When you’re crunched for cash but need some summer fun, check out these awesome low-cost summer activities for families.
Summer is the perfect time to get active with your family, but it doesn’t mean that you have to blow your family budget to do so.
Here are 26 free or nearly free low-cost summer activities for families that are sure to bring hours of enjoyment:
1. Have a Picnic
Picnics are one of the least expensive ideas around. Think of it as a take-out only family style. Pack up sub sandwiches and a pitcher of your favorite drink.
For a quick treat, you can always bring along some charcoal briquettes and make S’mores if there’s a park grill that’s handy. Don’t forget too to bring these Picnic Essentials.
2. Family Free Days
There are so many museums and zoos around the country that offer opportunities for families to take in cool experiences, sometimes offering specific days for families to visit free.
You’ll find this information by perusing local websites or highlighted activities in your newspaper or online.
3. Go to the Beach
There are a lot of beaches and beach-related activities that are available for family fun that won’t cost you one dime. Best of all kids of all ages will love looking for colorful rocks, seashells, and of course, swimming.
And, it’s totally free! But don’t leave home unprepared. Be sure to include these Summer Beach Essentials.
4. Attend Your Local State Fair
Summer is the perfect time to check out your local and state’s finest artisans and farmers. State Fairs are so much fun to taste delicious (but inexpensive) treats too.
Be sure to cool off with some State Fair Lemonade. Some fairs offer reduced ticket prices for the wee donation of a couple of cans of food.
Not bad if you think about it. Then you can splurge on deep fried Twinkies or corn on the cob.
5. Tie-Dye T-Shirts
Try it on a sunny day on the grass with a few spray or squirt bottles. Easy clean up. Best of all, your young crafters will be able to create something that is not only unique but wearable all summer long.
6. Blow Bubbles
Big and little kids love bubbles. So make a batch (or two) of homemade bubbles. And, don’t forget to send them outdoors with a variety of bubble-friendly wands.
7. Host an Outdoor Movie Night
Drape a sheet over the garage door or make your own movie screen to use year after year. It’s simple to do.
And, when you invite the neighbors over, don’t forget to make some popcorn. What a super way to encourage groups of all ages to enjoy an evening together. Check out these amazing Outdoor Movie Night Ideas.
8. Visit a Local Observatory
If you are lucky enough to have an observatory nearby, many times, they’ll open the viewing to locals for free or minimal cost.
There are also many telescoping clubs that offer “family night” observation opportunities, so that you and the family can view galactic jewels that can’t be seen with the naked eye.
9. Check out a Nature Center
Local conservancies, nature centers and more offer families a plethora of opportunities to learn about their environment and local nature at minimal or no cost to you.
Or better still, make it a stay-cation and enjoy one of these Fun Weekend Activities for Families.
10. Do Some Bird Watching
All you really need to go bird watching are your ears and eyes. Listen for the birdsong and try to view them as they flit through the trees.
Be sure to invest in a good pair of binoculars, as well as a bird identification book. Or, join a local birding group and cache in on their expertise by finding some of the lesser known birds in your area.
Better still, take advantage of your own back yard and make it bird and butterfly-friendly by following these tips How to Attract Birds to Your Yard.
11. Visit State and National Parks
One of the lesser known but truly beautiful treasures we have here in the states are our state and national parks and forests.
RELATED: Every Kid in a Park Program
It’s easy to purchase a yearly pass that will allow you entrance unlimited times into so many beautiful parks and beaches. These locations offer unlimited adventures for kids young and old.
Moreover, Park Rangers often offer free family-friendly learning experiences. If nothing else, by purchasing a park sticker will keep these lands and waterways intact for years (and generations) to come.
And, if you do decide to trek it be sure to check out these helpful tips How to Pack Light for Family Vacations.
12. Host a Puppet Show
This is a super family activity to host. With minimal supplies, you can make delightfully wonderful characters out of old and holey socks. Sew on some button eyes, felt nose and mouth and you’ve got yourself a puppet character in the making. Have the kids put on a show about a tale they they love. They can hide behind the kitchen island and let the characters pop up as needed. Or, make your own homemade puppet theater.
RELATED: DIY Cardboard Puppet Theater
17. Puddle Stomp
18. Go Camping
19. Play Yard Games
RELATED: 32 of the Best Backyard Games
20. Host a Neighborhood Block Party
22. Attend Music in the Park
23. Go to Movies in the Park
24. Sleep Under the Stars
25. Host a Neighborhood Olympics
26. Visit a Working Farm
RELATED: Family Vacations at Working Farms
This is just the beginning to spend amazing time with your family on a budget. Be sure to check out the travel section here on Wisconsin Homemaker for more ideas.