Summer Bucket List of 30 Free and Fun Things To Do With Your Kids

Ah, summertime!

A time for relaxing, iced tea and BBQ’s.

When I think of the word “summer,” my mind gravitates to warm breezes, beaches, and doing a whole lot of NOTHIN!

That is, until I remember, “Oh, those three kids running around are mine, and they sort of need entertaining now that they’re off school.”

Summertime is a great way to spend some quality time with your kids, make memories and do fun things together.

However, time after time, I often hear from other mom’s that they weren’t able to do anything fun over the summer because they didn’t have the extra money. To this statement I become flabbergasted.


Because doing fun things, does NOT need to cost money!

Yeah, there’s such a thing as FREE fun.

In fact, there are so many free things to do that you can fill up your whole summer calendar with exciting things.

But do not fret my dear friend, I’ve done the work for you and came up with a great summer bucket list of 30 FREE and fun things you can do with your kids this summer.

So let’s jump into it…

Here’s my list of 30 FREE things you can do with your kids this summer!

Be sure to grab my printable bucket list of these awesome free and fun things you can do with your kids this summer. Print it off and keep it on your fridge so you can mark it off as you go!

1. Camp Out in The Backyard

Camping at a campsite can really rack up in price after you pay the fees, buy all the food, drive there and etc.

However, children can find camping in their own backyard just as fun. Grab your tents, sleeping bags, roast hot dogs, make S’more’s … the whole shebang!

2. Water “Paint” on The Sidewalk

On a nice hot day, get the kiddos a bucket of water and some paintbrushes and let them “paint” with water on the sidewalk or driveway. The water “paint” is a fun and mess-free way to get some creativity flowing.

It also dries after a while, which gives the kiddos a new blank slate to create more artwork and keep the fun going for as long as they want.

No paper wasting, no mess in the house and on their clothes… a total win-win!

Help inspire their artwork by giving them ideas of what to paint.

Example: Paint me the biggest castle you can!

3. Make a Homemade Windchime

By using recycled materials such as cans, bottles, old silverware and anything else that will make a good clanking sound, let your children construct their own windchimes to hang outside.

All you need is a wire hanger, some string, and some good “clanking” sound materials.

4. Have a Picnic

Instead of eating your lunch inside the house, change things up a bit and make it a bit more exciting by eating your lunch outside for the day.

Lay a blanket out in the yard and enjoy your lunch outdoors.

Children love this because it’s out of the ordinary, and they tend to find it most enjoyable. You’ll also be soaking in that vitamin D while you’re at it!

5. Water Balloons

Water balloons + kiddos = endless enjoyment. No explanation here, nuff’ said!

6. Paper Airplane Contest

It’s time for a little family contest! Challenge each family member to make their best paper airplane, and decorate them if they’d like.

Then, have everyone take their airplanes outside to see who’s can fly the farthest. You can reward the winner with my printable award that is in the free summer bucket list set.

7. Cook Together

It’s so very important that you teach your children (both girls AND boys) to do some sort of cooking, and summer is the best time to do this because no one is preoccupied with school and schoolwork.

Let your children help pick a few recipes, and cook them together. This is also a great time to teach your children about measurements, correct food handling, kitchen safety, etc.

You can start with some easy recipes like my homemade whipped cream and my Easy BBQ Ribs recipe.

I plan on teaching my boys some much-needed cooking basics this summer!

8. Family Game Night

Good, old fashioned board games will never go out of style.

Pick a board game the family loves to play together and make it a game night. If it’s warm out, take the game outside and don’t forget the popcorn! Who’s ready for Monopoly?!

9. Read a Chapter Book As a Family

Children’s individual reading time is important, but reading books as a family is also just as important.

Reading as a family helps you bond and grow closer together, and gives the family something to look forward to each day. You can start off your day with a few chapters during breakfast, or you can read a few new chapters each night before bed.

Some of our all-time favorites are the Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, Old Yeller and Little Women.

10. “Unplug For a Day” Challenge

Our world is so consumed with technology from phones, tablets, TVs, computers and more.

Try unplugging for a day and see what can actually happen when you spend your time elsewhere.

By unplugging for the day, your family is forced to think outside the box, and why not choose to do something fun together?!

I promise, you won’t die, and neither will your children.

11. Paint Rocks

Gather rocks from around the yard and let your kids paint them. Have you seen the ladybug rocks? They’re so cute!

12. Backyard Scavenger Hunt

Print off my Backyard Scavenger Hunt worksheet (found in my FREE printable summer bucket list set) and see who can be the first to find all 12 items on the scavenger hunt list. The kiddos get outside for fresh air and burn some calories too.

13. Visit a Splash Pad

So many parks are now including splash pads in their designs. Find a splash pad near you and take the kiddos out for a free day of fun in the water.

14. Visit a Nature Park

Visiting a nature park is an enjoyable way to let your kids explore the outdoors. They get to discover new and exciting animals and plants around them in their community. Use safety and caution around poisonous plants. 

15. Visit a Playground

Sometimes the kiddos need a good day of running and frolicking around, and what better place to do that than a playground? Playgrounds can get quite busy in the summer times, so my favorite time to go is in the morning or mid-afternoon.

16. Go Berry Picking

Here in Washington, we have so many blackberry bushes around that they are actually a nuisance.

However, if you are fortunate enough to have wild berries bushes around such as these or free berry picking parks, take the family out to go berry picking.

Bring home your bounty and make a homemade pie, cobbler or berry ice cream!

17. Visit The Library

Visiting the library is one of my favorite things to do in the summer because they have air conditioning. Most libraries have a kids section where they are toys and children’s books.

Your children can check out books, play with the toys and you can relax and read a book.

18. Join Your Libraries Summer Reading Program

Most libraries offer a free summer reading program. How it works is after your child reads either one book or reads for a certain amount of time, they get to mark off a section on their chart.

Once the chart is completed, the library awards your child with a prize of some sort. We’ve been doing the libraries summer reading program for years and the kiddos always enjoy getting their prizes.

19. Go To The Beach

Going to the beach is always enjoyable. Let your children bring their buckets and shovels and dig around for exciting finds. We love gathering seashells, cool rocks, and sand dollars.

20. Family Bike Ride

Gather your bikes and go for a nice ride together. We used to love taking our bikes around the block on warm summer evenings back when we lived in the city. This is one thing I miss about city living.

21. Hopscotch

Introduce your kids to the beloved game of hopscotch. You can use chalk to draw your lines and then join in on the fun.

22. Play in The Sprinkler

If you aren’t blessed with a backyard pool, (like most of us aren’t) your children can still have fun in the hot summer heat by getting wet in the sprinkler.

Hey, my kids even find pure enjoyment from turning the hose on WITHOUT the sprinkler and playing in that. Anything to cool them off.

23. Put On a Play

Let your kiddos plan, script out, and make their own costumes to perform a play.

My boys recently put on a play about a bank robber who got caught and was put into jail. I have no idea where that one came from, haha, but it was entertaining! They even added special effects by turning off the lights and using a flashlight as the “moon.”

24. Wash The Car

In the summer, people tend to wash their cars more because cars look a lot nicer in the sunshine when they’re clean.

Instead of spending money on a drive-thru car wash, let your kids help you wash the car at home. Turn on some music and have fun!

25. Play Hide and Seek

This can be done indoors or outdoors. It’s always more comical when played indoors because the hiding places kids come up with are pure hilarious.

When I was younger I once hid underneath my couch cushions, because you know, “NO one” can see that huge bulge on the couch right?!

26. Puppet Show

If you have brown paper bags or old socks, you have the basic materials needed to make hand puppets. After the puppets are made, let the kiddos put on a puppet show.

27. Cloud Watching

Grab a blanket and lay out in the yard. Stare at the clouds and see what images and pictures you can come up with. It’s always fascinating to me to hear how other people visualize clouds.

28. Visit a New Place

This can be any place really; a store, a park, a neighborhood…. Anywhere that you can walk around, explore and that’s free.

I’m a total window shopper at heart, so simply going to a store and just browsing around is a lot of fun. My boys don’t tend to think so, but my daughter does! Must be a girl thang.

29. Eat Breakfast in Bed

Surprise your children with breakfast in bed. Sit with them and enjoy your meal with them too. Just be prepared to do laundry afterward. 😊

30. Random Act of Kindness

I’d like to finish off with this one because I feel like our children need to be taught to be kind to others. This is a great opportunity for them to clean up a neighbors yard (with permission), bake a treat for a neighbor or pick up trash in the neighborhood.

Even sending a nice handwritten and decorated card to someone can really brighten someone’s day.

I hope you enjoyed browsing through my list of 30 FREE and fun things to do with your kiddos this summer.

Don’t forget to grab my FREE Summer Bucket List printables which includes this whole bucket list, the paper airplane award and the scavenger hunt worksheet.

P.S- If you do decide to take a family road trip this summer, be sure to check out my post, “Surviving Road Trips With Kids | 20 Practical Tips and Tricks For Your Sanity“.

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading today!

Leave a Reply


I really love these free ideas! Makes me remember that simple fun is so often best! #30 was a nice surprise. A RAK is the best idea, because it makes us see the joy in serving someone else! Thank you for including that one! Today—swimming! Free at a friend’s pool! 😉 Blessings, Laurie 🌻Reply to Laurie
Cherelle German Hi Laurie, I totally agree, sometimes the simplest things are best! I also love the #30 RAK one, because it does always feel so rewarding serving or doing something kind for someone else. Swimming at a friends pool for free… ya can’t beat that!! I’m pretty jealous, as right now here in Washington it’s raining outside 🙁 . Thanks for stopping by! -CherelleReply to Cherelle