13 Low-Cost or Free Summer Activities for Your Kids

There’s no need to break the bank this summer on entertainment – the key is being prepared and planning ahead. We’ve put together ten fun activities for even the littlest camper. All these activities should be free as long as you have a few staples like food coloring, bread, kids’ snacks, etc. Head into summer with this arsenal, and have fun before the school starts!

1. Visit your town’s free attractions

Smaller, less popular museums or attractions may seem cheesy to you, but they’re magic to kids who have never seen them. An added plus is they often have much smaller admission fees than the most popular museums and zoos.

town attraction

2. Take a field trip to a nearby town

Check with convention and visitors bureaus for information about special summer events and deals, as well as free attractions. “They know of only festivals the locals will know about,” says Jody Halsted, an Iowa mother of two daughters who writes the FamilyRambling.com blog.

Field trips

3. Share a hobby or craft

Do you sew, scrapbook, collect coins or do genealogy? Share that skill with your child or grandchild. If the child has expressed interest in a topic you haven’t mastered, do the research and create projects together.


4. Go to a free concert in the park

Cities and towns nationwide put on free concerts in parks in the summer. That’s a great way to introduce kids to music and live performance without having to worry about whether they’ll squirm in their seats.

free concert

5. Let the kids help you cook

Not only does this sharpen math skills with school out, but also kids are more likely to eat healthy meals they help prepare. Plus, they’ll thank you later. How many young adults do you know who can’t cook and complain that their parents never taught them?

Family Cooking

6. Go bowling

Bowling lanes nationwide offer free bowling for kids in summer, though required shoe rental is usually extra. Most participating lanes permit two free games daily for registered families, but bowling times and other rules can vary. Hundreds of lanes across the country participate in the Kids Bowl Free program. Check with your local lanes to see if they’re part of either program.

Kids Bowling

7. Go fishing

Fishing can be such a relaxing pastime. Head out to your favorite lake or river and spend some quality time with your family. See who can catch the biggest fish… or the oldest boot and post your adventures on https://www.reelchase.com/ for all to see.

go fishing

8. Go stargazing

Looking up at the stars on a clear night is beautiful and fascinating, especially if you’ve got a telescope in tow. See how many constellations you can find or how many different shapes you can find out there in the universe.


9. Plant a Garden

Growing a garden with your kids is a great way to get them to learn to nurture something from seed to bloom. There is no better feeling than seeing your hard work pay off with a beautiful flower or a delicious vegetable. Get your kids involved by letting them pick out their favorites and helping you out as much as they can.

kids plant a garden

10. Camp in your own backyard

Grab the marshmallows and sleeping bags and have a fun camping trip in your own backyard. This is also a great option for younger kids who might not be ready to spend a night in the woods.

backyard camping

11. Catch a butterfly

Butterflies are beautiful, delicate and mysterious creatures that fascinate children. If you’re lucky enough to find one, get your child to chase it, but make sure to let it go after you’ve taken a souvenir photo.

Butterfly catching

12. Go to the farmers market

Farmers’ markets are a great way to get out into your community and support local products. Have your kids help choose the produce you’ll use for dinner that night or try new foods by the way they look or smell. It’s much more exciting than the grocery store.

taking kids to farmers market

13. Run through the sprinkler

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