Whether water fun, nature activities or sports and games appeal the most to you and your kids, there is plenty to do inexpensively in the summer.
Having fun with your kids this summer should not be a hassle or expensive. You have many options in your own backyard or nearby parks or recreational areas. Make a summer of fun your kids will remember forever.
When the summer heat is getting to you, consider water fun on your own property. Set up a cheap kiddie pool, a slip and slide, or a sheet of plastic, or even a regular sprinkler and let the kids run through it. Invite their friends over to play and provide an easy-to-eat treat like popsicles. Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with wet footprints or handprints. Play with squirt guns or spray bottles. Have a water balloon fight. Blow bubbles. Make mud pies. Play in the rain. Wash the car and spray the kids with the hose. Let them get you wet, too.
In the cool of morning, evening or on moderate weather days, have a day to enjoy nature. You could call it a nature hike. Visit a walking path at a local park or find a new trail to hike. A nature hike can be just a walk or it can be more than that. Think of off-roading a little bit. What kinds of rocks, leaves, plants and flowers can the kids find? Have them use a bag to store their favorites. When you get back home, go online and research the names of the plants you collected. Here are some more ideas for fun with nature: take pictures of nature with a camera. Take the kids to a scenic area with a set of watercolors and ask them to paint what they see. If you live close to the ocean or lake, pack a lunch, sunscreen, drinking water and some beach toys and go there. Spend the day digging in the sand, building sandcastles and searching for seashells. There are all kinds of ways of interacting with nature, like planting a vegetable or flower garden together. Visit a pick-your-own fruits farm. Instead of just having a picnic lunch at the brightest time of day, try having a sunset picnic at a park or beach. On the other hand, get up early, pack breakfast, and have a sunrise breakfast. Walk barefoot in the grass and pick the wildflowers, if it is allowed. Do some cooking outside on a grill or a campfire, or just toast marshmallows. Pitch a tent, perhaps even in your own backyard, and sleep outside. The moon, stars and planets are nature, too.
When thinking of summer activities for the kids there are always all kinds of games and sports. You do not have to join a team or class because they can get expensive, but if you have the resources and interest in pursuing that path, ask the kids if they would like to learn a new sport or activity. The summer is a great time to try something new without the commitment that often comes with starting it during the school year. Go for a bicycle ride around the neighborhood. Teach the kids some jump rope rhymes from your own childhood. There is hopscotch, too. Plan a scavenger hunt or a treasure hunt. For a scavenger hunt, all you need to do is create a list of twenty or so items that are frequently found outdoors in your area. Pass out the list to each of the kids. The first person or team to find everything, or the most items, and wins a small prize. For a treasure hunt leave clues around the house or yard, with each clue leading to the next clue, until they reach the treasure, maybe a snack or small prize. There are many more ideas for outdoor sports and games, like playing kickball with the neighborhood kids. Fly kites. Compete in a three-legged or other race. Create an obstacle course. Play freeze tag. Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest.
With some help from your kids, you may come up with many more ideas. Water, nature, and sports and games are great sources of cheap and healthy entertainment. The summer time is a great time to be outdoors, but please remember the sunscreen, hats and monitoring the amounts of sun exposure. Older kids with later bedtimes may even be able to enjoy many of these activities after the sun goes down.