If you’re looking for free or cheap summer fun for kids that doesn’t involve Fortnite, you’ve come to the right place! Planning cheap and free summer activities will allow you to have a little more wiggle room in your budget for all those extra snacks the kids are eating while they’re home from school!
Vacations are fun (we love to travel!), the movies are fun, but the expenses add up fast – especially if you have more than one kiddo. Then when they turn into teenagers, they’d rather you hand them a $20 and let them run out the door… but we only get 18 summers together before they’re “grown”, so I like to spend them together.
Free & Cheap Summer Fun for Kids
Bowling Thanks to kidsbowlfree.com, you can enjoy free bowling all summer!
Free National Park Days There are four free days thanks to the National Park Service: September 22 is the only day during the summer. Check their website for the others. Free days make the parks accessible for everyone, which is awesome because some of the parks get expensive.
Build something. Lowe’s offers Build and Grow days, and Home Depot offers DIY Workshops for kids. These are always lots of fun, and the supplies are included so you don’t have to worry about spending an arm and a leg.
Visit a farmer’s market. If you don’t regularly go to the farmer’s market, the kids will probably think this is a great treat. Find a local farmer’s market and bring a few paper bags (or a basket) so you can fill them up. Some markets have handmade goods like soaps and crafts, as well as produce. Nothing tastes better than fresh!
Nature walks. Get outside, breathe in some fresh air, enjoy nature. If you live in an area where summer is hot as Hades, consider waiting until the evening when it cools down, or bringing the nature indoors. You can do this in many ways, like creating leaf rubbings or doing a scavenger hunt for rocks, acorns, and other small items from outside. Pinterest has tons of ideas for indoor nature activities, too!
See a movie. Harkins offers $1 movies in the summer, and many other theaters offer similar deals: Regal, Cinemark, and Marquee Cinemas. The movies are usually older, but I’m sure my kids aren’t the only ones who watch the same movie 1,000 times.
Museums. Admission to museums can add up, fast, but there are ways to cut that cost substantially. Some museums offer free days year round, while others offer certain free days during the summer. Check your local museums for details. Bank of America offers free admission for cardholders to museums that participate in their programs. Guests are not free, so check to see if kids are free or how much admission is before showing up and being surprised.
Sometimes it’s just too darn hot to go outside, but there’s only so many ways to build a pillow fort before you start hearing how bored everyone is. Here are some great free and cheap indoor summer activities for kids that don’t involve video games. Sit back, sip a moonshine cocktail, and enjoy the peace and quiet (ha!).
Sensory play things. Playdough, slime, and sand, oh my! Try these aqua sand, glitter slime, and playdough recipes to keep the kiddos busy for a while. You can also have tons of fun with sensory bins and I spy bags and bottles.
Rock painting. Once a huge craze, rock painting (and hiding) seems to chill out a little bit in the summer… probably because of the heat. If you’re fortunate enough to have amazing weather where you live, now is the time to go out looking for awesomely painted rocks! Join a local Facebook group if you aren’t sure where to look. Many folks will paint rocks, put them out around town, and take pictures of where they are so you can find them. This seems like a great way to get started with rock painting. You don’t have to hide the rocks after you paint them, you can just paint them and decorate the house. Because who doesn’t want more random painted artifacts sitting around the house? But of course.
Whether you’re heading to the beach, the farmer’s market, or staying in to make another batch of slime, remember summer is all about spending quality time together. I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!
Love these ideas for free and cheap summer fun for kids? Pin the image below to share with family and friends.