Great summer times for less money

3 Great Low-Cost Summer Activities with Kids

by Kathy Woodard

Related Articles

Alternatives to Summer Camp

Reducing the Cost of Summer Camp

Summer Fun Without the Price

Most moms and dads know if you want to have a great summer with the kids, it takes a little more than handing them a popsicle and pointing towards the backyard. Ok, it could work through week one! After that though, we all need to get a bit creative coming up with low-cost summer activities with our kids. Here are three great ideas to keep the whole family busy, without spending a lot of cash!

Create Your Own Zoo

Got toddlers and preschoolers? Guess what, you have a zoo and aquarium right in your town! Take a visit to the best fish and pet store your area has to offer. Little ones love to look at animals, and they don't care if you get in free, versus paying a week's college tuition to get into a real "aquarium." Have them make it a project, and come home afterward to print out coloring pages and learning worksheets on the very animals they just saw! Cap off the day with a smoothie or a soft serve ice cream.

Cost of day trip? Less than $10 for a family of four, and that's only with the ice cream!

Hunt for Treasure

Older elementary kids in your home? Plan a treasure hunt in the park or even in the neighborhood for them and a few of their friends. Leave notes or clues and create teams to find "treasures" you pick up from the discount store. Then treat all the teams to a cookout after the hunt! Hot dogs are pretty cheap to toss on the grill, and most kids love them.

Cost of hunt? Dollar treats and hot dog fixings for six kids is about $10-$20, depending on treasures you choose.

If circumstances have put your family in debt, find out how to conquer your debt by creating a plan personalized to your family's budget and lifestyle.

Into the Wild

Teens already bored with summer? Ok, now that's a problem. Just kidding. Plan a hike or a bike trip and let them take responsibility for the trip. If you live near a lake or river, check out canoe rentals. Some city park departments rent boating equipment cheap. Make sure they include life jackets in the rental. Your teen can plan the route, snacks or meal, and equipment. Let them bring along a friend and you will see a whole other side of your usually moody teen ( a good way).

Cost? With snacks and bottled water, it'll be less than $5 with a little of your sweat. It'll be more if you rent a boat (more money, I mean).

Whether you are a stay-at-home or work-at-home mom, a dad looking to give your kids some structure in their summer, or a grandparent wanting to create some fun memories, you can try these great low-cost summer activities with kids to avoid that dreaded "I'm bored" moment and have great summer fun!

Visit Kathy at

Take the Next Step:

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

Stay Connected with TDS


It's tough raising kids today!

Dollar Stretcher for Parents is a weekly newsletter designed just for parents that will help save your family both time and money.

Little Luxuries

And get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book