22 Free Summer Activities for Kids

posted by Andrea | 06/1/2011


I was one of those weird kids who absolutely LOVED school — and I honestly did love everything about school!

So even though I was always excited for summer vacation, I was already “bored” and ready to go back after a week or two {I think my mom was ready for that too}.

I did play sports during the summer and we usually went on at least one family vacation, but for the rest of the time, my mom was “forced” to entertain my sister’s and me all summer long. Fortunately, we were pretty content to swim and play in the woods most of the time, but for those of you with super busy-body kids, keep reading…

22 Fun and FREE Summer Activities for Kids::

1. Go swimming — a lake or pool will do

2. Run through the sprinklers, slide down a slip-n’-slide, and/or throw water balloons.

3. Go on a picnic {here are a few tips to help you plan your picnic}

4. Camp in your back yard — all the fun, plus clean bathrooms!

5. Make your own ice cream {here are a bunch of simple recipes}

6. Plant a garden {here’s a quick way to build a raised garden in one weekend}

7. Watch the sunset — or sunrise

8. Track the moon and stars {the next full moon is June 15, 2011}

9. Go hiking, biking, rollerblading, walking, etc.

10. Go to the zoo — there are always free family days

11. Visit a local museum — again, they often have free family days

12. Have a fun “muffin tin” lunch

13. Do crafts together — no you don’t have to be crafty! {here are a bunch of simple craft ideas}

14. Have your kids prepare a skit and then video tape them — this is always SO fun.

15. Scarf up free candy at a local parade

16. Go to the local library, they often have free kid’s programs all summer long

17. Watch home movies and flip through old photos

18. Sleep in late and stay in your PJ’s all day long

19. Play outdoor games like bocce ball, croquette, jump rope, hide and seek, badminton, etc.

20. “Decorate” your driveway with sidewalk chalk

21. Build a fort in the woods — or in the living room 🙂

22. Create a scavenger hunt or obstacle course in your back yard and let them invite their friends over.

These are just a few of the things I remember doing as a kid — and I know your kids will love them too. Plus they’re all free {or nearly free} so why not give them a try? Of course, you could always tackle a few organizing projects and even try to get your kids involved — but that might not be as much fun!

Oh, and I’m not sure if you noticed, but none of these activities involve computers, Nintendo, Wii, iPods, or most other forms of technology!

What did I miss? What are YOUR favorite frugal Summer activities?



Filed under: FamilyParentingChildrenSchedulesCrafts

Leave a comment


  1. Julie


    Amother idea I have seen is geocaching. We have never tried it, but it sounds cool! (and free)


  2. Namari


    Please keep thrwniog these posts up they help tons.


  3. Mara @ Super Savings


    Great list Andrea! Thanks! I’ll be linking to this in my Summer fun blog post if that’s alright. I l.o.v.e. that your list is technology-free!! The automatic draw the kids have to the screen drives me batty! How did we ever survive without any of that?? 😉

    ~ Mara


  4. Cindy Bultema


    I loved your list! I’m all about free frugal activities for the kids! Thanks for the idea about tracking the moon and stars ~ I’m going to mark my calendear for the next full moon now!
    Have a GREAT rest of your week!
    CIndy 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Cindy,
    Moon/star tracking always seems to be a big hit with kids b/c they get to stay up late!!


  5. Betsy (Eco-novice)


    Hikes and trips to the beach. But your ideas are simpler and easier with little prep, which is nice. I LOVED running through the sprinklers and playing with the hose as a kid.


    Andrea Reply:

    haha thanks Betsy, I’m pretty good at coming up with “simple” ideas!


  6. Kristen @ JoyfullyThriving


    My favorite part of summer vacation was all the free summer reading programs. Barnes & Noble, Borders, Half Price Books, the library…I did them all and gained more free books in the process! I give all my students a list of these programs before every summer begins. It’s a great free summer activity! Oh, and I loved school, too, Andrea! Good thing I still do, since I’m a teacher! 🙂


  7. Cassie


    Those sound like great ideas! We are taking the kids bowling for free this saturday. 🙂