While you may love having your kids around during the summer months, summertime boredom seems to set in fast. The costs can pile up as you create your activities calendar; however, occupying your children doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of cheap ways to entertain your kids during summer break.

Here are a few ways to make this the best summer yet.

Organize a Movie Afternoon

Not every summer day is full of warm summer breezes and the glow of the sun. The rain can put a damper on your summer activities. For those days, pop the popcorn and enjoy a movie afternoon. If you’re looking for an inexpensive movie, Netflix or HBO offers many movies at discounted rates.

You can even invite your neighbors or other friends and family members to join in. Ask them if they would be willing to rotate houses every few weeks to indulge in your favorite movie marathons.

Go for a Treasure Hunt

Kids have such wild imaginations. Why not put them to good use by going on a treasure hunt? Whether you go exploring in your backyard or local nature reserve, treasure hunting is a great activity.

Make a list of items for your kids to find. Add a bonus section for unexpected treasures they discover along the way. You never know what you’ll uncover when exploring the great outdoors.

Visit a Local Museum or Science Center

During the summer months, many museums and science centers offer discounted tickets. Check your local institutions for age or date specific deals. Visiting museums or science centers are educational activities that the entire family can enjoy. Be sure to also look into their special events happening during the summer.

Play Games Outdoors

Playing games with your children have many benefits which include:

  • Building their problem-solving skills
  • Increasing their teamwork efforts
  • Stimulating their brain activity
  • Increasing their confidence
  • Boosting their social skills
  • Developing their creativity
  • And more

In addition to all of the benefits this activity offers, it’s fun for your whole family. There’s a wide variety of options to enjoy that cost little to nothing to complete. Try this list of games to get started.

Get Some Exercise

From bike riding to kayaking on your local river, there are plenty of ways to encourage your children to get exercise. While your kids may rather sit in front of a screen all summer long, make exercise a priority.

You can either plan a whole day of outdoor exercise or partake in activities after dinner. For example, after you clean up dinner, you could decide to walk your dog to the local park. Not only is after-dinner exercise a great way to get your heart racing, it’s a good solution for increasing quality family time.

Take a Picnic on the Road

Going on a picnic can be a cheap way to entertain your kids during summer break. Let them help you select the menu and toys they can take on the road when venturing to your summer picnic.

Some things you may want to bring with you can include kites, balls, bubbles, and anything thing else that your kids will enjoy on a warm summer day.

Go Camping in Your Backyard

Camping can be expensive and exhausting, especially if you have young kids. A better alternative would be to move your camping excursion to your backyard. If you have a tent and a sleeping bag, try setting them up close to home. This gives your children the feeling of their own camping experience.

Start a Side Hustle Together

Depending on the ages of your kids, you may want to encourage them to start a side hustle with you. If your kids are old enough, they could venture on their own. But, if your children are younger, you may choose to bring them along.

For example, if your children are 6 and 8, you could decide to start a dog walking business. They may enjoy being around other pets and taking on some of the responsibility. Here are a few ideas to help you launch your new side hustle. 


Giving back is an essential quality of any community member. Teaching your kids early on what it means to give back will instill compassion and empathy for those who have less than they do.

Pick a cause that allows children to volunteer. Then select volunteer events your children will enjoy. Some events they may enjoy could include planting flowers around the city or interacting with animals. It may be wise to set up regular volunteer events to give your children a sense of responsibility and commitment to a cause.

Bake Together

Another cheap way to occupy your kids on a rainy summer day is to select a recipe you can cook together. Many kids love helping their parents bake cookies and cakes. After all, what kid doesn’t like eating cookie dough or adding extra frosting to their favorite sweets?

Visit a Local Farm or Petting Zoo

Many children love seeing farm animals. Taking them to your local farm or petting zoo gives them the opportunity to interact with unusual animals. Visiting a farm is also a great way to give your children a real-world farm experience.

You may also want to consider a visit to the zoo. Many communities offer discounted rates during the summer months. Contact your local zoo for their offerings.

Create a Piece of Art

Whether it’s raining or a nice warm day, try creating a piece of art with your children. Weather permitting, head outside with some paint and give the kids the tools they need to create a masterpiece.

You may want to lay down some newspaper on the deck or grass in the backyard and then set your supplies on top. This will protect your exterior while allowing your kids’ artist minds to create.

Take a Photo Shoot

Do you have some silly attire you could use for a home photo shoot? From bright colored glasses to old feather boas, there are many props you could use to take pictures.

Try hanging up an old sheet in your backyard as the backdrop to your photos. Then, encourage your children to dress in silly outfits that show their personalities. You could even use brightly-colored paper to cut out your own props or accessories. Making your own accessories may add a little flair to each photo.

The Bottom Line

Entertaining your children on summer break doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. There are countless ways you can occupy your kids’ time that won’t break the bank. Check local magazines to find cheap events and activities your entire family will enjoy. With a little thoughtful planning, this can be the best summer yet.


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