100 Free Summer Activities for Kids
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100 Free Summer Activities for Kids

Ditch expensive activities; here are 16 free activities for kids to enjoy. From playground hopping to fossil hunting, the fun's guaranteed!

Updated April 19, 2024

Whether you’ve got one kiddo or a big brood, it’s always helpful to have a fresh list of free kids’ activities in your back pocket. And with the end of the school year in sight, there’s no better time than the present to compile that list. Depending on where you live, there might not be any shortage of options for paid fun for the family. However, can’t we all agree that nothing beats free? Read on for some of our favorite free summer activities for kids.

16 Free Summer Activities for Kids Outdoors

Family riding bicycle in the public park together. Cycling and enjoying the sunny day

Here are 16 free activities for kids you can do outdoors with them.

1. Spend the morning playground hopping.

2. Have a picnic at the park.

3. Take a nature walk.

4. Go bird watching.

5. Go shelling.

6. Look for fossils on a local beach.

7. Go for a walk in a new neighborhood.

8. Go on a family bike ride.

9. Go on a garden walk.

10. Look for wildlife at a state park.

11. Wade in a local creek.

12. Cool off at your community splash pad.

13. Watch boats pass by at a nearby marina.

14. Go for a walk on the beach (or play in the sand!) after swimming hours. Admission is often free in the evening.

15. Play “I Spy” at your favorite park.

16. Play catch at a public baseball park.

12 Free Summer Activities for Kids in Your Backyard

Mother and her cute little children playing with water with garden hose in a backyard

Here are 12 free activities for kids they can do in their backyards.

1. Stay up late and look at the stars together.

2. Catch fireflies after dark.

3. Try to get a butterfly to land on you.

4. Splash in rain puddles.

5. Pick a bouquet of dandelions.

6. Play with the water hose.

7. Plant something from the seeds of a snack you’ve eaten.

8. Collect an assortment of items in your backyard (such as leaves, rocks, etc.) and paint what you’ve collected.

9. Rake up a pile of leaves.

10. Jump in your pile of leaves!

11. Play a game of Capture the Flag.

12. Tend to the garden together (or plant a garden together).

22 Free Community Activities for Kids

Shot of a mature man carrying his adorable daughter on a cow farm

Here are 22 free activities for kids within your community to try out.

1. Visit your local library or one you haven’t visited before.

2. Sign up for storytime (or any other free event) at your local library.

3. Check out one new library book to read every day of the week.

4. Attend a trial class at a children’s gym.

5. Visit the animal shelter.

6. Check out the animals at your local pet store.

7. Go on a mall-walking scavenger hunt.

8. Explore the farmers market.

9. Check out plants at a local nursery.

10. Attend an arts festival.

11. Attend a craft fair.

12. Attend a local school’s science fair or art show.

13. Visit a historical site. Many are donation-based.

14. Go to a free kids’ workshop at your local Home Depot (the first Saturday of every month).

15. Visit a local farm.

16. Visit your local bookstore.

17. Take a trip to the nature center or a nature preserve.

18. Check out your town’s local listings for free family concerts and other free family events.

19. Visit an antique shop and learn about toys and various items from generations past.

20. Visit a sculpture park.

21. Visit a power vista.

22. Volunteer for a local nonprofit.

20 Free Creative Activities for Kids

Happy African American kids having fun while playing puppet show on a balcony.

Here are 20 free activities for kids with some creativity behind them.

1. Have a baking contest.

2. Have a cooking contest.

3. Build something with paper boxes. Whether a rocket ship, fire truck, school bus, or something entirely different. The possibilities are endless!

4. Have an at-home talent show.

5. Write a poem together.

6. Write and illustrate a short story together.

7. Make a collage using magazines, newspapers, and other materials found throughout your home.

8. Take turns drawing pictures of each family member.

9. Create an in-home art gallery. Invite friends or family to view it.

10. Create and test a new recipe using ingredients you already have.

11. Choreograph a silly dance.

12. Host a living room dance recital for your family.

13. Make stamp art with an apple.

14. Make a bird feeder out of pine cones.

15. Make sock puppets.

16. Put on a play or puppet show using sock puppets, your favorite stuffed animals, and props found throughout your home.

17. Have a DIY photo session. Let the kiddos pick out their favorite outfits to wear for this one.

18. Have a chalk-a-thon sidewalk chalk-drawing contest in your driveway.

19. Use sidewalk chalk to write uplifting messages or draw cheerful pictures throughout your neighborhood.

20. Decorate hard-boiled eggs with stickers, paint, or dye.

20  Free Summer Activities for Kids To Do at Home

Shot of a family washing their car together

Here are 21 free activities for kids that you can do at home with them.

1. Have an at-home “spa day.”

2. Make a pillow fort.

3. Organize an obstacle course in your basement or backyard.

4. Dress up and enjoy a fancy tea party with your favorite snacks.

5. Rearrange your playroom together.

6. Take a “double bubble” bath (with bubble bath and bubbles to blow).

7. Organize and host a garage sale.

8. Take a free online course.

9. Have a family karaoke night.

10. Participate in a virtual field trip.

11. Teach your pet dog a new trick.

12. Make shadow animals with a flashlight before bedtime.

13. See how many musical “instruments” you can find throughout your home.

14. Wash the family car together.

15. Learn a new skill (like folding towels, riding a bike, or even sewing, depending on age).

16. Stay up late for a family movie night.

17. Melt your old crayons into molds.

18. Make a kids’ charcuterie board.

19. Fill a bin of freshly fallen snow to play with inside.

20. Set up sensory bins using uncooked rice, pasta, and other kitchen staples.

6 Summer Activities for Spreading Kindness

Little girls smile while serving lemonade to African American customer. The customer smiles at the girls while they serve her.

Here are six free activities for kids focused on spreading kindness in the world.

1. Write a letter to a friend or family member.

2. Video chat with a loved one you haven’t talked to in a while.

3. Bag up old toys to donate to a family in need.

4. Bag up old books to donate to a local library.

5. Bag up unworn clothing to donate to a local shelter.

6. Set up a free lemonade stand.

4 Miscellaneous Summer Activities for Kids

Little girl counting and learning basic sign language while being homeschooled by her mother on the sofa

Here are three more free activities for kids to help keep them busy this summer.

1. Interview a grandparent or other loved one about their life. Take note of their stories.

2. Learn American Sign Language – or any language of your choice. Find free resources online or at your local library.

3. Set up a playdate with a new (or old!) friend.

4. Visit an airport and watch planes land and take off.

Whether your child is interested in nature, crafting, exploring, or anything in between, we hope you’ll find an exciting new activity or two above. Better yet, see how many free activities your family can knock out together. Your wallet won’t mind a bit!

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  • Author

Katie is a proud mom of two young children with an extensive background in childhood education and social-emotional development. She holds her Master's in Education from University at Buffalo and… Read more

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