101 Ideas for FREE Summer Fun!

101 FREE (or Cheap) Things to Do with the Kids this Summer!

Summer is the best! It’s beautiful. The pools are open. And I don’t have to get the kids up early for school anymore. (That’s my favorite part.) But eventually, the kids get a little restless and want to do something fun. This can be tricky if you are on a budget so here is an epic list of 101 free or cheap activities you can do with your kids this summer.

101 Ideas for FREE Summer Fun!

  1. Play flashlight tag.
  2. Catch fireflies.
  3. Teach the kids to bake some cookies from scratch.
  4. Do a fun science experiment with stuff you already have. Use this app for ideas and instructions.
  5. Go for a hike.
  6. Go for a bike ride.
  7. Print free coloring sheets at Crayola.
  8. Do the Scholastic summer reading challenge.
  9. Do the Barnes and Noble summer reading challenge to earn a free book.
  10. Do the Half Priced Books summer reading challenge to earn a free $5 gift card.
  11. Sign your kids up for Apple Camp which is a free technology class at the Apple Store.
  12. Take the kids to a $1 movie at Regal Cinemas or Cinemark.
  13. Do a free kids project at the Home Depot.
  14. Do a free mini-build at the Lego store. Get their calendar here.
  15. Go on a free factory tour.  See the list of local factories in your area.
  16. Find a bowling alley where kids bowl for free. Check here.
  17. Go to a free Splash Pad Park in your area.
  18. Do an art project at Michaels for $2 a kid. Click here for the schedule.
  19. All 4th graders and their families can get into a National Park free on August 31st.
  20. Play at the McDonald’s Playplace and get $1 ice cream cones.
  21. Go geocaching.
  22. Kids can roller skate free at participating locations.
  23. Get a free ticket to a museum if you have a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch account.
  24. Enjoy free family activities at the Bass Pro shop. See their schedule here.
  25. Use Volunteer Match to find a volunteer opportunity for your family.
  26. Do a drawing contest on your driveway with sidewalk chalk.
  27. Play disc golf. Some disc golf courses are free. See directory here.
  28. Go to a free YouthSpark program at Microsoft stores and learn to code, design images, and play apps.
  29. Visit a park or playground.
  30. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.
  31. Visit your state capital.
  32. Collect seashells at the beach.
  33. Look for animal sightings at a free park.
  34. Print out the REI family adventure journal for the kids to fill out.
  35. Go to a local farmer’s market. Find one near you.
  36. Find a restaurant where kids eat free.
  37. Take the kids fishing.
  38. Find cheap tickets to a minor league baseball game.
  39. Go to a petting zoo in your area.
  40. Explore a Wildlife Refuge in your area.
  41. Go to a free concert in the park or movie in the park. Check your town website to see if there is one where you live.
  42. Visit the library.
  43. Have a water balloon fight
  44. Play hide and seek.
  45. Make a blanket fort.
  46. Camp in the backyard.
  47. Make a campfire and have S’mores.
  48. Plant a garden.
  49. Teach your kids how to make homemade smoothies.
  50. Learn a new board game.
  51. Clean out the kids’ closet and donate to a thrift store. (Save your donation receipt for a tax write-off.)
  52. Find some tourist destinations in your local area that you haven’t visited.
  53. Bake cookies for the local firefighters or for a nursing home.
  54. Play jump rope.
  55. Make hopscotch with sidewalk chalk.
  56. Have a bubble blowing day.
  57. Do a lemonade stand.
  58. Discover star gazing evening. Use the Skyview app for reference.
  59. Make silly videos with your kids on your cell phone and send them to relatives.
  60. Set up a play date with kids from school.
  61. Set up a play water station in the back yard with buckets and Tupperware.
  62. Play dress up.
  63. Do a yard sale.
  64. Have your kids find all the coins around the house, in the couch, and in the car. Then go out for an ice cream treat with the money they found.
  65. Host a craft day for your kids and their friends using supplies you already have.
  66. Go birdwatching.
  67. Build giant board games for the backyard from ideas on Pinterest, using materials you already have.
  68. Take a walk along a river and skip a rock.
  69. Go to a farm.
  70. Make paper airplanes and have a flight competition.
  71. Help your kids make a scrapbook.
  72. On days when it is too hot outside, have an indoor movie party.
  73. Have a home spa night.
  74. Set up a toy swap with friends.
  75. Make shadow puppets.
  76. Play soccer in the backyard.
  77. Host a football game in the backyard.
  78. Throw a frisbee at the park.
  79. Make an obstacle course in the backyard.
  80. Make a yarn obstacle course indoors.
  81. Go to a cheap Tuesday morning movie.
  82. Have a Nerf gun war.
  83. Use a giant box to make a play box house or box store.
  84. Let the kids help you wash the car. Use kid-safe soap so they can play too.
  85. Go on a tour of the local fire station.
  86. Use YouTube to learn how to fold origami with your kids.
  87. Help the kids make their own nature journal and start using it.
  88. Run through the sprinkler.
  89. Do a family photo shoot where the kids run the cameras.
  90. Feed ducks at the park.
  91. Bake some food for a family in need.
  92. Make mini pizzas and let the kids do the toppings.
  93. Visit a community garden.
  94. Take a mini road trip.
  95. Watch fireworks.
  96. Eat breakfast for dinner.
  97. Make a water balloon pinata.
  98. Play driveway lawn darts. (draw a target and throw wet sponges at them.)
  99. Have a picnic.
  100. Have a tea party.
  101. Make your own popsicles.
  102. Paint rocks.


Hope you have a blast this summer!

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  • Reply
    kelly light
    July 17, 2017 at 3:17 am

    some great ideas, getting ready to have my first grand child. I will definately use this list.

  • Reply
    shannon fowler
    July 17, 2017 at 3:47 am

    These are great ideas! We live around theme parks, and while those can be extremely fun they are also expensive. Its great to have some other ideas.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    These are awesome ideas!

  • Reply
    Casey Garvey
    July 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Love these ideas!

  • Reply
    Judy Schechter
    July 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    These are all great suggestions! I particularly like the Micheal’s activities ! Thank you for this, I’m pinning it so I can easily access it!

  • Reply
    Teri Moore
    July 18, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Find local fun here in Amory locals paint rocks and hide them in various locations like a city wide scavenger hunt

  • Reply
    Jana S
    July 19, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Great ideas there are so many to do with the kids thank you

  • Reply
    July 20, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I don’t have kids, but I used to love doing things on this list when I was little, like catching fireflies and making blanket forts! Awesome list! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 21, 2017 at 4:43 am

    These are great ideas!

  • Reply
    Mindi Eden
    July 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

    In this time of tech & instant gratification- we should be thinking more about what we did as kids. Thanks for some great ideas!

  • Reply
    July 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I could have used this information years ago. My children are all grown.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    My kids n I n family do all of above!! You have to enjoy your summer and do fun things, make the kids happy!

  • Reply
    Lawrence Giordano
    July 23, 2017 at 2:50 am

    Wonderful ideas! Extremely helpful.

  • Reply
    Austin H.
    July 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Hiking, biking and fishing are super activities that you can do for free. Going to a farm is an awesome idea as well.

  • Reply
    neil califano
    July 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Good ideas.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Those are great ideas. I’m always looking for things to do with my 3 grandchildren.

  • Reply
    August 1, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Great ideas, thanks!

  • Reply
    Nicole Watson
    August 3, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Some great ideas. Thank you for all the tips.

  • Reply
    Kathy bergman
    August 4, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    My daughter isn’t working right and struggling to find things to do with the kids so I sent her this article. Fantastic ideas

  • Reply
    deion jackson
    August 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    that’s great ideas for me and my family

  • Reply
    Kymi A
    August 9, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Wowza what a list of awesome and fun things to do best of all it’s free woohoo! My kiddos will have a blast checking off some of things on this list. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    phyllis owens
    August 11, 2017 at 10:58 am

    great ideas

  • Reply
    August 12, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Great ideas for free fun – Thx 4 sharing!

  • Reply
    Nicolette Groszek
    August 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Great ideas!

  • Reply
    Angela S
    August 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Those are wonderful ideas! We’ve done a lot of them this summer. My boys really enjoy the Home Depot crafts, the library, cheap movies, boardgames, picnics and sports. I forgot about the Michaels crafts until reading your list.

  • Reply
    Kelly@ Taking Back Summers
    August 16, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    The science experiment app is an amazing find! Thank you!! My daughter is constantly creating and inventing and trying to do 100 science projects a day. This will be great to help with that!

  • Reply
    August 20, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Love these ideas! Sometimes there are summer programs put on by the YMCA for kids to get free lunches.

  • Reply
    Margaret Sarsfield
    August 25, 2017 at 1:05 am

    catching fireflies…classic

  • Reply
    S. Snow
    August 25, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Love this!! So many fun ideas!! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Mary Beth Wylie
    August 25, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    These are fantastic ideas! Many I had never even considered so this post is a huge help for me with a preschooler and a tween to keep occupied!

  • Reply
    Jenna Watts
    August 25, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Love quite a bit of these ideas! Took some for my Life List.

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