Are you looking for some fun, cheap summer activities? These frugal summer activities are perfect for family fun! Use the printable checklist to get your gears rolling on how to have fun this summer on a budget, and don’t forget to add a few of your own thoughts, too! Check out the free summer printable – perfect for days and days of free summer activities.
It’s no secret that the summer months present a lot of opportunities for kids and families to have fun, but a majority of those ideas have a hefty price tag to them as well.
This is where having a list of cheap summer activities for kids is the best! You can literally fill your days with frugal fun, and not even have to spend a dime.
Not only does this free printable give you a ton of great activities and ideas, but it also comes with a summer planner so that you can plan out each and every day.
What fun activities can I do over the summer?
This is what the summer months are all about. The moment that the kids are out of school for the summer, it’s as if the outdoor activities and summer plans are endless.
From camping to riding bikes, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk, or even planning a picnic at the park, every day brings about new opportunities for having fun in the summer sun.
The best part about summer is that the days are long and the sun is hot! This gives you hours of outdoor activities and options to do and have fun!
What are fun summer activities for families?
This printable will give you a ton of fun ideas! I can’t give them all away for you right here, but I’ll happily give you a sneak peek at the list of ideas.
Let’s look at some fun ideas for cheap and free summer activities.
Going fishing includes finding a water spot like a creek, river, bay, or ocean. Make a day of grabbing a pole and visiting the water. You might even be able to eat what you catch!
Have a picnic al fresco
Have a picnic in the early morning or early evening when it isn’t too hot. Watch the sunrise or sunset and enjoy breakfast, drinks, and a yummy treat. You can even visit a hot/cold food bar at your local grocery store and grab various yummy bites to everyone’s liking.
Go on a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are amazing treasure hunts for kids and adults. They include a variety of ideas like outdoor scavenger hunts or indoor scavenger hunts. Also enjoy themed scavenger hunts like summer scavenger hunts, birthday scavenger hunts, or mall scavenger hunts.
Stargaze in your own backyard
The backyard is a great place to create memories of stargazing. Plus at the end of the night, you can open your patio door and sleep in your own bed or night camp in the backyard! Enjoy looking at the nighttime sky and staying up way past your bedtime.
Make and fly a kite
Create a kite challenge. Upscycle things from the recycling bin and craft closet and see if you can come up what a kite that flies. Hit a field or the beach and have a kite challenge to see who can keep their kite up the longest.
Experiment with grilling
Summer is a great time for outdoor grilling recipes. Try different ingredients you might not have in the middle of winter like pineapple, corn, and more! Kids can have fun making their own skewer recipes personalized to their favorite tastes.
Make a fort
We are not talking about tossing a blanket over a chair. Get creative and make an epic blanket fort using blankets, sheets, and chairs. Add Christmas lights and a sleeping bag and camp out in your DIY tent in the living room.
Make an outdoor obstacle course
Summer games are so fun. Obscales courses evoke creative juices to come up with fun challenges. You can add this obstacle course to your list of backyard games for groups.
Host a talent show
Do you have a few clowns, I mean children with amazing talent? Host your very own neighborhood talent show. Pop popcorn, pass out snacks, and drink yummy lemonade.
Make paper bag puppets
Raid your craft supplies and get creative. Watch a fun paper bag puppets YouTube video and see if you can come up with creative paper bag puppet ideas.
Put on a fashion show
How many Halloween costumes do you own? Pull out those dress-up items this summer and make a fun fashion show.
Play flashlight tag
This is such a fun activity – when the sun goes down, head outside and play flashlight tag. This outdoor nighttime game is super fun with the immediate family or as a large outdoor group game.
Try new pool games
The pool is one of the best places to cool over during summer. Invite some friends over and quit the routine Marco Polo game. Instead all some fun pool party games for adults, teens, and kids (that are good swimmers.) They are silly and fresh and the kids will love them.
Have a sleepover
Sleepovers are great for pillow fights, late-night movies, and sleeping in (because there isn’t anything on the schedule to wake you!) Play truth or dare or sleepover games for the girls. It will be a great night!
Host a potluck
It takes a little work but is worth it if you can spread out the tasks. Host a potluck at your home. When everyone split the effort, these become cheap summer meals for a crowd catering to a bunch of different taste buds. Have left over containers so everyone can take a bit of extra home for lunch the next day. The joy and laughter around the table will be wroth and you will ask “Why don’t we do this more?”
Try New Recipes
Nothing is worse in summer than hearing “What’s for dinner?” Don’t you want to relax too? Make cooking fun and creative by trying new recipes. Some of my favorite cheap summer meals come from Dinnerly. Enjoy cheap summer dinner ideas with new recipes you have not tried before. The kit includes easy recipes and best of all, everything is shipped to your house each week, skip the grocery store.
Play family games
Board games are fun, but have you tried a few games out of the box and not ordinary? See if you can play all of these 52 deck of standard playing card games or go through the entire family game night bucket list.
Have a hometown tour
A solution to cheap summer vacations are staycations. There is a lot of fun that can be had in your home town. Make your own brochure of places to travel and enjoy a staycation with these ideas. You can also print your own staycation printable kid.
Host a family game night
Grab your favorite board games and have a day or night of game marathons. You can even try some of these family game night ideas that aren’t board games.
Play family trivia
Family trivia can be turned into a game or a challenge. See who is the winner and really knows their family best in this fun family trivia game.
Make a summer playlist
Go through a few of your favorite jams and turn them into a summer (insert year) playlist. Make this on a Spotify or Amazon music account.
Try new trampoline ideas
Turn the trampoline into a splash pad or even better, add a few balls and see if you can go through this entire list of trampoline games.
Escape to the great outdoors and hike a trail with a cheap summer trip that is local to you. Hiking is not only a family bonding experience, it provides great exercise and fresh air. See how many family hiking trails you can check off your list.
Play balloon tennis
Lots of fun balloon games can be had. Try games like balloon tennis or defy gravity minute to win it games.
Play classic summer games
As a kid, what were some of your favorite activities? Hopstotch on the sidewalk with chalk? Hula hooping – were you the hula hoop queen? What about a bike ride after adding accessories to your bike wheels? Try to go back to some of those 80s summer days with a jump rope, Simon Says, shaving cream, bubbles, and sprinklers, and see if your kids will enjoy the nostalgia. Give them their own retro summer bucket list.
Take a nap outside
Okay, okay – what’s a nap? I get it. If you don’t nap, take a second to lay under the sun and get some vitamin D.
Have a neighborhood bike parade
Explore a new spot with a bike ride. Get to know neighbors in the hood by taking an early evening bike ride.
Host a summer camp
As you know, summer camps can be costly. Cheap summer camps can be had in your own backyard. See if a teen might want to host a one-week summer camp at your home for an hour each day. It isn’t too long and gives neighborhood friends a chance to come together plus a teen a fun activity and a bit of spending money.
Make chalk bombs
Have a blast during something ordinary into something fun – like sidewalk chalk. Make your own chalk bombs using an easy recipe on the web.
Have a backyard bonfire
Make a bird feeder
Make a pinecone with peanut butter and birdseed. It’s adorable o watch the birds (and squirrels) feast at your very own efforts. Hang it outside your window for fun observations. In addition to your DIY bird feeder, invest in some of these best of the best bird feeders.
Play in the dirt
… or the mud. So much fun can be had outdoors. See if you can use a buy-nothing group and find a no longer loved play kitchen. Turn it into a mud kitchen. You can also paly outdoors in the run with these fun rainy-day activities.
Celebrate half birthdays
Draw and paint
Pull out that inner artist with a bit of craft. Drawing ad painting are activities you can take outdoors to the patio or deck. Print out free coloring pages and watch your art portfolio grow.
Run in the sprinklers
The sprinkles are fun but have you tried the sprinkler under or over a trampoline? There are plenty of ways to create fun water games using the sprinkler, water hose, and water balloons.
Climb a tree
Pull out that inner child and show the kids how you use to find adventure. In the woods or outdoors with friends climbing a tree. See if you can take it a step further and upcycle an old tire into a tire swing.
Go on a photo scavenger hunt
A photo scavenger hunt is an excellent activity for older kids and teens to explore. Get rid of that “I’m bored” statements with cheap summer activities for teens too. It gets them off the screen (well except using their phone to take photos!)
Look for shapes in the clouds
Do you ever appreciate the sky? Grab a cloud viewer and enjoy looking for shapes in the sky. Do this on days with different weather patterns.
Plant a herb garden
What herb do you find yourself buying over and over – basil, cilantro, anything? Make your own herb garden and document the changes with a garden journal.
Wash your car
Grab a few car washing accessories and line up carts in a cul-de-sac on the street. See if the kids can earn a bit of spending money washing cars. It’s a fun summer job for kids and a busy activity on a hot summer day.
Watch the sunset
Go to an open field and bring a few appetizers, sandwiches, and drinks and watch the sunset. This will be the most beautiful on an evening before the rain its. Pnk at night – sailors delight!
Does your town rock? Have fun rock painting and lay your rocks around town on a trail, in a common area, or at the park. See if your rocks are picked up and brought home by someone else.
Make homemade ice cream
Ice cream is great. Host an ice cream party, make your own ice cream, and add fun toppings and tasty cones.
Host an outdoor movie night
To your bucket list of outdoor summer activities, hang a white sheet on the wall, grab a projector, and host an outdoor movie night. This can be accomplished for a Netflix and chill family movie night or a neighborhood gathering with friends.
Whether you have summer reading programs or not, visit your local library and stock up on some fun reads. Make a summer reading bucket list with summer-themed books for kids. Try reading in different places like under a table, on a hammock, by a creek, etc.
Bowling can get expensive. Fill up 2-L bottles with water and glow-in-the-dark sticks and have fun with outdoor bowling. If your crew finds this exciting, enjoy more glow-in-the-dark games and entertainment you can enjoy the entire summertime.
Plan a movie night
Movie nights are great. Make every Friday night a movie night and see if you can go through a series of movies. For example all of the toy story movies for a month long, on Friday nights. My family has been working their way through the entire Marvel series for 6 months! (we have skipped a few Friday nights!)
Once everyone realizes all the summer freebies, they’ll love picking and choosing what to do each and every day! The best part is that you can do everyone on the list, or use it as a way to think tank of new ideas, too.
Use this as a boost to your family bucket list and add as many other freebies as you can!
How can I have a good summer without money?
This printable is the way! Just because you feel like all the fun things cost money doesn’t make it true. The moment that you stop and look around, you’ll see so many ways to have fun without spending money.
In fact, you can even make it sort of a challenge where you try not to spend money during a certain time of the summer. Think of it like a no-spend summer challenge – and see how far you can go!
Cheap Summer Fun Printable
These summer activities are great for family fun! Gather the kids, neighbors, and anyone else who wants to be a part of the fun and start at the top of the list!
What’s included in the Printable Frugal Summer Fun
In this printable, you’ll receive the following:
- List of cheap summer fun ideas
- Frugal summer planner and calendar
Free Summer Activities Printables
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Family Bucket Lists
If you’re looking for even more family fun ideas, you don’t want to miss out on these cheap activities for families! Here are some great bucket list ideas and activities that everyone can do the entire year long including a fun summer bucket list.
These Family Bucket List Printables prove that you can always create a fun list of activities for the family to do together!
There are plenty of other scavenger hunts you can try during the summer. In addition to these free summer activities, add some of these fun treasure hunt ideas for summer.
Try these fun ideas…
- Virtual Scavenger Hunt
- Summer Scavenger Hunt Checklist
- Selfie Summer Scavenger Hunt
- Summer Scavenger Hunt with Clue Cards
- Playground Scavenger Hunt
- Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
- Zoo Scavenger Hunt
- Teen Scavenger Hunt
- Hotel Scavenger Hunt
- Airport Scavenger Hunt
- Disney Scavenger Hunt
- Mall Scavenger Hunt
- Nature Scavenger Hunt
- Birthday Scavenger Hunt
- July 4th Scavenger Hunt
WHAT’S TRENDING? Looking for a few engaging activities? Grab Minute to Win it Games – Traditional, Outdoor, Water, Back to School, and more! Use these fun activities in the office, classroom, or at your next birthday party.