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55 Free (or almost free) Things To Do With Your Children This Summer

June 25, 2013


Written by Marykate O’Malley, mother of three wonderful children, Gladwyne PA

photograph courtesy of Rachel McGinn photography


I believe that less is more, especially with children. And what they say is true – the best things in life really are free – the laughter of children, the arc of a perfect rainbow after a summer storm, robin’s eggs and babies toes. Here are some free, or almost free, summer activities to do with your children this summer.

1. Catch fireflies

2. Stargazing

3. Enjoy a summer concert in the park. Coordinate with other families for a pot luck picnic to make it even more fun

4. Camp in the backyard

5. Make s’mores

6. Make homemade ice cream

7. Make snow cones!

8. Join your local library’s summer reading club

9. Sprinklers!

10. Water balloon fights

11. Volunteer at local SPCA or animal shelter

12. Initiate being pen pals with family member or friend

13. Take family game night outside under the stars with laterns and candles

14. Watch a fireworks display

15. Go on a hike

16. Visit a museum – most have one free day a week or are free for children

17. Bubble bonanza – my dollar store has amazing bubble sets. Set them all up with music for your own Bubble Mania Show!

18. Find a huge grassy hill and roll down it! I have done this as an adult and it is just as fun as you remember it to be.

19. Swim in a lake, ocean, pool or other swimable (made that up) body of water

20. Wake early to watch the sunrise or if you are already up  – wake your kids to watch the sunrise

21. Catch one perfect fleeting sunset

22. Visit an art store, purchase a canvas for each child, decide on a location and capture it! I have been wanting to do this since last summer. This year ladies!

23. Build a sandcastle

24. Have your children create scrapbooks of their summer vacation

25. Create a summer bucket list – something we do every year!

26. Have a bonfire on the beach

27. Lie on the grass and watch the clouds float by

28. Plant a garden

29. Purchase sundae toppings, invite the neighbors overs and have a sundae bar

30. Organize a block party – think many hands make light work

31. Have a lemonade stand – donate the money

32. Collect sea shells

33. Collect sea glass

34. Grab the rackets and play tennis with the kids

35. Make ice cream floats

36. Go fish! ‘ing’ that is

37. Go on a family bike ride

38. Play flashlight tag

39. Surf

40. Visit a lighthouse (I love lighthouses. Just looking at them makes me happy, and serene. This could be my number 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5.)

41. Go on a nature walk

42. Make homemade lemonade

43. Organize the neighborhood crew for a play or favorite songs production

44. Pick wildflowers

45. Go strawberry picking

46. Watch an outdoor movie

47. Tie dye t shirts

48. Teach your kids “kick the can”

49. Fly a kite

50. Go ahead – let them make mud pies! You are only a child once.

51. Summer rain storm? Go jump in the puddles!

52. Watch a thunderstorm from the front porch

53. Create a model sailboat from a soda bottle – take it for a spin

54. Create a fairy house

55. Stop, and as much as you possibly can, take it all in


There has to be more – what else ladies?

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