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 good cheap summer activities. I love a bunch of happy, engaged children. Check out these summer activities for kids.

101 Summer Activities for Kids

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I love good cheap summer activities. I love a bunch of happy, engaged children. Check out these summer activities for kids to make summer fun!

I'm super cheap so I love good cheap summer activities. I love a bunch of happy, engaged children. Check out these summer activities for kids.

I LOVE a good deal and saving money! Here are a few things you can do to fill your summertime 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.

upcycling crafts

Click here to see some super cool upcycling ideas to keep your kids busy this summer for not a lot of green! These boredom busters use upcycled materials so they won’t cost you a lot.

  • Visit a fire station or have a fire truck come to your daycare.
mia reading ramona forever by Beverly Cleary
  • Read. We do a summer reading program at my house every summer. The kids LOVE reading! How do we do it? I make a sheet for each child with 25 lines on it. Each time we read, I mark down the titles for each child that was here. When they get 25 on their sheet, I let them know they won. At the end of the summer, we have a ceremony where I give them a certificate I made up and a pin, ribbon or trophy
  • Visit 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
  • Visit an ambulance station or have an ambulance brought to your daycare.
  • Have an art party
teddy bear picnic plates
  • Have a teddy bear picnic.
  • Have a sports day and learn a sport or celebrate one the kids like. 
  • See if the library has a storytime 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.

For some printable summer themed pom pom mats, check these out. Download, print them out and have an activity in minutes!

Summer pom pom mats arranged on a sheet
  • 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. Braum’s still gives them out.
  • Finger crochet from thrift store yarn.
  • Make homemade playdough and let them play with it for hours. Here’s even a no cook recipe
  • 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. 

Outdoor summer activities

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.) We like doing treasure hunts too. Hide plastic animals or something for kids to find.

Build a fort. Use sheets or blankets.

summer picnic for kids
  • Have a picnic outside or inside.
  • 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.

Summer activities for preschoolers

  • 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. Check out all these sensory activity ideas for daycare too.  
  • 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.
Kids exploring bugs in the garden in summer
  • Plant seeds in a garden or in cups.
  • 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. Just click on the categories on the right, cooking with kids.
cheap kids activities

Summer Themes for Preschool

  • Take a nature walk.
activities, cheap
  • Make a collage with nature items you find. (one of the ultimate cheap summer activities) Just give the kids paper and glue and let them glue on what they found.
  • 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.

Cheap summer activities for kids

  • Play at the mall.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Play kickball.
  • Play hide and seek.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Color.
  • “Camp” in the backyard.
  • 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 cheap summer activities you can do for free or little cost 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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  1. This is a fabulous list. We are always trying to come up with more fun ideas to keep the kiddos entertained during their summer break.

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

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

    1. Elmocise, elmoscise, now it’s time to EL MO CISE! 🙂 one of my faves! 🙂 Thanks for reading Kristin.

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

  5. 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.