12 Affordable and Fun Summer Activities for the Whole Family

Written by Chelsea Raineri | July 6, 2021

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The kids are out of school to enjoy everything summer has to offer. With three full months to fill up with activities, it can be hard to come up with ideas that are not only fun for the whole family, but also affordable. From activities in the great outdoors to fun social outings, we’ve gathered 12 ideas of how you can spend summer with your loved ones. Not only is it great to get some valuable family time in, but Harvard Graduate School of Education emphasizes the benefits that come from free play, including intellectual, social, physical, and emotional development.

Outdoor Fun

Outdoor Fun

Round up the kids and head outside — the outdoors are waiting and there’s no time to waste! With a multitude of ways to spend time basking in the beautiful summer weather, your family is sure to make memories with these activities. Choose between killing a few hours at the beach to spending a few nights camping under the stars.

1. Camping

Know of some good campsites near your home? Maybe you’d rather drive up the coast to find a beautiful place to spend the weekend. No matter where you decide to spend your camping trip, Camping World offers everything you need to have a fun, safe time. Shop everything from tents and canopies to bug repellent and headlamps. Plus, you’ll receive free shipping when you spend $99 or more.

2. The Beach

Nothing says summer like spending the day at the beach. Pro tip: everyone else has this on their mind as well, so if you don’t want to wait in long lines for a parking spot, get there extra early. You can pop the trunk and enjoy breakfast while you wait for the clouds to burn off and then head down to the sand to play.

3. Hiking

Whether you have kids in elementary school or teens in high school, we recommend researching a hike near you that fits your family’s skill level. Whether you want a hike best suited for beginners or you’d rather take on a more advanced trail, there are many near you that will offer spectacular views, wildlife, and physical challenges. You can suit up for your day in shoes and clothing perfect for hiking from Nike. If you’re in the military, have a student in the family, or are a first responder or medical professional, you’re eligible for a 10% off discount code.

4. Parks

Another great way to spend time together and also get out and about is by heading to the park. Whether you have one that’s within walking distance or you have to make the trek to one a few miles away, the park is a perfect place to spend a summer day. Check to see if your park has barbecues where you can grill up some lunch or dinner, or there may even be playground equipment to keep the little ones entertained.

DIY Time

DIY Time

Arts and crafts are a cornerstone activity for the summer. Whether it was at a camp, with friends, or at home, we all have memories of creating something only we could during the break. To give this same experience to your kids, we put together a few DIY projects that will leave your children smiling from ear to ear.

5. Paint Night

Painting a beautiful scene doesn’t always need to include a professional teacher and a high fee. You can bring paint night home by purchasing a few canvases, paint brushes, and paint tubes from Walmart, and finding an easy-to-follow YouTube video for painting instructions. Just be sure to lay down some newspaper or tarp to avoid a mess. If you sign up for Walmart+, you’ll receive free shipping on all orders.

6. Sidewalk Art

Purchase some chalk from Amazon and hit the pavement. You can help your kids create everything from doodles to even games they can play including hopscotch, four square, mazes, and more. Let your kids go crazy with the chalk — it can all be washed away at the end of the day. If you have points racked up from credit cards such as American Express, Capital One, Discover, and more, you can use them to purchase the chalk on Amazon.

7. Gardening

If you and your family love enjoy meals together, consider creating a vegetable garden or even a garden full of fresh herbs that you can pick as you please. You can also choose to create a butterfly garden loaded with flowers including calendula, alyssum, and more that also tend to attract bees and hummingbirds. Not sure where to start? Head to Home Depot where you can get everything you need to make a garden as well as tips from their employees — and budget-friendly tools under $20 that’ll help bring your DIY home projects into fruition. Check out their Specials & Offers page where you’ll find the latest deals at Home Depot.

8. Farmers Market Recipes

Support local farmers and purchase delicious organic produce at a farmers market near you. Look up a fun recipe for your family to make together and gather a list of ingredients you can get at the market. Take your time strolling through the different tents and sampling the various items they have available. Once you have everything you need, head home and create your new recipe.

Local Leisure

Local Leisure

Whether you live in a small town or a big city, there are various spots nearby that offer everything kids want to enjoy on their vacation. If you have a child who loves to read, can’t wait to get their hands on some cotton candy, loves to be in the water, or isn’t afraid of friendly competition, there’s everything you need and more right in your own backyard.

9. Swimming Pools

Grab the floaties, noodles, goggles, and diving toys — swimming pools are open for business! Need to grab some extra towels or a swimsuit? Or maybe you don’t have access to a pool near you and would rather purchase a blow-up one. It’s no surprise that Target has everything you need. Be sure to check out their Top Deals promotions for exclusive discounts like 20% off on kid’s swim.

10. Libraries

Let your kids lose themselves in imagination at the library this summer! Whether they’re interested in fantasy, mystery, or nonfiction, there’s plenty of books for them to check out and read. If there’s a park or grassy knoll at your local library, bring a blanket and some snacks to enjoy alongside your latest read.

11. Bowling

Have an upcoming birthday in the family? Grab your kiddos and head to the bowling alley. Not only is it tons of fun to play, but most bowling alleys also have snacks, drinks, and maybe even an arcade. It’s usually affordable to play a few rounds, so it’s perfect for a summer night. Plus, who can say no to some cool air conditioning to escape the heat?

12. Fairs

Ah, the fair — a summertime staple. Fortunately fairs are back open this year, and since we didn’t get to enjoy them last year, it’s time to go all out. That’s right, we give you permission to go crazy on the deep fried foods, face paint, rides, concerts, petting zoos, and even those pesky booth games that are so hard to win. There’s something here for every age group and everyone in the family.

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