101 Free (or Low Cost) Things to Do with Kids this Summer

Not sure what to do with the kids this Summer? Are you putting together a Summer bucket list? Need some fun activity ideas to do with the kids that are free or low cost? Here’s a list of over 100 FREE or cheap activity ideas to help inspire you to make the most of your time with the kids this Summer without breaking the bank. Here’s to a Summer filled with laughter, fun, and great memories! If you need a more shortened, condensed version of this, you may want to check out our list of 20 Must-Do Favorite Activities for Summer.

101 Free (or Low Cost) Things To Do with Kids this Summer

Places to Go

1. Attend an outdoor Summer concert.

2. Go see an outdoor Summer movie.

3. Visit a new park or playground.

4. Visit a farm.

5. Tour the firehouse.

6. Go to the beach. (Here are 10 Fun-Filled Play Ideas for the Beach.)

7. Visit a botanical garden.

8. Visit a museum on a Target Free Day. (Find free or reduced priced community events near you.)

9. Go Bowling (kids bowl free).

10. Go on a photo walk and take pictures with a disposable camera. Later, create a scrapbook w/ the photos.

11. Free crafts at AC Moore. (More info here.)

12. Free Kids Workshop at Home Depot. (More info here.)

13. Visit the Library and borrow a movie for at-home movie night.

14. Feed the fish at a fish hatchery.

15. Splash Pad.

16. Visit a wildlife preserve.

17. Visit an aquarium.

18. Visit the zoo (check your local library for free passes that may be available on loan).

19. Visit a cavern.

20. Attend a minor league baseball game.

21. IKEA (Kids Eat Free every Tuesday 11am-close. Free coffee & tea for IKEA Family members. More info here.)

22. See the fireworks.

23. Free story time at the bookstore or library.

24. Join the library’s Summer reading program.

25. Visit a fountain. Bring a roll of quarters and make several wishes!

26. Swim in a lake.

27. Catch (and release) crayfish in a creek.

28. Mini golf.

29. Weekend with the grandparents or other family member(s).

30. Try on pairs of sunglasses at the dollar store. Take several glamour shots.


Things to Do (Outdoors)

31. Paint landscapes on canvas at the park.

32. Backyard camp out.

33. Grow a dinosaur or fairy garden.

34. Read at least 10 chapter books.

35. Teach the kids how to play chess.

36. Watch a meteor shower.

37. Breakfast picnic.

38. Go on a nature hike.

39. Tie Dye T-shirts.

40. Catch (and release) fireflies.

41. Go for a bike ride.

42. Find a four leaf clover.

43. Play flashlight tag.

44. Living room dance party.

45. Chase butterflies.

46. Watch the sunrise.

47. Build a sandcastle.

48. Finger paint.

49. Learn to juggle.

50. Plant sunflowers.

51. Life-size portraits with sidewalk chalk.

52. Learn a campfire song.

53. Play sand bakery.

54. Potion lab.

55. Pool noodle hockey. (See 7 Creative Uses for Pool Noodles.)

56. Bird watching.

57. Sidewalk chalk roads for bikes.

58. Watermelon seed spitting contest.

59. Roller skating.

60. Pick your own fruit.

61. Music and glow stick dance party under the stars.

62. Chase butterflies.

63. Play frisbee golf.

64. Hide plastic dinos in the sandbox. Go on a “fossil hunt”.

65. Run in the sprinklers.

66. Press flowers to make bookmarks.


Things to Do (Indoors)

67. Make friendship bracelets.

68. Shadow puppets.

69. Sew a picnic quilt made from colorful bandanas.

70. Host a play dough play date with friends.

71. Learn a new art technique.

72. Build a pillow fort.

73. Potato Stamping.

74. Make a time capsule.

75. Living room obstacle course.

76. Build a village with blocks for wooden peg people.

77. Learn 10 new jokes. (See 30 Jokes Your Kids will Love.)

78. Cloud watching.

79. Make a stop motion animation video.

80. Make paper airplanes.

81. Make ice boats.

82. Family game night.

83. Organize a progressive dinner.

84. Start a Summer journal.

85. Draw still life drawings.

86. Coffee filter sun catchers.

87. Germinate fruits and veggies from kitchen scraps.

88. Make patriotic note cards and mail to a soldier.

89. Serenade someone special.


Fun Treats to Make

90. Make s’mores.

91. Make homemade popsicles.

92. Cook an entire meal made with food from the farmer’s market.

93. Homemade lemonade.

94. Make your own jam.

95. Brew sun tea.

96. Make and can your own tomato sauce.

97. Host a make your own frozen yogurt sundae party.

98. Backyard BBQ. (See Fresh Summer BBQ Recipes here.)

99. Make homemade pretzels.

100. Roast hot dogs.

101. Make smoothies.


  1. Great ideas! I might have to print this out for future reference when I’m tearing my hair out from the “mooooooom, I’m bored!” this summer.

  2. What a great list! Thanks!

  3. As the mother of four children I will be relying on this list for the next few months.

  4. I need to print this and go through it with my kids! 101 might be too many, but I would love to let them each pick out some must-do’s for this summer! Thanks for the list!

  5. Great ideas! We are always looking for fun and inexpensive things to do with our boys.

  6. What a great resource!!! Pinned and tweeted. πŸ™‚

  7. wow! now what are you going to post about the rest of the summer?

  8. LOL! Carrie, it does not say you have to do all of them in one summer.

  9. Great list of activities to do this summer! I now have a long list of activities to choose from this summer..Thanks much!!

  10. Making ice boats just got added to our summer to do list – thanks for the great ideas πŸ™‚

    • Yay! Have fun!! They are so easy to make & the kiddos will love them. πŸ™‚

    • Fantastic! They are lots of fun — I especially love how simple they are! πŸ™‚

  11. This is a wonderful resource, thank you for compiling this list. Such fun ideas. I forgot Home Depot has free kids workshops. I bet the kids would like that.

    • I’m not always good at remembering about them either, so I’ve added them to the calendar for the Summer months. Thanks so much for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  12. This is a wonderful list of things to do during the summer! A great reminder to me that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun or make memories with your kids! Love the journal idea. My son can’t write well yet, but he could make a picture journal. Thanks!

  13. Wow – great list! Definitely a good idea to have this page bookmarked in your phone or printed out for quick reference in a pinch! For a nightime outdoor activity, I love this DIY solar lamp idea… http://www.sophie-world.com/blog/diy-solar-lights-you-made-it-i-love-it