Some low cost summer activities for families

Here are a number of wonderful low cost summer activities for kids and families that help families keep their hard-earned money in their pockets.

With each of these ideas, you might fashion “what to do” boxes. Create two boxes - one for “outside” and one for “indoors” - containing index cards with activities written on them. Rotate who in the family gets to pick the card for that day. This is a great way to avoid activities that cost a lot of cash and a fun way to create a family plan.

Low or no cost outings and activities are something consider for your own kids or a group of friends getting together that will create fun and memories without heating up your wallet or credit card bills:

*Visit a farm, pet store or the animal shelter

*Visit a fire station

*Have cooking lessons at home (bake bread, make homemade ice cream, grandma’s cookies)

*Visit a pizza store (they’ll sometimes let the kids make one for little or nothing)

*Visit a television station, radio station, or newspaper facility
*Visit the Department of Conservation’s nature centers and enjoy educational exhibits

*Learn to knit or do needlework

*Get a giant piece of paper and colored pencils and draw your dream house interior view with all the details

*Participate in free summer reading programs and story times offered by many local libraries

*Visit zoos and museums that have free or reduced rates for kids on special days

*Have paper airplane or paper boat races or try making and flying your own kites (books at the library have the instructions)

*Put on a theatrical performance, a puppet show or a talent contest

*Write and illustrate a story

*Plant a small garden or container garden and watch it grow

*Have sack, peanut or egg races

*Plan a picnic as an activity

*Hold a bring-a-dish block party

*Rent a movie and have special “movie night” snacks

*Take your kids on a tour of family history and photos

*Search garage sales as family fun and walk away with a few really good deals

*Play board games on rainy days

*Go swimming at the local lake, pond or pool (you can ask for a one day guest pass at a local YMCA to check out the facilities)

*Visit Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Bible Clubs, Kids Camps, Day Camps
*Walk, hike, and enjoy nature

*Go camping in the backyard

And last but certainly not least... make your own bubble solutions and spend hours dipping bubbles!

Do-It-Yourself Bubble Solution:
*1 tbsp Glycerine
*2 tbsp Dish Soap
*9 ounces water

*Mix it all up (the glycerin added to the mixture is key)
*Pour it into small plastic bottles or a pie pan, grab your favorite wand and enjoy big beautiful bubbles.

Wishing you a very busy, rarely bored and not too costly summer!
This article is adapted from one written by Megan O’Neil-Haight, The University of Maryland Extension, and originally published in Delmarva Youth Magazine, July/August 2006.

At Home with Extension is provided by staff of the NDSU Extension Service-Barnes County. The purpose of the Extension Service is to create learning partnerships that help adults and youth enhance their lives and communities. Educational programs emphasize agriculture, youth development, nutrition, food safety and health, human development and farm, family and community economics. The Extension Service is funded by the county, state and federal government. For more information, call the county office at 845-8528 or go to