101 Fun and Cheap Summer Activities for Kids
If your child is anything like the rest of us, they’ve been counting down the days until summer vacation for months.
But now that it’s finally here, what’s there to do? How do you keep your child occupied and having fun when most of your summer will be spent at home this year?
We have some ideas for you! With help from our Prodigy Champions, we put together a list of 101 summer activities for kids.
Keep scrolling for cheap — or completely free— activities that will keep your child from getting bored at home and make their summer memorable.
Educational summer activities for kids
Summer doesn’t mean your child has to stop learning, and learning doesn’t have to be boring.
Educational summer activities for kids are a great way to:
2. Make your own math beanbag toss game for your kids to get active and practice math!
3. “Cooking and baking — lots of fractions and measuring.” – Brooke D. Cooking is a great way to teach kids useful skills. Plus, the results are delicious! Try these 21 recipes you can make with your kids.
4. Create a vision board for the upcoming school year, filled with everything your child wants to achieve.
5. “I have my kindergarten son practice writing skills. He takes a pad of post-it notes and writes the name of everything before sticking it on the object.” — Laura B.
6. Complete the Prodigy Summer BINGO card. Your child will have lots of fun with printables, creative activities, physical exercises and, of course, Prodigy! Plus, they’ll feel accomplished as they fill up more and more squares on the card.
7. Write a book together, then have your child illustrate it! Try these writing prompts to get your story started.
8. Make your own museum. Have your child collect and organize objects (ex. pinecones, pebbles, shells). Then, write about them and display them for family and friends at home.
9. “Play online learning games.” — Alicia K. Try one of these 21 best free games for kids.
10. Draw a calculator hopscotch outside for kids to practice math while they play.
11. Give your child some around-the-house activities. Have them look around the house to answer different questions. For example, how many of each object is in our house?
12. “Read a book together, discuss, write some notes. Compare the book to the movie version.” — Amanda W. Try one of the books on this summer reading list.
13. Go on learning walks together. Each walk encourages your child to focus on different subjects and build their knowledge!
15. Make a sidewalk word ladder to boost your child’s sight reading and fluency.
16. “Create a budget based on online grocery shopping.” — Monica L. Give your child productive math practice and get some help with grocery planning. Win-win!
17. “Virtual field trips, scavenger hunts, STEM projects.” – Kelli S.
18.“Create your own Escape Room.”—Mike B. Use this guide to plan and execute an at-home escape room with your child.
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Crafty summer activities for kids
Promote creativity with these DIY summer activities kids will have a blast with. When they’re done getting crafty, your child can actually use whatever they made — it’s fun and useful!
1. “Research a specific animal and then make it out of things you have at home. I did this with my class during our online lessons, and they loved it!” — Ashleigh O.
2. Create a summer scrapbook to remember all the summer activities you do this year!
3. Tie dye an outfit. You can even make matching ones for the whole family! Try one of these fun techniques.
4. “Create geometric artwork.” — Lindsay G. This activity is great for math practice, too. Try this geometric art project for kids.
5. “Make a musical instrument.” — Aimee B. Use materials around your house to create your child’s favorite instrument. Then, they can play it over and over! Here are some options to choose from.
6. Play with playdough. Use a recipe to make homemade playdough together, then let your child explore with it!
7. “Make a 2021 calendar!” — Mark P. Use one of these cute calendar crafts for kids to get started.
8. Build a boat, then use it to have boat races outside! Try one of these designs.
9. “Make cards for the sick, elderly or lonely.” — Rebecca K. A thoughtful card is especially appreciated in current times. A random act of kindness like this one can make someone’s day!
10. “Make beaded necklaces.” — Brooke D. Try one of these unique necklace crafts for kids.
11. “Build tents or forts with sheets.” — Jacob D. Then add pillows, blankets and anything else you can find to make your fort extra comfy.
12. “Make healthy snacks like trail mix.” — Mrs. R. Kids will love this recipe!
13. “Build a birdhouse.” — Kimberly M. Try this kid-friendly option you can make in about an hour.
14. “Make glitter jars.” — Elizabeth B. Not only are glitter jars super fun to put together, they’re also an effective stress reliever for kids to use when they need it.
15. “DIY bird feeders.” — Dana S. Here are 6 easy options to try.
16. “Make your own funky sunglasses.” — Abigail K. Let them choose one of these cute DIY options. Then make some for yourself, too!
17. “Paper plane races.” — Glenn T. Use these step-by-step instructions to make your paper planes. Then have your child decorate their plane however they want.
18. “Paint a rock with a positive message and leave it for someone else to find.” — Susan P.
19. “Make a hot mess canvas. Seriously, it’s so much fun. With younger kids, put it in a gallon Ziploc bag and there’s no mess!” – Katelyn K. Here’s how to make one.
20. “Lanyard or friendship bracelets.” – Patricia B. Here are some adorable bracelets for kids to make.
21. “Create a new ‘fashionable’ outfit out of newspaper and masking tape or duct tape.” – Sandra M.
Outdoor summer activities for kids
Bring summer camp home with these fun activities that get kids outside and enjoying the fresh air while they play.
1. Play hula hoop games. Not only is hula hooping fun, it’s also great exercise that strengthens core muscles and balance!
2. “Explore the backyard, plants and bugs.” — Grit W. This is a great way to connect with nature and learn more about what’s in your own backyard.
3. Make an outdoor obstacle course for your family to compete in. Use these 25 low prep obstacle courses for inspiration.
4. “Do an ABC scavenger hunt.” – Brooke M. In this scavenger hunt, kids have to search for something that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Get started with this how-to guide.
5. Blow bubbles, make bubble art, or play games with bubbles. There are tons of possibilities with bubbles! Try these.
6. “Chalk games like hopscotch and chalk art.” — Susan C. This is the perfect way to encourage creativity while your child plays outside.
7. Make a pool noodle ring toss game. Kids can practice themselves, or the whole family can have a competition!
8. “Read a book in a shady space.” — Amber M. This is a relaxing way to spend time outdoors!
9. “Go on neighbourhood walks.” — Nancy D.N. Learn and explore your neighborhood together while getting some sun.
10. Build a cornhole set. This game will be great for kids and adults to play over and over!
11. “Plant sunflowers and a garden. It’s so fun to watch it grow.” — Laney P.
12. Play frisbee games together. Try one of these!
13. “Make a backyard ‘drive-in’ with a movie on a sheet that acts as a screen.” — Lesley P. Check out this list of the best outdoor projectors to use.
14. Build and play a giant outdoor scrabble game! Here’s how.
15. “Grow quick seeds like lettuce, radish or peas.” — Christina W. This is an easy way for your child to start developing their green thumb!
16. Play in the yard with a beach ball or balloons. Try one of these super fun games!
17. “Hiking is a great way to see your area and stay active.” – Denise R. Find local hiking trails near you that you haven’t explored yet.
Summer activities for kids to stay cool
Getting outside in summer is great, but let’s face it — summer can get hot. Save these activities for those scorching days, so you can help your child have fun while they cool off!
1. “Use a water table.” – Alicia K. Water tables are a useful sensory activity, but they also keep kids cool. Win-win!
2. Play a fun game of duck, duck, splash.
3. Play in a sprinkler or pool. If you don’t have one already, make a DIY sprinkler.
4. Take the sprinklers to the next level and build your own backyard sprinkler park.
5. “Make homemade popsicles.” — Kierstin S. Try one of these yummy recipes.
6. “Make an ice sensory tray. Freeze small toys and glitter in a tub of ice and give the kids a butter knife to chip away at it.” — Christina W.
7. Create your own waterfall. Here’s how to make a “water wall” at home.
8. “Make a lemonade stand.”— Arpie M. Here’s how to have the ultimate lemonade stand to share with close friends and family.
9. Play water balloon basketball or any other water balloon games.
10. Get creative and keep cool with ice cube painting.
11. “Make ice cream together.” — Abigail K. Try this recipe you can make in just five minutes!
12. Visit a local splash pad or make one to use at home.
13. Compete with one another in exciting water gun games.
14. Make your own dunk tank. Here’s how.
15. Make sponge bombs to play with instead of water balloons.
Summer activities for kids and their families
Summer vacation is a great opportunity to bond and make memories with your child. Use these activities together as a family. We promise you’ll have just as much fun!
1. Go geocaching together and experience an outdoor treasure hunt!
2. “Have dinner every night together to discuss your highs and lows.” — Laura B.
3. Solve puzzles together. Try some of these math puzzles to start!
4. Have a picnic in the backyard or at the park. These perfect picnic tips will help you make a delicious basket.
5. Play tennis. It’s fun to play as a family and has tons of great health benefits for your kids.
6. Host a family talent show or show and tell. Everyone can get involved and show off something they love!
7. “Wash the cars in the driveway.” — Jennifer H. This task won’t feel like a chore when your family can do it together!
8. “Have a family paint night.” — Jessica P. Don’t forget all your supplies!
9. Have a themed family dinner. Vote on your favorite theme and give everyone a job to do. To make it even more fun, decorate and wear costumes that match your theme!
10. “Play cards, dice and board games.” – Kimberly M. Try one of these fun board games for kids.
11. “Movie night. Popcorn, candy, sodas and a great family film!” — Andrea G. Choose from one of these kids movies on Netflix.
12. “Four corners is always a hit!” – Arpie M.
13. “Learn something new together like sign language or the constellations in your area.” — Katelyn K.
14. “Read a book together as a family, one chapter per day (maybe at lunch), and discuss what’s happening. Predict what might happen in the next chapter.” – Sandra M.
15. “Have a family dance off.” — Glenn T. Make sure you have an awesome kid-friendly playlist first.
16. Go on a family bike ride and play “follow the leader.”
17. Use a star finder, set up some blankets outside and look at the stars together.
18. Have a backyard bonfire, make s’mores and sing some fun campfire songs.
Summer activities for kids to do independently
When parents are busy, these summer activities are perfect for kids to do by themselves. Your child will have tons of fun and stay occupied, so you can get stuff done!
1. “Have your kids design a treasure map with step-by-step directions for another family member to follow.” — Sandra M.
[Image of printable treasure map from weekly activity calendar to download]
2. Encourage your child to design their dream bedroom. When they’re done, they can share the design with the whole family.
3. “Have your kids ask their elders questions about their childhood, how they met each other, what life was like when they were young, etc.” – Fanny F. Kids can write the answers down for a family book, or record videos and make a movie.
4. Give kids some fun printable summer activity sheets to complete.
5. Encourage your child to learn magic tricks. Kids can start with these easy tricks and work their way up to become expert magicians!
6. “Have kids make a digital journal of their summer holidays.” — Cassandra B. Try one of these journal apps.
7. Create a summer memory box. Every day, set aside time for your child to write down something they want to remember from that day. They can add pictures, keepsakes or notes for each memory.
8. “Make reading fun. Read in a fort, read with a flashlight etc.” –– Jessica P. Challenge your child to find a unique way to read every day!
9. “Write a letter to a friend.” — Ana G.
10. “Handwriting practice! My niece is practicing cursive this summer, and I think it’s great!” — Rebecca K.
11. Make a movie of your summer. Take a short (one to five seconds) video every day, then edit it all together and experience your whole summer all over again.
How to choose summer activities for your kids
With so many options for activities, you might wonder, “Where do I even begin?”
We hear you! Here are some tips for choosing and prioritizing your summer activities, so you can easily fit them into your schedule.
Look through the summer activities above with your child. Have them pick their favorites, then choose some favorites of your own.
Think about how many activities you can realistically do during the summer.
For example, if you want to try three new activities a week, you’ll probably want to save around 30 activities (but you’ll get major bonus points from us for trying all of them!)
Split up the list into three categories:
- Absolutely — These are must-do activities!
- Yes — These ones would be great to try.
- Maybe — These ones can be saved for when you have extra time.
Once you make your list, add the items to your calendar.
Then, add the activities to your summer schedule, so you and your child know what to expect each week.
Choose an even number of top, medium and low priority items for each week, so your favorites are spaced out throughout the summer.
Make choosing your activities as fun as the activities themselves!
Ask your child to choose which activities they want to do in a given week (or day). They’ll be even more excited to try them when they play a part in the selection process.
Or, add some extra excitement and make it a surprise! Write down your activities — split up by priority — on pieces of paper or popsicle sticks and keep them in a jar to pull out each week.
Which of our activities are a must-try for your family? Share with us below.
And don’t forget to have a safe and fun summer!
Every summer, children can lose around two weeks worth of learning from the previous year.
But with Prodigy, you can prevent summer learning loss and build your child’s confidence in math — all while they have tons of fun!
Plus, your free parent account lets you track progress, set goals and send rewards while your child enjoys their exciting in-game experience.
Ready to set your child up for a successful school year?