Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

Summer vacation can be expensive, and as a stay-at-home mom, I notice how quickly things add up over the summer.  With two girls who like to stay busy, we have found some great ways to fill our summers without breaking the bank.


The library is a great resource.  Most libraries have summer reading programs as well as summer programs for kids.  If not, libraries still offer a nice place to hang out, especially on a hot or rainy day.  My kids love going to the library and reading, using the computers, playing in the children’s room, and more.


We recently discovered, which offers free bowling throughout the summer at participating bowling alleys.  You do have to pay the shoe rental fee, but again, this is a great thing to do on a super hot or rainy day.  If your local bowling alleys don’t participate in Kids Bowl Free, there are often other summer promotions for kids.


Regal Cinemas offers $1 movies throughout the summer with their Summer Movie Express.  If you aren’t near a Regal Cinema, check to see if your local theater has summer promotions.  Some theaters show movies that have been out for a while at a deep discount, so that is another option to look into.


My kids love going to our local farm to check out the farm animals and walk around.  I also let them pick out something small from the farm shop, like a cider donut or honey stick.

Shelburne Farms

Nature Center

Nature centers are a great resource and often a great way to get some educational opportunities.  Most will have exhibits to explore, free or low-cost programs, trails, and more.

State Parks / Beaches

State Parks and other natural areas are great places to explore in the summer, usually at low cost or for free.  We have used our parks for hiking, playgrounds, swimming, beaches, and so much more.


Every summer, my kids and I make a goal to visit new playgrounds.  You can find playgrounds at places like town parks, state parks, schools, churches, and more.  My kids get very excited when we set a goal of visiting a new playground every week.


Once in a while, we stock up on some cheap craft supplies.  However, you can find cheap or free craft ideas from library books and the internet.  This might be with upcycled materials, things from nature, and so on.


Sometimes just doing some new cooking projects can be lots of fun.  Make a special dessert or a summer treat.  When we go berry picking, we like to make yummy treats like this easy no-bake fruit tart.


A cheap project you can do over the summer is gardening.  I think the most we spent money on was soil for the garden beds.  My kids have a lot of fun picking out seed packets, which are just a few dollars each.

Town Parks

Town parks often have a variety of things to offer, such as a swimming pool, playground, hiking trails, gardens, tennis courts, and more.


Camping can be fairly cheap, especially in comparison to other overnight trips in hotels.  Plus, there are lots of free activities to do once you are set up camping – hiking, nature activities, and anything else a campground has to offer.


By | 2017-01-25T13:10:29+00:00 August 5th, 2014|Family Fun, Travel|14 Comments

About the Author:

Busy blogger and mom of two girls! We love traveling and the great outdoors, and are always looking for our next adventure!


  1. Kim June 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm - Reply

    I love to camp, but haven’t gone in years. Now that my son is older, it’s all about golfing.

  2. Jennifer Van Huss June 25, 2017 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    This is a great list! My kids have already written some of these on their summer bucket list! We love camping in our backyard! Same experience but if it rains we can easily come inside!

  3. valmg @ Mom Knows It All June 26, 2017 at 2:58 am - Reply

    Kidsbowlfree is a great suggestion because it’s so affordable, you can even buy a pair of shoes and save the rental money. Movies and museums are air conditioned which is a must.

  4. ricci June 26, 2017 at 4:35 am - Reply

    These are all great ideas for cheap summer activities for kids!! I am all about going to the library, it’s great for interaction plus all the books!!

  5. Maurene Cab June 26, 2017 at 5:10 am - Reply

    I agree that we don’t have to spend too much money just to enjoy the summer. Thanks for this tips. I love bringing the kids to the library.

  6. margarette June 26, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Summer is too short for me and my kids. Didn’t do much of outdoor activities. We mostly stayed inside our house.

  7. lily@militaryfamof8 June 26, 2017 at 7:57 am - Reply

    My kids and siblings would love doing some of those summer activities outdoor. I think when I have the chance, I will bring them out.

  8. Danik June 26, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I hope to do a lot of camping in the summer months with my daughter. A great way to bond, have fun and learn at the same time.

  9. TIm B June 26, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    My kids participate in our local library’s summer reading program every year. These are a great activity and I’m surprised more people don’t participate in them. Glad you brought that up in your list.

  10. Eileen | June 26, 2017 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Keeping kids entertained can sure be expensive! These are some great free ideas for keeping kids occupied in the summer

  11. Rebecca Swenor June 26, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    These are all great summer activities that are cheap to do. Camping is a cheap fun activity. Thanks for sharing the ideas.

  12. Debra Hawkins June 27, 2017 at 2:21 am - Reply

    We love the $1 movies in the summer! My kids look forward to it when we do it! We get to see so many fun movies this way!

  13. rika June 27, 2017 at 4:26 am - Reply

    Love the ideas! Summer camps are very expensive. My son is currently attending a summer camp and my daughter is staying with me ; )

  14. tom alex February 7, 2018 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Thankyou for sharing.
    Nice post.
    keep it up

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