Cheap Summer Activities for Kids
Trying to keep your kids occupied and entertained during the summer is not an easy task! You want them to have fun, but not be in front of screens all summer. At the same time, you don’t want to spend a fortune at various entertainment venues. What’s a parent to do? Here are some cheap summer activities for kids. These are great ideas of cheap summer activities for kids to do that won’t cost you a fortune.
Things to Do in Your Own Backyard (Or Neighborhood)
The last thing you want to do on warm summer days is to play chauffeur! And it is good for kids to learn how to have fun even when they have to stay home. Here are some ideas for how to have fun in your own yard or neighborhood. Follow these cheap summer activities for kids if you wantto explore your own backyard.
- Water fun!
- Have a water balloon or squirt gun fight. Fill the balloons, and, GO! If you are doing squirt gun fights, try setting up buckets for refilling stations.
- Make a DIY slip-n-slide. These aren’t hard to do. Use a tarp, a large piece of plastic, an old plastic tablecloth, squirt it with baby shampoo, cover with water, and start sliding!
- Play under the lawn sprinkler.
- Wash the car.
- Plant and take care of a garden. Gardens can teach kids where food comes from. It can also teach them about responsibility. Plant things your kids like to eat. Try something new and different! Giant sunflowers are great fun to grow!
- Have a scavenger hunt. Depending on the age of your kids you could limit this to your own yard, or you can set boundaries in your neighborhood. Put nature items on your list – colored leaves, a purple flower, a feather, a special kind of rock, and so on.
- Camp out in the back yard. Set up a tent in the back yard. Make a fire and roast marshmallows, make s’mores. Then let the kids sleep out in the tent for the night.
Explore Areas Around You
Sometimes it is good to get away from the house and do something different. Check out these suggestions for inexpensive day trips. Here are cheap summer activities for kids that allow you to explore areas around you.
- Go to the library. Libraries are great places to spend some time on a hot summer day. Most libraries today have different toys and games kids can play with while they are at the library. Many libraries have puppets and puppets theaters. Sign your kids up for storytime at the library. Or a craft day. Take advantage of the different programs, events, and experiences your library has to offer.
- Check out different playgrounds and splash pads. Are your kids bored with your local playground? Find a new one. Check out several different playgrounds in your area. Be prepared for the parks that have splash pads. Find a new favorite park.
- Take a hike! And bring a picnic. Even in urban areas, there are lots of places to go for a hike. Check out your local forest preserves. Visit area nature centers. Take a trip to a county park, or a state park. If you are close enough, check out a national park. These parks almost always have some trail systems. Be adventurous, but stay on the trails. State and national parks often charge some admission fees, but they are not excessive.
- Go to area museums. Many have free days or reduced admission days. Some local libraries offer free passes you can check out to visit area museums.
- Go camping. If you already have the equipment, camping is not very expensive. You have to pay for your campsite, which can range from $15 to $50 or more, depending on the type of campground you choose. If you want to try camping, maybe someone you know has a tent you can borrow for a couple days.
- Go to garage sales. Make it an adventure. What is the most unusual thing you can find that day? What is the weirdest thing you can find?
What to Do When You Have to Stay Inside
Sometimes it rains. Or it is so unbearably hot, the thought of going anywhere makes you wilt. Sometimes you just have to stay inside at home. But you can find fun things to do there, also. Here are cheap summer activities for kids when you have to stay inside.
- Read books. Help your kids academically without them even knowing it! Reading will help your kids with vocabulary, sentence structure, spelling, comprehension, and so on. Find books about things they are interested in. Include graphic novels, picture books, and even cartoon books. Reading is great for quiet time activities.
- Play some board games. Pull out those board games gathering dust on your shelves. Or look for some “new” ones at garage sales and thrift stores.
- Do a puzzle. Or two or three! Again, you can find new puzzles at thrift stores and garage sales. Turn them into wall art when they are complete. And if you find that a piece is missing, challenge your kids to create a new piece for the spot.
- Have a paper airplane challenge. Get a book from the library, or find instructions online, and see who can make the best airplane. Or find out which airplane design will fly the farthest or the straightest.
- Have a cook-off or a bake-off. Try different cookies recipes and decide which one is the best. Or maybe your kids are more interested in making pizza. Who can make the best pizza? Help your kids learn to cook or bake – and how to clean up the mess!
- Simple science experiments. Your library will have many books about simple science experiments you can do with things you already have at home. Or you can find numerous websites with that information. Grow crystals. Make a potato battery. Make magic milk. Explore the world of science!
- Art/Craft activities. Draw. Paint. Cut and paste. Color. Learn to knit or crochet. Weave paper of cloth strips. Make potato print stamps. Tie-dye t-shirts. Be creative and have a blast!
- Read a chapter book aloud to your kids – just a chapter or two each day. Keep them in suspense! Mystery or adventure books are great read-aloud books. Ask your librarian or your child’s teacher for ideas, if necessary. Let the kids color, play quietly with blocks, draw, while you read. Don’t worry – they are still listening!
Summer doesn’t have to be all about glamorous vacations, expensive trips to amusement parks, and long road trips. There are lots of fun things you can do at home, in your neighborhood, or in your local area. Choose some activities from the list above a get ready to have fun with your kids!