Wonderful Low Cost Summer Activities for Kids and Families

Parenting, Personal Finance June 11, 2009|Print
Kids from behind with fountain in front

Here are a number of wonderful low cost summer activities for kids and families that help families keep their hard-earned money in their pockets.

With each of these ideas, you might fashion “what to do” boxes. Create two boxes - one for "outside" and one for "indoors" - containing index cards with activities written on them. Rotate who in the family gets to pick the card for that day. This is a great way to avoid activities that cost a lot of cash and a fun way to create a family plan.

Low or no cost outings and activities are something consider for your own kids or a group of friends getting together that will create fun and memories without heating up your wallet or credit card bills:

  • Visit a farm, pet store or the animal shelter
  • Visit a fire station
  • Have cooking lessons at home (bake bread, make homemade ice cream, grandma's cookies)
  • Visit a pizza store (they’ll sometimes let the kids make one for little or nothing)
  • Visit a television station, radio station, or newspaper facility
  • Visit the Department of Conservation’s nature centers and enjoy educational exhibits
  • Learn to knit or do needlework
  • Get a giant piece of paper and colored pencils and draw your dream house interior view with all the details
  • Participate in free summer reading programs and story times offered by many local libraries
  • Visit zoos and museums that have free or reduced rates for kids on special days
  • Have paper airplane or paper boat races or try making and flying your own kites (books at the library have the instructions)
  • Put on a theatrical performance, a puppet show or a talent contest
  • Write and illustrate a story
  • Plant a small garden or container garden and watch it grow
  • Have sack, peanut or egg races
  • Plan a picnic as an activity
  • Hold a bring-a-dish block party
  • Rent a movie and have special "movie night" snacks
  • Take your kids on a tour of family history and photos
  • Search garage sales as family fun and walk away with a few really good deals
  • Play board games on rainy days
  • Go swimming at the local lake, pond or pool (you can ask for a one day guest pass at a local YMCA to check out the facilities)
  • Visit Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Bible Clubs, Kids Camps, Day Camps
  • Walk, hike, and enjoy nature
  • Go camping in the backyard


And last but certainly not least... make your own bubble solutions and spend hours dipping bubbles!!!


Kids from behind with fountain in front

Do-It-Yourself Bubble Solution:

  • 1 tbsp Glycerine
  • 2 tbsp Dish Soap
  • 9 oz water
  • Mix it all up (the glycerin added to the mixture is key)
  • Pour it into small plastic bottles or a pie pan, grab your favorite wand and enjoy big beautiful bubbles.


Wishing you a very busy, rarely bored and not too costly summer!

This article is adapted from one written by Megan O’Neil-Haight, The University of Maryland Extension, and originally published in Delmarva Youth Magazine, July/August 2006.