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Seize the Summer: 30 Ideas for Cheap Summer Fun

Seize the Summer: 30 Ideas for Cheap Summer Fun

Just like their childhood, summer will be here and gone before you know it. We can send them to camp, schedule play dates with children of the college educated set so their vocabularies expand, make stimulating visits to educational museums and take day treks to the zoo. Or perhaps we can pause and consider playing. 

It may seem counter intuitive to keep a list of possible spontaneous activities to cultivate but the truth is, many of us simply aren’t good at letting go and having fun. Maybe the list below can spark a discussion with your kids about summer fun. 

Here’s a list for every day of the month. Add to the list and make your own homespun summer memories. 

1. Play in the rain and enjoy your child’s smiles and giggles. 

2. Wash the car and squirt each other with the water hose. 

3. Cook together and don’t worry about the mess. 

4. Read books side by side on the porch, drinking lemonade. 

5. Journal side by side in the backyard with freshly brewed sun tea or juice boxes. 

6. Sing each other’s favorite songs while watering your yard. 

7. Lay down on a blanket outside (picnic style) and watch the clouds go by. 

8. Make up cloud stories and praise your child’s imagination. 

9. Buy a new box of crayons and draw portraits of each other. 

10. Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park to eat. See where the day takes you. 

11. Make a bird feeder and sit still outside to watch the birds feed. 

12. Tell stories to each other with the listener providing the first line and characters. 

13. Make or buy bubbles. Blow bubbles in the backyard. 

14. Make your own frozen popsicles with your favorite fruit juices and eat them outside. 

15. Turn on the sprinkler in the backyard and run through it, over and over again. 

16. Paint something, including each other. Body art is very cool. 

17. If it’s too hot to play outside, put on your favorite music and rock out together! 

18. Get your groove on and give your kids a spontaneous dance lesson. 

19. Play a new version of hide and seek with water guns. Squirt whenfound! 

20. Do chalk art on your driveway or sidewalk together. 

21. Wash the dog together and squirt each other. 

22. During the heat of the day, watch a movie together. 

23. Have a kid planned and kid cooked dinner. Parents clean up. 

24. Have an arts and crafts day. Works of art can decorate kid’s rooms or refrigerator. 

25. Collect old books and toys to take to a children’s hospital. 

26. Volunteer together at a local animal shelter or food bank. 

27. Write letters to soldiers serving overseas. 

28. Take an evening nature walk or bike ride together. Why not make it a habit? 

29. Walk outside in your pajamas and count the stars before bedtime. 

30. Tell your kids your favorite memories from childhood. 

Have fun! 


Laura Lyles Reagan, MS is a parenting coach, parenting journalist and author of How to Raise Respectful Parents. She can be reached through her website,

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