You can make the most of your time spent with your kids this summer without breaking the bank. I’ve come up with 50 Fun, Cheap and Free Things to Do This Summer with Kids so you’ll make enjoyable memories without killing your budget.
I’ve always heard that you only get 18 summers with your kids and while I find that only partially true, I intend to make each and every summer with my kids count.
Now, when I say count, I don’t mean dollar signs. I mean in moments and I have to say, some moments are best made with little or no money at all. You just have to get creative.
But before you get overwhelmed, I’ve done that creative thinking for you by including ideas of things to do this summer with kids that are fun and cheap or entirely free!
50 Fun, Cheap and Free Things to Do This Summer with Kids
Visit Chuck E. Cheese
Sometimes it's too hot to play outside and that's when you take the fun indoors! Chuck E. Cheese is making summer fun and affordable by offering a few different promotions:
For the month of June, they are celebrating Best Friend's Day all month long with buy one large pizza get one free June 8 – 30. Guests can bring their best friend(s) and the second pizza is on Chuck E., because every pizza deserves a friend.
Plus, they are offering an All You Can Play deal. This time is limited, expires end-of-day purchased. Starts at $10 for 30 minutes with purchase of a value deal. Participating locations. Tickets won depends on score.
Both of these deals are a great way to save while allowing your kids to have fun indoors!
Visit The Park
The park seems like an obvious place but perhaps there is a park in a nearby city you've never been to before. Perhaps taking a long walk to your nearest park can be an adventure too. The park is always a free, fun place to visit and honestly, what kid isn't excited to visit one?
Visit A Splash Pad
This may not be something that is available in every state but here in Utah we have splash pads, some that are attached to parks. These splash pads are free activities for kids where they can go play and get wet. Perfect for those hot summer days!
Visit The Library
I like to say, "When in doubt, read". Reading during summer is a great way to keep up with your child's learning and skills and a library is a great place to allow them to explore new books for free!
Swimming is a fun activity and is a great way to cool off. You can visit a local community pool for just a few dollars or if you know a friend or family with an apartment complex, you can swim for free!
Head to The Dollar Store for Craft Supplies
My kids love to craft but they tend to use up all the craft supplies in one go. So, we head to the dollar store often and allow them to spend around $5 getting craft supplies to make fun crafts and they love it!
Go On A Bike Ride
Bikes are a great way to exercise and take a new adventure. Whether it's around your neighborhood or you travel elsewhere, biking is a fun and free activity to do.
Go On A Hike
My kids love hiking so much, my 4 year old begs us to go almost daily. It's great exercise and free to do!
Play A Board Game
Board games are always fun and free to do (or cheap if you don't own any). Just stay away from Monopoly, I swear that game ruins relationships HA.
Go On A Scavenger Hunt
We love to go on scavenger hunts. You can download free printables online or even make a quick check list for your kids. Take a walk, go on an adventure and allow your kids to explore and learn for free!
Visit The Zoo
The Zoo is such a fun place to take the kiddos. They can walk, learn about animals and have a day of fun. Our local Utah Hogle Zoo has discount days such as "Family Night" that is $5 per person after 5 PM so check in with your local Zoo to see what days they have special discounts/promotions.
Watch A Movie
Head to Redbox and rent a new movie for a night (less than $2) or check out new Netflix releases and watch a family movie.
Visit A Museum
Local museums are a great way to learn something new, have some fun and the admission fee goes to supporting the museum which is awesome! These also often have discount days so it's worth checking your local museum for those.
Watch A Movie In The Park
Our local parks offer "Movie in the Park" nights where they have giant inflatable screens and offer free movies at dusk. They also sell cheap popcorn, drinks and candy. It's a fun and cheap activity for the family!
We love going camping every summer. Camping can be free or really cheap especially if you have all of your own camping essentials. Plus, if you need camping meal ideas, check out the link below.
Have a BBQ
Who doesn't like to eat? Have a BBQ and enjoy good food, music and company with the family.
Have a Sleep Out
Something we used to do as kids was have a sleep out in our backyard. You can sleep out in your deck in sleeping bags, sleep on a trampoline or even set up the tent in the backyard and camp! It's safe, free and something different to do!
Spend a night looking at the stars. Get those binoculars or telescopes out and let your kids count and view the stars!
Go To An Outdoor Concert
Cities around us offer free outdoor concerts. Last summer we went to see Eve 6 in Concert and were able to take our kids. We took our lawn chairs, some snacks and we had a blast. Plus, it was free!
Make slime with the kids! My kids love making slime and other ooey, gooey things. The best part is, it keeps kids entertained for hours! In fact, we wrote a book with 101+ ideas and recipes! Check it out at the link below.
Start A Garden
Teaching your kids how to start and grow a garden is such a great life lesson and is something fun and inexpensive to do this summer. Having fresh fruits and vegetables are a plus!
Go Get Ice Cream
Ice Cream is a sweet treat and a great way to reward summer chores, tasks and reading. Take a few minutes and go eat some ice cream with the family - guilt free.
Build A Sandcastle
If you don't live near somewhere with sand, get a sandbox or go to a park with a sandy area and build a sand castle!
Build A Fort
Use all those blankets and pillows in your home and build a fort. Even better - let your kids sleep in it for the night.
Play with Chalk
I am sure you have a box of chalk sitting in your garage. No? Head to the dollar store and grab some and draw all sorts of pictures in your driveway and sidewalk!
Participate In Service Projects for Kids
Take Your Kids to do something rewarding and fun - a service project is perfect for that. I have several ideas for you below.
Make a Lemonade Stand and Sell Lemonade
Let your kids make some cash this summer by selling lemonade. They can even make their own lemonade stand by finding old pallets and things companies throw away!
Make Homemade Bubbles
Blowing bubbles, making bubbles are all so fun.
Getting a fishing license for a day costs around $12. It's a fun and cheap activity for the whole family.
Play with Water Balloons
I am not going to lie, water balloons are so fun but save yourself some sore fingers and time. Snag these self-tying water balloons they fill up in minutes!
Go Visit Family
Our lives are crazy busy and sometimes we forget how long it's been since we've visited a family member. Take a day and head out to see a friend or family member you haven't seen in a while.
Visit A Farm
Head out and visit a local farm. Most of the day, your kids can even feed the farm animals.
Bowling is always fun! Our local bowling alley's offer special discounts on certain nights so we utilize those to save money and have some fun.
Go to The Arcade
Our local arcades offer promotions valid on certain nights for all-access game cards for a set price. Allow your kids to play some video games, earn some tickets and get some fun prizes.
Get Snow Cones
Snow cones are typically only available during summer so take a walk and go get one with the family.
Play Video Games
My husband and kids love to play video games together. It keeps them entertained plus they get in some reading and fun without leaving our home.
Catch Some Bugs
My son loves to get the $1 bug catchers at Dollar Tree and then we head out on walks and go through the gully near our house and collect different bugs. We let them go before we head home but it's a fun activity.
Take The Dog For A Walk
Don't have a dog? Ask a neighbor if you can walk their dog. Your kids might even get paid for it!
Visit A Local Fire Station
You'll want to call ahead for this one, but most Fire Stations will allow you and your kids to come visit, learn about the Firetrucks and even sit inside them!
Go Take Pictures
A fun idea I've always had (and still need to do) is to go get some disposable cameras and give each of my kids one. Then we go take a drink, hike, walk, etc. and allow them to capture their own pictures. Then we take them to get developed and literally see the world as they do.
Have a Picnic
Picnics are fun. You can either make food from home or go snag some and head to the park with blankets and have a picnic.
Go Attend Free Local Events
Each month we receive a flyer that has all of the local events happening in our area. Many of them are free. You can do a quick Google search to find local and free events in your area to attend.
Play Dress Up
Have your kids find random objects and clothes around the house to dress up in!
Host a Cookout In The Canyons
We live in Utah so we live near the mountains we have canyons where you can go up and cook food over a fire. It's fun and cheap (like $8 for the day).
Play with Water Guns
Water guns are fun and cheap to obtain too!
Boating is always fun. Either take your friends boat out or split the cost and rent one with family and friends for a day out in the water.
Visit A National Park
There are so many great National Parks to visit. Plus, they have select days you can visit for free!
Redo a Room In Your Home
Depending on your budget, you could spend a day remodeling a room in your home and allow your kids to help!
Do Some Yard Work
Yard work is manual labor but also can be so fun. My kids love to dig, plant flowers, pull weeds and even water things.
Explore A New City
How many places have you actually seen in your state? If you live in a big state, probably not many. You can explore a city near you. Spend a day walking, reading up on history, enjoying new food and seeing new places.
Go See A Play
Visit your local art and culture places and see a play!