Cheap Summer Activities

Summer doesn’t have to be boring for anyone when you’re armed with these 45 free & cheap summer activity ideas!

45 Cheap Summer Activity Ideas

1. Bowl for FREE — Kids can bowl 2 games for FREE every day throughout the Summer. Visit to see which bowling alleys are participating.

2. Get a FREE Slurpee — July 11 is always FREE Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven. Take your family out for a free tasty treat that will help cool you off during the Summer heat!

3. Make Slime — Both my daughter and I have so much fun creating and playing with this Inside Out Sensory Slime. It’s just so fun to see how it works.

4. Make Homemade Iced Tea — Try brewing a batch of my favourite sun tea. You’ll have fun watching the water change colour and even more fun adding your favourite flavourings like lemons, mint or even raspberries.

5. Visit a Park — Why not visit a nearby provincial or national park that you’ve never visited before? You could explore the trails or just do some day camping by bringing along the hot dogs and marshmallows.

6. Visit the Beach — Living in the Okanagan, we have a ton of beautiful beaches at our fingertips. We like to grab a book or magazine and head to one to relax while our daughters play in the sand or on the playground.

7. Go Fruit Picking — One word. Cherries! We love to get out as soon as our favourite fruits are in season. U-Picks are a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family and are always much cheaper than the grocery stores!

8. Plan a Picnic — Picnics are one of our favourite things to do. We’ve got a system down to make things easy: It’s always bunwiches with deli meat, cheese and pickles. I always throw in some fruit and veggies too. As a treat, I pack some cold pop and a bag of chips. Simple!

9. Fly a Kite —  Well, I haven’t flown a kite since I was a kid, but it still sounds like a fun idea! Don’t own one? This one has great reviews on Amazon.

10. Pitch a Tent in the backyard — Give the kids a fun experience by pitching a tent in your own backyard. Build a campfire, or use a propane fire ring like we do (because of campfire bans) to roast marshmallows.

11. Make Art with Sidewalk Chalk — Sidewalk chalk is something I always have on hand so Sienna can go out to create some masterpieces on the sidewalk or the basketball court we have at our townhouse. This is something she likes to do on her own so I can get a little work done. 😉

12. Plant Flowers — Now, you have to be careful with this one as buying “only a few” plants can really add up! (Trust me, I know!) Rather than planting an entire garden, you could concentrate on filling up a planter to keep costs down. While you’re at it, why not create this Milk Jug Watering Can so the kids can help water.

13. Plant an Herb Garden — Another fun planting project is to plant an herb garden. Fresh herbs are so great to have on hand to make meals delicious. Growing your own herbs can also save you a bundle at the grocery store.

14. Plan a Scavenger Hunt — Want to get the kids outside? They can spend their summer outdoors with a fun scavenger hunt! Buggy and Buddy has 30 free printable options – you’re sure to find something appealing!

15. Run Through the Sprinklers — Cool off in the backyard with sprinklers or even the garden hose. Even water balloons would be a blast! You can pick up water balloons at the dollar store or even one of these neat Fast Fill kits from Amazon.Cheap summer activity ideas

16. Blow Bubbles — Bubbles are always a hit around here! When I see them for the first time in the spring, I’ll pick up a few of those bubble wands that cost only $1. You could even try whipping up your own bubble solution for the kids to play with in the yard or at the beach.

17. Have a Garage Sale — Gather up all your unwanted items and host a garage sale one weekend to make some extra cash. Let the kids join in on the fun by setting up a lemonade stand for customers. Here are some garage sale tips from Simply Frugal readers that you may enjoy!

18. Visit a local Festival or Event – Our city hosts regular free music events, movies in the park and even summer festivals that are fun for the whole family. These events are free for everyone to enjoy. Check your newspapers and city website to see what’s being offered this year near you!

19. Visit the Library — The library is a great place to visit over the summer months. I believe most libraries offer reading challenges that are sure to encourage reading even while school is out. Check out this post for more ideas on how the library can save you money.

20. Head to the Farmer’s Market – Support your local farmers, and check out a couple of the markets in your area throughout the Summer. You really can’t beat the quality of the produce and the neat homemade items. Here are 5 reasons to buy local produce.

21. Go Swim in the Pool — Since most of us don’t have a swimming pool, head out to one in your community to cool off. Some may require a small entrance fee, but can be loads of fun for the kids.

22. Stop By a Splash Park — Another fun option for the especially hot summer days is to stop at a local splash park. We like to meet friends there since my daughter has a bit more confidence when she’s not surrounded by strangers trying to get her wet. 😉

23. Play on a Sports Team — Love to play sports? Why not gather a group of friends and put together a beach volleyball team? Or maybe ultimate frisbee? If you’d rather, you could sign up your group of friends for a weekend tournament instead.

24. Go to the Movie Theatre – Every Saturday, Cineplex movie theatres offers family favourites for just $2.99 per person.Take a look here for more details.

25. Snag a Daily Deal — Keep an eye out on Groupon and WagJag for deals and local activities for huge savings. You might be surprised at everything that’s offered in your own city!

26. Go Hiking — Our family loves to go for hikes, they’re not quite as long now that we have kids, but it’s still an enjoyable activity! Visit a local bookstore for trail maps or check for hiking trails near you.

27. Attend a Home Depot Workshop — The Home Depot offers these great FREE workshops where kids can build a different project each month. Check this page for the schedule.

28. Watch Fireworks — Canada Day is known to be a day where fireworks will be involved. Why not find a special vantage point to enjoy this year’s show?

29. Take a Craft ClassMichael’s Canada offers classes for adults and kids featuring all sorts of different projects. I have noticed that every once in a while they offer a substantial discount on classes so keep your eyes open for that.

30. Volunteer — Why not take some time to give of yourself this Summer? Volunteer at a local food pantry, woman’s shelter, or soup kitchen. Ask around, I’m sure the opportunities are plentiful!

31. Find the Best Ice Cream — Go on an ice cream date once a week in an attempt to discover the best ice cream in your city. Places like Marble Slab have coupons often and locally owned shops may have daily specials for you to save.

32. Take an Evening Walk An evening walk in the summer is just so, so nice. The temperature is somewhat cooler. Plus, there’s just something so nice about the evening light.

33. Try GeocachingGeocaching is an outdoor activity of searching for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. We thought this sounded so much fun, so we borrowed my parent’s GPS to give it a try!

34. Do a Puzzle — Puzzles are a hit in our household. Both my husband and I enjoyed doing puzzles growing up and now our oldest daughter likes them too!

35. Learn a New Skill — Summer is a great time to learn something new, whether it be gardening, knitting, or discovering your artistic talent. Read 52 Things to Learn for Free to get started.

36. Start a New TV Series — Why not use Netflix to start a new TV series during the Summer, and catch up on all the seasons just in time for the Fall premieres. While there won’t be a Fall premiere, I think I might try to finish watching Downton Abbey!

37. Do a Science Experiment — Help your kids learn about our fascinating world by trying their hands at a fun science experiment? has links to a ton of fun projects!

38. Have a Family Game Night — Dust off some of the board games in your closet and have a family game night. Our favourites are Chutes & Ladders, Zingo, Gone Fishin’, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne.

39. Make Homemade Playdough — This is my current favourite no-cook recipe for playdough. Sienna can play for quite some time making me “food” to eat. You probably have all the ingredients on hand already!

40. Go for a Bike RideRather than walking, why not put those wheels to good use! Go for a ride around the neighborhood or ride along a nice path your city may have. You could make a day of it if you pack lunches and lots of water.

41. Make a Sock Puppet – This adorable monster sock puppet is anything but scary. Plus, it uses dollar store items to make for a cheap summer activity!

42. Sort Through Clothes — Maybe I’m weird, but I actually get a hankering to do more organizing projects in the summer. (Not just in January.) I find Summer is a great time to clean out my closet and donate what I don’t wear anymore.

43. Paint Your Nails – Summer time means I must have my toe nails painted in pretty colors all the time! I don’t normally put nail polish on my finger nails, but my toe nails are fair game for anything bright and fun. Why not have a simple spa time by giving yourself a pedicure?

44. Color a Picture – Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! Print off coloring pages for adults, and pull out the kid’s coloring books for a fun family time. Play some music for hours of good relaxing fun!

45. Have a Nap – Finally, why not have a nap? No better spot than outside in a nice shady area!

I also whipped up this printable Summer Activity sheet that you can print off and hang somewhere convenient so you’re always full of ideas.

Summer doesn’t have to be boring for anyone when you’re armed with these frugal ideas! Leave your fun and frugal ideas in the comments below!