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budget family friendly fun summer activities

Summer is the time for making great memories.  As I was making this list, all I had to do was think back to some of the best moments from childhood.

But it’s not just for kids!  The whole family can enjoy these simple activities.  Slow down, turn off the electronics, and have some fun.

Here is a whole new list of family friendly super fun summer activities.  Plus, you can get a printable version of this list that also has 10 bonus activities not listed here!  Oh, my gosh!  It’s so much fun!

Summer Fun Checklist


Summer Fun Checklist

Things to Make:

1.  Create a fairy garden

Simple sticks, leaves, and stones turn into magic when you use them build a little garden for fairies.  You can build fences, bridges, buildings and more.  Let your imagination wander.

Make a fairy garden

2.  Tie-dye t-shirts

This one takes some planning, but it’s super fun.  You’ll be amazed at how differently they all turn out.  Learn how here.

3.  Draw with sidewalk chalk

Draw pictures, play games, let your inner artist free.

4.  Make and fly paper airplanes

You can try different designs, and different types of paper.  Have a contest to see who can fly the farthest, or do the best loop.

5.  Make magic wands

Find the perfect stick, then add beads, feathers, ribbons and more to create your own wand, and then channel your favorite Harry Potter character.

Make a magic wand

6.  Make a mobile of things you find outside

Collect interesting things, like shells, feathers, pretty rocks, and more.  Use string to hang them from sticks and create a mobile.

7.  Do finger painting (outside)

A sunny day is the perfect time to do a fun yet messy craft outside.  You can wash off with the hose when you’re finished.

8.  Make a music video

OK, you can get your electronics out for this one.  Film your family singing along to a favorite song.

9.  Make sling-shots

This is classic fun.  A good y-branch and a piece of elastic and you’re off!

Games to Play

10.  Play croquet

Who says you have to play by the rules.  Freestyle croquet around the yard can be an absolute blast!

11.  Play lawn darts

This one’s for the older kids.  Just be sure to keep them well away from anything that could get broken.

12.  Play frisbee

Toss it back and forth, or play a game of frisbee golf.

Dog with Frisbee


13.  Play horseshoes

You can find horseshoe pits in some parks.  Otherwise, improvise in your own backyard.

14.  Play cornhole

If you’re not familiar with this game, it’s fun for all ages.  Toss bean bags through a hole in a board.  Simple good fun.  Learn more here.

15.  Play hopscotch

While you have the sidewalk chalk out, play a game of hopscotch.

Hopscotch fun summer game

16.  Play tag

Much gleeful screaming will ensue.

17.  Play hide & seek

Find fun places to hid in your yard, around the neighborhood, or in a safe park.

18.  Play sardines

Like hide & seek, but once you find the person who is hiding, you climb into their hiding spot, too.  It gets a bit crowded before the last searcher finally arrives.

Places to Go

19.  Go to an outdoor movie

Many communities host outdoor movies.  Bring your sweaters and blankets and enjoy a little fresh air.

20.  Go to an outdoor concert

Many communities also host free summer concerts.  Relax in the grass, or kids can run around, while you listen to some tunes.

Free outdoor concert

21.  Go swimming

Cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.  You can even use a kiddy pool in the back yard.

22.  Go berry picking

Look for a u-pick place in your area.  Strawberries and blueberries have good summer seasons.

23.  Go to the fair

A summer classic, the fair is a great place for eating strange things, going on rides, seeing animals, and more.

Bumper car summer fun activity

24.  Go for a walk in a park

Many parks have nature trails.  Explore your area for hidden gems.

25.  Go to a farmer’s market

Enjoy fresh produce and local crafts you can pick up an your local market.

Things to Do

26.  Build a sand castle

Make one in a sand box if you don’t live near the beach.

Build a sand castle

27.  Run through a sprinkler

It is amazing how refreshing this can be on a hot summer day.

28.  Have a sleep over

Indoor or outdoor, a sleep is always a summer treat.

29.  Roll down a grassy hill

Do you remember how fun this is?  Just pick a gentle slope without too many rocks.

30.  Open a lemonade stand

An absolute must of childhood.  The first business of many budding entrepreneurs.

Summer lemonade stand for kids

31.  Write your name with sparklers

A Fourth of July must.

32.  Explore tide pools

If you live near the beach, it can be fascinating to see all the different creatures living in tide pools.  If you don’t live near the beach, maybe you can check out the local aquarium.

33.  Apply face paints

Who really needs the fair when you can do your own face paints at home.  Draw rainbows, hearts, stars and more.

34.  Have a bonfire

If it’s allowed in your area, there’s nothing quite like a summer evening by a bonfire.



35.  Blow dandelion seeds

Simple. Basic. Fun.  Just don’t blow them into your neighbor’s flower beds.

36.  Look for four-leaf clovers

If you find one, keep looking in the same area.  It’s a genetic defect that causes the four leaf clover, so there are often several in one area.

37.  Build a bike jump

See who can go highest, or farthest.  All it takes is a board and some creative engineering.

Treats to Eat:

38.  Have a picnic

A blanket in the backyard turns a normal dinner into a picnic.

Budget friendly picnic

39.  Roast marshmallows

While you’re having that bonfire, be sure to have marshmallows handy.  In a pinch, you can also do this with a candle.

40.  Eat a watermelon

’Nuff said.

41.  Eat fresh corn on the cob

Pick this up while you’re at the farmer’s market.  Boil it just long enough to make it hot, and then eat it with butter a salt running down your chin.

42.  Make ice cream sundaes

Or buy a treat from the ice cream truck.

43.  Enjoy a root beer float

A frosty glass and a bendy straw make this treat complete.

Ways to Relax:

44.  Swing in a hammock

One of the most relaxing things you can do.

Dog in hammock

45.  Read an adventure story

Check out a good book from the library.  You can also get audiobooks to listen to stories on the go.

46.  Look at the stars

See if you can identify some constellations.  Or, enjoy the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in the Northern Hemisphere summer.

Star gazing summer activity

Give a Little Back:

47.  Join a volunteer work party

You can help pick up trash, or plant trees, or do some other outdoor activity, either on your own or with a volunteer organization.

48.  Help an elderly neighbor with a project

This can be surprisingly fun.  Clean up a flower bed, do some shopping, or just visit with a glass of iced tea.  Ask what you can do to help.

49.  Leave flowers on a neighbor’s porch

It’s amazing how brightening someone else’s day can also brighten your own.  Leave flowers on the porch, ring the bell, and dash.

Give flowers to a neighbor

50.  Take pet toys to an animal shelter

Most animal shelters require a volunteer commitment if you want to walk, or work with their animals.  But anyone can pick out some toys and drop them off.  Check their websites for a list of particular items they might need.

Summer Fun ChecklistDon’t forget to download a printable copy of this list to get the 10 bonus ideas.  See how many activities you can check off this summer.

And in case you missed it, we listed even more of our favorite free and low-cost summer ideas in the post, Fun and Budget Friendly Summer Activities for the Whole Family.

Did we forget any of your favorites?


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