Ten Free or Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

Updated: August 4, 2023

By Ocean Noah, Pretzel Kids content intern

Summer is in full swing! School is out and your kids have fewer things to occupy their time. As for you: You don’t want them on the couch scrolling on their phones every day, but you also don’t have the time or money to go on a fun and fancy summer vacation.

No need to stress about it! We’ve got you covered with 10 fun and affordable ways to entertain the children this summer. Take a look at these great activities for kids! 

activities for kids

1. spend time in nature

Find a local park or hiking trail and plan a day there!

There are lots of ways to make a day in nature fun. You can plan a scavenger hunt, take along a picnic lunch, bring frisbees and balls, or maybe even bring some instruments!

And here’s a pro tip: Try playing yoga games for kids with the whole family!

2. kids yoga

Fill up your empty summer days with kids yoga activities and games! While it may be difficult for children to transition from structured school schedules to lazy summer days, yoga can give them structure in a fun way!

You can even sign them up for a yoga class. Not sure where to find one? You can start by doing a Google search for “kids yoga near me” or checking out the offerings at local yoga studios. 

become a kids yoga teacher

Another option is to learn to teach yoga to children. It’s easy peasy. Pretzel Kids yoga, for example, offers a simple online kids yoga teacher training that prepares you to teach yoga to kids. You can also find a weekend children’s teacher training course right here.

And just think: Not only will the Pretzel Kids yoga teacher certification course prepare you to have yoga fun with your own kids, but you’ll be able to start a lucrative side hustle teaching kids yoga. Better yet, no experience is necessary to become a certified Pretzel Kids yoga teacher!

3. go for a swim

If it’s hot where you live, cool down by going swimming. Take a day at the beach, a lake, or go to a local swimming pool. You may even be able to bring along balls, frisbees, and floatees! 

4. get crafty

There are so many inexpensive ways to start fun creative projects! You can get some coloring books (an adult one for you if you’d like), play some music, put out some snacks, and color for a few hours.

You could also build a fort or a castle using bedsheets, pillows, chairs, and cardboard boxes. Another fun craft: Decorate blank shirts or baseball caps with fabric paint and markers.

Get a pack of Printable Yoga Pose Cards for kids!

And here’s a pro tip: You can get super inexpensive printable packs on Etsy and they’ll be entertained for hours. For some great ideas, check out the Pretzel Kids Etsy Shop, where you can grab the bundle pack: Animal Yoga Poses and Mindfulness Activities for Kids, or Alphabet Yoga Pose Cards!

5. have fun in the kitchen

Cooking over the summer doesn’t not have to be a chore, especially if you make it a family affair!

To get started, find a fun recipe and get the whole family involved in the act. When I was a camp counselor one summer, baking was a frequently scheduled activity. I remember all of the happy little faces, eagerly waiting to add a cup of flour to the mixing bowl. 

For an easy cooking activity, you can even make s’mores around a BBQ or backyard campfire. Or, try whipping up some homemade granola! 

6. go to the library

Since school is out, your children probably aren’t reading as much as they do during the academic year. You can change that with a trip to the library.

Some libraries even have incentive systems over the summer for young ones to read. If your library does not have a young reader program, create your own! Choosing books over the summer gives children the opportunity to discover their own interests and develop a love of reading. 

Another pro tip: Talking about reading, check out our guide with top books for kids on mindfulness!

7. be a tourist in your own town

You don’t necessarily need to travel to be a tourist. You can explore your own town!

Start by researching historic sights and local landmarks to get to know your hometown a little better. If your area has tourist attractions, visit those too. This is a perfect opportunity to check out all the local sites that you’ve never been to.

8. go to a museum

There are museums all over the country that offer free or discounted days on certain weekends or days of the week.

For example, if you have a Bank of America card, you can get free entry on weekends to certain museums. Another tip: Ask your local library if it offers free museum passes (many offer this). Even without these discounts, museums are often free for those under 16 (or they can get in for a super low rate).

So, pick a museum and plan your family outing. Your kids may just learn something new and gain an appreciation for art or history! 

9. learn a new skill

The summer is a great time for you and your kids to learn something new. For example, you can find affordable classes offered at your local library or recreation center. Maybe they can take instrument lessons or learn to play a new sport. You can even enroll them in a kids yoga class!

As for you, the summer is the perfect time to take an online course while your kiddos are immersed in their own activities.

Want to learn how to teach kids yoga? Now is your chance! You can enroll in the online Pretzel Kids yoga teacher certification course and be up and running in less than 12 hours! 

activities for kids

10. wash your car together

Let’s be honest: Your car could always use a little cleaning. Why not turn this chore into a fun activity? So, get on your bathing suits, slap on some sunscreen, and turn on the hoses! Another perk: This is another great opportunity to cool down on a hot day. 

enjoy summer with these Activities for Kids!

Summer fun is priceless! ​ You don’t need to dig deep in your wallet to entertain your kids this summer. With the 10 options above, you’ll be on your way to turning lazy summer days into fun, fun, fun!

About OCean

Ocean Noah is a content intern at Pretzel Kids. Originally from Los Angeles, Ocean moved to San Francisco to study creative writing at San Francisco State University. She writes fiction, blog posts, and op-eds. Ocean is thrilled to write for Pretzel Kids, as her mother is a yogi too! 

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