25 Creative Summer Fun Ideas for Kids!


Looking for some creative summer fun ideas for kids this summer? Try one of these great ideas! (And be sure to check out these other budget-friendly summer fun ideas, too!)

The following is a guest post by Jen Stocks from The Tangential Classroom:

The school year is finally over. Summer is here — full of longer days, warmer nights, and the chance to have some simple fun for free!

Finally all of the school year expenses come to a brief halt — sports uniforms, fundraising purchases, music lessons, and more. And while it’s easy to spend money in the summertime too, you can totally have a memorable summer without wringing out the last dollar from your wallet.

I decided to put together a creative list of free summer activities. I thought of activities from way back when I was a kid all the way through the things my own kids have enjoyed as they’ve grown up.

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Free Summer Fun Ideas

This list of fun summer activities for weens through teens won’t cost you a dime!

1. Go for a hike at the local nature preserve, bike path, or your own property.

2. Hit the beach for the day with a few towels and a cooler.

3. Take advantage of your free local museums or find out the free days of those with admissions.

4. Discover the perfect book-reading spot–a hammock, a shady tree, a park bench.

5. Throw together a neighborhood summer camp.

6. Pack a picnic. Hit the road or take a walk to the nearest park and enjoy lunch al fresco.

7. Have an outdoor movie night. I’ve done this in a baseball outfield watching the jumbotron, while floating in the pool, and curled up on blankets with a projector and a sheet. No matter how you pull it off, it’s so much fun to take the movies outside!

8. Take a drive. It can be a mystery drive, or it can have a special destination. It can be a left-turn only drive. Or you can let the kids navigate. The trick is to see where the open road leads you.

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9. Camp out. You can hit a state park (or maybe even a National Park!) for a minimal fee, but your backyard will work just perfectly for free camping. Set up the tent and make a night of it. Don’t forget the s’mores!

10. Grab some paint chip cards at the local hardware store and go on a color scavenger hunt.

11. Build something! A playhouse. A birdhouse. A catapult. It can be as elaborate or simple, as planned, or as spontaneous as you want!

12. Whip up some summer deliciousness. Make some real lemonade with lemons and sugar, or throw sausages on the grill. Or taste test veggies from the garden — maybe popping sweet tomatoes in your mouth on the spot!

13. Bird watch. Older kids may or may not outgrow the interest, but I don’t know many little kids who don’t like finding beautiful flying creatures in their own yard.

14. Build a fire and cook camp-style. We love pudgie-pie irons. You can make all sorts of pizzas, sandwiches, and desserts with them. It’s so much fun! Or you can wrap pieces of beef and veggies in foil for Silver Treasures.

15. Learn all about fireflies. Read The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle, find out what makes those beauties glow, and enjoy the summer show.

16. Hit the local library. It’s a destination in itself, and if you bring home an armful of books, score! Plus, most libraries offer great summer reading programs with events and prizes for reading.

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17. Try homemade popsicles. Back in the day, we just poured juices into ice cube trays with toothpicks. Ahhh, ingenuity.

18. Have a neighborhood parade — either for a special event or just because! You can do holiday-themed parades, birthday parades, or whatever you come up with. Kids can decorate their bikes, trikes, and strollers with streamers, foil, cardboard stars, and more. Top it off with fun food and drinks!

19. Play outside games like Tag, Hide and Seek, or my personal favorite, Sardines.

20. Go see the cousins. Or Grandma. Take a few days and visit. It’s like a little mini-vacation but free (but pitch in with a meal and some tidying or something to say thank you!)

21. Take indoor toys outside. Lincoln Logs are really pioneer-y when they’re surrounded by grass and trees.

22. Find out what’s free in the area. Our town has at least two different weekly concerts in the park, occasional outdoor movies, and a splashpad — all free for the taking.

23. Go for a bike ride. A great way to get some fresh air as a family!

24. Check with your local movie theaters. They often offer weekly family matinees in the summer, which, although they aren’t free, are usually only around a buck or two per person.

25. Check out free classes. Most nature centers, museums, park districts, and even places like Home Depot and JCPenney offer free or reduced classes in the summer.

Bonus Idea: Walk with a toddler. If you want to experience the essence of summer driftlessness, let a toddler set the pace and route of a summer’s walk. You will find untold treasures that must be examined at length as you let go of the briskness of the other seasons and just soak up summer.

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More Summer Ideas:

Jen Stocks blogs and consults at The Tangential Classroom, collaborating with families on their homeschool journey. Born out of twenty years of homeschooling, both the blog and consulting service focus on eclectic curriculum, interest-driven study, and creating learning opportunities that are organic, successful, and happening every moment. Reach out and join the conversation!

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