Summer always starts out strong. The kids are super excited to sleep in (until 7), go to parks, swim, play in the backyard, etc. Then about two weeks in, they get bored. They start to fight, they constantly ask to watch TV and I reach the end of my patience. Please tell me I’m not alone in this. So I search for inexpensive ways to help them have fun. I totally believe in making kids use their own imaginations to come up with games and activities, but sometimes it’s fun to have an activity planned to shake things up a bit. So here are 10 fun things to do with your kids this summer while spending little to no money.
- Go on an educational scavenger hunt – You can search for things of a certain color or shape, or things that have a purpose in common, like vehicles, or yard work tools. Our kids’ favorite is to find different kinds of bugs. I smile and indulge them, though I’m not willing to cuddle with the daddy long leg. This is not only fun but it helps younger kids identify shapes and colors, and helps older kids learn new vocabulary.
- Science experiments – Check out our 10 favorite science experiments for kids.
- Backyard Water Activities – Check out these fabulous water games from Babble.
- Fly a kite or a foam airplane.
- Go camping in your backyard – Our kids love to camp, but we can’t always take the weekend and go. Set up the tent in the backyard, barbecue hot dogs and roast s’mores on the grill or a fire pit. Then play games and tell stories inside the tent. This is also a great way to introduce kids to camping for the first time. If they don’t do well, you can always go inside at midnight.
- Crafts – Rather than hunt Pinterest for elaborate crafts set out paper, paper plates, scissors, paint, glue, markers, beads, Popsicle sticks and colorful rocks and see where their imaginations take them. Craft nights are always a big hit in our house.
- Build a fort -Reading a book and playing games is ten times more fun in a fort. A few nights ago, my son and I built a fort and had a Lego building competition inside. He schooled me.
- Have a read-a-thon – We always sign up for the summer reading program at the local library. To make the reading more fun, put on pajamas and bring bedding into the family room. Have snacks and water bottles and let everyone lounge around reading.
- Make a backyard obstacle course – Check out these ideas from How Stuff Works to set up your own obstacle course.
- Sidewalk Chalk Hot Wheels Races – My kids draw race courses on our driveway with sidewalk chalk. Then they bring down the hot wheels and other toy cars (I’m pretty sure there was a Batmobile last time) and race them on their track.
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