20 Fun (and Inexpensive!) Summer Activities for Families

Here we are, in the dog days of summer. If the novelty of hitting the pool is starting to wear off, shake up your family’s summer vacation routine with these fun, inexpensive ideas.

1. Visit a local stable to learn how horses are cared for. Find out if you can bring carrot sticks or rolled oats to feed them.

2. Have a green birthday party for everyone in your family—call it Everybody’s Birthday Day.

3. Hang an old sheet on a clotheslines, then fill spray bottles with a mixture of nontoxic paint and water. Spray away for a unique, colorful masterpiece!

4. Make ice pops with 100% fruit juice.

5. Become citizen scientists by collecting data for environmental researchers—right in your backyard!

6. Turn your garage into a neighborhood theater and put on a play.

7. Throw a tea party.

8. Blow homemade bubbles: Add ½ cup natural dish liquid and 2 teaspoons sugar to 1 ½ cups water and mix well. For colored bubbles, add a few drops of natural food coloring!

9. Make dreamcatchers.

10. Give your child a set budget (say, $10), then head over to a local thrift store and have her pick out the wackiest items he can. Come home, dress up, and have a photo shoot.

11. Pick fruit at a local farm, then bring it home to make pie or jam.

12. Attend a parents and kids yoga class.

13. Set up a movie theater in your own backyard and watch your family’s favorite flick after the sun goes down.

14. Take a bird watching walk with an expert. Contact your local Audobon Society chapter to find bird watching events near you.

15. Make rainbow cake—but don’ forget to use natural food coloring!

16. Decorate tote bags with buttons, rick rack, and natural paint. Then head to the library and check out as many books as will fit in your bags. Try to read them all before they have to be returned!

17. Help furry friends in need by volunteering at a local animal shelter.

18. Make pizza from scratch. See if you can toss the dough over your head without making (too much) mess!

19. Learn how to make balloon animals, then set up a free sidewalk stand to give the creatures away.

20. Set up a fort in your backyard and camp out under the stars. If possible, roast marshmallows.