Whether you have kids or not we are all looking for fun things to do in the summer at home. Even better if you have a list of your favorite free summer activities that are your go to whenever you are looking for inspiration.
Summertime is perfect for making memories and spending quality time together as a family but the costs can quickly spiral.
With budgets tighter than ever more of us are looking for ways to have fun while on a budget.
These free summer activities are my go to fun when we have our grandkids staying, and I know they will help keep your family entertained without breaking the bank.
Please note: kids are optional, you can still enjoy frugal summer fun when it’s you and your partner. My husband and I do many of these on our own. Because they’re fun and free!
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15 free summer activities for kids and adults alike
You don’t need kids to enjoy frugal and free summer activities. Nor do you to super creative or live somewhere special, like right by the sea.
Frugal folk enjoy having fun and getting out and about just like everyone else. They prefer, of course, to having fun that doesn’t cost much money.
Why pay out big bucks for a couple of hours of fun when you can have days of fun for free?
1. Your library
Head to the local library to check out books for free. Reading is a great way to spend hot summer days relaxing in the air conditioning or out in the backyard swinging in a hammock.
Reading is a great activity for when it is just too hot to do much of anything.
While at the library check if they have a free reading program for the summer to encourage your child to enjoy reading.
If you want to brush up on your frugal skills, or just find out more about how others have lived and learned how to save money, check out one of more of the books below from your library.
Camping can be a frugal activity for your family if you already have the gear or can borrow camping gear from friends and family.
Not only is camping a frugal way to have fun, it is a great way to save money on vacations and to build your own local staycation while getting away from the house.
Tip – to make this one of your free summer activities, try to find free camping sites or try wild camping.
This allows you to save even more money, especially as these camping sites will have few of those facilities that end up costing you extra.
We started camping when we were a family of 4 and still go camping now it’s just the 2 of us.
It’s a great way to get away from the stresses of modern life for a few days. Everything seems simpler and easier when you are camping.
3. Scavenger Hunt
Go on a scavenger hunt. A great way to do this is to gather the kids and go visit a hiking trail or park with a list of things they can find in nature like a rock or feather.
Taking along a camera to capture what they see allows you to add things like butterflies and birds to your scavenger hunt list.
If it’s pouring with rain and you are confined to the indoors you can still go on a scavenger hunt. Check out these scavenger hunt games:
4. Build a Bonfire
A bonfire in the backyard is a great way to get friends and family together for a lovely evening.
Dry out wood from trimming your trees and bushes to use for your bonfire rather than purchasing wood to use for a frugal way to have a bonfire.
Please remember to check for hedgehogs before you light your bonfire. Bonfires make THE BEST jacket potatoes so wrap a couple in foil and pop them in the embers.
5. Go fishing
Grab some fishing gear and take the kids to go catch dinner.
Fishing is a lovely way to spend quality time together in a screen-free environment. There is always time to chat when you are fishing because those fish tend to know when you’re there!
It’s also a great opportunity to teach your child a handy survival skill and fun hobby.
Did you know fishing is the no.1 favorite hobby in the UK? Beats playing football, gardening and all the other popular hobbies.
6. Have a picnic
Pack a basket and go out for a picnic. A family meal at the park out in the fresh air is a great way to spend time together and have fun on a summer day with a cool breeze.
My favorite is to go to a local country park and set up under the shade of a tree. Bring a book and your walking boots and make a day of it.
These picnic set backpacks are perfect for carrying everything and taking a walk before you set up lunch:
7. Paint some rocks
Rock painting is a one of those creative activities at home that even has entire local groups dedicated to it.
You can paint rocks and leave them around town for others to find or going hunting for rocks that have been left behind.
For young artists, this can be a great way to get them excited to create something new and leave it to surprise and brighten someone else’s day.
My neighbors children have placed some of their painted rocks on their garden wall. It’s always a treat to admire them when I walk past.
Geocaching is a great activity to get kids out and learning how to use maps while exploring interesting new places.
I love that Geocaching is one of those cheap summer activities for adults that you can do with or without kids. After you spend some time finding Geocache, have your kids (if you have them with you) help you put together a fun one to hide for others.
As an adult with no kids at home I still enjoy geocaching as it’s a fun way to explore places and paths you wouldn’t otherwise see.
You can download the Geocache App to your phone or invest in a Garmin if you are exploring areas with poor reception.
9. Go foraging
Give foraging a try. Exploring the woods is a great way to spend time in nature on nice summer days.
You can probably find a foraging guide for your local area and have fun exploring to see what wild plants you can find. This is a great way to find all kinds of interesting things from wild garlic to blackberries.
Unless you are extremely experienced and know what you are doing please don’t pick any mushrooms you find. Too many mushrooms look exactly the same but can vary from harmless to extremely toxic.
10. Grow your own garden
Starting your own garden is a great frugal summer activity that can keep you busy day after day. It’s one of my top fun things to do in the summer at home for basically free. A couple of packs of seed is all you need.
If you have kids then growing a garden teaches your child where food comes from and how to take care of other living things.
Growing your own fruit and veggies is a great way to save on fresh produce over the summertime. Just be aware that you will often find you have a glut of just one vegetable and not enough of another.
Zucchini (courgette) is one we always seem to have a glut of, and as it doesn’t freeze well, our neighbors often benefit from our excess.
11. Visit a pick your own farm
Try your local you-pick farm for a fun and frugal activity. Picking your own produce allows you to get the freshest fruits while having fun.
We took DD2 (aged 23) and her boyfriend to one last year and they loved it. They had both visited similar farms as a child and had a fun time revisiting their memories. As well as picking kilos and kilos of strawberries!
12. Volunteer your time
Volunteer your time on your own or as a family.
Spending time learning to help others by volunteering your time at the local animal shelter or serving meals at the local soup kitchen is a great way to do your part for the community.
It doesn’t cost anything to volunteer your time and this is a great way to keep kids busy while teaching them to care for the less fortunate. A lesson that has immense value.
13. Go on a bike ride
Walking allows you to explore your local area much better than when you drive through in the car. Going for a bike ride allows you to see much more at a quicker pace.
Depending on where you live, you could be deep in the countryside or the next village within a few miles. Someplace completely different to your local area.
And of course, let’s not forget the fresh air and exercise you get with every bike ride you do.
14. plant a herb garden
You don’t need a back garden, a yard or even a balcony to grow fresh herbs. Herb gardens are easy to start and maintain and can be as small as a few pots on a sunny windowsill.
You will get a harvest that is many times more than what you get at the market for the same price. Dry your herbs and you then save money by avoiding paying out for expensive seasoning.
Grab yourself one of these herb garden starter kits and prove to yourself just how easy it is to grow fresh herbs.
15. have a games night
Traditional board games and family games are fell out of fashion a while ago. But with 2020 being the year that it was, they are making a come back.
Board games can make a big kid of everyone, young or old. And let’s not forget there are more games families can enjoy that are not confined to a board.
Silly activity games, Twister or charades are all really good fun if you can let go of your pride!
What can you do in the summer with no money?
All of these summer activities are free to do. If you don’t have the money for a pack of seeds, try growing vegetables from the scraps. You can re-grow spring onions, potatoes, carrots and lettuce.
For more information on what scraps you can re-grow and how to do it, check out this post.
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What can I do that’s fun and free?
There are 15 fun and free ideas in this post to get you started. For even more ideas then why not check out Pinterest?
For more help in building your frugal foundations join the bootcamp today.
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
Last Updated on 22nd June 2021 by Emma