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10 Easy & Affordable Summer Activities for Kids!

Here are 10, easy and affordable summer activities for kids! Use these endlessly entertaining ideas for the backyard, at the park and with friends!

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 won’t get old and will cost you little to nothing to do!

Summer Activities for the Backyard

1. Work in the Garden 

Summer Activities for Kids: Work in the Garden!

This might not sound like an exciting activity for kids, 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!

2. Have a Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Summer Activities for the Backyard: Scavenger Hunt!

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.

3. Create an Epic Bubble Party

Have fun with bubbles this summer!

Summer activities 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, or have an older kid blow the bubbles and they can have fun trying to catch them.

4. 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).

5. Catch Fireflies & Play Games that Glow

We don’t have fireflies or lightening bugs 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!

Outdoor Summer Crafts for Kids

6. 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.

7. Construct DIY Kites & Airplanes for the Park

Summer Activities for kids, Kites.

DIY kites and airplanes are a great activity for around the house or the local park.

Here are lots of ideas for kites, airplanes and other crafts that fly from buggyandbuddycom and are great for all ages.

Smaller kids might need extra help, but you can delegate easier tasks like gluing or running string.

8. 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 a square into the front and sides for the birds to perch in. Then, poke a hole and run a string through the top.

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

9. 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.

Easy Summer Treats

10. Make Your Own Ice Cream, Ice Cream Party

I loved my grandmother’s homemade ice cream growing up. There’s nothing else quite like that slow churned sweet treat!

For kids, ice cream in a bag is the easiest method. It’s so simple, but they’ll still experience 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 nontoygifts.com.

Did You Like These Summer Activities for Kids?

I hope you enjoyed this list of easy summer activities for friends and family. I can’t wait to hear the exciting things you get up to. Just remember to use lots of sunscreen!

Which summer activities for kids are your favorites? Are there any ideas I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

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