25 Inexpensive Summer Activities for Kids

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It can be hard to come up with fun and inexpensive summer activities for kids that the whole family will enjoy and that won’t break the bank. 

The cost of entertainment can add up quickly, especially during the summer months when the weather is nice and you have more days to enjoy as a family.

family summer activities on a budget

We’ve come up with a list of budget-friendly summer activities for families. From swimming and playing at the splash park to making crafts and going on picnics, we’ve got you covered.

Our list is packed with fun ideas that will keep your kids entertained all summer long without costing you a fortune.

Inexpensive Summer Activities For Families

1. Visit a Splash Park

Many cities have free or low-cost splash parks that are perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day. This is a great activity for kids of all ages and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

2. Explore a nature reserve or botanical garden

Summer is a great time to explore the outdoors. Take a walk ride through a nature reserve or visit your local botanical garden.

This is a fantastic way to teach your kids about plants and animals while getting some fresh air and exercise.

3. Visit the zoo or aquarium

If you have a zoo or aquarium nearby, summer is the perfect time to visit. Many zoos offer free or discounted days during the summer months.

boy and girl feeding a giraffe

4. Visit a FREE museum

Museums can be a great way to beat the heat and learn something new. Many museums offer free days or discounts during the summer. Check your local museum’s website to see if any offers are available.

5. Check out your local library summer events

Libraries offer a variety of summer events for kids, from storytimes to movies to crafts. Best of all, they are usually free or very low cost.

6. Create a backyard movie experience

Turn your backyard into a movie theater. All you need is a projector, a white sheet or outdoor projector screen, and some popcorn. You can even invite the neighbors for a summer night of fun.

Family watching movies in the backyard

7. Get some goodies at the Farmer’s Market

Visit your local Farmer’s Market to get some fresh fruits and vegetables. Some even sell a variety of homemade jams, pickles, baked goods, and milk.

This is a wonderful way to support local farmers and get your kids excited about eating healthy.

8. Fun in the sun at the beach or lake

Whether you live near the beach or a lake, summer is the perfect time to enjoy the water and is one of the most inexpensive summer activities for kids. Go for a swim, build a sandcastle, or just relax in the sun.

9. Reel in some fish

Fishing is a great summer activity for the whole family. You can go to your local pond or take a fishing trip. Either way, it’s a fun way to enjoy the outdoors.

10. Visit your neighborhood playground

Summer is the perfect time to explore your neighborhood playground. Go for a swing, play some tag, or just enjoy the fresh air.

boy and girl smiling on a slide

11. Host a family picnic at a park

Pack a lunch and head to your local park for a picnic. This is a relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time as a family. To make it extra fun, try bringing a kite, a Wiffle ball set, or a football to toss around after lunch.

12. Create a scavenger/treasure hunt at home or at a park

This is a creative and fun activity for kids of all ages. You can hide things around your house or yard, or you can make it more challenging by hiding things in different locations around the neighborhood or at the park.

13. Have a water balloon fight

Fill up some water balloons and have a blast. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it’s also a fun way to cool down on those hot summer days.

14. Have a craft day at home

Let your kids get creative with some arts and crafts. This is the perfect activity for a rainy day when going outside isn’t an option. There are tons of easy and inexpensive craft ideas online.

15. Have a board game day

Beat the heat or spend a rainy day by staying inside and playing some board games. Make some snacks and make it an event! This is an excellent way to spend time as a family and bond with your kids.

16. Create a Floor is Lava challenge

This is a fun activity for kids of all ages. You can create an obstacle course in your house or yard and see who can make it through the course without touching the ground.

17. Campout in the backyard

Set up a tent in the backyard and camp out for the night. Bring lanterns outside and tell stories, look for fireflies, have a camp cookout, or toast marshmallows for s’mores.

18. Go for a long bike ride

Explore your neighborhood or town by taking a family bike ride. To reward yourselves for the extra exercise, why not take a break and have a picnic in the park or stop for some ice cream along the way?

family on a bike ride

19. Take a road trip to a local town you’ve never been to

This is a great way to explore your local area or state. Stop along the way to visit different attractions or take a hike in a state park that is nearby or get a meal at a local restaurant you’ve never been to.

20. Nerf gun fight

Dust off those Nerf guns that have been sitting in the garage and have a family Nerf gun fight. It’s a fantastic way to create memories that will last a lifetime while getting some exercise and having a lot of laughs.

21. Make family t-shirts with inexpensive shirts and craft supplies

You can find inexpensive t-shirts at a local craft store or online. Then let your kids get creative and design their own shirts. Once they’re done, you can wear them on family outings or just around the house.

22. Make a copycat restaurant meal at home

Choose your family’s favorite restaurant meal and try to make a copycat version at home. This is a great way to save money and have a fun cooking adventure with your kids.

23. Go bowling

Bowling is an entertaining way to spend time as a family. It’s also a great way to get some exercise, teach your kids about sportsmanship, and that competing can be fun.

24. Create an indoor fort

This is the perfect activity for rainy days or on hot summer days when you don’t want to go outside. Let your kids use their imaginations to create the perfect indoor fort with pillows, blankets, sheets, or even some old boxes.

25. Make Homemade Popsicles

This is a fun activity for kids to do with minimal supervision and one that the whole family can enjoy. All you need is some fruit juice and popsicle molds. Some molds will also require popsicle sticks. You could also add yogurt and fresh fruit if you want to get more creative.

Final Thoughts

There are so many fun and inexpensive summer activities for kids. Whether you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day or you want to get outside and explore your local area, there’s something for everyone in the family.

These activities will help create memories that will last a lifetime while also providing some exercise and plenty of laughs. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start having some summer family fun with your kids!

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