Summer Activities for Kids

June 6, 2011

Fishing in a mountain lake.If I do not make plans to keep my son busy this summer, he will be perfectly content to waste his days watching TV and playing with his DS. So I plan to set up a daily schedule for him.


I have already looked up any information about what is going on in my area this summer, and I've written it all on my calendar. Our local library has quite a bit going on for free- storytellers, crafts, plays, and reading contests. That's all on my calendar.

Local Vacation Bible Schools are on the calendar. Summer school enrichment courses have also been put on the calendar. These courses are fun and educational, will last for 4 weeks and only cost $30.

There is a wonderful nature center which has a summer-full of programs. It costs a bit, but it is well-worth it for the learning enrichment my son gets.

Nearby cities are having some pretty awesome events such as an airshow, a traditional music festival, and a wild west show (this one will cost a bit, but sounds fun). There are many fun festivals all summer and local fairs as well. There is a wonderful free fireworks on July 2nd in Madison and locally on both July 3rd and 4th. They're all on the calendar.


The local hospital has some free classes for kids. My son will be going to one called "Home on Your Own". A grocery store holds free kids-cooking classes once a month (HY-Vee).

We also are trying to fit a vacation into our schedule. The movie theater has reduced price "Summer Flicks" a couple of mornings per week.

Each week, I will post a plan for the week on his door with daily plans listed. If the day does not have a special event planned which takes the whole day, he will be expected to do his chores as well as draw a job from the Job Jar. Some of these jobs will actually be pretty fun for him, such as washing the car or giving the cats a bath (he actually likes this), but some won't be as much fun. When the job is finished, he will get to draw an activity from the activity jar, such as ride your bike, play a game with mom, go to a park, or go swimming.


I will take him bowling as much as possible as he can do that for free all summer long (check with your local bowling alley). We love to check out different city parks throughout the summer. Take along a picnic lunch. I will check out free tours- such as a cheese factory.

His grandma loves to take him fishing and sometimes have him overnight. I have some crafts ready to go, like building and painting a birdhouse from a kit and making sock puppets from old socks, and I would also like to teach him some simple cooking on days when it's not too hot to enter the kitchen.

I think the best guideline is to keep your kids busy, especially in the morning. Also remember that they are on summer vacation, so maybe once in awhile, let them have a" do nothing" day. Enjoy them while they are young.


By Sandy Gerber from Stoughton, WI

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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
August 9, 2006

In June the kids aren't bored yet; the thrill of summer vacation is still upon them. However, August is another story. With movie prices at $6 or higher and gas soaring in its price per gallon, how can you keep the kids busy and your budget happy?

Almost Free Boredom Busters


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 124 Posts
August 21, 2012

Here's a list of things to do I made up for my my nieces and nephews who used to stay with me during the holidays. They would just choose something from the list to do so I never had anyone say "I'm bored!"

Two young children in a pool.


July 19, 2010

Here are some frugal things I to do in the summer. Attend Bluegrass/gospel music during the week and on Saturday night, free. Attend local happenings at the University.


June 3, 2005

Usually the first week is fun but after a few days we hear the familiar refrain, "Mom, I'm bored, what can I do?"



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

June 12, 2011

I'm looking for games, or some type of activities for my grandkids to do since school is out. I'm helping raise them and I need ideas for ages 5 and 11. Thanks so much.

By Teresa


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 163 Posts
June 12, 20110 found this helpful

Beads are cheap and easy to make into things like bracelets and necklaces. Also paper crafts can be found online and there are tons of fun things children can do with paper and a few household items. Take them to the library. Books are always a good choice. Make your own playdough and clay from online recipes that are made from flour and salt.


Start working on handmade Christmas gifts. Pull out some old Christmas balls and let them decorate them. Take them to yardsales. Dine out at McDonald and allow some friends to spend the day with them.


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June 12, 20110 found this helpful

It is amazing what you can do with a little glue and stuff you would consider trash or non essentials. String, rubber lids, cans, boxes(little and big), crayons, aluminum foil, tape, paper plate, tissue paper and any other thing lieing around the house can be the ingredient for a master piece. Put them out on a picnic table and tell them to let their imagination soar. They can make a mask, a rocket, a flying saucer, a shadow box (you'll probably have to explain what one is) or (if the boxes are big enough) a card board car they can stand in, pickup and "drive".

June 12, 20110 found this helpful

Check out the PBS kids' show "ZOOM". They have a website at and it has TONS of activities for kids that age to do; arts, crafts, science, cooking, great fun activities. You might also check with your town's community center or rec. center to see if there are any free or low-cost activities or camps, oftentimes they have sports camp weeks, or arts/crafts.


If you live in a town with a museum you should check them out too - a lot of museums have summer activities (sometimes even free ones); most children's museums have a free Friday Night program.

Also, check out which has beautiful paper toys and crafts that are free to print out and make.

Good luck and have fun. If I have any other ideas, I'll write again. :)

June 13, 20110 found this helpful

Hi Teresa! I have a ten year old son who is out on summer break right now, so I kinda know what your going through! I would suggest getting the kids together and asking them what they would like to do, a lot of people forget kids have their own opinions. Maybe taking them to the park to play. The 99cent store has tons of lil' toys to buy and play with, puzzles to put together. You can do hunts around the house area and play whom ever finds it first gets a prize. You can play regular board games, put paper and markers in front of them and tell them to draw like its a contest. You gotta make it fun for them. If you have the money then take them to arcades, Chucky Cheeses, Boomers, let them run around Mcdonald's, take them to the beach for a beach day.. Maybe just a good movie, or tv show for them all, or just tell them to go outside and have fun with the things they have.

Sometimes the most simple things work the best, it just depends on the kids and their likes. You know your kids the best better then I do but I hope I helped a lil'. I know my ten year old, so I know what to do when it's time to go out and do things or if he gets bored. Just relax, take a deep breathe and tell them to go and have fun with their toys. Oh sometimes if they have toys they don't play with anymore it can be fun to tell them to get them together and put them in a box to donate to kids who will use them and have fun with them like they did. Theres lots of activities you can do with 5 to 11 year old's you just gotta be fun about it. Good luck. Take care.

June 13, 20110 found this helpful is an Amazing resource for kids of all age groups ! Games, free printables, crafts, tons of things to keep the "Littles" busy ! The public library is also a great resource & free! If you have the space & your not afraid of a little DIRT, help them plant a garden. If you don't have a workable yard you can do a MINI garden in pots. The person(above) that mentioned The Toymaker is so, right! A great site ! Bubbles, playdough, sidewalk Chalk are also cheap & fun outdoor activities.

June 13, 20110 found this helpful

A few more thoughts on the activities. I don't know what town you live in, but a lot of cities have web sites set up.(some by moms) etc. You could do a search. One I love is (put in your city, and it gives a list & requirements of restaurants in your city). If transportation isn't a problem, you could do a "field Trip" that the kid participate in planning. Zoo, park, beach etc. Hope this helps you enjoy your time with the kidlets this Summer & year round!

June 13, 20110 found this helpful

Scavenger/treasure hunts are always fun. Or find something a certain color or shape from each room in the house.


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June 13, 20110 found this helpful

You might search this site for the article "Summer Camp at Home." It's got some great ideas. If it helps, the lady (sorry, I forgot her name) called her summer activity/camp "Camp Laffalotta."

June 14, 20110 found this helpful

I think that site is called
Just FYI.

May 6, 20150 found this helpful

I love doing the activity I can do with my little one which does not require any money for those activities. Here are few of my kids love to do:

Paint watercolor portraits
Ride bicycles
Go swimming
coloring pages
puzzle games
Build sand castles

From the above list of activities they love doing crafts, paintings and coloring pages. I go online and refer few of the sites that provides this activities. I have download few disney coloring pages from this site to keep my kid engage.

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July 30, 2015

I am 13 years old and I need some advise on how to deal with daily unannounced visits by my younger sister's friend. It's summer vacation and both our parents are at work. My sister's friend visits us every day from 1 pm to 5 pm and sometimes it's very annoying and sometimes I don't want her company.

It's very annoying having to lock myself in my room to get away from a bunch of screaming 4th graders. Now you might say I'm overreacting and it's not a big deal, but every day is just too much.


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July 30, 20150 found this helpful

Have you discussed this problem with your parents? This situation is unacceptable and it is extremely important that you tell them what you have explained here!

It is your parents' responsibility to immediately contact the parents of your sister's friend to curtail her activities at your house. They can decide either to not allow any visiting or allow specific visits with clearly defined requirements and conditions.

July 31, 20150 found this helpful

There is no way any 4th graders should be visiting your house when your parents aren't home. It's okay to look after your own sister, but what if something bad happened to the other girl? If she gets hurt or sick at your house, your parents are responsible even if they aren't there. It's possible that the girls will talk each other into doing something dumb or dangerous while you're in charge and then everyone will be upset.

Tell your parents you're okay babysitting your sister but you don't feel comfortable with a another child being there when they're not home. Tell them you want them to call the other girl's parents and explain this to her. If they don't see that this is a problem, you might have to be the grown-up here and make that phone call yourself. It's possible the girl has been lying to her parents and telling them your parents are home when they're really not.

July 31, 20150 found this helpful

I agree with Dinah..You should try to talk to your parents about it and let them handle it.But if for some reason you can not go to your parents about this problem ,then I would say ,"Well,you are in charge actually" .."you are the oldest so make the rules yourself".Tell your sisters friend that she cant just come over all the time ,tell her that she can come play once in awhile but that if they start being loud and rowdy then she has to go..You do not owe her a explanation and tell her that if she doesn't listen, that you are going to tell your parents..Be nice about how you say it ,having boundaries is very important ..Its your house ,your life ...Be strong ...


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August 2, 20150 found this helpful

Is there any reason that your sister could not visit her friend at her friend's house? If they are such good friends that they want to spend every day together, perhaps half the time could be at her house. This might be a good compromise.

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July 16, 2010

Summer activities that don't cost a lot of money. Post your ideas.

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