Looking to have fun close to home this summer with activities that are low or no cost? It may take a little planning on your part, but it’s easy to entertain the kids on a low budget with these activities to do in the summer.

Here are 10 kids’ activities that won’t cost a dime (save for perhaps some equipment that is good over and over).

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Activities To Do In The Summer With Kids

girl hula hoop FREE Kids Activities To Do In The Summer
Host Your Own Home Olympic Games

Rally the troops for some good old-fashioned outdoor fun, like an outdoor Olympic event. Host your own backyard version of the Games using household items as props.

Play the crab-walk scramble, water balloon relay, bocce ball, hula hoop endurance, or come up with some family favorites of your own.

Click images to see on Amazon

 Backyard Bocce Set 6 Bunch Of Balloons Standard Hoops, 36-Inch (Pack of 12)

Be creative and have fun. Games like an egg and spoon race can be really fun, yet simple to set up and plan.

When all the fun has been had, crown the winners with paper crowns or homemade medals.

 Mini Crowns First Place Award Certificates

For prizes, let the winner choose what’s for dinner or allow them to skip chores for the night.

Go On A Hike

hiking backpack FREE Kids Activities To Do In The Summer

Help the kids appreciate the wonders of nature by taking them on a hike. Choose a destination that has points of interest such as a waterfall, lake, cave or a breathtaking view to avoid the kids losing interest.

 Mountaintop 40 Liter Backpack Sighting Compass with Pouch Camelbak Chute Water Bottle Paracord Bracelet Hiking Gear

A hike doesn’t have to be far away in the woods, though. You can hike your local downtown area, through your neighborhood or across a large park.

Have a Scavenger Hunt

Keep the kids on point by creating your own kid-friendly scavenger hunt. If on a hike, give the kids a list of items in nature to gather, such as a type of flower, pine cone, etc. Or have a photography scavenger hunt where kids have to take pictures of a variety of items and places.

Set Up a Backyard Water Park

Set up your very own water park in the backyard to cool off on a hot summer day. Put a kiddie pool at the end of a slide, turn on the sprinklers, set up the Slip ‘N Slide and have a water balloon fight. Any option that involves water is on a kids’ list for fun activities to do in the summer so be sure to have that hose ready

 Rocky Mountain River Race Infatable Slide Bouncer Sunny Patch Splash Patrol Sprinkler Water Slide with Splash Lagoon Geyser Blast Sprinkler Kids Water Fun Inflatable Play Center Inflatable Play Center Smiley Giraffe Inflatable Baby Pool Inflatabe Swimming Pool Floats and Games


Help the kids build strong morals through volunteer work. Deliver meals, visit local nursing homes, serve dinner at a homeless shelter or spend time at an animal rescue. These are all activities that help build compassion. Call your local volunteer center for available opportunities.

Visit the Library

It might initially sound like a bore to the kids, but your local public library hosts free events such as art shows, family story time, computer basics classes, puppet shows and reading contests. Check your library’s events page to find an event that’s right for your kids. The library is also a great place to cool off after you’ve had fun with many of the other activities to do in the summer. 

books reading library FREE Kids Activities To Do In The Summer

You can also subscribe to a service like Kindle Unlimited to ensure you always have something new and exciting to read right at your fingertips, or anywhere you may roam. 

Keep Your Kids Learning

Games and puzzles are an endless source of entertainment and knowledge for your kids that allow them to gain online experience in an educational way. They may not even realize they are learning while playing these games.

You can even make your own puzzles suit each child’s level and ability.

 Melissa & Doug Underwater Ocean Floor Puzzle Melissa & Doug Dinosaurs 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles in a Storage Box (48 pcs) SainSmart Jr. Wooden Tetris Puzzle The Everything Kids’ Puzzle Book

Play Board Games

When you’re tired of looking at the computer screen on a rainy day, bust out the Monopoly for a little friendly competition. Make it a family game night that will have everyone laughing all the way past GO!

Here are some of my family’s favorite games to play on game night:

 Trouble Game Exploding Kittens: A Card Game Hasbro The Game of Life Game Guess Who? Board Game

Make A Fort

A blanket fort is the quintessential free kid activity. Take the blankets outside and grab other household items of varying heights as the fort’s foundation. Gather supplies for inside the fort, like a light (or flashlights) and some extra pillows to hang out on. When the fort is built, it would be a fun place to play board games, have a picnic outside, or simply take a nap on a lazy day.

If you are really into fort building, I have some favorite tools that my kids have tested and love. Check out our Top Ten Fort Building Tools!

Cook Together

Spend the day cooking and/or baking with the kids. To keep it a free activity, use only items you have in the pantry and refrigerator as your ingredients, and come up with a unique dish that everyone takes part in preparing. 

Once you are done cooking, enjoy eating a picnic outside and play a game of tag or hide and seek to burn off some energy.

kids cooking baking FREE Kids Activities To Do In The Summer

 Curious Chef 17-Piece Measure & Prep Kit Curious Chef TCC50186 11-Piece Kids’ Chef Kit, Pink/Green Curious Chef 30-Piece Chef Caddy Collection MasterChef Junior Cooking Essentials Set

Want even more summer fun? Check out my selection for the Top Outdoor Toys For Kids!

What fun things do you like to do with your kids in the summer?