8 Summer Activities To Do As A Family On A Budget

Do you remember summer break? Long days at the pool, summer camp, and staying up all night. Not a care in the world and more time than you knew what to do with. 

The 4th of July is just around the corner which means the kids are out of school. By now you’ve probably heard “I’m bored” more than you care to count. And by now, you might already be running out of ideas to keep those young minds occupied. 

As a caring parent, you don’t want your child to live on a mental diet of television, social media, and video games all summer. But most summer activities for kids are costly. But in addition to the cost, it requires time and mental energy to think of fun summer activities for the family. Thinking of entertainment that will not only break the bank but also bring the family together can be a challenge. 

If you’re trying to maintain a budget and develop family comradery, then we have a few ideas for you. We’ve collected 8 summer activities to do as a family on a budget. These will entertain your child in grade school, your teenager, and even the adults in the family.

 backyard camping

Backyard campout

Not a big fan of camping? That’s okay. We enjoy modern amenities just as much as you. But a backyard campout allows you to experience a small dose of the camping experience while staying within reach of modern day comforts (like running water). 

This weekend, pitch a tent (or sleep under the stars), blow up the air mattress, and pack your favorite snacks. There’s nothing like camping to reconnect the family. 

And for bonus points: get the ingredients to make s’mores. If you’re within a city that doesn’t allow open fires, grab a couple candles and create a campfire alternative to roast your marshmallows. 

Water balloon fight

Think back to the last time you had a water balloon fight. You may not be able to think back that far, but I bet you had the time of your life! This is a summer activity that brings out the inner kid in every adult. It’s the perfect entertainment for a hot day: It will cool you down and provide a few laughs in the process. 

There are even fun ways to add a twist to this summer classic: Add some food coloring to the water and wear white or light colored clothes. The result will be the most colorful, happy, cooled down family in the neighborhood.

 family picnic

Go for a picnic at your favorite state park

Picnics: the perfect setting for a 1950’s Hollywood classic. But today, we never take time for picnics. We’d rather hit the drive-through or order delivery food and watch a movie. But some of the most special summer outdoor activities require you to slow down to enjoy. 

So, instead of ordering a pizza, choose to reconnect as a family and go for a picnic. And once have your plaid patterned blanket in hand and picnic basket packed, venture over to that state park you’ve been wanting to visit. This way you’ll not only get to have a fun meal together as a family, but you can do some exploring afterward. 

Scavenger hunt in the city

“Turn off the TV! You need to do something educational.” It’s something I recall my own mother saying and I’m sure it’s something children still hear in the 21st century. 

Parents often search for two elements when it comes to kids’ activities: things that are educational and things that are recreational. A scavenger hunt provides the perfect amount of both. It gets your kids active and helps them learn about the world around them. This is a summer activity that can be done right here in southern California or anywhere else in the country. It will entertain the entire family no matter what town you live in. 

At the end of your hunt, continue your educational experience by eating an ethnic food your family doesn’t normally consume. Get active, learn something new, and experience a new culture!

 little boy running in the backyard

Family Olympics

Everyone can appreciate healthy competition. And an afternoon of family Olympics is the perfect way. If your family is compiled of a wide range of ages that’s okay. If competing against each other isn’t an option, then do three rounds of each activity and make it a personal competition for each competitor. Just make sure to track the results. 

You may have a difficult time convincing your teenager to participate. But if you’re willing to loosen your grip on maturity for a couple hours, you could have a great time. Get creative with your selection of events. Here are a few ideas to get your Family Olympics started:

See who can jump the farthest.

See who can run around the block the fastest.

Hold a staring contest. 

Movies under the stars

These family summer activities are budget conscious entertainment options. When people hear “movies under the stars” they imagine a fancy projector and a screen. Going out and renting or purchasing a projector may not be practical. 

However, most people have access to a laptop. It may not be as glamorous as a giant screen, but snuggling together on a blanket under the stars around a computer screen can be just as fun. Sometimes a different setting makes all the difference.

 little girl laying in the backyard

Yard memory

Yard games are always a fun summer activity. And taking the indoor classics and turning them into an outdoor game is a fun activity for home. 

The game of memory is a good way to sharpen the mind, but normally it involves very little movement. This summer, you can sharpen your child’s mind and get them moving. Make a life-size game of memory with construction paper and arrange the “game cards” in your backyard. Just make sure to leave enough walking space in between the pieces for playing the game. 

Plant an herb garden

Gardening not only provides a source of food, it can also be very educational. This summer get a couple small pots, some herb seeds, and plant an herb garden with your kids. Depending upon their age, you can have them be the ones to maintain it. Maintaining and watching the herbs grow will provide entertainment all summer long.

You don’t have to break the bank this summer to entertain your family. With these 8 summer activities, the entire family can have fun no matter where you live without blowing your budget.


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