Lifestyle Motherhood

Summer Activities for Kids: Cheap, Easy & Fun for all Ages!

This is for all the moms (and dads) out there who want to get their kids away from the TV and outdoors this summer! I have created a list of fun summer activities for kids that work for a wide range of ages. These 10 activities will not get old and will cost you little to nothing to do! Each fun activity will get the kids out and about, soaking in that vitamin D!

Summer Activities for Kids: Backyard Fun!

Work in the Garden (Hear me out!)

Summer Activities for Kids: Work in the Garden!

This might not sound like a super fun summer activities for kids idea, but you CAN make gardening fun.

Depending on the kind of garden you have, you can have a race to see who can pick the most berries or peppers, or whatever summer garden foods you have, the fastest.

Or, you can have a water bucket relay to water your plants. (Each kid has a bucket and must pass water from one person’s bucket to the next until the final person who gets to water the plant).

Another effective yet fun race idea, is to see who can create the biggest pile of weeds in a certain amount of time.

See, I told you gardening can be fun for kids!

Have a Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Summer Activities for the Backyard: Scavenger Hunt!

If you read my post on Budget Friendly Holiday Traditions or my list of Frugal Father’s Day Gifts, then you know I love a good scavenger hunt! They are a great way to get the family together and away from the television. Scavenger hunts are also fun for a wide variety of ages. Little kids can team up with bigger kids, or you can make the clues easy for anyone to understand with pictures and words.

Hide cheap, dollar store toys or candy throughout the backyard, or even just random objects to get the kids outside. If you have a small backyard or no backyard, you can easily take this idea to the park.

Create an Epic Bubble Party

Have fun with bubbles this summer!

Summer activities for kids don’t have to be complicated. If you’re having a lazy or hectic day, just send the kids outside with an arsenal of bubbles and a few different types of wands.

I really like this DIY idea for “snake bubbles” from Mum in the Madhouse. This makes a really long and thick trail of bubbles and is a great project for older kids.

If you have littles that are too small to blow their own bubbles, you can invest in a cheap bubble machine (if you’re not up for the challenge), or have an older kid blow the bubbles and they can have fun trying to catch them.

Set up Sprinklers & Water Play

Summer Activities for Kids: Water Play

Sprinklers are a no brainer for summer water play, but I also love slip and slides. We always used a camping tarp, tent stakes and dish soup for our slip and slides growing up. If you have these items, no need to purchase a slip and slide from the store. The kids will have just as much fun with your homemade slide.

I like this nifty PVC “shower sprinkler” from the Inspired Housewife. You can also find several other PVC sprinkler ideas all over Pinterest as well.

Water balloons are another great water play idea, or cheap sponges (less cleanup).

Catch Fireflies & Play Games that Glow

I don’t think we have fireflies here in Utah, but I loved catching fireflies as a kid in Georgia. This is a fun activity for all ages. Just be sure to help little kids be super gentle with these magical bugs. We caught and released these little guys over and over for hours of fun.

If you don’t live somewhere with fireflies, you can always play glow in the dark games with any glow in the dark items you can find. Glow in the dark Frisbee is a perfect place to start!

Summer Activities for Kids: Crafts

Race a Playground Obstacle Course

This is a two part activity, starting with making signs for your obstacle course. Depending on the age of your kids, you can put them entirely in charge of creating these signs, or you can write the words for the signs and have your kids color them in.

Make signs for the actions you want the kids to do in your obstacle course such as: CLIMB, JUMP OVER, RUN AROUND, ZIG ZAG, CRAB WALK, etc.

Place these signs where you want them on your playground, and start a race! You can move the signs around to change up the course and keep the kids on their toes.

Construct DIY Kites & Airplanes for the Park

Summer Activities for kids, Kites.

We grew up with lots of land and a huge field in front of our house. I can remember having so much fun flying kites in the field and playing all sorts of summer games. If you’ve got the land for it, DIY kites and airplanes are great for around the house, but so much fun at the local park, too.

Here’s a fun list of kites, airplanes and other crafts that fly from buggyandbuddycom. Again, these are great for all ages. Smaller kids might need more help, but you can delegate easier tasks for them to help with like gluing or running string.

Put Together a Birdhouse or Bird Feeder

Bird feeders! One of the most classic kid crafts! Everyone knows how to make the easiest bird feeder ever with the TP roll and peanut butter. It’s an oldie, but a goody. I also love the idea of making an actual birdhouse from a milk carton.

We go through lots of almond milk in my house. Those rectangular cartons are perfect for bird feeders. All you have to do is cut out a square in the front for the birds to perch in. Cut in about a 1/4 of the way on each of the sides as well for a larger opening. Then, just poke a hole and run a string through the top.

Let your littles decorate the carton house however they want and then take the finished masterpiece outside for some bird watching!

Get Artsy with DIY Sidewalk Chalk

Here’s a good recipe for sidewalk chalk from My Frugal Adventures. Little kids love to play with chalk, but if you’ve got older kids that seem skeptical about it, you can make it fun for them by playing a large scale game of Pictionary or hangman.

Summer Activities for Kids: Treats

Make Your Own Ice Cream, Ice Cream Party

There’s something about homemade ice cream that is just so good. I loved my grandmother’s homemade ice cream growing up. We would eat out on her back porch during the summer and have ice cream for dessert. Those were good times!

For kids, ice cream in a bag, is the easiest way to go! It’s so simple and they get to feel the the satisfaction of completing a recipe. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream or Half and Half
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • 6 T Coarse Kosher Salt
  • Ice Cubes

Put the ingredients, through to the sugar, into a sandwich sized bag and seal, pushing out as much air as possible. Fill a gallon sized, resealable bag, halfway with the ice cubs and salt. Place the first bag down into the ice and seal the second bag. You can double up on the gallon sized bag to make sure everything stays together. Then shake, shake, shake! You’ll need to shake vigorously for 5-10 minutes.

There are so many fun ice cream crafts on Pinterest you can use to decorate for your ice cream party. I like this list from

Summer Activities for Kids RELATED CONTENT:

For more ideas to reduce screen time, check out my post for Teaching Toddlers at Home Using DIY & Everyday Items.

Summer Activities for Kids: Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this fun activities list. Summer is the perfect time to get outside and away from the TV. Quality family time cannot be bought and these are the memories that will stick with your kids their whole lives. Remember to use lots of sunscreen!

As always, if you liked what you read, please like and share below!

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  1. These are great ideas! I’m always looking for creative, fun things to do with my nieces and nephew. We enjoy gardening together and I like to create scavenger hunt checklists for our nature hikes and bike rides.

    1. Olivia Hall says:

      You sound like an awesome Aunt! Thanks, Heather!

  2. I am trying that make your own ice cream day! And my kids LOVE bubbles and the sprinkler too! Great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Olivia Hall says:

      Thank you, Monica! Happy Summer!

  3. I love the idea of a playground obstacle course for older kids! And fireflies are always fun, too!

  4. These ideas came at about the perfect time. My nieces and nephew are getting out of school and I’ve been thinking of ways to bond with them, I think these might help.

    1. Olivia Hall says:

      Oh, that’s great! I hope you all have a very fun summer!

  5. Thank you! My kids love gardening but I am forever scared that they will pick up an infection or something. Let me try a few of these out!

  6. We can always use more ideas to entertain our boys! Thank you for sharing! Our personal fav is the sprinkler or kiddie pool, but we will have to try the ice cream because that might take the cake!

  7. These ideas look so great. Anything to keep kids from pestering you about screens!

  8. I have so much gardening work that needs to be done this year I could really use my boys’ help! Making it more fun for them and maybe adding in a scavenger hunt is a great way to get some volunteers! Maybe an icecream party to celebrate completion of the project! Great inspiration here – thanks!

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