Kids Summer Fun on a Budget?

Well it's 'official'.  Memorial Day weekend kicks off the Summer season.  So I've been trying to think up fun activities that we can enjoy during the Summer with Booger Bear without blowing the family budget.  It can't be too terribly hard to entertain a 3 year old.  Right?!?  However, I'd like to enjoy the time too.  Let's face it, I haven't had a toddler around in oh what 16 years?!  My children are now 19 and 24.  They spent recent summers doing teen activities or working, while I enjoyed the serenity of quiet, ME time. Gone are the quiet days of sitting poolside without having to look up from my summer reads to check no one is drowning, to reapply SPF 50 on a really pale kid or pull up wet swim trunks after a pee break. 
  1. Pool Time - easy one, since we have a pool and enough floatation devices to keep the Titanic afloat.  Plus it wears the little tike out!  Early bed time.  ;-)
  2. Build a fort - great for a rainy day indoors or a sunny day outside, just need a huge cardboard box, or pillows, chairs, sheets, a flashlight...something like that, best I remember. 
  3. Visit a local play park.  Our city has several ran by the county recreation department.
  4. Allows for running off TONS of toddler energy.  Plus it's cheap free! Toss in a picnic and a good book for me.  Ahh, it's 'almost' quiet time.
  5. Make homemade ice cream.  Always a favorite!  Make it 'awesome' (Booger Bear's new word) and have a sundae bar.
  6. Camping out.  Most of the state parks and many others are fairly inexpensive for a few nights stay.  Even a backyard camp'out' is fun.  Don't forget to roast marshmallows!
  7. Library story time.  Check your local library for children's story times.  Ours has special summer reading programs.  These are usually weekdays, which doesn't help me out much.  However, I found a great way to have them at home with a bit of flair.  Check out Oopsey Daisy every Friday for themes using children's books.  I've already picked out a book of Booger Bear's to make into some fun.  Of course, I will share the book and ideas on a future post!
  8. Nature Walk - Visit a local state park (for those in Georgia, check out this listing). Purchase a bug box at the Dollar Tree or make a scavenger hunt list of things to find.  There is a small parking fee.
  9. Movie Night/Day - The days of $1 movies are a fond memory.  However, Redbox has brought them back in the form of rentals.  Pick up a couple of kid movies and make your own concession stand complete with sweet treats and popcorn.  Of course, I may have to result to drinking something stronger than Sweet Tea because those cartoon sing alongs drive me batty require a bit of spirit.
  10. Go Fishing - Booger Bear has already asked to do this one!  The adults need a fishing license, which is good for one year, unless you have a friend with a lake nearby.  Find your own worms (oh the joy of boys) and it's free!
  11. Plant a garden - We have a small garden this year.  He is having fun going out to see if we have any veggies.  Doesn't have to be a vegetable garden, try a flower garden and have fresh picked flowers for the house.  Booger Bear LOVES picking flowers!  Or with a few Lanatas you can have a beautiful butterfly garden. I also have plans for a frugal Fairy Garden near the pool.  I love the idea and I think he will have fun helping me put it together.  We made it so, Check out our Fairy Garden Post!
This is my go to and repeat often list for this summer.  Like I said, it's been YEARS since I've had a toddler to entertain. 
What are some of YOUR families summer frugal fun activities?
 I would LOVE to hear your ideas!  Hope you and your family are enjoying the holiday weekend to kick off your summer fun.


  1. Hi Sherri!
    Thats a great post... I have my grand-kiddos a lot in the summer. Those are all great ideas. I especially like the build a fort idea!
    Rainey @

  2. Some thoughts - get a jar and go bug huntin'; penny walks in the cool part of the day, where you flip a coin at every corner and go left for heads, right for tails, and see where you end up; treasure hunts - hide a dollar toy in the garden and do "you're hot, you're cold" to lead him to it; make your own bubble juice in big quantities in a wading pool, along with a huge wand from a coat hanger, or a couple in different shapes. Sigh. I miss those days. :*(

  3. Hi Sherri! Thank you so much for sharing all of these great ideas at our Summer Block Party! I'm thinking an outside fort will be on the list of activities for this week at our house. :-)
    Hope your summer is off to a great start!

  4. Sherri your ideas are just wonderful. I will be sure to try some of them over the next few weeks with my son and his friends.


  5. Great ideas! It's definitely not easy to find inexpensive ways to enertain the kiddos! My faves are camping out & making homemade ice cream! Yum!!

    Thanks for sharing!!


Thanks so much for stopping by to read my blog! I appreciate and read every comment. LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE! ~Sherri~

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