year before school lets out, I’m looking for what to do with kids in summer that won’t break the summer budget! I have to keep my kids busy or they will drive me crazy! Am I exaggerating when I say bouncing off the walls? I want our daily summer activities to be free or almost free. Plus, I don’t want them sitting in front of a TV or on their electronics all day either. Here’s a great list of 41 Free and Fun Things To Do This Summer With Kids. Save this list for sure! These are money saving tips for mom! Are you with me here?
Growing up, we didn’t have much money. My mom was very frugal. I didn’t even go to a theme park until I was 15 yrs. old! As a matter of fact, I was in charge of keeping myself busy. I looked forward to visiting my aunt where I could play with my best friend and swim in her pool!
But, when I was home, I played outside most of the day. Some of the outdoor summer activities below are activities I grew up doing and have fond memories like creek hopping and collecting fire flies…we called them lightening bugs. Oh, the nostalgia…
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Free and Fun Things To Do This Summer with Kids
- 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.
- 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!
- 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 every year from 9-12 every morning. It’s a great break for stay-at-home-moms. They’re fun and full of activities.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Water Balloon fights– Buy Buncho balloons or let your kids fill them by hand to make it even cheaper.
- Churn your own ice cream– Get that ice cream maker out from your basement and make some homemade ice cream with your kids. They’ll love making and eating it! Here’s a no churn recipe if you don’t have an ice cream maker.
- 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. This can even be a diary.
- 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! Don’t do this in a lightening thunder storm though.
- Collect fire flies or lightening bugs. See who can catch the most and then let them go at the same time.
- Write and illustrate a kids’ book– Make up a story, write, illustrate and color it.
- Build a fort– 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.
- 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.
- Make 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.
- Make 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.
- Make 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.
- 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!
- Home Depot Kids Workshops where kids do free workshops, build something to take home while learning hands-on skill building, creativity and work safety.
- 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.
- 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!
- Do Puzzles- 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.
- 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.
- Visit a Water Conservatory-Learn how to conserve and protect natural resources. Check out their events.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Tractor ride– You may need daddy for this one but, I’ve seen moms who cut the grass.
- 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.
These summer activities for kids should help you keep them busy until your summer vacation. Save money on your summer vacation with this Vacation Meal Plan: 7 Easy Dinners with 5 Ingredients Each! so mom (or dad), the meal provider, can relax too!
When you’re looking for what to do with kids in summer that is affordable and fun and summer activities for kids at home for rainy days, this is a good list to have handy! Print it 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.
Plus, these ideas are great for reducing your kids’ screen time too. So, 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.
Get the full list of Free and Fun Things to Do With Kids This Summer AND- list of Free and Fun Things to Do With Kids This Summer Indoors…for Rainy Days! (click on each link to get the free printables.)