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
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- Be a tourist in your town
- Check out a neighboring town
- Go on a hike
- Visit a new park
- Camp in the backyard (or your living room)
- Go to a new splash pad, pool, or beach
- Check out local library events
- Participate in a summer reading program
- Check out city events and programs
- Go to an outdoor concert
- Go to the zoo or a farm
- Do a fun DIY craft
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Create an obstacle course
- Go on a nature walk
- Bird watching
- Home Depot or Lowe’s workshop
- Have a movie night at home
- Eat breakfast for dinner
- Have a picnic in the yard
- Water play (sprinklers, balloons, etc)
- Fly kites
- Ride bikes
- Blow bubbles
- Build a fort (indoor or outdoor)
- Bake cookies
- Play a board game
- Build with Legos or blocks
- Jump rope
- Have a lemonade stand
- Play games at an arcade
- Go bowling
- Make and eat Smores
- Paint rocks and leave them places
- Go rock or shell hunting
- Kids in charge for a day
- Plant flowers or plants
- Make cards for friends or family
- Go to a dollar movie theater
- Make homemade pizza
- Family slumber party
- Have a PJ day
- Have a dance party
- Climb trees
- Put on a talent show
- Draw with sidewalk chalk
- Play mini golf
- Go roller skating
- Go berry picking
- Play with sensory toys
- Listen to an audiobook
- Play on slip and slide or inflatable pool
- Visit a local farmers market
- Eat dinner outside
- Trade kids for the day
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. If you happen to live in the Puget Sound area, soundsfunmom, parentmap and thriftynwmom are fantastic resources for local activities and places to check out with your kids.
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.
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.
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 Surprise Slides, 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.
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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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!