Here are 30 things I came up with that won’t break the bank.
- Check out a summer reading program.
- Paint with Bubbles
- Visit your local fire station. Most are very nice and will give the kids a tour and let them climb in one of the trucks!
We like to bake brownies or cookies when we go. The firefighters really appreciate it!
- Make bird feeders. Put them somewhere you can observe them. Have the kids take or draw pictures of the birds they see and then research the kinds of birds you saw.
- Make (pretend) binoculars and go on a nature walk.
- Gather things on your nature walk and make art out of them.
- Make a weekly library trip.
We do this all year, not just in the summer. The library is a great place! Check out several libraries if you have access to them. Large cities often have incredible children’s areas. Even if you can get a library card because you don’t like in the area, you can still spend some time there! (We went on vacation to Chattanooga, TN, in March and it was colder than we had expected so we replaced one of our outdoor plans with an afternoon at their public library! Bug LOVE it!)
- Recycle trash by turning it into art.
- Make tunnels and roads out of boxes and tape.
- Start a garden.
Make it as big or small as you’d like. It could be something simple as a plant in a pot or as big as a corner of your backyard. Plant fruits or vegetables so your efforts pay you back!
- Have a water day!
Make it more than just running through the sprinkler. Plan games and activities. Do “float or sink” activities. Make wet footprints on the sidewalk (see who can make the most!). Have a water balloon fight. Blow bubbles. (a baby pool full of bubble solution and a hula hoop makes awesome bubbles). Make sailboats out of sponges, toothpicks and paper and have a race!
- Find and visit all the historical markers near you.
Take photos and make notes. Create a book about all the history around you.
- Make a point to visit a new park every week!
We have several parks around us but always seem to go to the same one or two. Bug has enjoyed the “adventures” of checking out new parks!
- Plan a glow in the dark night. Using glowsticks and other fun laser lights, play outside in the dark! Or play inside – have dinner, play games – all by the light of glow sticks!
- Have a weekly themed movie night. Pick a movie and plan food, decorations and games to go along with it.
- Check out FREE activities for the kids at places like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Bass Pro Shops.
- Go on a picnic. Get the kids involved in prepping and packing the food. Bonus points for going to a new park to have your picnic! (see #13)
- Play in shaving cream. This is fun to do on water day. (see #11)
- Camp out in your own backyard. Roast marshmallows in the firepit or over the grill.
- Have a dress up ball! Go through old Halloween costumes, dress up costumes or let the kids raid mom and dad’s closet. Have dinner in costume and everyone has to act like the character they are dressed up as! Follow dinner with a dance party!
- Check out obscure and bizarre national holidays and see how many you can celebrate. July is national family golf month (I see putt-putt in our future!). Father-Daughter Take a Walk Day (July 7), National French Fries Day (July 13), National Lollipop Day (July 20), Spiderman Day (August 1), Watermelon Day (August 3), National Chocolate Chip Day (August 4)…and the list goes on!
- Set up a backyard obstacle course play day!
- Check out FREE Bowling for the Kids programs near you.
- Find a church having Vacation Bible School nearby. Those are tons of fun (and it gives you a couple hours to yourself too!)
- Have a sidewalk chalk art show.
- Live on a busy road? Create vehicle bingo game boards and sit on the porch and watch the cars go by. For the game boards, you can print clipart pictures of different vehicles (police car, red car, blue pickup truck, firetruck, garbage truck, etc, etc.) or for older kids, just write in the names.
- Set up a lemonade stand.
- Check out where kids can skate for FREE all summer!
- See what your community offers for free. Some have movies in the park at night. Story times at the library. We have a park that has a splash pad area that’s FREE to get in to. You might be surprised to know there are lots of free community activities around you!
- And, finally, Make sure to take pictures of everything you do so you can make a scrapbook about your summer. Or encourage the kids to keep a journal about their summer activities.