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.
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.
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.
- You could use our summer bucket list for teens list too if your kids are older.
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.
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)
Have a picnic (at the park, beach or in your backyard)
Summer Fun Ideas for Kids
Turn on the sprinklers
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
Fill a watering can & water plants in yard (repurpose juice containers for a can)
Wash the car (FUN & Daddy loves this)
Summer Activities for Kids
Take a walk/hiking activities:
Bring an egg carton & fill with treasures
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
Buckets (build sand castles etc)
Summertime Things to do with Kids
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
We will start with 100+ indoor activities for kids!
Color a picture with kool aid paint or food coloring
Free and fun things for kids to do in the summer
Make chocolate playdough
Make one of our 50+ best way to make slime recipes and have fun
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)
Lots of free Summer reading programs are here
Visit a local fair (usually several in the summer time)
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
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.
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
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
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 that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!