Whether you are playing indoors or outdoors, here are some fun summer things you can still do at home that are cheap, frugal, and will help you stay within your budget!
I am constantly thinking of fun things to do with kids at home that don’t require a yard or expensive supplies and that will keep them occupied and not have them climbing the walls after 2 seconds.
I love frugal activities that stay within budget! But, it has been a challenge. I have had to be pretty creative and think out of the box. While I wanted to do fun things with my kids, I still needed to be mindful of how much it cost me.
All of these are kid’s activities that we have done and went pretty smoothly for a decent chunk of time (Meaning it didn’t take hours to set up and then take them 30 seconds before they were bored again). I did all these fun things with my kids, and they worked.
Here are a few fun activities we did in our home this summer to keep the kids entertained. All indoor family fun!
20 Fun Things To Do in the Summer at Home Indoors
Ice Block Fun
This one takes a bit of pre-planning (at least two days).
Take a clear container and find some small items around the house (something like a Lego, a magnet, a toy animal). Place it in the container, and cover the items with water, halfway up the container. Freeze. Once it is mostly frozen, do the same thing again until the water reaches the top of the container. Freeze.
Once it’s frozen, it’s time for a treasure hunt. Set the kids up in an empty space and give them the ice block. Have them try to get the toys out using warm water and syringes. They fill the syringe with warm water and let it melt the ice around the toys.
Some variations: Put food coloring in the water to see the warm water travel through the ice, have them use salt as a melting agent, or have them use toy hammers and drills to chip away at the ice as it melts.
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of categories of items in your house. Examples: Something you can make a fort with, something that starts with an A, something your sister uses to sleep.
Have each kid find items that fit the description and bring them to a staging area inside the house (like the living room). Need ideas? Get your Free Indoor Scavenger Hunt here!
We all love playdough but making homemade playdough is so much more fun than just playing with it! I like to make a massive batch of this recipe and make a few different colors. Since it is cheap and easy, you don’t need to cringe as the kids mix the colors.
Take out some cookie cutters or other random kitchen utensils (tuna strainer, knife, fork, different size measuring spoons, and have them play around). Play-dough is a super fun sensory activity for children.
Soap Play on a Table
This activity works best on a small kid’s table or plastic table. First, take a bucket, big bowl, or pot and fill it with water and soap. Next, give kids sponges and have them make a soapy mess on the table. Next, pour some soap on their hands and have them create bubbles that way.
Warning: This will end up watery and messy, so make sure to clear an area before starting and put them in clothes that can get wet. Bathing suits are fun for this. The good thing with this is that you will have a clean floor even if it spills on the floor!
Water Play Without a Table
If you don’t have a table, fill two buckets or pots or big bowls with soap and water and pour them back and forth. If they have enough bubbles, they can move the bubbles back and forth with their hands. But, again, this is pretty messy, so be prepared!
Take out some beach toys and let them pour into different containers. You can have them put on bathing suits for extra fun. Playing with water is a perfect activity for a hot summer day as they can get cooled down on a hot summer day without going outdoors to a pool or sprinklers.
Paint Pistachio Shells
Painting pistachio shells is a great way to paint something fun and a great way to practice their fine motor skills. We had fun eating the pistachios as a snack and directly segueing into an activity. After eating pistachios, we washed our shells with soap and water and painted each shell.
You can do this with any different object- painting doesn’t need to be with just paper. You can do this with corks, bottle caps, plastic cutlery- basically anything you can use paint to make colorful! As a plus, this is an excellent way for little kids to work on their fine-motor skills.
Tip: Have the kids do this on paper or paper plates to reduce the mess. You can use smocks or have them take off their shirts and dump them in the bath when done.
Object Hide and Seek
Take any toy or game and hide it around the house. Don’t forget to count how many you hid! Then have them go around the house trying to find the items. You can do easier or harder objects and easier or harder hiding places depending on the kids’ age.
Pro-tip: Hide the items at night after the kids are asleep and let them know about the game as soon as they wake up. Hopefully, this will give you a chance to drink your coffee in peace while they run around the house. A great fun thing to do with kids that allows you to have just a bit of peace and quiet!
Invisible Water Fight
This one only works if you have the right setup, so YMMV. We took chairs and stood by the window and had the kids shoot water guns at the trees and bushes outside the house. This activity only worked for us because we have one window that is not street-facing and looks out to an area that rarely has people pass by.
They were under strict instructions to stop immediately if anyone walked by. Of course, they started aiming at the neighbor’s windows at the end of the activity, but we had a decent 45 minutes of fun before shutting that down.
Read a New Book
Reading is fun! I probably spent too much money buying new books and a lot of time getting them for free! No matter what you read, fiction, non0fictions, or excellent books for women (hint, hint), you will have a nice enjoyable day at home. You can get free books for kids by signing up for these programs!
Let everyone choose something they want to bake together as a family. It could be cookies, cake, muffins, or even a pastry—anything yummy and semi-easy! Then, you all work together as a family to get the ingredients and make something super delicious that will make you all proud.
If you have a large family, you can even do a different baking project every other day until everyone has had a chance to make their favorites!
Act Out a Story
To get the whole family involved in a favorite story, try acting it out instead of just reading it! Everyone will become part of the story, and you will all have a fantastic memory to look back on forever. Bonus points for going all-in with costumes, funny voices, and homemade props!
Play Board Games
Sometimes just a relaxing day of playing board games is a great way to pass the time. If you want to add a little something extra, try making up some new rules and change the same old games up a bit! You can also create your very own games like themed charades or scavenger hunts! Unleash your creative side, and play by your own rules. 😉
Have a Craft Day
Coloring, collages, slime making, painting, etc., are examples of super fun crafts you can do with your family. Art can be therapeutic, making sure this is a positive experience with no bad ideas or critiques. Art styles are all different, and there is no wrong way to be creative. Just have fun! Need inspiration? Visit Pinterest or google some good ideas.
Have a Book Marathon
Make a book marathon in your house! First, head to the library and pick out some fantastic books for everyone to read. Then, get comfy and read books for a day! Make a few snacks and finger food to enjoy. Stay in your pajamas for extra coziness! Check out these great book recs for kids and adults.
Make a Family Video
Use your phones or an old camcorder to document a whole day with your family. Then you can watch it back and even edit it into a fun family movie if you want to! As the years go by, it will be fun to look back and remember what a fun day you had and how you lived at that time.
Make a playlist with everyone’s favorite songs, and have a big dance party! Go crazy and have fun just shaking out all your troubles. You will get an excellent workout for it, too!
Make a New Photo Album or Scrapbook
Take pictures and add them to a new album to remember your fun summer! You can even try scrapbooking to make it even more meaningful and organized. Everyone can fill out a page in their own style and write their own little memory notes next to each picture.
Color Life-sized Drawings
Get a giant poster board or butcher paper and have someone lay down on it. Then you can trace around their body, so you have a template. Once you do that, everyone can work together to fill in the template and make a life-sized drawing of the family member!
Karaoke is a lot of fun and making it a family affair will get lots of laughs. You can even hold a contest for the silliest song/voice combo or the most energetic singing. Bonus points for interpretive dance!
Make Some Treasures
Trash to treasure art projects is a fun and frugal activity and fabulous for the environment. Take a few minutes to look around your house for things you would typically throw away but could use for an art project instead. Empty cans, newspapers, paper towel rolls, and plastic grocery bags should be a good start.
10 Fun Things To Do in the Summer at Home Outdoors
Do Some Gardening
Gardening is a handy skill, and it can be a lot of fun to get into the dirt. Depending on your space, you can start a little vegetable, herb, or flower garden. If you have a lot of space, everyone can have their little plot to grow what they want! Gardening is a great way to show your kids how patience, hard work, and perseverance can pay off in big ways!
Have a Picnic
A picnic can be had indoors or outdoors, depending on your situation. First, pack up some food, drinks, snacks, pillows, and blankets. Then set up a nice little picnic spot in your house or backyard! Picnics are always a lot of fun and much more relaxing than a typical formal meal at a table.
Take a Nature Walk
Taking a nature walk and doing an outdoor scavenger hunt can pass a lot of time! Finding plants and animals to cross off your list is always exciting. But, of course, you can also choose something else to hunt for, like molehills, spider webs, or dandelions!
Make Animal Homes
A typical birdhouse can be a home for lots of animals besides birds! Chipmunks, squirrels, mice, and other small mammals can also make their homes in birdhouses. Making a birdhouse is a great way to keep these little guys warm and sheltered in the rain or cold that may be coming up where you live.
Play in the Rain
Rain is usually an excuse to stay indoors, but you can have a lot of fun stomping in puddles and playing in the mud. Just make sure it is not too cold out, and there is no lightning nearby.
Have everyone find a cool rock outside. Then, you all can use your imaginations to see the shape of something specific in that rock. Once you have figured out what your stone looks like, you can paint it so it becomes that thing. For example, a smooth rock might look like a cat, so you can paint legs and eyes and fur on it to make it look like a real cat!
We all know what this is! If you have water guns- then you already know how to do this, but if you don’t, take some empty spray bottles or empty soda bottles and use those to have fun! To use the soda bottles- fill them with water, cover them, cut some holes in the bottom of the bottle and use it by squeezing them as you aim them at someone.
Playing with water and soap is every child’s dream! At least it’s my kid’s dream! Take different buckets or even a baby pool- whatever you have available, fill it with water and some soap and have them play with the bubbles and suds! It’s super fun, and they get clean while they play. Then, rinse them off with the hose or pop them in the bath to get the soap off, and it’s an easy and cheap outdoor activity.
Family activities are excellent opportunities to bond and create unforgettable memories with your kids. Always be sure that everyone can enjoy themselves and that not everything is a competition. Just be creative and have fun with it!
Coloring with chalk is super fun but using spray chalk is a new twist on an old favorite! You can use this recipe: Spray Chalk (thirtyhandmadedays.com) to make different kid-safe chalk sprays. Fun to use and easy to clean off.
We love bubbles!! If you can, get a big bubble mix to make giant bubbles in the yard. You can pour the mixture into buckets and either buy or create your giant bubble wands. Turn this into a science experiment with the kids experimenting with different materials such as bubble wands—some ideas to get you started: wire hangers, sticks and ropes, or plastic piping. So get googling and get experimenting.
As you start planning your summer and working on your summer bucket list, enjoy this list of activities and have lots of summer fun!
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