Summertime is a perfect time for quality family time. However, finding new kid activities, can be challenging on a tight budget. Summer camps are amazing but many come with a steep price tag. The solution can be a simple mixture of researching options that mesh with your family needs and a little bit of creativity. Be sure to have your children involved in the process. Ask them to help you research. They can make lists of their favorite activities, a process that will help spark their interest. This will also teach them how to be a part of a working team. They can see how plan evolves from an idea. To get you started, read How to plan at home camp. Need some other ideas to get started? Read on.

6 Budget-Friendly Summer Kid Activities

Reading is fun: Most libraries and some businesses offer summer reading programs. Prizes are awarded based on number of books read or time spent reading.

1. Summer Reading Programs

These programs can be local or virtual and often provide a reward for number of books read or hours spent reading. This list provided by Book Riot shares 13 summer reading programs which include food, event tickets, free audio books and programs for military families worldwide. If your family decides they enjoy these options, some of the programs can be all year round and best of all- they are free.

Camping has many benefits: It’s an economical way to expose your kids to new environments. It can also teach skills such as how to build a camp fire.

2. Camping

Next to reading, camping is up there as a top educational activity. If you’re not a camper, consider planning a backyard weekend event. Buy, borrow or rent a tent. You can even make one with a blanket if you plan to camp in the backyard. Budget-friendly supplies can be borrowed, purchased on clearance or even found at local donation centers. Places such as Outdoors Geek rent gear starting at $79 for a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad for one to three nights. Read Budget-friendly travel tips for your summer vacation and Camping 101: tips for everyone. Kids will learn everything from how to cook over a fire to how to set up a tent and purify water.

Pitch in: There are countless opportunities to volunteer in every community. It’s also a great way for kids to gain valuable work experience.

3. Volunteer

This option is a great experience for both children and adults. Most towns have multiple centers that need volunteers for animals, museums or helping those in need. Sit down with a family and see how you can best use your skills to help others. One volunteering activity might turn into a new family tradition. For instance, feeding the homeless at a shelter might become an annual event. Maybe friends meet at the beach every summer to help do a beach cleanup. Here’s more ways to lean how to help out. How to clean up in wake of riots. 

Teach your kids to to share their love of reading. A Little Free Library helps recycle old books and share your love of reading with others.

4. Build a Little Free Library

The Little Free Library bills itself as the “World’s largest book sharing movement.” You can create one of these houses in your neighborhood. Make one with minimal building materials or leftover wood scraps salvaged from friends, family, local bulk trash piles. Although many of the little free libraries are a basic box, some have recycled an old tree stump, resemble a fairy house and more.  Want to add an extra surprise? Tuck in a few Crispy Green Grab-N-Go Snack packs snacks for those readers. Make Sure to check with your home owners’ association before installing a Little Free Library.

Karaoke is a fun way to entertain the entire family.

5. Karaoke

Skip the crowded outings and sing with your family at home. HowToKaraoke gives you the complete process on how to get free songs, which apps to use for your singing gear. and ideas for karaoke tracks. It’s also free and can be done on your family’s schedule. Potential drawback include embarrassment, out-of-tune singing and the need to branch out for more professional karaoke.

6. More Ideas

And finally, it’s normal to feel like you’ve exhausted all the ideas. Don’t despair. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Here is a list of 100 Fun Summer Activities for Kids to get your family motivated. They tend to fall under  food, family and fun categories. They also include a healthy mix of arts and crafts, athletic events, and activities designed to help foster kids’ social development. For instance, some include write a letter, walk a neighbor’s dog, play cards, hula hoops, etc.

So, as you sit down to plan you summer, be intentional. Don’t allow your kids play video games or watch online videos 24/7. Choose enjoyable kid activities that exposure them to new experiences. Broaden your horizons, try new things and embrace the days that bring you all together.

-Tracy Bush

Tracy Bush known as Nutrimom® is a food allergy mother that has continued to support the allergy community for almost 21 years. Find out more at

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