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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. How to keep them busy and make new memories that will last a lifetime by making your own checklist or using our summer bucket list for teens.

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 free and 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)

Free Summer Activities for Kids

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

Free Summer Activities

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! Then use our summertime screen time printable to organize your days a bit more.

screen time printable

Fun things for kids to do in the Summer

  1. Visit a local park
  2. Visit a local farmer and get a tour or volunteer for the day
  3. Go to the movies (matinee shows & discount theaters offer lower rates)
  4. $1 Summer Movie schedule in your area, most offer them
  5. Have a picnic (at the park, beach or in your backyard)
  6. FREE roller skating here
  7. FREE summer bowling
  8. Join summer reading programs
Fun Things for Kids to do in the Summer

Summer Fun Ideas for Kids

Water activities

garden signs

Summer Activities for Kids

Take a walk/hiking activities:

  • Bring an egg carton & fill with treasures
  • There are lots of hiking activities with kids you can do
  • 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
Summer Activities for Kids

Summertime Things to do with Kids

  • 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)
  • This is how to make homemade ice cream with bags
  • Make cookies – and use edible markers to design
  • Crafts
  • We will start with 100+ indoor activities for kids!
  • Color a picture with kool aid paint or food coloring
Summertime Things to do with Kids

Free and fun things for kids to do in the summer

  1. Make chocolate playdough
  2. Make one of our 50+ best way to make slime recipes and have fun
  3. Here’s how to make homemade play putty
  4. Paint a picture – try our watercolor art project
  5. 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
  6. Build a little free library & fill it with goodies
  7. Visit your local library (usually have activities during the summer/story time)
  8. Lots of free Summer reading programs are here
  9. Visit a local fair (usually several in the summer time)
  10. Take a day trip somewhere new – here are road trip tips on our road trip blog like how free entrance to National Parks for 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
fun things for kids to do in the summer

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, BBQ hacks are here)

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

Visit a local thrift store & find treasures

Throw 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!

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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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