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50 Frugal Summer Activities

Summer fun doesn't have to be expensive! These 50 Frugal Summer Activites are BIG fun and LOW cost!

This is a guest post by Megan.


The last day of school brings excitement in a lot of kids. Oftentimes, parents can dread Summer break because they have to figure out something to keep their kids entertained. Sure there ae theme parks, water parks, and lots of attractions; however, that can become quite costly. If you’re looking for some fun ideas to keep your kids entertained and your budget intact, here is a list of ideas for you.

    1. Sprinkler– Buy a cheap sprinkler on Amazon and let your kids run around in it on a hot Summer day.
    2. Summer Reading Program– Have your kids read 8 books, write them down, and turn in the form at Barnes and Noble for a FREE book.
    3. Summer Movie Programs– Check with your local movie theater on cheap kids summer movie programs.
    4. Swimming Lessons– Many clubs and organizations offer swimming lessons for kids free or fairly cheap.
    5. Vacation Bible School– Many local churches have Vacation Bible School for kids through sixth grade. Check the dates and times with the local churches in your area.
    6. Library– Take your kids to the library to checkout some books. Many libraries have Summer Reading Programs for kids.
    7. Fishing– Take your kids to a fishing hole. (Kids fishing poles are fairly inexpensive and so are the fishing licenses.)
    8. Bike/Hike– Go for a bike ride or hike. Check Trail Link for local trails.
    9. Walk– Go for a walk in your neighborhood.
    10. Park/Playground– Take your kids to the park and/or playground for the afternoon. Many cities have a public park that is free of charge.
    11. Picnic– Have a picnic at the park or even in your backyard with your kids.
    12. Catch Fireflies– This is an oldie but a goodie. Teach your kids how to catch fireflies.
    13. Bowling– Kids can bowl up to two free games a day in participating cities through the Kids Bowl Free program.
    14. [Tweet “Keep your piggy bank full this summer with these 50 Frugal Summer Activities!”]

    15. Lowe’s Build and GrowLowe’s has a couple free events over the Summer where your kids can learn to build something.
    16. Home Depot’s Free Kids Workshops– Check Home Depot to see the free kids workshops they have during the Summer.
    17. Make popsicles– Get one of the popsicle molds and an envelope of Kool-Aid mix from the Dollar Tree, and make popsicles with your kids.
    18. Game of Hide & Seek– When I was growing up, I looked forward to July 4 because my dad’s family would get together and all of the kids (and some of the adults) would play a big game of Hide and Seek once it got dark.
    19. Water Gun Fight– Let your kids have some fun with squirt guns.
    20. Make a bird feeder– Take an empty toilet paper roll, spread peanut butter on it, and then roll it in some bird seed. Tie a string around it and you have a bird feeder.
    21. Make a bird house– Have some scrap wood laying around? Teach your kids how to make a bird house out of it.
    22. Sidewalk Chalk– Let your kids color on the driveway with chalk.
    23. Hopscotch– Teach your kids how to play hopscotch.
    24. Camp Out– Camp out in the backyard. It still gives your kids the “camping experience” without the expense.
    25. Beach Day– If you live near a beach, pack a picnic lunch and go to the beach for the day.
    26. Puppy Love– Volunteer at an animal shelter to help walk the dogs, feed them, and spend time with them. {I shamelessly stole this idea from Stacy’s new book Six Dollar Family: From Six Dollars to Six Figures.}
    27. Movie Night– Use a free rental code at Redbox to rent a family movie and let your kids invite a friend over for popcorn, and a movie.
    28. Homemade Ice Cream– If you have an ice cream maker, make some homemade ice cream with the kids.
    29. Night Under the Stars– Lay out under the stars with your kids and see how many constellations you can find.

  1. Museum– If you have a museum in your city, take your kids for the day. It’s usually fairly inexpensive or check to see if you can get a free pass.
  2. Play in the Dirt– Let your kids get dirty and play in the dirt. You may can even talk them into pulling a few weeds up for you in the flower beds. 😉
  3. Make Bubbles– Have some extra dish soap laying around? Take it outside, mix it with some water, and let your kids play with the bubbles.
  4. Dress Up– Rainy Summer afternoons have your kids bouncing off the walls?? Let them play dress up.
  5. Farmer’s Market– Take your kids to the Farmer’s Market and let them help pick out fresh fruits and vegetables for meals. {Check Local Harvest to find a farmers market in your area.}
  6. Story Time– Check with your local library or book store to see when they have story time and take your kids.
  7. Take a Free Class– If you have older kids who are wanting to learn how to cook, sew, or something else, sign them up for a free online class. Crafty offers many different classes.
  8. Get Crafty-Let your kids color, paint, and make things.
  9. Games– Get the board games out and let the kids play.
  10. Friends– Let the kids invite a friend or two over. It’s a free/cheap way for them to entertain themselves without bouncing off the walls.
  11. Bake Cookies– Bake cookies with your kids.
  12. Ball– Let your kids play ball outside. They can play soccer, kick ball, or whatever game they can make up.
  13. Extra Chores– Have your kids work on some “extra chores” for some extra spending money.
  14. Volunteer– Look for opportunities to volunteer as a family at a church, shelter, or food bank. Check Volunteer Match to find opportunities near you.
  15. Pick Fresh Vegetables– If you have a garden, have your kids help pick the vegetables when they are ready.
  16. Play in the Rain– When a nice rain shower comes through (with no thunder or lightening), go splash in puddles and play in the rain.
  17. Plant Seeds– Take leftover (and rinsed out) cans or jars, add a little soil, and let your kids plant seeds.
  18. Catch Bugs or Butterflies– You can pick up a “bug catching kit” or a butterfly net for fairly cheap at a Dollar Store. Most kids love the challenge of trying to “catch” a bug or butterfly.
  19. Take Pictures– Purchase a cheap disposable camera and let your kids take pictures throughout the Summer. It’s always fun to see the pictures once they are developed.
  20. Free National Park Days– Go to national parks for free on certain days.
  21. Practice– If your kid is wanting to try out for a sport, help them practice for it.
  22. Go to Free Local Events– Many cities will have free events throughout the summer. Check bulletin boards at local parks, civic clubs, and churches to see events listed.


Megan is a frugal, couponing, stay-at-home mom to two girls {ages 5 and 2}. She enjoys finding deals, and breaking it down to small, easy-to-do scenarios to help others learn to save money.  You can find her at Frugal Finds During Naptime where she posts deals, her trips to the grocery store, and writes about lessons she has learned as a mom.

Say YES to our emails! Score great financial tips, frugal living tricks, good food and more right to your email!


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Stacy Barr

Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family . By the age of 30, she had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Her book, also called Six Dollar Family, has sold more than 7,000 copies since its release.

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