Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

There are so many things kids can do that don’t cost a ton of money. I’m super cheap so i love a good idea that doesn’t cost a ton of cash. Childcare is not a lucrative business. A lot of them are even free, so why spend a ton on activities when you can make up your own stuff on the cheap and have just as much fun or more. I LOVE a good deal and saving money! I also LOVE a bunch of happy, engaged children. Here are  a few things you can do to fill your summer time with your daycare kids, kids of your own, or whoever might be needing entertaining. 

Click here to see the benefits of getting the kids outside to play and click here to see why I think it’s so important to plan ahead for school’s out days! 

      • Click here to see some super cool upcycling ideas to keep your kids busy this summer for not a lot of green! upcycling crafts
      • Visit to a fire station or have a fire truck come to your daycare.
      • Read. We do a summer reading program at my house every summer. The kids LOVE reading!mia reading ramona forever by Beverly Cleary
      • Visit to a police station or have a police car brought to your daycare.
      • Visit the park.
      • What do your daycare parents do for a living? Is there something they could bring to teach the kids?
      • Call the health department and ask if they have someone that can come and talk to the kids. In my town, they will send a dental hygienist to teach the kids about brushing their teeth!
      • Call an animal rescue operation and ask them to bring animals to your home and teach the kids about them.
      • Have a sprinkler party. Click here to see how to throw an awesome water party. 

    • Visit an ambulance station or have an ambulance brought to your daycare.
    • Have an art party. Click here to see one.
    • Have a teddy bear picnic. Click here to see ours.teddy bear picnic plates
    • Have a sports day and learn a sport or celebrate one the kids like. 
    • See if the library has a story time person that comes out, ours does!
    • Have a color day every day of the week. Everyone can wear that color and you can do an art project using it too.
    • Use recycled squirt bottles to spray water for wet fun.
    • Exercise. Use a video like Elmocise or make up your own workout to lead the kids. My awesome husband is a personal trainer and he does a P.E. class with the kids every Monday morning before he goes to work.

    • Save up your empty boxes, paper towel tubes, and empty cans and bottles that are washed out and let kids create instruments, castles, houses, buildings, roads for cars, tunnels for cars, tall stacks, or whatever their minds can create to make with them.
    • Make kites out of brown paper bags from the store. 
    • Finger crochet from thrift store yarn.
    • Make homemade playdough and let them play with it for hours. 
    • Puzzles, even homemade. Let them draw a picture and then cut it into puzzle shapes so they can put it back together.
    • Make homemade books
    • Paint a rock or make pet rocks
    • Play in the rain.
    • Have a tea party.
    • Visit the nature center, they are usually free.
    • Play hide and seek, ring around the rosie, duck, duck, goose, or simon says.
    • Visit a pet store.
    • Play house.
    • Play school.
    • Rent a movie or books from the library or attend their story hour program.
    • Make up a play.
    • Put on a puppet show. 

    • Make a scavenger hunt for them to hunt outside (for very little kids, you can make the list of what to find from pictures so they can match a rock to a picture of a rock, etc.) 
    • Build a fort.
    • Have a picnic outside or inside.cheap ideas for summer activities for kids
    • Dress up.
    • Thumb wrestle.
    • Make up jokes.
    • Play restaurant or store.
    • Walk barefoot in the grass.
    • Make bird feeders. 
    • Play with bubbles. 

    • Play with balloons.
    • Do sidewalk chalk.

    • Make stick horses and ride them. You could even put on a rodeo.
    • Skip rocks.
    • Have a bike parade.
    • Play I Spy.
    • Play Frisbee.
    • Read a story and act it out.
    • Make sensory bottles.  
    • Read a story and do an activity inspired by it like “Give a Mouse a Cookie” and then make cookies.
    • Vacation Bible School.
    • Library story hour.
    • Splash pad water play at the park.
    • Plant seeds in a garden or in cups.Cheap Summer Ideas
    • Bird watch.
    • Watch bugs under a magnifying glass, (study entomology)
    • Play tic tac toe.
    • Play outside.
    • Collect rocks.
    • Climb a tree.
    • Have a mini Olympics at home. Make up events, score charts and prizes like medals.
    • Make waterslide with your hose and slide.
    • Let the kids cook lunch or snack. Check out the blog for tons of kid friendly recipes we have cooked.
    • Take a nature walk.cheap kids activities
    • Make a collage with nature items you find.activities, cheap
    • Learn tree identification
    • Make paper airplanes from your scrap paper.
    • Play Twister. 

    • Rent a movie and have popcorn.
    • Have a pillow fight.
    • Write letters to grandparents.
    • Make ice cream.
    • Make popsicles.
    • Go swimming at the local pool
    • Visit a farm or have animals brought from a farm.
    • Play card games or dominoes.
    • Play board games.
    • Build with blocks.

  • Play at the mall.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Play kickball.
  • Play hide and seek.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Color.
  • “Camp” in the back yard.
  • Go bowling.
  • Play with water balloons.
  • Fill buckets of water and throw wet sponges.
  • Play soccer.
  • Put on a sports camp.
  • Play football.
  • Play baseball.
  • Make up an obstacle course.
  • Make up songs.
  • Lay on a blanket and watch the clouds.
  • Have a dance party.
  • Try nature weaving

There are a million different things you can do for free or cheap that will keep your kids healthy, happy, and content throughout the summer months. Add your ideas to share with all of us.

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cheap summer activities for kids

10 comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Holy Cow!! That’s like 3 Summer’s full of activities! I want to come play at Little Sprouts Learning!

  2. Kristin Cook says:

    Awww! I didn’t know Elmocise was a thing. That is adorable!!!!!!
    Chalk, bubbles, and the hose are my go-tos for summer!

  3. Great list of ideas! Summer will be here before we know it, so glad for this!

  4. All great ideas, most of which I do with my two boys and many of the activities listed we have done as part of our cub scout activities.

  5. Isabel says:

    These are great ideas! So fun and simple to make

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