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Fun Things for Kids to do in the Summer

100+ free and fun things for kids to do in the Summer. It works for any city and great for all ages. Find free movies, reading programs, crafts for kids and more. These will keep them busy and make new memories that will last a lifetime.

fun things for kids to do in the summer

With 3 kids of various ages, and being the cheapskate that I am (I like to call it being frugal), I love finding fun things for kids to do in the Summer that don’t cost an arm and a leg. (originally published 4/14, affiliate links present)

It’s Summertime! Time to spend a bit more one on one time with our kids while they’re out of school.

Take family friendly vacations, visit National Parks, and really keep kids busy! We all need help finding free kid friendly summer activities to do together!

We first came up with this summer to do list that is a printable checklist with 50 cheap and free activities for kids to do during the summer. It’s full of fun things to do without spending money every day.

summer to do list

Start the summer by printing off the summer months from this printable monthly calendar and fill it with the activities your kids want to do.

I usually start with the $1 movies and write down which ones we want to go to since they are only offered 2 days a week at specific times.

Then fill in the rest with camps I have scheduled for them. Once that is in place the activities below are added so our days are full!

screen time printable

List of fun things for kids to do in the Summer

Visit a local park

Visit a local farmer and get a tour or volunteer for the day

Go to the movies (matinee shows & discount theaters offer lower rates)

$1 Summer Movie schedule

Regal / Edwards Summer Movie Series

Have a picnic (at the park, beach or in your backyard)

FREE roller skating here

FREE summer bowling

Join summer reading programs

Fun Things for Kids to do in the Summer

Water activities

  Slip N Slide

 Turn on the sprinklers

 Water tables

 Water balloon toss in the backyard (seen above)

 Jump on the trampoline

Have a sleepover with friends

Experience a play or Cirque du Soleil together

 Repurpose 1/2 gallon containers into boats (good for the bath & ponds)

 Fill a watering can & water plants in yard (repurpose juice containers for a can)

Gardening activities like how to make a vegetable garden are great

 Wash the car (FUN & Daddy loves this)

garden signs

Take a walk/hiking activities:

Bring an egg carton & fill with treasures

Hiking activities with kids

Sign them up for summer camp

 Have a picnic at your destination

 Fill a spray bottle & spray things you like/water flowers along the way

 Take pictures with a play/throw away camera

 Find bugs (bring note pad & draw pictures of them)

Make a bird feeder

Beach List/Activities:

  Buckets (build sand castles etc)

 Boogie boarding

 Smashball

huntington beach mud play

Frisbee fun

Make fans out of paper plates

 Have a picnic (cooler)

 Build a track out of sand (bring matchbox cars)

 Build a castle out of sand for toys (barbies & my little ponies work well)

Vacation Bible School (most churches have them, register in May or June)

Visit your community pool (contact local recreation center)

Make some Summer time snacks at home

Have a lemonade stand

Make homemade ice cream with 2 baggies

Make cookies – try our edible artwork cookies

Crafts

We will start with 100+ indoor activities for kids!

Color a picture with kool aid paint or food coloring

Kool Aid Paint

Make chocolate playdough

Make one of our 50+ best way to make slime recipes and have fun

Here’s how to make homemade play putty

Paint a picture – try our watercolor art project

Write a card to an out of state relative (take a trip to the post office to send it) – or send them a ball in the mail

Build a little free library & fill it with goodies

Visit your local library (usually have activities during the summer/story time)

Participate in free Summer reading programs

Visit a local fair (usually several in the summer time)

Take a day trip somewhere new – here are road trip tips on our road trip blog like how National Parks offer free entrance to students

the road trip blog

Go Geocaching

Window shop at your local mall

Visit a state park in your area

Take the train or metrolink (get off for lunch & come back)

Read a book

Put on the radio and dance

Ride your bike

Feed ducks at a local lake or pond

feeding ducks

Along with lists like this of fun things to do for kids in the summer look up your local community center and/or YMCA and see what kind of summer camps they have available.

I start with this around April/May to break up the summertime. I schedule at least one week long camp for them in order for them to get out of the house. They meet new friends there too. It also gives me a little break as well.

  • Local camps can be inexpensive, but you can camp for free yourself.

Many offer financial assistance if the cost is a struggle (YMCA has programs for this). Start the summer adding activities to your printable calendar and summer to do list to keep them busy.

You’ll save yourself from a lot of “what are we going to do today”s.

places you can camp for free

Have a swim party

Have a BBQ with friends (potlucks are great, here are some BBQ hacks & recipes)

Create a movie night/afternoon in your living room (use netflix or redbox)

Visit a local thrift store & find treasures

Organize and have a book swap party

Fly kites

Make Banana Smores over the BBQ

Play hopscotch (sidewalk chalk isn’t very inexpensive)

Play a board game (quirkle is our favorite)

Learn a new card game

Play Legos

Make an obstacle course in your backyard

This is our list of fun things to do for kids in the Summer, what else did we miss that we should add? Kid entertainment is really endless.

I have many specific ideas for those of us in Southern California here too, but for those of you in other areas these work for just about everyone!

Want to see a few of my favorite things you might want to write on your Christmas list this year??!! 😉 Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!

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childledlife

Wednesday 27th of May 2015

What a great post. We have two young children and are always looking for fun idea for the summer. Thank you for putting all this together. :)

poppiesandpinot

Tuesday 26th of May 2015

What a great list of summer activities. Bookmarking! I've also got three kids to keep from dying of boredom all summer.

kellylmckenzie

Saturday 23rd of May 2015

Such an extensive wealth of info here! Whoa. Good on you. My two are now 19 and 21 and I'm grinning at the number of of things I see here that I've done with them over the years. To have them grouped together in one spot is brilliant. Am sharing!

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