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Breaking Bored: 12 Cheap or Free Ideas for Fun Summer Activities for Kids


It's the first week of summer vacation, and you're already hearing, "Mom, I'm bored." You can quickly curb that by saying something like, "Then fold the laundry, do the dishes, mow the yard…" or whatever chores need to be done, but it's summer, and kids are looking for something fun to do.

Coming up with fun ideas can be a challenge, so to make it easier, ask your kids what activities they would like to do and make a bucket list. Write the ideas down on small pieces of paper, then put them in a jar or box marked "Summer Bucket List." You may need some ideas besides the ones they have, so here are a few to get you started:

  • Make a Summer Reading List, then hit the library to start looking for books
  • Play splash tag with wet sponge balls
  • Ride bikes
  • Go on a photo scavenger hunt
  • Go on a regular scavenger hunt
  • Have a lemonade stand
  • Make cookies
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Make a fort
  • Have a backyard campout
  • Go to a park
  • Play water games like "Fish for Marbles." (Divide kids into teams, put ice water and marbles in a kiddie pool and have them fish out the marbles with their toes. Whoever has the most marbles at the end wins!)

You can usually find cheap or free activities in your community as well. Many movie theaters will show older movies cheap or free. Some communities even have "Movies in the Park" for free on certain nights. There's also bowling, swimming, day camp and other activities you can investigate for your kids.

Need more inspiration? Visit our Great Outdoors – Summer Fun Pinterest Board:  With any luck, you'll never have to hear, "Mom, I'm bored!" again!

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