Free Or Near Free Activities For Kids During The Summer

((RING))… School is out, now what? For many parents the fretting starts, “we don’t have much money, how can we entertain the kids?”

Each year it’s the same thing, but due to the ever increasing problem of the economy, money gets tighter.  To help relieve some of the worry or to insight new ideas, here are a few suggestions costing nothing-to just a few dollars.

Story-time at the library:

Most libraries host story-time, especially when it comes to summer programs at the library.  For an hour or so, the library has employees or volunteers read a story or two with kids. These are usually  followed by activities, such as color sheets or crafts which go hand in hand with the stories read.

This program is free and if a mom or dad has the time, they could volunteer to be a reader. This is a great activity to keep the kids minds focused on reading and it allows them the interaction with other kids.

Balloon water fights:

Nothing says summer like fun in the sun and water. If you don’t live close to a public swimming pool or a lake , the next best thing are water balloon fights.

For mere dollars a parent can go to places like Wal-mart, Target, even party supply stores and buy a few packages of water balloons. The kids will have so much fun filling the balloons, then throwing them at one another.

When the balloon fight is over, a parent can make a game out of picking up the used balloons. The one who gathers the most trash gets to be rewarded with a movie of choice, or snack of choice (from home). Of course everyone will benefit from it, but the one who picks up the most trash does the selecting.

Movie time:

Most homes have a plethora of movies lining bookcases and shelves. Summer is a great time to put those movies to use.  Let the kids have over one or two friends for a movie day. They get to watch one or two movies and enjoy eating popcorn, drinking soda or sipping on the drink of choice of the parent. This will cost is the cost of popcorn and a drink, but if those things are already on hand, even then a parent wont spend money.

Lemonade Stand:

Yes, this will be an expense, but for an activity which can keep the kids busy and earning a few dollars for their time and effort, it’ll be worth it. Be smart though and plan ahead for it, including the cost of lemonade and kool-aid, sugar, lemons, and disposable cups in the budget.

The kids can create their own signs and set up a folding table readying themselves for the day. As the parent you can supervise the occasion to make sure everything runs smoothly and the lemonade is kept ready.

Let the kids do the money exchanging, but if they can’t count you can tell them what to give back to their customers. Your kids will have so much fun doing this. Too they’ll enjoy drawing the signs and counting money to their customers as well.


There is nothing more exciting for kids in the summer time than a sleepover. It’s usually the only time there isn’t an early curfew regarding sleep. So for the cost of snacks and drinks and maybe one meal the kids can be entertained for next to nothing.

Wienie roast cookout:

Make this a plan and budgeted time for the family. Create some cute invitations and give them to each of the kids inviting them to a family cookout. Assign each a chore, like cutting onions, or gathering utensils, and so one.

Dad mans the fire or grill and mom and the kids make sure all is set to go for the evening. Think up fun activities to do as a family, like card games, chase, jump roping, some activity the family does together.

Perhaps this event can be something that is done twice a month or more often if the budget allows. There is nothing more rewarding than family spending time together. Not only are the kids entertained, but they benefit from the time both parents spend with them.

Stay at home camping:

If the family budget is so tight and a family vacation can’t be taken, then bring the vacation home. Gather up all your camping gear and plan a weekend camping adventure at home. Let the kids help set up the tents and arrange things so it looks like a real camping area.

Let the kids plan what will be eaten and what activities all will enjoy. Keep them along the line of what you’d do if you were camping at a park or something. This is a great time to encourage creativity with the kids.

Don’t forget the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate for smores.  Have the kids think up some stories to share around the campfire, so when night time comes you’ll even have things to do with the kids.

Summer time with the kids doesn’t need to be tedious time. There are so many things that can be done with a little bit of thought and a whole lot of parental ingenuity. Money might be a factor in the type of activities which one does, but it shouldn’t be the reason nothing is done.

If it’s possible get the children’s views and ideas about how they want their summer to play out. If it’s doable then do it.