Fun Free Summer Activities for kids and families

Do your kids whine at you all summer long? They claim hunger and boredom until you almost (or totally!) wish that school was back in session.


And the worst part is that you had great intentions of making this the summer to beat all summers — the one your kids would remember forever! And yet, regardless of all those great intentions and planning, here you are. Kids whining, mama ticked, everybody hot and sticky and just plain bothered. What happened?


This list could be your salvation.


Thank you to fellow blogging mama’s and experts at keeping kids busy and happy: Gena from Ginger Casa, Carrie from Kenarry: Ideas for the Home, Katelyn from What’s Up Fagans, Kim at Two Kids and a Coupon, Sarah at She Holds Dearly, Lauren at Hillsborough Homesteading, and Andrea at Sharing My Favorites. I appreciate all of your fun suggestions!


Without further ado — I present the list:


  1. DIY backyard splash pad from Ginger Casa
  2. Potluck neighborhood BBQ
  3. Make your own popsicles with these fun popsicle molds. Freeze homemade pudding, or fresh-sliced fruit and juice. Make a bunch and open a popsicle stand.
  4. Outdoor movie night. Get out your projector, hang a white sheet or use a portable movie screen and play your favorite kids movie for the neighbors. Have everyone bring blankets to sit on and treats to share.
  5. Kickball
  6. Backyard obstacle course from Ginger Casa
  7. Night games with the neighborhood from Orison Orchards
  8. Greatest Showman Sing Along
  9. Build the World’s Best DIY Slip and Slide
  10. Neighborhood treasure hunt An amazingly fun way to increase your kids’ physical activity from Ginger Casa
  11. Visit the residents at an assisted living center with homemade drawings to share.
  12. Geocaching A great way to get kids outside, learning and playing. From Ginger Casa
  13. Visit the beach or local park
  14. Plan an epic river trip with suggestions for keeping it safe and fun, along with the essentials you’ll need. From What’s Up Fagans.
  15. Summer activities for kids FREE FUN CHEAPGo swimming
  16. Go fishing or boating
  17. Outdoor Tic Tac Toe Board This project sounds fun to make and fun to use. From Kenarry: Ideas for the Home
  18. Visit a local farmers market
  19. Make a fort out of cardboard or blankets
  20. Spend some time outdoors with this list of 19 Unique Outdoor Activities from Lauren at Hillsborough Homestead
  21. Draw a sidewalk-chalk-city in your driveway, including homes for everyone playing and use bikes and trikes as vehicles to navigate it
  22. Build DIY Terra Cotta Pot Luminaries from Kenarry: Ideas for the Home
  23. Plan a picnic in the park
  24. Hold a D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) camp from Orison Orchards
  25. Serve at a soup kitchen
  26. Scripture-themed Carnival complete with fun activities and snack ideas. This would be fun to plan as a neighborhood. From What’s Up Fagans
  27. Play in the sprinklers or have a water fight.Fun summer activities for kids
  28. Here’s a list of Fun Games Kids Can Play on a Trampoline  created by Two Kids and a Coupon.
  29. Toss around water balloons
  30. Make a fun DIY Bubble Refill Station from Kitchen Fun with My Three Sons
  31. Play Backyard Games. Here is roundup of 10 of the best, curated by Two Kids and a Coupon.
  32. Play a game of soccer
  33. Go on a nature walk
  34. Take your children Yard-Sale-ing from She Holds Dearly
  35. Have a sundae bar
  36. Institute fondue night from Orison Orchards
  37. Go camping in your backyard
  38. Visit the local water park
  39. Plan a neighborhood carwash with big, sudsy sponges
  40. Play mini golf
  41. Go hiking (google waterfall hikes in your area)
  42. Set up a lemonade or cookie stand
  43. Volunteer to visit the elderly while delivering meals with Meals on Wheels
  44.  Build a sandcastle
  45. try 50 Fun Science Experiments for Kids from Mommy Poppins
  46. Explore your neighborhood on Google Earth, then try to draw a map from memory
  47. Have a tree-climbing contest
  48. Visit your local art gallery
  49. Play Twister on the lawn
  50. Make pinecone bird feeders from Mom Life Busy Wife
  51. Swim in the pool
  52. Play lawn bowling
  53. Create a gorgeous painting for your bedroom
  54. Play badminton
  55. Make, play with and eat yummy (fast and easy, too!) edible play dough from Orison Orchards
  56. Have a themed-movie marathon
  57. Sew a basic project like an apron, a pillow case, or this easy 20-minute dress from Orison Orchards
  58. Visit the water slides
  59. Play charades
  60. Have a picnic breakfast at the park
  61. Go camping
  62. Have a fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows
  63. Visit the next town over for a day and act like tourists
  64. Attend an outdoor concert
  65. Plan a scavenger hunt. Here are Ten Fun Scavenger Hunt Ideas from My Kids Adventures
  66. Make a craft from
  67. Have a family board game night
  68. Find a local flea market
  69. Rest and relax
  70. fun summer activities for kidsCook campfire tin foil dinners in your fireplace. From 50 Campfires
  71. Have a tea party
  72. Set up a lemonade stand
  73. Set up a cookie stand
  74. Visit a national park or several (4th graders can get a free National Park Pass)
  75. Take a free kids workshop at Lowe’s or Home Depot
  76. Attend a local baseball game
  77. Play board games as a family
  78. Find a local u-pick and pick fruit or vegetables
  79. Have a family dance party. Here’s a great playlist from Wondermom Wannabee
  80. Stargaze and learn basic astronomy for kids
  81. Take a field trip to your local water treatment plant
  82. Research a country that interests you
  83. Find a round-the-world cookbook and try recipes from different countries
  84. Make homemade ice cream in a baggie from 2 Little Hooligans
  85. Build a lego project
  86. Have a sleepover with your cousins or friends
  87. Learn to skip stones on a pond
  88. Surprise your kids with a Treasure Hunt from My Kids Adventures
  89. Go bird watching
  90. Have a Nerf war
  91. Learn a simple instrument, like the Ukelele with free instruction
  92. Visit your local recreation center
  93. Play Ultimate Frisbee in the park
  94. Pick wildflowers
  95. Make a video of yourself singing and post it to youtube
  96. Plan a Hawaiian luau in your backyard
  97. Dance in the rain (has to be spontaneous) and sing
  98. Build a teepee
  99. Plant a garden
  100. Make a fort with boxes (you can get free huge appliance boxes at home improvement stores)
  101. Hold a Kids Cooking Camp right in your own kitchen with Thirty Handmade Days



And to top it all off, Carrie shares some great ideas for scheduling all the summer fun, with her kids’ help, and the creation of their actual ‘bucket list’ bucket. Check out their Summer Bucket List, with free, helpful printables and more ideas for family summer fun.

I hope you have a wonderful summer full of lots of happy memories and no whining, ha, ha!  Remember that you can enjoy the simple things for free.



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Fun CHEAP easy summer activities for kids






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  1. Such a great list! I can’t wait to use some of these iras for the rest of the summer!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks, Erin! I hope you have fun!

  2. These are great ideas! My daughter loves The Greatest Showman and often puts the music on when we’re home.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      We love it, too!

  3. Out of 101 summer things to do you would think we could mark off a few. All great ideas.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks, Candy! I’m betting you can mark off several!

  4. I need to print out this list and put it on the refrigerator. I was in need of some fresh ideas at this point in the summer!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      He, ha, me, too! We’re at the extremely whiny, can’t-stop-fighting-with-everyone stage. Is summer almost over? Just kidding. We homeschool so this is ongoing for us. But my 9-year-old is currently having a hard-to-ignore hissy fit outside my window, so I do feel that way temporarily.

  5. Mother of 3 says:

    This is such a great list! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the Summer Time Fun linky. Pinned.

  6. You sound like a great mom! Thanks for the tips! We love to go hiking and biking.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Awww… thanks! We love to hike and bike, too. My youngest is going to learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle this week, whether she likes it or not, so she can keep up with the rest of us. 🙂

  7. Great list! Always looking for ideas to keep my kiddos busy.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Me, too — I hear ya!

  8. 6 & 19 remind me of my youth. I am printing this list out thanks for the ideas!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Yes! My dad used to make up the best obstacle courses in our backyard and then times us running them while holding a bucket of water over our heads. Summers hold the best memories!

  9. Oh, I’m loving these ideas. DEAR is such a fun way to get kids reading more!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      DEAR camp days are my kids’ absolute favorites. They’ll even (gasp!) do yard work and weed the garden if I offer up DEAR camp as a bribe, ha, ha!

  10. Great list of ideas, this will keep the kids entertained and give us some quality time together having loads of fun, thanks!

  11. Great list!! I will definitely save this for summer

  12. Thanks for this list. We are going to be on a tight budget this summer so this gives me lots of idea to do with the kids.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Thanks for your comment, Julie. Glad I could help!

  13. This list is so helpful! This will be my first summer with an active kiddo and I want to get stuck in a rut!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      How fun for you — kids make everything better! 🙂

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