Summer will be here before you know it. If you haven’t created a summer bucket list yet, here are some ideas of simple and frugal fun summer activities for kids. Many of them are great for the whole family. Thanks to my girls who helped me come up with this list.

simple and frugal fun summer activities for kids

Simple and frugal fun summer activities

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  1. Be a tourist in your town
  2. Check out a neighboring town
  3. Go on a hike
  4. Visit a new park
  5. Camp in the backyard (or your living room)
  6. Go to a new splash pad, pool, or beach
  7. Check out local library events
  8. Participate in a summer reading program
  9. Check out city events and programs
  10. Go to an outdoor concert
  11. Go to the zoo or a farm
  12. Do a fun DIY craft
  13. Go on a scavenger hunt
  14. Create an obstacle course
  15. Go on a nature walk
  16. Bird watching
  17. Home Depot or Lowe’s workshop
  18. Have a movie night at home
  19. Eat breakfast for dinner
  20. Have a picnic in the yard
  21. Water play (sprinklers, balloons, etc)
  22. Fly kites
  23. Ride bikes
  24. Blow bubbles
  25. Build a fort (indoor or outdoor)
  26. Bake cookies
  27. Play a board game
  28. Stargazing
  29. Build with Legos or blocks
  30. Jump rope
  31. Have a lemonade stand
  32. Play games at an arcade
  33. Go bowling
  34. Make and eat Smores
  35. Paint rocks and leave them places
  36. Go rock or shell hunting
  37. Kids in charge for a day
  38. Plant flowers or plants
  39. Make cards for friends or family
  40. Go to a dollar movie theater
  41. Make homemade pizza
  42. Family slumber party
  43. Have a PJ day
  44. Have a dance party
  45. Climb trees
  46. Put on a talent show
  47. Draw with sidewalk chalk
  48. Play mini golf
  49. Go roller skating
  50. Go berry picking
  51. Play with sensory toys
  52. Listen to an audiobook
  53. Play on slip and slide or inflatable pool
  54. Visit a local farmers market
  55. Eat dinner outside
  56. Trade kids for the day
  57. VBS

Be a tourist in your own town or check out a neighboring town

Pretend that you are a tourist visiting your town or a neighboring town. Check out at trip advisor to see what the recommended activities are. Groupon is another great site to check for deals on activities in your area.

Check out your local resources. There are often great blogs and Facebook groups you can check out that are specific to your area.

Libraries are your friend

Check with both your city and county area libraries to see what events and programs they offer over the summer. Our county offers many free activities over the summer so we tend to select a few we think the kids will enjoy.

Participate in a reading program with your library (or Barnes & Noble has one too). Our library offers prizes and drawings as you complete a certain number of reading hours. They have one for both kids and adults. It’s a great way to encourage kids to keep reading over the summer.

Research city and county events

Do some googling to find out what events your city or county has scheduled for the summer. If you are a AAA member, look at their summer magazine to see what events are happening in and around your area. Some events are free and for others, the costs vary. Summer fairs and festivals can be a lot of fun for the whole family and can be a good reason to check out a new area.

Crafts, scavenger hunts, & obstacle courses

Pinterest has loads of ideas to choose from on crafts, scavenger hunts, and obstacle courses for kids to do. There are some craft ideas HERE. Scavenger hunts ideas HERE and obstacle course ideas HERE. And there is plenty more to choose from if you didn’t like those.

Home Depot or Lowe’s workshop

Home Depot offers free workshops for kids once per month! Check out their site for what project is coming up next (and to register). Lowe’s has brought back it’s Build & Grow program! Check their site for further details.

Mom tip: See if you can get dad to take the kids to this one and enjoy some time at home alone.

Blow bubbles

You can try making your own DIY bubble solution (when we’ve tried, it has never worked as well as store bought) or you can buy it inexpensively at your local dollar store. We’ve also enjoyed having an automatic bubble blower for when kids want to play with bubbles and you’re tired of the solution being spilled or having to blow them.

best family board games

Play a board game

Selecting the best board games depends on the age of your children. When my kids were a bit younger their favorites were Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, and Sum Swamp. Now that my oldest is 8, she has added some new favorites (Yahtzee, Uno, Sequence, and Mexican Train Dominoes) to the rotation. We are a game playing family so I wrote a separate post on our 37 favorite board games.

Sensory toys

If you are looking for an activity that is a bit more low key, sensory toys are awesome. My kids love playing with Kinetic sand and water beads. They’re even fun and relaxing for adults. There can be a bit of clean up for both so if you’re kids are at a throwing stage, I wouldn’t try these just yet.


Most libraries offer a free option for checking out audiobooks. The only downside is some books have long wait times. If your local library offers Hoopla, it’s great because it gives you 10 free checkouts per month and there is no line.

Amazon also offers a free 30 day trial for Audible that includes 2 free audiobooks!

Trade kids for the day & VBS

Summer can be tough since the kids are home ALL THE TIME. Sometimes you need a break from all the summer fun. Two things I’ve done the past few summers to give myself a bit of a break is to trade childcare with another mom.

This lets the kids enjoy having a playdate and lets the moms take turns at having some kid-free time.

Another great option is VBS (vacation bible school). Many churches offer them over the summer. Most tend to run for a few hours each morning for a week. The cost tends to be low or free depending on the hosting church.

Have fun, but also relax!

Pick and choose which activities will work best for you and the age of your kids. Don’t feel like you have to do it all. You are not a cruise activities director! Planning a simple slow summer is a good and healthy thing for everyone. I hope that you enjoy your simple and frugal fun summer activities for kids.

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  1. Wonderful ideas! I did several of these when my kids were young. Seeing this list makes me wish they were younger again so I could do the ones I didn’t do with them!
    However, I do have a granddaughter!

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