Free or Cheap Summer Fun For Kids

If your kids are home with you during the summer you probably are always searching for something fun to do with the kids.  Finding inexpensive or free activities is not always easy.  If you aren’t careful, you can spend a lot of money each week just trying to keep them entertained.  I’ve compiled a list of my favorite free/cheap things I like to do with the kids to keep us busy during the hot summer days.

1) Play dates. I usually schedule at least one play date a week.  More can be stressful so I stick to one.  The playdate usually involves inviting one school friend over to play for the afternoon or to swim.  I find that adding even one friend to the mix creates a totally different dynamic between my three kids.  They seem to get along beautifully and the kids stay busy. Free!

2) Trip to the library. Browsing through books, playing on the library computers, and the kids corners can give your kids a couple hours of fun time (and some good reading time for you too!).  Your local library probably has story time play or arts and crafts so check their summer schedules.  You can also check with your local Books-a-Million to see if and when they host their weekly story time.  When we go to BAM, I always tell my kids that we are not buying a thing just so I don’t walk out of there $45.o0 worth of books later. Free!

3) Vacation Bible School. This is my favorite of the bunch.  VBSs are not just great experiences for the kids but also cheap! The cost will run you about $5.00-$20.00 per child for the entire week for your typical 9am-12pm program.  I usually only do one a summer but I think this summer we’ll do two.

4) Lemonade stand. You probably won’t do this every week but the kids will really enjoy it.  We make signs on poster board, make a trip to the grocery store to buy the lemons, then we set up shop at the corner of the street.  This usually takes a couple of hours and the kids have a blast.  We did one last week and my daughter made a $7.50! She was beyond ecstatic!! Costs about $5.00-$7.00 per stand for lemons, lemonade mix, and sign.

5) Visit Krispy Kreme. What’s better than a Glazed Hot-n-Ready Donut?  Getting a dozen for free and watching them being made!  We had a quiet day earlier this week and I remembered I had a coupon for free dozen donuts.  We loaded up the care and drove to our nearest Krispy Kreme.  I was not in a rush to get back home so we went in (instead of the drive through) and I was surprised to find that it was like a donut factory/museum! We saw donut making in the works, the kids each received bakers hats, and before I knew it, my kids each ate 3 donuts each (I was obviously in a good mood and not paying attention.

6) Visit a Farmers Market. The farmers market is a great place to buy fresh fruits and veggies, desserts, or enjoy the art of local artists.  You never know what you will find each week.  You can also eat a pretty inexpensive lunch at the market.

7) The gym! Most gyms offer a kids corner that offers a great indoor playground, especially on a rainy day.  If you don’t belong to a local gym, you can usually find great summer deals.  If you already belong to a gym, you can usually add your kids to your membership for about $5.00 a visit. Not a bad deal especially when you consider the time you’ll get to yourself! If you are like me, nothing better than breaking up the day with a stop to the gym!

8) Gardening. Planting seeds, watering your plants, taking care of them- what a great way to teach your kids how to care for something and stay involved outside.  You can also end the gardening with sprinkle time with the hose.

9) Cooking. My kids enjoy helping me cook. Whether its pancake, making pizza, or a grilled cheese sandwich, it’s a great way to get your kids off the couch and in the kitchen. And not surprisingly so, the kids usually find that the food tastes “soooo delicious” when they make it themselves.

10) Fishing. My favorite thing to do  with the kids when the weather is nice.  Once you make the initial investment of buying some poles and tackle, you won’t have to spend much more.  You can use corn, bread, or uncooked chicken for bait.  But if you really want to catch fish, you can purchase enough shrimp bait for a good couple of hours of fishing for about $3.00.

11) Movies. A trip to the movies for a family of our four or five can cost an arm and a leg these days.  Thankfully there are usually some great deals in the summer.  One of our local theaters offers $5.00 movies each Sunday and a free matinée  on an oldie but goodie movie each month.  Check your listings for details.

12) Museums. My kids never get tired of the museums but I’ll admit, I do get tired of going only because we don’t live too  close.  The trip is usually well worth it since museums offer great programs for the kids.  We went to a train exhibit not too long ago and both my boys absolutely loved it.

13) Bowling.  I just found out that one of the bowling alleys here offers a family summer pass for $25.00 for the entire summer.  What??!! Sign.Us.UP!  Even if you don’t find this great deal, you can usually get a deal on family bowling night where kids bowl free.


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56 Responses to “Free or Cheap Summer Fun For Kids”

  1. These are great ideas. Since my children were home with me last summer, I think we’ve tried them all except for fishing and bowling. And the lemonade stand! Maybe we can fit those in this summer. And since our sad little tomato plant had exactly ONE tomato, and it died along with the flowers we planted, I guess we can try gardening again this summer, too!
    Steel Magnolia´s last post: Even I know thatMy ComLuv Profile

  2. @Steel Magnolia,
    yah, i agree with you Steel. Fishing and bowling is my most prefered leisure and i am sure i can do it every week this summer cuz of my vocation this year
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  3. I loved this post! Great ideas. Except for #10. Um…No way!!

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  4. Wow, all wonderful ideas for enjoying the summer with kids. I think no. (8) Gardening, (9) Cooking, (10) Fishing, (11) Movies and (12) Museums will be very pleasing for my kids. I’m very grateful to you for providing these nice tips.
    donna´s last post: How do i win the lottery?My ComLuv Profile

  5. It’s nice to see that my favorite free entertainment (Libraries) is up on #2 on your list. There are also a bunch of other great ideas I am going to add onto mine, thank you!
    Diana´s last post: How to Do Reiki on YouselfMy ComLuv Profile

  6. Love these ideas (and have done about 6 of them already this summer)! In my 10 years of parenting, I have NEVER done a lemonade stand . . . looks like we’ll have to try that one soon. :o)

  7. This can be a great idea for all kids and for all the parents too…Thanks for the idea!!
    Cher Shives´s last post: Forex Trading StrategiesMy ComLuv Profile

  8. Outdoor activities could be more educational and fun for the kids this summer. Lemonade Stand will help your kids know something about buying and selling stuff. Who knows they could become rich by practicing small and fun business games.

    love reading your post. very much appreciated.
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  9. We all want the best for our kids… I think this can be a great idea…
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  10. Summer is one of the best season we always waiting for because of vacation destinations…
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  11. I like them all, except vacation bible school. In its place I will be teaching my four children how to play the euro millions lottery.

  12. You have some really good ideas for cheap summer fun here! I’ve been doing a few of them like cooking and gardening with my kids, but taking them fishing is something I never thought about. Great list!
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  13. our family is in super activity mode since the summer is coming to an end and our daughter will be going to school.I never thought of bowling , so bowling it is this friday.:)
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  14. you have an amazing ideas.. I love the playdate thing.. I love my child to win a friend and when I was a child I love my friends to come over in my house.. the playdate made my child memories so much fun!
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  15. The important thing is you guys agreed to go to a certain place where your children won’t nagged about going to the other one they like. It should be planned between each family member’s suggestion.
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  16. Summer is one of the seasons that kids wait and this is perfect for them!!
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  17. Kids are always having fun especially when summer times and they always love what they are doing…We have to support them and make them happier…
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  18. Your ideas are so great! I like the most is visiting the Krispy Kreme.. I love their Donuts! I really appreciate that you share this to us..
    Mauimi´s last post: Dominos pizza menuMy ComLuv Profile

  19. I like all of your ideas that are elaborated here. I just learn that we should not always spend a lot of money just to enjoy our summer vacation together with our kids. Parents would totally agree with this blog. I would try to follow some of your ideas this coming summer.
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  21. Summer is the most awaited time of all kids. They have more time to play and play and play..Every summer, I send my son to a Vacation Bible School in our church. Thanks for those ideas, very helpful to us parents.
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  22. Great activities! I’ll definitely have a good bonding time with my kids for sure.. can’t wait to try these activities with them. thanks so much for sharing!
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  23. We all know that summer is what most people are waiting for (aside from Christmas)especially the kids…This moment makes them free from school and other activities that they less likely to do…
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  24. I love this post! Great ideas! These are great activities together with my kids. Thanks for sharing.
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  26. Thanks for sharing this video I have thick hair and was told that sulphur would dry my hair out is MSM the same. Tell what you think, I am trying to grow my hair as long as I can. let me know if you can help
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  27. Thanks for sharing this video I have thick hair and was told that sulphur would dry my hair out is MSM the same. Tell what you think, I am trying to grow my hair as long as I can. let me know if you can help
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  28. Great idea. I will apply your idea to x’mas holiday. The main point is, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money to have a happy holiday :-).
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  29. Great Ideas you have posted here. I might try these activities out. Thanks for sharing!
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  30. those are a great ideas…must be really fun activities!
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  31. Wow, thanks for the ideas, I’ll pick a couple of your list and will definitely have fun with my kids :-)
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  32. Great list here!!Anyway, if summer comes, we also have some list to do like going to beach and even just a simple celebration at home…
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  33. I love the content! This is really a fantastic ideas of spending precious moments..
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  34. Thanks for sharing this video. Good idea! and I will apply your idea to x’mas holiday. The main point is, it’s not necessary to invest big money to have a happy holiday.
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  35. Hi…I love the content you have here for us and I hope I can share this too…
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  38. I’m looking for the best place to get a really cheap airline ticket. I want to to visit Eastern Europe this summer and would like tips on where to get access to the best chep flights.

  39. I’m 15, and I really want to go abroad this summer. However, I want to find the cheapest deal. I’d like to volunteer, but anything is fine. Programs like People to People sound good, unfortunately People to People is too expensive for me.

  40. Going to the library is the least of my favorite summer activities, but the kids like it. And i figured they’d learn something from visiting the library too so it has become a yearly event for us

  41. As you say movies can quickly become very expensive but sometimes when it’s so hot outside going to the theater is just like being accepted in Heaven !

  42. I’m 15, and I really want to go abroad this summer. However, I want to find the cheapest deal. I’d like to volunteer, but anything is fine. Programs like People to People sound good, unfortunately People to People is too expensive for me. Can anyone help me find a good, yet relatively cheap summer program to get into?

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