summer fun at little cost

Five children looking down into the camera screaming

80+ Inexpensive or Free Summer Activities for Kids

by Crystal on May 22, 2011

I recently asked my readers to share a  solution or resource they would like me to help them find. My friend Kim left a comment stating she needs a list of fun and inexpensive things to do this summer… so, I came up with a list. Since the list is so long, I broke it up into easy categories. If there is a link included for one of the activities, click-through because it is a tutorial to show you how to do it. There are over 80 mommy solutions here! Enjoy!


  1. Go to the library once a week. Check out books, join story time, see if there is a reading club you can participate in.
  2. Go camping. Front yard, back yard, in the living room, or make it a weekend trip in another town.
  3. Go to your local recreation center in your city and see what activities or classes they offer for super cheap!
  4. Go to the park.  Hello, that is hours of free entertainment. And at my favorite park, they have trails that we all love to walk after playing at the playground.
  5. Going on a road trip? Check out these road trip free printables for little ones.
  6. Go on a worm hunt.
  7. Go fishing.
  8. Go on a factory/plant tour.
  9. Go to Vacation Bible School (VBS).
  10. Go to your local home supply store or craft store and see if they are offering any free children’s clinics this summer.
  11. Go walk at the mall.
  12. Go to the lake-  swim or fish.
  13. Go to the local sno cone stand.


  1. Make your own kite. Here are 27 different kites you can make.
  2. Make things out of cardboard.  Check out this awesome idea- filled- post on  cardboard creativity 101. Then, hop over and check out Tip Junkie’s list of  32 things you can make with cardboard.
  3. Make your own slime using this recipe, which glows in the dark!
  4. Make homemade play dough.
  5. Make goop.
  6. Make S’Mores- go traditional or make these Owl S’Mores. So cute!
  7. Make homemade marshmallows.
  8. Make soap on a rope.
  9. Make these bird treats and hang them in a tree near a window so you can watch the birds enjoy.
  10. Make bathtub puff paint.
  11. Bake these Mommy Cookies together.
  12. Make this cherry cake recipe together.
  13. Make an obsticle course (or hold an olympics)  in your backyard. So fun! You can make first place, second place, third place ribbons using construction paper and yarn.
  14. Make a sensory tub. Great for toddlers and preschoolers.
  15. Make a time capsule.
  16. Make homemade ice cream. Here is a list of tips as well as five recipes you can make!
  17. Make homemade bubbles.
  18. Make  liquid sidewalk chalk and then have a creativity contest.
  19. Make a pet rock.
  20. Make homemade finger paint.
  21. Make your own felt play mat.
  22. Make a busy tray. Super smart and practical.
  23. Re-purpose broken crayons into your favorite mold shape and print some free color sheets.
  24. Make a lemonade stand.
  25. Make homemade pizza together. Here is a list of ways to make pizza un-boring.
  26. Make your own board game.
  27. Make sock puppets and have a sock puppet play.
  28. Make finger puppets. Here is a free download.
  29. Make your own stick horse.
  30. Make homemade popsicle. Here is a great list of popsicle recipes.
  31. Make something origami. Here is a site with a bunch of  kid friendly origami ideas.
  32. Make an assortment of muffins together. Here are 28 muffin recipes you can indulge in.
  33. For your little toddler guys who want to be crafty, make ice paint. Pretty cool


Check out this link for all of the ways to make these activities/recipes.



3 Comments on "summer fun at little cost"

  1. ST AMOUR4 says:

    Thank you!  There are some great ideas and some that we have altered to use in our summer adventure program my husband and I are doing!  I’m so excited!

  2. The “Make List” is wonderful!  Thank you for sharing the ideas :)   I’ll work on putting together a sensory tub for our toddler.

  3. Howdy just wanted to give yoou a quick heads up
    and let you know a few off the images aren’t
    loadinng properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it inn two different browsers and
    both show the same outcome.

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