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10 Fun and Cheap Family Activities for The Summer

What is one cheap family summer activity that won't cost a lot of money?

A mother and father having beach fun with their child

To help you sample out some fun and cheap family activities for the summer, we asked parents and outdoor enthusiasts this question for their best ideas. From creating your own activities to nature walks and hikes, there are several fun activities you and your family can do this summer without breaking the bank.

10 Cheap & Fun Family Activities for Summer

  • Create Your Own Activities

  • Homemade Playdough

  • Backyard Scavenger Hunt

  • Arcades and Gaming Centers

  • Camping

  • Fun at The Beach

  • Museums and Parks Or Home Movie Nights

  • Ice Cream Bike Tour

  • Neighborhood Tennis Courts

  • Nature Walks Or Hikes

Create Your Own Activities

Consider the following low-cost or no-cost events and activities for your own children or a group of friends who want to have fun and make memories without breaking the bank.

  • Make two boxes with index cards with activities printed on them, one for "outside" and one for "inside." Change up who in the family gets to choose the card for the day. This is a terrific strategy to avoid expensive activities while creating a fun family schedule.

  • Draw your ideal home interior view with all the features on a large sheet of paper using colored pencils.

  • Take advantage of many local libraries' free summer reading programs and storytimes.

- Timothy Woods, Carnivore Style

Homemade Playdough

The best and most inexpensive family summer activity would be making homemade playdough. Kids love playdough, and it's easier to make a large batch of it. You need 1 cup flour, ½ tsp salt, food coloring, 2 tsp cream of tartar, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, and 1 cup water. So, if you have older kids and adults in the family, gather them for this action also. You may also hold a competition where everyone is given something to make. Now, you need to see who makes the beautiful flower, the fascinating creations, or any funniest animal.

- Caroline Lee, CocoSign

Backyard Scavenger Hunt

My dad has a great activity that the grandkids love. During the summer, he'll collect 10-15 different items (toys, trinkets, etc.) and take a picture of them as a group. Then he scatters them throughout the backyard, makes copies of the picture/list of items, and sends the kids on a scavenger hunt. The kids find the items throughout the yard, cross them off the list, and there's a prize when everything has been located. It's free, grandpa gets a fun way to connect, and the grandkids love the game!

- Logan Mallory, Motivosity

Arcades and Gaming Centers

Arcades and gaming centers are cheap options that can keep a family entertained and engaged all day. In recent years, arcades have changed so that there are now affordable options for playing all day instead of the expensive quarter-eating machines we all grew up with. Gaming centers often provide a wide variety of games so that people of all ages, genders, and interests can find something fun to play.

- Rob Bartlett, WTFast


One easy and cheap family activity is to go camping. Campsites cost under 30 dollars, and you can see many new sights and sounds, go for walks, and experience nature! You can easily find and go camping, pack tasty food, and have great family memories.

- Catherine Way, Prime Plus Mortgages

Fun at The Beach

There's nothing quite like jumping in the car and heading to the nearest beach when the weather is nice. There's always plenty to do for families at the beach. Whether it's relaxing with a book, working on your tan, or paddling in the sea, it's an awesome day out that doesn't break the bank.

- Neil Thacker, Casual Car Guide

Museums and Parks Or Home Movie Nights

You don't always need to spend a lot of money to have fun with your family. There are plenty of activities that are cheap or even free. For example, museums have dates where the tickets have a discount, especially during the summer, or they have special discounts for kids. Many parks, expositions, and theaters also have this kind of discount-based schedule.

If you want to do something more relaxing, I always find that creating a home movie night is enjoyable. You can use a streaming service to watch your favorite movie, put some blankets and pillows on the floor, and prepare some snacks. You can even make fake movie tickets so that the little ones can have the full movie theater experience.

All you need is to get creative.

- John Cheng, Baotris

Ice Cream Bike Tour

Summer activities with the family should end with a well-deserved reward. Is there anything better than delicious ice cream after a physical effort on a hot summer day? Taking a bike tour that promises a delicious end is not just a fun way to spend time together. According to Charles Duhigg's cycle of "cue, habit, reward, " it is also a great way to build healthy family habits.

- Michal Jonca, PhotoAiD

Neighborhood Tennis Courts

Neighborhood tennis courts give you the opportunity to play with your kids and potentially teach them a new game they might love. Many parks have tennis courts that are free and available to the public, and they're absolutely family-friendly. Even if you aren't particularly good at tennis–or aren't a very good tennis coach–it's okay because even disorganized tennis matches can be playful and fun.

- Alex Wang, Ember Fund

Nature Walks Or Hikes

One cheap family summer activity that won't cost a lot of money is to go for a nature walk or hike. You can explore the local area and get some exercise at the same time. You may also want to bring a picnic lunch so that you can enjoy your surroundings even more.

- Petri Maatta, DreamMaker


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