10 Cheap and Fun Summer Activities for the Whole Family

At long last, summer has arrived and school is out (or nearly out) in most parts of the country! Although kids and adults both tend to look forward to summer, it may not be long before parents will hear the familiar complaints of, “I’m so bored!”  The task of entertaining children is not always an easy one, especially if you have children of different ages, and it can be made even harder if you are trying to entertain your family while sticking to a strict budget.

Saving money in Summer while still trying to entertain can be a difficult task for many. You probably won’t be jumping down to Disney to enjoy their theme park if you’re on a tight budget. That form of entertainment is out of reach for many (or even a lack of desire). The good news is there are things you can do on a regular basis to have fun with the entire family while still keeping your money on budget.

To give you a helping hand, here are 10 cheap summer activities for the whole family.

Have a Water Fight

Nothing says summer like water activities when the weather heats up. Snag a few squirt guns from the dollar store, or maybe water balloons if you like that idea better. Divide up into teams and go crazy! Invite friends and neighbors if you want, so you can have more people on each team for an epic water fight!

Host a Movie Marathon at Home

When the weather refuses to cooperate, have a rainy day movie marathon. Pick a series, such as Harry Potter, or The Hunger Games, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Then, gather some snacks and drinks and settle down together to watch.

If you already use Amazon Prime, you can just rent a few movies for cheap ($4.99 in many cases) and enjoy those while at home. There are also a ton of free movies you could watch. If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, here is a free, 30-day trial.

Plant a Garden

If you have the space, pick up a couple of packages of seeds – make sure they are for foods your family will actually eat – and plan a garden. If you want to do it the cheap way, seeds are the way to go, but it may be a little late to start that way this year if you haven’t already gotten your seeds planted. Seeds work best when started indoors during the spring before transplanting the plants to your garden in the summer.

A garden is a great learning activity for kids to see just where their food comes from as you prepare the soil, mark off your area, and grab your helpers. Plus it’s a good way to get fresh air and exercise too.

Have a Picnic

A picnic is a classic summer activity, and it’s especially fun after a day of playing in the park or another outdoor activity. Just pack some food ahead of time and be mindful of anything that must stay cool so it doesn’t spoil – an evening spent in the emergency room would certainly ruin the memory of a day of fun. Picnics make meals feel special even if the food itself is something simple.

Visit a Museum

Another great opportunity for children and adults to learn while having fun, and staying cool, is to visit a museum. There are always interesting things to see about a nearly limitless variety of topics. Many museums will offer cheap or free admission days several times throughout the summer, or at least offer a discount for children or students to make this activity more budget-friendly.

Make Homemade Ice Cream

There are lots of recipes on the internet for homemade ice cream. Some don’t even require an ice cream maker, so you can’t use that as an excuse for skipping over this activity. In addition, the various recipes require many different ingredients to make different flavor combinations, so you’re sure to find one that you and your family will enjoy.

Need an ice cream maker? Check these out!

Go Roller Skating

Look for a roller rink in your area and strap on some wheels. It’s a great way to get a little exercise and have fun together at the same time. Plus, indoor roller rinks are usually air conditioned so you can stay cool.

Make Crafts

Making crafts with kids is a great way to spend some of your time this summer. To save money, make it a requirement to use recycled items from home, such as toilet paper tubes, popsicle sticks, glue, tissue paper, glitter, etc. to make some kind of useful or pretty craft.

Play Frisbee

Take your old Frisbee off the shelf, or pick up a new one at a discount store, and head for wide open spaces with your family. Do you have a dog? If so, bring him along to join in the fun.

Attend a Matinee

One of my favorite ways to stay cool in the summer is to go to the movies, but it can get expensive quickly! Luckily, my community has summer matinee movies that are free for kids to attend and snacks and drinks are just $1 each. The movies are older, but they are still fun to see on a big screen.

There are many cities now doing movies shown out at a park or museum during the summer. Check your city or town’s website to see if you can find anything. These are relatively cheap and you can enjoy a movie under the stars.

Coming up with summer activities doesn’t have to blow your budget. If you put your mind to it, you’ll find there are lots of cheap summer activities for the whole family to choose from.


Do you have any other ideas for cheap summer activities?

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One Comment

  1. Great ideas! I love going to picnics in the summer. It’s so much fun eating good food and talking to good friends. I have tried to plant a garden a couple of times but haven’t been successful yet. =(