80 Cheap summer activities for kids

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cheap summer activities for kids

Summer Fun 101

Inside summer kids activities

  • Go to the movies – many theaters around the country show kids’ movies once or twice a week, and tickets are cheap.
  • Check out a museum you’ve never been to before – you can often use other memberships to get in free.
  • Bake cookies or cupcakes – don’t forget tubes of colored icing and sprinkles so you can decorate them together.
  • Explore the treasures in your own attic (or Grandma’s, if you don’t have one).
  • Make your own candy – try old-fashioned favorites like rock candy or taffy.
  • Have a girls’ “spa day” with nail polish, facials and massages from Mom.
  • Make your own musical instruments – coffee cans make great drums; the top of a soda bottle makes a funny buzzer.
  • Camp out inside – whether you use folding tables and sheets or get more elaborate with large cardboard boxes, forts are always a hit. Don’t forget the flashlights and some microwave s’mores!
  • Have a pajama day – everyone stays in pj’s and hangs out in the living room. Works well with campout day!
  • Research the family tree with relatives or the internet.
  • Make your own ice pops with fruit juice.
make your own ice pops
  • Join a local moms group so your kids can play with other kids their age. You can often get group discounts when you go together to museums, parks and more.
  • Have a tea party with fancy dishes, scones and tea (or special juices and colorful paper plates for younger kids).
  • Download free coloring pages and have a coloring contest.
  • Make bag puppets and put on a show.
  • Do science experiments together.
  • Make your own pizza.
  • Clean out your closet and stock a dress-up box – it’s also fun to add cheap finds from your local dollar store or garage sales.
  • Download free songs and have a karaoke sing-along.
  • Introduce them to the public library – little ones will enjoy story time, while older kids will be thrilled to get their own library card and check out a few books.
  • Make your own play dough.
  • Tour a local factory – from Blue Bell to the U.S. Mint, many places are happy to take groups of kids on a tour.
  • Help older kids set up their own blog.
  • Send them to a free Lowe’s or Home Depot kids workshop.
  • Find them a pen pal.
  • Try new restaurants – many let kids eat free.
  • Volunteer – there are thousands of opportunities, from cleaning a beach to volunteering at an animal shelter. (Your kids will be more excited if they get to help choose the activity.)
  • Call your local fire department and see if they will let you bring your children for a brief tour to meet the firemen.
summer kids fun

Outside summer kids activities

  • Set up the sprinkler and let them run through it.
  • Visit a national park on one of their free entrance days.
  • Ride bikes through a nature trail.
  • Go to a new playground across town.
  • Fill your sandbox with “fossils” (painted rocks) for your kids to dig up – grab some magnifying glasses and gardening tools.
  • Check out the zoo – if you have a Bank of America credit or debit card, many zoos and museums offer free admission the first weekend of each month.
  • Freeze little plastic toys in a big tub filled with water. Once it’s frozen solid, remove the tub and let your kids excavate the toys out with spoons and sandbox shovels.
  • String up sheets as curtains (hang from trees or a clothesline) and hold a neighborhood talent show.
Talent show
  • Go to a parade.
  • Have a picnic in your own back yard.
  • Feed the ducks at the park with old bread.
  • Check out a local festival – many offer free admission before a certain time on opening day.
  • Check out a farmer’s market.
  • If you’re lucky enough to live in the country, have your own campfire. Sing silly songs, toast marshmallows and count stars.
  • Set up a scavenger hunt.
  • Sign them up for swimming lessons.
  • Check your local newspaper for outdoor concerts or plays.
  • Have a hula hoop or jump rope contest.
  • Hand them measuring cups, pie plates and a few seldom-used spices so they can make mud pies.
  • Have a water balloon or squirt gun fight.
summer kids water fun
  • Make your own slip and slide with a shower curtain – throw on watery shampoo to make it extra slippery, set it on the grass, and set up a hose or sprinkler to keep the water flowing.
  • Plant a garden together – even little ones will love watering the plants.
  • Go bowling – you can get free passes from AMF.
  • Have a garage sale and let your kids keep the earnings for their old toys.
  • Visit other garage sales so your kids can afford some real treasures with what they’ve earned!
  • Make edible crayons – freeze water with food coloring using tube-shaped molds, then let young kids “color” with them outside.
  • Try geocaching – a hobby where people leave small treasures called “geocaches” all over the world, with coordinates so you can find them.
  • Open a lemonade stand and raise money for cancer by joining with Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
  • Set out folding chairs and watch a sunset together.
  • Go fly a kite.
summer kite
  • Blow giant bubbles.
  • Set up a “car wash” for the kids – have everyone bring over tricycles, ride-on toys and scooters, fill buckets with soapy water and sponges, and let them suds everything down.
  • Skim rocks at the lake.
  • Make a bird feeder and watch for visitors.
  • Create an obstacle course with obstacles like a balloon-filled swimming pool to jump over and a rope climb up a tree.
  • Catch fireflies.
  • Set up a water table – fill sand buckets, plastic dishes or even a plastic pool with a few inches of water and lots of fun toys – boats, bath toys and squirt guns. It’s even more fun with food coloring, but make sure kids are wearing old clothes since it stains easily.
  • Research constellations and see how many you can name in the night sky.
  • Visit a local orchard and pick strawberries, cherries or other summer fruits.
summer berries

Crafty summer kids activities

  • Make tie-dye t-shirts.
  • Learn how to braid lanyards and friendship bracelets.
  • Make coasters and jewelry with Perler Beads.
  • Try paper mache.
  • Paint pottery, like flower pots.
  • Make paper airplanes and see whose will fly the farthest.
  • Paint canvas tennis shoes.
  • Make masks out of paper plates – then put on a play.
  • Work on a scrapbook together.
  • Make colorful God’s Eyes with yarn and sticks.
  • Make your own pop-up books.
  • Get a big tub of Sidewalk Chalk and create your own “art gallery” in the driveway.
  • Teach them how to knit or crochet. (It’s easy to learn if you don’t know how either!)
kids summer crafts
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