64 Cheap Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids for Sunny Fun

64 Cheap Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids for Sunny Fun
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Keeping kids active and entertained during summer is essential for their overall well-being. Ensuring they have fun while engaging in various activities prevents them from getting bored and encourages a healthy lifestyle.

Spending time in the great outdoors allows the whole family to enjoy the fresh air and promotes physical fitness and social interactions.

The challenge is to have fun without spending a fortune, so I’ve compiled a list of 64 cheap outdoor summer activities that will create memorable experiences and keep your children happy throughout the summer months.

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a family in a egg spoon race with the title, "cheap Outdoor Sumer Activities Your Kids Will Love".

Outdoor Games and Activities

Kids can engage in treasure hunting, play games like tag, and fly kites, among others:

1) Tag

Tag has been enjoyed for generations. This simple yet exhilarating game involves one player chasing the others in an attempt to “tag” or touch them, thereby passing on the role of the chaser. It requires no special equipment.

Play tag toward the end of the day when the temperature cools down.

2) Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is another game that has been enjoyed for a long time. In this classic activity, one player closes their eyes and counts to a chosen number while the other players hide. After counting, the seeker searches for the hidden players. The first player found typically becomes the next seeker.

I loved playing this with my children when they were young. We also played hide and seek in the house at night with all the lights turned off for extra fun.

one boy has his head against a tree and two other children are running away - cheap outdoor summer activities

3) Red Rover

Red Rover is a game that requires at least six players. Players form two lines while holding hands, and one team shouts, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (player’s name) right over!” The player called then tries to break through the other team’s line.

If the player succeeds in breaking through, they may choose someone from the opposing team to join their side. If not, they join the opposing team.

4) Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck, Duck, Goose is an entertaining game for young children. You need to have at least four players.

The players sit in a circle while one player walks around the outside, tapping each head and saying “duck.” When they tap someone’s head and say “goose,” that person must get up and chase them around the circle, trying to tag them before they return to the vacant spot.

If the player succeeds, the first player becomes the goose again.

children are sitting on the ground with one child standing up - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

5) Backyard Obstacle Course

Another idea is setting up a backyard obstacle course for challenging and exciting physical activity. You can use everyday items like cones, ropes, and hula hoops to create different stations where kids can jump, crawl, balance, or run.

6) Bubble Blowing

Bubble blowing is a delightful and timeless activity for children of all ages. A basic mix of soap and water can create endless fun. Try making giant bubbles using larger wands or hoops to add a twist.

a woman and young girl are blowing bubbles - cheap outdoor summer activities

7) Kite Flying

Kite flying is an excellent activity, especially on windy days when the conditions are perfect for getting your kite soaring high in the sky. All you need is an open space, a sturdy kite, and some wind, and you’ll be ready for hours of fun.

two children are flying kites - cheap summer outdoor activities

8) Shaving Cream Fight

Get some old clothes and enjoy a shaving cream fight. It’s messy but also a funny way to keep children entertained outdoors. All you need is a few cans of shaving cream and an open space. For an easier cleanup, pair this up with a water balloon fight.

9) Treasure Hunt

Children love a good treasure hunt, and it’s an excellent way to get them moving and exploring the outdoors. You can create clues and hide treasures around your backyard or neighborhood for children to find.

a map that says, "treasure hunt" is on the ground - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

10) Jump Rope

Jump rope is a fun activity and an excellent exercise for children. While there may be a learning curve for beginners, mastering different jumping techniques can provide an exciting challenge.

11) Hula Hoop

Hula hooping is a classic activity that combines fun and physical exercise. However, there is a definite learning curve, and some find it challenging to get the knack (like me).

It requires coordination and rhythm to keep the hula hoop spinning around the waist, but with practice, it can be a delightful activity for older children and adults alike.

a woman and a girl are hula hooping - cheap outdoor summer activities

Water-Based Activities

Summer is the perfect time to cool off with water-based activities on a hot, sunny day.

12) Water Balloon Fight or Toss

On hot summer days, water activities are always a blast. Getting water balloons to fight or toss is a fun way to cool off.

a tub with a bunch of water balloons - cheap outdoor summer activities

13) Water Gunfight

Water guns are inexpensive and easily obtained. Kids love them and can play with them for hours. You can have a great time in your backyard with a few water guns and buckets of water.

a girl is shooting a water gun - cheap outdoor summer activities

14) Sprinkler Fun

Get out the garden hose and hook up a sprinkler. Running through the sprinklers is refreshing and fun on a hot day.

a girl is running through a sprinkler - cheap summer outdoor activities for kids

15) Slip ‘n Slide

Slip ‘n Slides are an absolute favorite among children. You can purchase or make your own using plastic sheeting, dish soap, and water.

16) Pool Games

Marco Polo is a classic game in which one player is “it” and must keep their eyes closed while using sound cues to tag the other players. The others must respond, “Polo.”

Another engaging pool activity is Diving for Toys. Scatter various water-safe toys or objects that sink to the bottom of the pool and challenge the swimmers to retrieve them.

Creative and DIY Games

Here are some creative and DIY games for those who prefer quieter but equally enjoyable activities.

17) DIY Outdoor Twister

You can create your own outdoor version of the classic game Twister, if you don’t already have one, using a large tarp, some non-toxic spray paint, and a DIY spinner. Twister is perfect for backyard parties or family gatherings.

children playing Twister outside - cheap outdoor summer activities

18) Sidewalk Chalk Art Challenges

Encourage your kids to get creative and have friendly competitions by drawing fun pictures or creating hopscotch boards with sidewalk chalk on the pavement. Use the chalk and make a hopscotch game. The players can take turns hopping through the course while throwing a small stone or bean bag.

19) Nature Scavenger Hunt

Compile a list of items easily found in your backyard or a nearby park. Give each child a list copy and have them search for the items independently or in teams. The first one to find everything on the list wins a prize.

two children are collecting bugs - cheap outdoor summer activities

20) Create a DIY Birdbath

Gather old plates, pots, or other shallow containers and glue them together to create a unique birdbath for your backyard. Let your kids paint and decorate the final product before placing it outside and attracting beautiful birds to visit.

21) Paper Boats

You can easily make a paper boat using a sheet of paper for a race in the pool or a nearby creek to see whose boat sails the fastest. You can even add small weights to make it more challenging.

someone is putting a paper boat into water - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

Sports and Team Activities

Organize sports games and competitions with your family, friends, and neighbors.

22) Backyard Soccer, Basketball, Baseball

Set up a small soccer goal or basketball hoop in your backyard and play friendly games with your family. Sports games encourage teamwork and sportsmanship while you get some exercise. Having a baseball game is another fun outdoor activity.

a man and two children are playing soccer - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

23) Relay Races

Create a course in your backyard with different tasks at each station. Divide into teams and have relay races, with each team member completing the course before tagging the next person.

24) Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is a fun summer game to play. Divide into two teams and set up a designated area for each team. Each team aims to defend their “flag” while attempting to capture the opposing team’s flag and return it to their territory.

25) Frisbee

Two people can play Frisbee together, but it can also be played in teams. Have a friendly game of ultimate Frisbee, or create your own backyard course and play a round of frisbee golf.

a boy is throwing a Frisbee - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

26) Fishing

If you can access a nearby lake or river, consider fishing with your family. You can make it a competition to see who catches the most fish or enjoy the peacefulness of being out on the water together.

a man and two boys are fishing - cheap outdoor summer activities

Backyard Camping Games and Activities

Here are some camping-themed ideas that you can do in your backyard.

27) Campfire Stories and Songs

Set up a backyard campfire and gather around to tell spooky or funny stories. You can also sing campfire songs and roast marshmallows for s’mores.

a family is roasting marshmallows - cheap outdoor summer activities

28) Stargazing

After the sun sets, lay out blankets and pillows in your backyard and look up at the stars. Use a stargazing app or book to learn about constellations and point out different ones to your children.

29) Flashlight Tag

Engage in a game of tag in the dark using only flashlights. The “it” person must try to shine their flashlight on other players to tag them and make them “it.” This game can be played with two people or with teams.

30) Backyard Olympics

Set up a series of fun Olympic-style games in your backyard, like an obstacle course, egg and spoon race, or water balloon toss. Hand out prizes to the winners at the end.

a man, woman and child are having an egg spoon race - cheap outdoor summer activities for children

31) Tent Building Contest

Using materials like chairs, blankets, and sheets, have a contest to see who can build the most creative or structurally sound tent. Afterward, you can even have a sleepover in your backyard.

32) Camping in your Backyard

Set up a tent and spend the night in your backyard. You can make it feel like a real camping experience by cooking dinner over a fire and sleeping in sleeping bags.

a man and boy are setting up a tent in a backyard - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

33) Build a Teepee

Using long sticks and sheets of fabric, have a fun activity building a teepee in your backyard. Decorate it with lights, pillows, and other fun elements for a cozy hangout spot.

a man and two children are sitting inside a teepee - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

Educational and Learning Activities

Spending time outdoors provides an excellent opportunity to soak up the warm weather and create lasting memories with family and friends.

34) Science Experiments

Gather materials from around the house to conduct simple science experiments and learn about various chemical reactions. Some classic examples include making a baking soda and vinegar volcano or creating a density tower with different liquids.

35) Nature Walk in Your Backyard

Walk around your backyard and observe different plants, animals, and insects. Encourage children to document their findings in a nature journal, draw pictures, and describe what they see.

a man, woman and child are walking - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

36) Nature Collection for Crafts

Collect natural materials like leaves, flowers, and rocks to create art and crafts. Pressing flowers in a book or making leaf rubbings are just a few creative ideas.

37) Bug Hunt and Plant Identification

Go on a bug hunt with a magnifying glass and a guidebook in your backyard. Children can learn about bugs and their habitats while identifying plants and flowers.

three boys are looking for bugs - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

38) DIY Bird Feeder Building

Gather materials like pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed to make a homemade bird feeder. Hang it in your backyard and observe different species of birds that come to eat.

Quiet Time Activities

Here are some more quieter activities to enjoy in your backyard:

39) Reading Under a Tree

Set up a cozy reading nook under a tree in your backyard. Encourage children to bring their favorite books and spend some quiet time reading and enjoying nature.

a man, woman and child are reading a book under a tree - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

40) Outdoor Yoga for Kids

Take advantage of your backyard’s peacefulness and teach children simple yoga poses. This activity is calming and a great way to improve flexibility and strength.

41) Picnicking with a Puzzle

Pack a picnic lunch and bring along a puzzle or two. Lay out a blanket in your backyard and enjoy fresh air, good food, and a fun mental challenge.

a man, woman and child are doing a puzzle outside - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

42) Drawing and Coloring Nature Scenes

Provide children with art supplies and have them draw or color different nature scenes they see in their backyard. This is an excellent opportunity to teach children about different colors and shapes found in nature.

43) Painting Rocks

Collect smooth rocks from your backyard and use them as a canvas for painting. This activity allows children to get creative while also exploring different textures and shapes found in nature.

44) Painting Pictures Outside

Set up a table, paints, paper, and brushes in your backyard, and let children paint outside. Encourage them to use the nature around them as inspiration.

two kids are sitting at a table with paints - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

45) Homemade playdough

Mix flour, salt, water, oil, and food coloring to make homemade play dough. To enhance the experience, add glitter or scents.

Food and Fun

Have fun enjoying good food with your children in the backyard:

46) Backyard BBQ

Fire up the grill and have a backyard barbecue with your family. Let children help prepare simple side dishes and decorate the outdoor dining area. This is a fun activity that teaches children about cooking and teamwork.

a family is sitting at a table eating and there is a BBQ grill - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

47) Homemade Popsicles or Ice Cream

Blend fruits, yogurt, and honey to make healthy and delicious popsicles. Use an ice cream maker to create your favorite flavors of ice cream.

48) Make Popcorn and Watch a Movie Outside

Set up a movie projector in the backyard and have a family movie night under the stars. Make some popcorn and get cozy with blankets for a fun and unique experience.

someone is eating popcorn watching a movie outside - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

Community Activities

Try some things in your local community to get out of the house and have fun with your children:

49) Check Out a Local Park, National Park, or Playground

Spend a day exploring and playing at a nearby park or playground in your local area. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

50) Go for a Hike or Nature Explore

Take a walk or hike in a nearby nature reserve. Bring binoculars and see how many birds, plants, and animals you can spot.

a man, woman, and two kids are hiking - cheap outdoor summer activities

51) Look for Local Library Events

Libraries frequently provide complimentary events and activities tailored for children, such as story time or arts and crafts workshops. Check your local library’s calendar of events to see what’s coming up.

52) Community Fairs and Festivals

Attend local fairs and festivals to experience different cultures, try new foods, and enjoy entertainment such as live music and performances.

a fair - cheap outdoor summer activities

53) Go to an Outdoor Concert

Many cities and towns host outdoor concerts during summer. Bring a blanket and cheap healthy snacks, and enjoy the show under the stars.

54) Have a Yard Sale and Set Up a Lemonade Stand

Teach kids about entrepreneurship by having a yard sale in your own neighborhood and setting up a lemonade stand to accompany it. They can help price items, interact with customers, and count money.

a yard sale - cheap outdoor summer activities for kids

Inexpensive Outdoor Games to Buy

Here are some affordable outdoor games that you and your family can enjoy in your backyard or at a local park:

55) Cornhole

Cornhole is a classic bean bag toss game is easy to set up. It can be played with two or more players, making it perfect for families.

56) Bocce Ball

Bocce ball is a fun lawn game in which players roll balls toward a target ball. People of all ages can play bocce ball, and it’s a simple game to learn.

57) Giant Jenga

Take the popular block-stacking game to the next level with a giant like Jenga game. This outdoor large block game is perfect for group play and will provide hours of entertainment.

58) Ring Toss Game

Ring Toss is simple and enjoyable for kids and adults. Perk: it helps improve hand-eye coordination.

59) Ladder Toss Game

Ladder Toss is also known as “Ladder Golf. This game involves tossing bolas to score points on a ladder-like structure.

60) Bean Bag Toss Game

A bean bag toss game is easy to set up and can be played in various settings. You can toss bean bags in baskets, through holes, or at targets.

61) Giant Sorry Lawn Game

Bring back childhood memories with giant Sorry Lawn Game. This is the classical game and it is perfect for outdoor play with a large vinyl mat for a gameboard.

62) Lawn Darts

Lawn darts, also known as Jarts, is a classic outdoor game that involves throwing sharp-tipped darts at a target on the ground. This is a fun and challenging game for adults and kids.

63) Jumbo Checkers

Jumbo checkers is huge version of the board game. It’s perfect for outdoor play and will test players’ strategic thinking as they try to outsmart their opponent.

64) Croquet Set

Croquet is an excellent outdoor game choice for anyone looking to add a bit of competition to their family gatherings or backyard barbecues.

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a girl running through an obstacle course with the title, "Cheap Outdoor Summer Activities"

Keeping Children Happy and Entertained in the Summer

These cheap summer outdoor activities and Ideas will keep your outdoor gatherings fun and active, providing entertainment for everyone.

Whether you’re hosting a BBQ, working through obstacle courses, playing lawn games, or doing something crafty, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy and engaged.

So gather your friends and family, head outside, and have fun with cheap outdoor summer activities!


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      1. Very interesting activities! I personally feel that kids should spend more time outdoors than sitting inside and playing games on mobile devices. I really appreciate your efforts on listing these activities and encouraging kids to step out

      2. These are such great ideas! I can’t wait to do these with my nieces, now that they’re off school and spending some time at my place.

      3. This is such a fantastic list of outdoor activities! I love how simple and fun these ideas are, and they don’t cost a lot like camping in our backyard. It’s great to have so many options to keep the kids active and entertained during summer. Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas, Catherine!

      4. What a list! It’s amazing what we forget about being able to do instead of worrying over having money and going out!
        Thank you made me remember my childhood

        1. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting, Clarissa! I’m so glad I helped bring back memories of your childhood!

      5. Great list of cheap outdoor summer activities for kids! Love the variety from classic games like tag and hide and seek to creative DIY projects and water-based fun. Thanks for sharing these fantastic ideas!

        1. Great tips! Thank you for sharing. A good comprehensive list of outdoor activities for kids that don’t cost the earth.

      6. You’ve given me some great ideas for our summer activities without having to break the bank! Not much better than just playing, blowing bubbles, etc… for some quality family time.

      7. You laid out many great outdoor activities and to be honest it doesn’t cost as much as people think to get some of those products. I found a lot of them on sale last year. It’s actually good for the kids to be outside instead of on those devices all the time.

      8. These are great outdoor activities. I like that they are inexpensive and simple. Good way to get the kids out of the house and off their phones.

      9. I love all the ideas mentioned in this blog! I have grandsons and I am always looking for ways to entertain them without breaking bank. I will be coming back to visit this page and plan to forward to my daughter.

      10. I love playing giant jenga, we have a set of corn hole boards that are custom made too. So that’s another really fun one. You’re got a lot of great picks so I can’t name them all, hah. Thank you for sharing.

      11. What a great list. Sometimes a simple picnic and a fun game is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

      12. Such a great list! So many fun ideas to do as a family. I am going to share it with my son for my granddaughter. Thank you for sharing.

      13. I love these fun ideas! A shaving cream fight sounds like such a riot. And I really appreciate that they are all great, low cost options.

        1. Thanks, Christine! Yes, a shaving cream fight is fun, but definitely need to clean off before coming in the house!

      14. growing up, we used to play and do most of these. Certainly will be fun for kids to do them. Thank you for sharing awesome recommendations.

      15. It’s great to have a list of so many activities to keep the kids occupied during the summer months. Some of these could even be done indoors on those hot or rainy days.. We did a lot of these when my son was younger. We especially loved water gun fights and sprinkler fun on those hot days.

        1. Water fun is the best on really hot summer days! Thanks for reading and for commenting, Sarah!

      16. I love your list of summer activities for kids. My sons are 3 and 6, and I’m going crazy this summer break. Defenetly ill make backyard obstacle course, my boys will love it!

      17. The cheap outdoor summer activities for kids on your blog are a lifesaver! As a grandparent on a budget, I’m always looking for fun ways to keep my grandkids entertained without breaking the bank. Your ideas are creative, practical, and perfect for making the most of summer without spending a fortune. Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

          1. Now I will never run out of ideas. Really Great for kids as well as for adults activities too. Thank you.

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