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50 Free Things to Do with Your Kids this Summer

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“Mom, can we go to the movies? Can we go swimming? Can we go out for lunch?”

Especially if you’re off of your regular routine in the summertime, these questions may seem familiar.  Whether you keep right on homeschooling through the summer months, or try to mix up your typical routine by making things a little more relaxed, there’s no denying that summer presents a lot of fun opportunities. . . as well as a lot of opportunities for spending extra money.  And let’s be honest: for homeschooling and non-homeschooling families alike, this can a challenge for the family budget.

So if you’re wondering how to keep the fun of summer (and keep your money, too) we’re here to bring you some inspiration. Here are 50 fun and FREE things to do with your kids this summer!

The ultimate list of things to do this summer

  1. Go to the playground.  Especially if you have little ones, you can take them first thing in the morning (before it gets too hot) and get all those wiggles out!
  2. Run in the sprinklers. If it’s already too hot outside, you can’t go wrong with swimsuits and sprinklers. It’s a classic childhood combination.
  3. Bake cookies. Baking cookies is totally educational (hello math).  It also makes for fun quality time together. And of course, you can eat the results when you’re done!
  4. Make popsicles out of fruit juice.  If you want a slightly healthier summer treat, homemade popsicles are a great choice! Encourage your kids to experiment with all kinds of different combinations! You can also use Gatorade or coconut water for extra hydration.
  5. Climb a tree.  Nothing says adventure like exploring new heights.
  6. Build a blanket fort. This one is another childhood classic that reminds us that fun doesn’t always have to be expensive or complex.
  7. Catch (and later release) fireflies in a Mason jar.  Exercise and discovery combine in this fun summer activity!
  8. Try to spot the International Space Station. (Click here to see when it will be visible in your area of the world.)
  9. Have a lemonade stand and donate proceeds to your favorite charity. This is a fun, hands-on way to help your child get invested in a cause they care about.
  10. Play hopscotch or four square in the driveway.  All you need is chalk!
  11. Organize a neighborhood potluck and BBQ. Let your kids get involved in the planning and cooking.
  12. Build a campfire and enjoy S’mores.  It’s one of the best parts of camping, right in your own backyard.
  13. Organize a scavenger hunt in your house or neighborhood.  Bonus: you can leave clues that have to do with something they are reading or another interesting subject they are learning about.
  14. Play a game of kickball. This one is great if you have several kids and need to get them out of the house at the same time!
  15. Make a movie with your smartphone. We don’t need fancy equipment to make simple movies anymore, so you can totally take advantage of that and let your kids use their imagination by writing, directing and acting in their own film this summer!
  16. Perform a play for the family or neighborhood.  The same principal above applies to more traditional theatre, too! It’s always fun for kids to create and perform.
  17. Have water balloon fight. Enough said.
  18. Blow bubbles with homemade solution. (You can use the recipe here.)
  19. Have a pillow fight.
  20. Offer to wash your neighbor’s car. It’s kind, it’s cool, and it’s fun!
  21. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog.  Another act of kindness, except this one comes with the fun of furry friends.
  22. Have a cloud watching session. A nice, relaxing activity whether you are trying to name different cloud types or look for animal shapes.
  23. Learn to crochet.  There are so many YouTube videos available  (adult supervision may be necessary).
  24. Have a star gazing session.
  25. Use old magazines or catalogs to cut out and make collages or paper dolls.  This is such a great way to get creative!
  26. Visit a new-to-you library.
  27. Visit a new-to-you museum.
  28. Visit a national park. (Visit here to learn about FREE admission days.)
  29. Go on a picnic. A picnic is always fun, whether it’s at your local park or in your backyard.
  30. Get a headstart on DIY Christmas presents, using items around the house.
  31. Visit thrift stores and search for treasures.  You don’t even have to buy anything. Sometimes it’s just fun to look!
  32. Make homemade candles from old crayons and drops of essential oil. (Directions here.)
  33. Offer to babysit for a mommy friend in need of a break. Your kids might want to do it for free (another great act of kindness) or use it as an opportunity to make some summer funds.
  34. Attend a CPR or babysitting class. (These are often offered by local hospitals or clinics and can help your teen or pre-teen be a safer and more qualified sitter—great for preparing for that first job!)
  35. Organize a neighborhood field day with games, races and homemade awards for each event.
  36. Learn to hula-hoop. It’s fun. It’s cardio. It will wear them out!
  37. Have a jump rope contest. See above.
  38. Play a game of HORSE with a basketball.
  39. Start a family scrapbook! You can make this even more special by allowing each child to personalize the contents of certain pages.
  40. Learn to do origami from YouTube videos.
  41. Go to the beach. If you don’t live far from the beach, take as much advantage as possible of nature’s free playground!
  42. Go fishing. Many local lakes will offer kids-fish-free days or rules.
  43. Hold an at-home spa day. You can find some fun recipes and ideas here.
  44. Be a book worm. Encourage kids to read as many books as possible, with small rewards for each book read (ice cream cones, etc.) Your local library likely has a fun – and free- summer reading program as well!
  45. Visit a Home Depot, Lowe’s, or Michael’s Saturday morning kids’ workshop. 
  46. Go geocaching, using almost any smartphone’s GPS to find treasures.  You can visit www.geocaching.com for more info.
  47. Create a racetrack with sidewalk chalk and race Matchbox cars! This one is perfect for little ones.
  48. Paint some “pet” rocks. You can also paint rocks and participate (or start) a rock hiding/finding community hear you!
  49. Make homemade bird or squirrel feeders and hang near a window to watch for visitors (Ideas here.)
  50. Put an old bed sheet out on lawn, stake the corners, and let the kids paint away! 

We hope these ideas get you excited about all of the fun and free things you can do together this summer! If you have free summertime activities that you and your children love, please drop a comment below and tell us! 

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  • I am looking for such activities to make kids busy with their summer vacations because in vocations they filled bored. I’ll try these activities with them.

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