Wednesday, June 4, 2014

50 Cheap or Free Summer Activities

I can still remember the excitement of that last day of school...visions of sleeping in, watching TV, and eating tuna fish sandwiches by the pool all danced in my head. Such bliss.

Now, that stuff was fun...for about a week...then the boredom set in. By the time September rolled around, I actually looked forward to the first day of school. So, to avoid the summer boredom, here are 50 of my favorite cheap or free summer activities to keep your family busy!

1. Have a Creature Scavenger Hunt (find a black bug, a green bug, a ladybug, a butterfly, etc.)

2. Attend Library Storytime

3. Find and hike local trails

4. Go for a nature walk in your neighborhood. Glue your findings to a nature scrapbook.

5. Have a water fight.

6. Have a Shape Scavenger Hunt in the house (find a round food, a square toy, a rectangular tool, etc)

7. Bring handmade Thank You notes to your local fire station. (You can also bring store bought goodies, as many fire stations won't accept homemade food.)

8. Set up a water slide with the hose and a toddler slide.

9. Write and put on a family play

10. Explore "Free Museum Days" (In San Diego, they have free museum admission days for local residents every Tuesday.)

11. Plant an herb garden

12. Make a vinegar and baking soda "volcano"

13. Build bridges out of popsicle sticks and glue. Test by putting weight on. Winner gets a small treat.

14. Bake cookies for a neighbor

15. Make homemade French bread (the warm weather of summer helps yeast rise!)

16. Make homemade play-doh

17. Go to the local county fair on "half price" day (if available)

18. Build a "track" with painters tape on the carpet, and have races...either with kids or Hot Wheels!

19. Go to a local aquarium fish store, and look at the different colored fish

20. Visit a local Nursing Home and bring handmade cards saying "Thinking of You". Or, grab a group of friends and go sing for the residents.

21. Build a Lego or block city

22. Find a book of great artists at the library, and paint your own version of their works

23. Get inexpensive PVC pipe from the hardware store and create a water run or marble run with the pipes.

24. Explore local parks and splash pads

25. Walk around the local Farmer's Market

26. Look up local street fairs...they happen frequently on summer weekends.

27. Start crafting handmade Christmas presents

28. Have a picnic at the park, the backyard or the beach

29. Look up local "Concerts at the Park"

30. Draw a city out of sidewalk chalk

31. Go to your local historical society (many towns offer free admission, or suggested donations of $1-2.)

32. Start shopping for Operation Christmas Child boxes by keeping an eye on clearance bins and sales.

33. Have everyone go through the house and collect odds and ends to make an "invention". Give small treats for "most unique", "most useful", etc.

34. Have a neighborhood "Day Camp". Each mom takes the kids for a morning, and shows them a new skill. (One day might be gardening, the next baking, the next painting, etc.)

35. Get out old photo albums and show the kids pictures of when you were their age.

36. Hide pennies around the house or in the sandbox and have a treasure hunt.

37. Ask if a non-local friend or cousin wants to be a pen pal.

38. Make a Rock Turtle

39. Have a Yard Sale

40. Discuss how animals use camouflage, and have each child glue sticks, grass, and leaves to an item, and take turns hiding and finding it.

41. Make homemade Finger Paint

42. "Fizzy Colors"

43. "Secret Code Painting"

44. "Stained Glass Watercolor Collage"

45. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard

46. "Camp" in the backyard or living room

47. Have a Family Movie Night

48. Get your favorite childhood book or movie from the library and read or watch it with the kids.

49. Check local theaters for their $1 Summer Film program

50. Build a fort

What are your Favorite Inexpensive Summer Activities?

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