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20 Fun & {Mostly} Free Summer Activities for Kids

I am declaring this summer the “SUMMER OF ALL THINGS AWESOME” for us this year. It’s the last year before I have a child in full time school (and Raru will be going back part-time) and I they are all old enough now where they will really start forming the memories.

While we really want to have fun, I will admit I don’t want to spend a whole lot of money just to spend time with each each other and have fun. I would love to be able to have “extra fun” more than once a month, which if it wan’t {mostly} free, we may not be able to do.

Good news — there are a lot of ways to have fun this summer with the kids that really are fun, educational and {mostly} free. Turns out, you don’t have to limit the fun to things you have to save up for and there are a large list of ways to have fun for cheap this summer.

Click through for 20 {mostly} free and fun things to do with the kids this summer:


  • Collect and Dry Flowers 1 of 20
    Collect and Dry Flowers
    Take a walk with your kids and be on the lookout for wild flowers. It's fun to collect flowers from all around. You can dry them out by hanging them upside down or press them in a heavy book.
    Photo credit: paramourphotos on Flickr
  • Visit Every Playground in the Area 2 of 20
    Visit Every Playground in the Area
    Go on a park hunt! There may be some hidden gems in your neighborhood as far as parks go. Maybe one has one of those spin-wheel things and another has an epic swirly-slide? Take the time to find them and play at them all!
    Photo credit: hslo on Flickr
  • Collect and Inspect Bugs 3 of 20
    Collect and Inspect Bugs
    Step outside and search and count for as many different types of bugs you can find. Look in the grass, on trees, and under rocks. If your kids are interested in art, have them draw the bugs so when you get back home you can research them.
    Photo credit: goingslo on Flickr
  • Host a Lemonade Stand 4 of 20
    Host a Lemonade Stand
    This is something all kids should do at least once in their lives -- even if it's just for a few hours. Managing a lemonade stand can help them learn money skills, bargaining, and the power of a good sales pitch.
    Photo credit: stevendepolo on Flickr
  • Go on a Picnic 5 of 20
    Go on a Picnic
    Don't just limit it to one, but many! Pick a new food theme each time and have everyone pitch in. Maybe have a picnic at each new playground you find.
    Photo credit: fender5 on Flickr
  • Organize a Treasure Hunt 6 of 20
    Organize a Treasure Hunt
    Create a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt for things you can find around the yard. Your kids will love to spend time making fun maps for each other. Watch the fun explode!
    Photo credit: moosharella on Flickr
  • Have a Paper Airplane Race 7 of 20
    Have a Paper Airplane Race
    There are a few different ways to make a paper airplane and a some may fly better than others because of it. Take an afternoon and learn how to make an airplane, decorate your creations, and then race them!
    Photo credit: dmkr on Flickr
  • Visit the Library 8 of 20
    Visit the Library
    There is so much you can do (for free!) at the library. Many libraries offer story time or reading-incentive activities. Even browsing the different types of books can be lots of fun for your kids!
    Photo credit: /slumadridcampus on Flickr
  • Learn New Jokes 9 of 20
    Learn New Jokes
    Kids love to laugh and love to tell jokes. Maybe when you're at the library, pick out some joke books and spend the afternoon putting on comedy shows for each other.
    Photo credit: photoloni on Flickr
  • Make Playdough 10 of 20
    Make Playdough
    There are many different recipes available on how to make playdough or "goop." Have the kids help make it and then spend hours having fun with it.
    Want a recipe? Find one here
    Photo credit: Carnivore Locavore on Flickr
  • Make Your Own Volcano 11 of 20
    Make Your Own Volcano
    It doesn't take a lot of supplies, and usually they can be found at home. Do it yourself experiments are fun and can be a great lesson without kids realizing they're learning.
    For more DIY science experiments, click here
    Photo credit: ryanrocketship on Flickr
  • Learn a Magic Trick 12 of 20
    Learn a Magic Trick
    Kids love learning secrets and the secret behind magic can be a lot of fun! You don't need much more than a deck of cards and perhaps a how-to book from the library.
    Photo credit: stevendepolo on Flickr
  • Build and Fly a Kite 13 of 20
    Build and Fly a Kite
    Most kites don't cost a lot to make, but you can also take the time to learn to make one yourself and spend the afternoon flying it.
    Photo credit: elsie on Flickr
  • Have a Dance-off 14 of 20
    Have a Dance-off
    There is nothing that is more fun (& free) than blasting music and learning new moves. Your kids can even think about creating their own dance routines.
    Photo credit: mstrniste on Flickr
  • Water Balloon Fight! 15 of 20
    Water Balloon Fight!
    All it takes is a handful of balloons and some water to have a lot of fun. This is something that can be done on more than one summer day and is a great way to cool off.
    Photo credit: littledebbie11 on Flickr
  • Make Your Own Waterslide 16 of 20
    Make Your Own Waterslide
    Nothing says summer fun like a homemade waterslide. You don't need much more than a plastic sheet, a sprinkler, and a nice hill. Hours of fun on a hot day will be had.
    Photo credit: freeloosedirt on Flickr
  • Shadow Puppet Show 17 of 20
    Shadow Puppet Show
    All you need is a dark room, a light source, and some hands and you've got yourself a set-up for a new type of puppet show.
    Photo credit: loop_oh on Flickr
  • Seekout and Bird Watch 18 of 20
    Seekout and Bird Watch
    Nature holds so much opportunity for fun things for our kids to learn. Have your kids draw the birds they see and then do the research to learn what kinds of birds you spotted when you get home.
    Photo credit: born1945 on Flickr
  • Create Chalk Art 19 of 20
    Create Chalk Art
    There are a lot of games and art you can create just using sidewalk chalk and your imagination.
    Want to make your own? Learn how: here
    Photo credit: stevendepolo on Flickr
  • Play in the Rain and Mud 20 of 20
    Play in the Rain and Mud
    There is nothing more kid fun and free than using the rainy weather to create a fun time. Just make sure they hose off before coming back in.
    Photo credit: Flare on Flickr

:: What summer fun are you planning with the kids this summer? ::

Read more from  on Accustomed ChaosUnspoken Grief
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MORE ON BABBLE:

20 crafts and activities to beat summertime boredom
8 (free!) things to do at your local park this summer
Amazing at-home science experiments
The 10 best summer-themed movies for kids
25 things every kids should experience

 

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