50 Free and Cheap Summer Activities For Kids

This post may contain affiliate links, please read our disclosure policy.

Last Updated on March 11, 2022 by Tracy

If you are looking for something for the kids to do, look no further. Here are 50+ kids activities that are free or cheap, and a lot of fun!
Cheap Summer Activities For Kids

50+ Free and Cheap Summer Activities For Kids

Summer is fast approaching and that means finding fun ways to keep the kids entertained. Cheap activities for kids can sometimes be hard to come up with, especially when you feel like you have already come up with a bunch!  So, I complied a list of 50 things for kids to do this summer, and beyond.  Here you will find a list of some free or very inexpensive ideas that the whole family can enjoy together for some extra summer fun!

Free Summer Activities For Kids

50 Fun Activities for Kids:

  1. Take a Hike
    Grab some sunscreen and water bottles and take off on a hiking adventure. Most hiking trails are free to use and are a great way to get some exercise for the whole family. Talk about what you see a long the way, and if you happen across an interesting flower or leaves bring them back home for an art project later.
  2. Paint with Nature
    Remember those interesting sticks, rocks, and leaves you collected from your hike? You can use all of those things to make paintings with nature instead of a paintbrush. Don’t have any paint in the house? Then use this homemade finger paint recipe, it’s even edible so it’s safe for toddlers too!
  3. Head to the Beach or Pool
    There is no better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than to spend it in or near the water. So pack a cooler with some snacks and drinks and head to the beach if you live near one, or to the community pool if you don’t. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
  4. Go Bowling
    Take the kids bowling! It is a great way to spend time with the family and bond together, and it is also a really fun way to get in some physical activity. Many bowling centers offer discounts through the summer and some even offer free games for kids. Check out this link to see if there is a participating center, near you.
  5. Plan a Scavenger Hunt
    A scavenger hunt is a fun and easy way to keep the kids entertained this summer and beyond. You can come up with ideas and make a list on your own, or grab these free printables to make it a little easier on yourself.
  6. Join a Summer Reading Program
    Many libraries across the country offer summer reading programs where your kids can earn prizes for reading a certain number of books over the summer. If your local library is not offering a summer book club, check with local restaurants, book stores, and amusement parks like Six Flags to see if they are participating this year.
  7. Go Berry Picking
    Head on out to the farm and go pick some fruit together as a family. There are tons of U Pick farms across the country. You get to spend the day together as a family, and you get an incredible deal on some delicious fruit! Check out this link for pick your own farms in Florida.
  8. Go Skating
    Head on out to the skating rink for some family fun together. You might even be able to let the kids skate for free. Here is a link to help you find a skating center near you where kids can skate for free.
  9. Plant a Garden or Flowers
    Plant a garden or some flowers together as a family. This would be an excellent time to talk about the importance of bees and where food comes from. You will also have beautiful flowers to enjoy or veggies from your garden to put on your table all summer long.
  10. Volunteer
    Contact a few local charities and see which ones will allow you to volunteer with your kids. Teaching your kids the value of giving back to others and a sense of community is so important. You can find some ideas for your family to volunteer together in this post.
  11. Plan a Movie Day
    It’s hot outside so take a day and plan to spend it indoors watching everyone’s favorite movies. Plan ahead and get everyone’s favorite movie snacks, pop up some popcorn, and relax.
  12. Teach your Kids the Classics
    Think back to when you were a kid and remember what games you used to play during the long days of summer with your friends. Now teach your kids how to play! Red rover, dodge ball, freeze tag, and jump rope chants. You can even bring out the slip and slide if you want to.
  13. Teach the Kids How to Cook
    Get the kids in the kitchen and teach them how to prepare a meal or favorite treat. The more they know how to cook the less you have to do it right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Want to have even more fun in the kitchen? Check out this post on having a cooking competition at home.
  14. Start a Book Club
    Help your kids start a book club with their friends or other kids in the neighborhood. Simply have them choose a book to read and then they can all get together and discuss it, and maybe even complete an art project related to the book. Don’t forget the snacks!
  15. Get Creative
    Break out the paints, canvas, scissors, construction paper, markers and more and see what your kids can create. They can happily spend and afternoon making their own art.
  16. Turn on the Hose
    It is hot outside so why not turn on the hose? Grab some water balloons, water guns, and whatever other fun water toys you have and splash away! Pull out the slip and slide and turn on the sprinklers for hours of cool fun in the sun.
  17. Visit Storytime
    Head on over to your local library or book club for story time. Stories are read out loud to the kiddos who are then usually asked to participate in some way. This is also an awesome way to make some new friends.
  18. Go to the Park
    Head to a local park and let your kids run wild on the playground. Pack a lunch and have a picnic in the park. You will probably find some new friends to play with there as well.
  19. Have a Glow Party
    Now, we love to do this when we are camping at the beach, but it is just as easily done in the house or backyard. Have the kids get some friends together, buy a bunch of glow sticks and let them keep themselves entertained and laughing! For more tips on planning a kid-friendly glow party head here.
  20. Head Out to the Movies
    Take your kids out to the movies for a movie date. Many theaters offer special screenings and reduced price tickets during the summer.
  21. Go fishing
    Pack up your kids and head out to a nearby lake or stream to fish. You might even catch enough for dinner!  My son loves to go fishing, we have several ponds in our neighborhood and he will head out and fish for hours.  While, he rarely catches anything, and if he did, these aren’t fish we would eat, he really enjoys it.  I actually just bought him a new rod and reel!
  22. Play a board game
    Pull out your favorite board game and play a few matches together. Need some new board games? Here are 20 of the most popular board games for families. Want to make it even more creative? Have your kids create a board game of their own. Posterboard, markers, some dice, or characters to move around the board…the possibilities are endless! There are a bunch of examples on Pinterest.
  23. Make slime
    Is there anything more fun than making your own slime? Probably not if you are a kid! Slime can provide hours of entertainment. Check out this post for our slime recipe.
  24. Make a lemonade stand
    This often works best in conjunction with a garage sale. Plus it’s a great way to teach kids the value of money.
  25. Draw with sidewalk chalk
    Rainbows, animals, tic-tac-toe, let the kids get creative
  26. Play soccer or baseball or kickball
    Any sport that gets the kids outside, moving and having fun!
  27. Start a summer journal
    Give your kids a new spiral-bound notebook and then let them decorate it with glitter, stickers, and markers however they would like.
  28. Make sock puppets and put on a show
    If you have a large cardboard box, you can use that to even make a “theater.”
  29. Build a fort
    Pull out some pillows, blankets, and sheets and make an awesome fort. When you are done have a snack or read a book together in your fort.
  30. Blow Bubbles or Make your own bubbles
    Bubbles are so much fun and kids of all ages love them. Here is a recipe to make your own bubbles right at home.
  31. Play in the sand
    Head to the park or beach and let the kids get dirty.
  32. Play hide and seek
    If you want a fun twist turn off the lights and play in the dark, just be careful ๐Ÿ™‚
  33. Lay in the grass and look for shapes in the clouds
    I used to do this all the time when I was a kid, amazingly enough it would keep me entertained and happy for hours.
  34. Play hopscotch
    You can use your sidewalk chalk to draw out the course.
  35. Make water balloons
    The kids will have a blast no matter how you make water balloons, but if you pick up some of the Bunch O Balloons you won’t have to tie them and you will have a bunch of water balloons ready to go in seconds.
  36. Have a tea party or picnic in the backyard
    My daughter is 12 and we still love a good tea party. It’s always fun making some “tea” (usually lemonade for us) and sipping and chatting away.
  37. Play with Legos or Building Blocks
    Is there anything that you can’t build with Legos these days? Your kids will have hours of fun building anything their heart’s desire.
  38. Wash the car
    The car may not be the cleanest it has ever been, but the kids will have a blast getting wet and spraying each other, um I mean the car ๐Ÿ˜‰ with the hose.
  39. Do some baking
    Bake up some treats together, and maybe even an extra batch that you can share with the neighbors, or a local police or fire department. Try these Peach Pie Sugar Cookie Bars.
  40. Write a story
    Have your kids sit down to write and illustrate their own stories. If your kids are too young to write have them draw pictures and write out their descriptions of them.
  41. Play pool noodle hockey
    Make sure you have enough space for this one. Get a bunch of pool noodles and a lightweight ball. Use the pool noodles like hockey sticks and play a game!
  42. Have a water sponge relay
    For this game, you will need one bucket of water, one sponge, and one empty bucket for every two kids. Break the kids into teams and have a relay to see who can fill up the empty bucket with water using only the sponge.
  43. Make popsicles
    Make some popsicles together to cool off with. You can find lots of ideas for popsicles online. Here is one for chocolate strawberry pudding pops and another for vanilla raspberry pudding pops.
  44. Create an obstacle course
    This can be done inside or outside. Once you have it all set up see who can finish the course first!
  45. Break out the sprinklers and the water slide
    Cool off in the water, and then enjoy one of the refreshing popsicles you made together.
  46. Do a puzzle together
    Sit down as a family and put together a puzzle. This is a great bonding experience and encourages critical thinking skills as well.
  47. Have movie night under the stars
    Hang up a white sheet in the backyard, and use a projector to watch a family favorite movie outdoors. Don’t forget the movie snacks!
  48. Have a dance party
    Everyone loves to dance, so put on a family favorite playlist and turn the volume up! This is a great way to get your heart rate up and share some laughs as well.
  49. Make a DIY Summer Activities Jar
    The kids can decorate it themselves and you can either print this free printable with ideas to go in the jar, or have the kids come up with their own ideas.  Either way, this simple jar will provide hours of fun this summer.
  50. Rearrange Their Room
    While this may not sound like a lot of fun for us parents, it may get the kids to clean their room without arguing about it.  My daughter likes to rearrange her room every few months and it always starts with her doing a deep cleaning, so I can’t complain!

Best Summer Activities For Kids

These are just a few inexpensive and free kids activities that you can do with your kids during summer break. What are your kids favorite things to do when they are out of school?

Free and Cheap Summer Activities For Kids

Be sure to follow Food Wine Sunshine on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram for more Family Fun.

Things to Do

Comment section

27 thoughts on “50 Free and Cheap Summer Activities For Kids

  1. These are such fun ideas! When the kids were younger, We liked to throw a blanket under a shade tree and have a picnic. Backyard movie night would be lots of fun.

  2. Those are all great ideas. I will have to check out the bubbles article… we go through a lot of those!

  3. My youngest nephew is 6 & he loves to help in the kitchen. Whether it’s just pressing the buttons on the microwave or helping make a batch of cookies, he feels so big when he gets to help!

  4. Such awesome, great tips and ideas! We love summer and we love to go go go lol Thank you for all of your fab ides ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. When you think of book clubs you usually think of adult women but I think its a great idea to Start a Book Club with the kids. It would make reading a lot more enjoyable I think if they can discuss it together and making it fun with a game or special snacks to set it even higher on the fun level

  6. To be able to get your kids off of all the electrical items and into the activities I enjoyed as a kid, would be wonderful!!!!

  7. These are some fun ideas! The bubble making idea brings back memories of my own childhood ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. We love taking the kids to the drive-in.. a car full of kids and two adults for $14 to watch three movies.

  9. Love these ideas and have said same on my face book ..Put the phone up and talk to kids ..I am disabled an on a scooter ,my Rocky i walk to bike path to smell flowers and hear birds .I feel i have been places some are just wishing they would slow down and join me ..You would not believe some of the once in a life time chance we have been so grateful to see. Life is so short to be in such a hurry . ..thank you for sharing . /

  10. I would so love to have a backyard movie night! We love spending the evening around the fire pit and this would be even more fun!!

  11. These are great ideas! We liked to make a parade, create our own fair, go for walks in the woods on the Indian trails.

  12. My 3 youngest kids are under 10 and get bored easily. I particularly like the paint with nature by using sticks and leaves as brushes. We paint rocks but I haven’t thought of using things from the woods to paint. The book club idea is a good way to keep the kids reading in the summer.

  13. We have a block party, we block off the street and then have a huge pot luck. There is a corn hole, washers and horseshoe tournaments. There is a scavenger hunt too along with cooling stations to keep everyone comfortable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Me!