Ready for the ultimate list of fun summer activities to do with the whole family? I’ve got so many fun ideas for cheap and free activities to fill your summer bucket list. And to make it even sweeter, I have a ton of free printables to make your summer planning a breeze.

Summer break is the perfect time for families to bond and create lasting memories without breaking the bank. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can fill your days with fun activities that won’t cost you a dime (or at least won’t cost an arm and a leg). From exploring the great outdoors to enjoying simple pleasures at home, here are some budget-friendly ideas to make the most of the summer months with your little ones.

Download my free summer bucket list here.

Free & Cheap Summer Bucket List Ideas

Free & Cheap Fun Summer Bucket List Ideas

Let’s start with my cute printable list of cheap ways to have fun with family bucket lists (you can download it here). This list is the same as what you find on my printable bucket list.

Keep scrolling to find even more ideas of affordable things to do with kids this summer.

  • Go for a hike
  • Free admission days at your local zoo or aquarium
  • Kids Skate Free program
  • Kids Bowl Free program
  • Free reading programs at your local library
  • Flashlight tag
  • Make lemonade
  • Attend a free concert
  • Go camping in your backyard
  • Go for a family bike ride
  • Mail a letter to far away family
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Go geocaching
  • Act like a tourist in your town
  • Find discounted museum tickets for kids
  • Spend a day at the local pool
  • Go for a picnic in the local park
  • Find discounted summer movies
  • Do a family game night- play board games or charades
  • Go to kid classes at your local hardware store
  • Catch a youth theater show
  • Plan an ice cream social

More Budget Friendly Summer Activities For Your Summer Bucket List

Summer is a great time to try new things! Here are some of my favorite budget friendly summer activities. If you haven’t ever done one of these with your family, put it on your bucket list and try to do it before the end of the summer.

Outdoor Summer Bucket List:

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that doesn’t get too hot in the summer, then you absolutely have to take advantage of the outdoors. Get the kids outside and let them play and explore until their exhausted enough to come inside for a rest.

  • Set up a sprinkler outside and let the kids play.
  • Get a new set of sidewalk chalk and let the kids decorate a nearby sidewalk (This set is super affordable- only 15 cents per chalk piece and will last all summer).
  • Take a road trip to nearby national parks for a day of hiking, picnicking, and wildlife spotting.
  • Take a trip to your local park.
  • Cool off at a local splash pad or water park to beat the summer heat.
  • Organize a scavenger hunt in your own backyard or neighborhood park, encouraging kids to discover hidden treasures and solve clues.
  • Plan a family bike ride through scenic trails or around your neighborhood, enjoying the sights and sounds of nature along the way. 
chalk art with palm tree shadow

Make an artsy mural in your driveway with painter’s tape and sidewalk chalk this summer.

Out of the House Summer Bucket List:

I have an entire post about free summer activities outside of the house. Sometime you just have to pack up the family and get them out of the house for a few hours. These are my favorite ways to entertain the kids out of the house for cheap over the summer.

  • Kids Bowl Free
  • Kids Skate Free
  • Free & discounted movies
  • Summer library reading programs
  • Free reading programs at local book stores
  • Vacation Bible School (tons of churches offer FREE VBS programs to the entire community. You don’t aways have to be a member of the church to attend).

Pro Tip: Check out local free activities when traveling too! I’ve actually sent my kids to Vacation Bible School while visiting family in another state. 

A picture of a 3 year old jumping up and down after hitting a bowling pin at the bowling alley

DIY Summer Bucket List:

I truly believe that summer is the best time to try new art projects. I’ve always believed that boredom is the spark of creativity. That is why I always have a stocked arts and crafts cabinet for lazy summer afternoons. These are my favorite ways to be creative during the dog days of summer when it’s just way too hot to get outside.

  • Make homemade playdough- get my fail proof recipe here.
  • Paint kindness rocks and leave them around your community.
  • Tie dye plain white tee shirts or old bed sheets with this Tie Dye Kit.
  • Make your own watercolors (click for tutorial).
  • Put old crayons in tins and set them outside to have them melt together in the summer heat.
  • Keep a supply of paint, crayons, markers, colored pencils and paper ready.
  • Beat summer boredom and have your kids create their own summer bucket list with fun activities like building sandcastles, stargazing, or having a movie night under the stars.

A picture of a kid doing tie dye as a summer activity

Indoor Summer Bucket List:

  • Build a fort in the living room.
  • Watch a movie marathon complete with a DIY popcorn bar.
  • Host a dance party in your living room, complete with your family’s favorite songs and silly dance moves.
  • Enroll in an online class and learn something new.
  • Buy grade level workbooks for kids to complete over the summer (these are my favorite).
  • Host a video game tournament. We are still pretty obsessed with this game system that we bought Tom for Father’s Day.

Community Event Summer Bucket List:

  • Take advantage of free summer activities in your neighborhood such as free summer concerts and movie nights.
  • Visit a farmer’s market to sample fresh produce, browse local crafts, and enjoy live music and entertainment.
  • Keep an eye out for random acts of kindness opportunities, such as volunteering at a community garden or participating in a neighborhood clean-up.

Farmer's Market in Naples, FL

Staycation Summer Bucket List:

Just because traveling is expensive doesn’t mean you have to skip a vacation all together this summer. Why not try a staycation instead. Here are some of my favorite staycation tips:

  • Take a day trip to an area near you that you’ve always wanted to explore.
  • Get ice cream at a local ice cream shop.
  • Pretend like you are a tourist in your own town. Stop by the visitors center in your town if you have one and pick up coupons that are usually geared towards tourists.
  • Eat lunch somewhere that you’ve always wanted to try as a family.
  • Walk around downtown and take pictures at local landmarks.
  • Get more staycation ideas here.

ultimate list of staycation ideas #travel #staycation #vacation #savemoney #family #vacay #summer

Get More Free Printables to Make Summer Planning Easier

I’m a huge fan of planning out our days during the summer. With so many fun things to do and so much fun to be had, it can feel overwhelming to fit it all in over the summer. It can also feel too easy to just be lazy during the summer and not check anything off your summer bucket list. That’s why I always opt to schedule our days, weeks, and months of the summer. Print out these printables for a fun way to plan out your summer vacation.

Download the following free printables

Summer is all about spending quality time with family and making the most of the warm weather and long days. By incorporating these cheap and free activities into your summer routine, you can ensure that every moment counts without breaking the bank. Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors, getting creative at home, or enjoying community events, there’s no shortage of fun to be had during the summer months. So grab your sunscreen, pack a picnic, and get ready for a summer filled with unforgettable adventures!

Free printable summer bucket list

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