Budget Friendly Summer Activities for Kids

Are you on the lookout for exciting and wallet-friendly ways to keep your kids entertained this summer? Well, look no further! In this post, I’ve gathered an array of budget friendly summer activities for kids that will ensure endless fun without putting a strain on your finances.

When my children were younger, I remember (as a young mom) stressing over ways to keep them busy and entertained over the summer. I also remember that it was almost always the simplest activities or outings that they enjoyed the most. So please, momma (or grand momma)…stop stressing! Most children are easily entertained! You don’t need a tablet or a tv around all the time! Let your children use their creative abilities (i.e. imagination) and have loads of fun!

I think this post will have you covered! From creative projects to outdoor adventures, there are plenty of ideas here that will delight children of all ages while keeping your budget intact.

budget friendly summer activities for kids

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budget friendly summer activities for kids

Explore the Great Outdoors

Nature provides a wealth of opportunities for free entertainment. Encourage your children to spend time outdoors, exploring local parks, hiking trails, and community gardens. Plan picnics, nature walks, and scavenger hunts to keep them engaged and entertained.

Go Camping

Camping can be in an RV or tent and many state parks offer all the amenities at a very low price. Most state parks charge a daily entrance fee usually somewhere between $10-$30 a day, unless otherwise stated. Another option is to purchase a State Park Pass to enjoy free entry to dozens of state parks for you and your guests for one year.

Backyard Camping Adventure

If camping at a destination isn’t an option, pitch a tent in your backyard and embark on a camping adventure with your kids. Create a cozy camping atmosphere with sleeping bags, pillows, and lanterns. Roast marshmallows over a fire pit or grill, tell stories, and gaze at the stars. It’s a budget-friendly alternative to a traditional camping trip and offers a chance to disconnect from technology and enjoy quality time as a family.

Picnic in the Park

Pack a delicious and budget-friendly picnic for the whole family and head to a nearby park. Let your kids help with the preparation and choose their favorite snacks. Enjoy quality time together, play outdoor games, and bask in the beauty of nature while enjoying a low-cost summer outing.

Get Crafty

Engaging in arts and crafts projects is an excellent way to keep kids entertained while nurturing their creativity. Collect recyclable materials such as cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, and old magazines for a treasure trove of crafting supplies. Encourage your children to create masterpieces using paints, markers, glue, and scissors. You can also organize a neighborhood craft swap, where kids can trade their creations or materials with others, fostering a sense of community and creativity.

Library Adventures

Public libraries offer a multitude of free activities and resources for children during the summer. Many libraries organize storytelling sessions, book clubs, and interactive workshops that are both educational and entertaining. Encourage your kids to explore new books, participate in library programs and even take part in summer reading challenges to win prizes. The library can be a haven for curious minds and an excellent resource for keeping kids engaged throughout the summer.

Backyard Olympics

Turn your backyard into a summer sports arena with a fun-filled “Backyard Olympics.” Organize various activities such as relay races, sack races, hula-hooping, and water balloon tosses. Divide kids into teams and award small prizes or certificates for participation. This not only provides hours of entertainment but also promotes physical activity and friendly competition among kids.

Movie Nights and DIY Theater

Create a magical cinematic experience for your children right at home. Designate a movie night once a week where you can gather with pillows, blankets, and popcorn to enjoy family-friendly movies. You can also encourage your children to write and perform their own plays or puppet shows using old socks, cardboard, and other household items. DIY theater allows them to explore their imagination and provides a platform for showcasing their creativity.

Community Events and Local Programs

Check out local community centers, parks, and schools for free or low-cost summer programs and events. Many communities organize concerts, festivals, and outdoor movie screenings during the summer months. These events offer a great opportunity for your children to socialize, make new friends, and participate in a range of activities without straining your budget.

Cooking and Baking Adventures

Invite your kids into the kitchen and embark on culinary adventures together. Teach them simple recipes for cookies, muffins, or homemade pizzas. Let them assist with measuring ingredients, mixing, and decorating. Cooking and baking not only keep kids entertained but also help them develop essential life skills and a sense of accomplishment.

DIY Water Fun

Beat the summer heat by organizing water-based activities in your backyard. Set up a DIY sprinkler using a plastic bottle with holes or create a makeshift water slide using a tarp and a hose. Have water balloon fights, build a mini water park with buckets and sponges, make a homemade slip ‘n’ slides using plastic sheets and a hose. or simply let the kids splash around in a kiddie pool. These refreshing water activities will keep your children entertained and cool during hot summer days.

DIY Miniature Golf

Transform your backyard into a mini golf course using everyday household items. Set up obstacles using cardboard boxes, plastic cups, and various household objects. Let your kids design their own holes and take turns playing. This DIY mini golf course provides hours of entertainment and encourages creativity and problem-solving.

Family Game Nights

Gather the family for regular game nights filled with board games, card games, or even charades. Dust off those classic games from your childhood or explore new ones. Game nights not only provide entertainment but also promote bonding, friendly competition, and critical thinking skills.

Gardening Adventures

Involve your kids in gardening activities by creating a small garden patch or container garden. Let them choose their favorite plants, flowers, or herbs to grow. Teach them about planting, watering, and caring for plants. Gardening not only provides a hands-on learning experience but also instills a sense of responsibility and appreciation for nature.

Homemade Ice Cream

Cool down on hot summer days by making homemade ice cream with your kids. You don’t need an ice cream maker; simple recipes using zip-lock bags or mason jars are readily available online. Let your kids choose their favorite flavors and toppings, and enjoy the process of making and savoring delicious frozen treats together.

Here’s a super easy recipe for Homemade Ice cream in a bag!

Homemade Playdough

Make your own playdough at home using simple ingredients like flour, salt, oil, and food coloring. Involve your kids in the mixing and coloring process, and let their imaginations run wild as they mold and shape the playdough into various creations. Playdough is not only a sensory activity but also enhances fine motor skills and fosters imaginative play.

DIY Bird Feeders

Craft bird feeders using materials like pinecones, empty plastic bottles, or cardboard tubes. Let your kids smear peanut butter or coat them with birdseed, and hang them outside in your backyard or a nearby park. Observing different bird species visiting the feeders provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and learn about local wildlife.

Cardboard Creations

Collect cardboard boxes and other recyclable materials, and let your kids’ creativity soar as they design and build their own creations. Encourage them to construct forts, castles, robots, or any other imaginative structures. Provide them with tape, glue, scissors, and markers to bring their ideas to life. This open-ended activity promotes problem-solving, spatial awareness, and innovation.

Indoor Camping

Create a camping experience indoors when the weather doesn’t cooperate or for a change of scenery. Set up a tent or fort in the living room, complete with sleeping bags, pillows, and battery-operated lanterns. Share campfire stories, play shadow puppets, and enjoy camping-themed snacks like s’mores. It’s a cozy and imaginative way to have an adventure without leaving home.

Go Thrifting

If you can afford a few dollars in your budget, give them a set amount of cash to spend. If that amount is $5, let them see what they can find in the thrift store for that amount. Thrift stores have everything from books to toys to clothes and much more! Also, this activity can also be a great lesson in economics! You can also check out this post on Best Tips For Thrift Store Shopping for tons of thrift store shopping tips.

Cool Off In A Pool Or Splash Pad

If you know of someone with a pool or you have a community pool close by, swimming offers hours of entertainment! If you use a community pool, usually the cost for entry is minimal if anything. Our town recently put in a splash pad that’s free to the public. 

Keeping kids entertained on a tight budget doesn’t have to be a challenge. I’ve given you a whole list of budget friendly summer activities for kids that can keep them busy for days! By embracing outdoor adventures, nurturing their creativity, exploring community resources, and organizing simple yet enjoyable activities at home, you can ensure a summer filled with joy and memories without straining your finances.

Do you have any suggestions for some budget friendly summer activities for kids that aren’t on list? Please share in the comments. I would love to hear them!

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other posts you may be interested in:

Frugal Ways To Spend Your Free Time That Are Fun!

85 Amazing Frugal Tips To Help Save Money

Ways To Save Money On Vacation

budget friendly summer activities for kids

budget friendly summer activities for kids

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