Shells and a starfish on a beach in the summer

Summer Activities For Kids That Are (Mostly) Free

Summer activities for kids can be SO expensive if you let them, especially when you have the whole of the summer holidays to plan out. A trip to the zoo and a walk around a sea life centre can quickly leave you out of pocket, with no money left to do anything else.

But don’t despair! There are plenty ways to keep the children entertained that are either free or don’t cost much money at all.

Summer activities for kids that won’t cost a small fortune

I was looking up days out recently and I noticed that most things cost at least £10 for an adult, with children being only marginally cheaper. If you spend the summer taking the children out, especially if you go out as a family, you can end up spending quite a bit of money.

Deckchairs and seagulls on the beach

There are, however, plenty of things that you can do that are totally free, and some of them might actually be right on your doorstep!

Here are some summer activities for kids that are fun, cheap and cheerful!:


Fetes are in abundance in the summer. Every school, community centre and church seems to have one, and most of the time they’re free to get in. There’s always lots that you can do and look at without spending any money.

The park

An afternoon at the park is a great free summer activity that you can do with your children. It gets them out of the house, gives them a chance to run around in the fresh air and can even be a great social activity for them too if there are other little ones about.

If you’re not sure where the parks in your local area are it can be worth spending an hour or two having a walk around. You might find some hidden gems!

A park summer, activities for kids

A picnic

Picnics are the ultimate summer activity. What could be better than sitting in a park or on the beach and tucking into some good old British picnic food?

All you have to do is find a nice green space somewhere, throw a blanket down and enjoy some lunch out in the sunshine. To make it even more fun, why not get your children to join in with preparing the picnic food? Picnic food can be relatively cheap and easy to do.

Easy picnic food

  • Leftovers from the fridge – Things like cold potatoes and chicken can work really well
  • Sandwiches
  • Homemade cake
  • Cheese cut into cubes
  • Cold pasta salad

The beach

If you live near the coast, going to the beach can be a lovely free day out for your children. All you need to take is a bucket and spade or plastic tubs and a couple of towels.

The beach is great for running around on and getting some of that energy out, and after all the running around the kids can even have a paddle to cool off.

A bucket and spade and a sandcastle, summer activities for kids

Free baby/toddler groups

Surestart centres are worth having a look at if you have children under 5 and you’re looking for something to do over the summer. They offer lots of groups like sensory, messy and soft play, and they’re all totally free to do.

We’ve been to music groups, sensory and soft play at our local centre and Cupar has really enjoyed himself. It’s a good way to get out of the house and meet other parents and children too.

Wildlife spotting

Wildlife spotting can be a really fun activity to do with young children, and it’s something that will get them out and about and exploring their local area.

Before you go out, write down all the areas you’re planning on going to and then write down all the wildlife you’re likely to spot so that you can tick them off when you’re out.

How about exploring the park, a woodland, or even your garden? You could try to spot things like butterflies, bees, cats, birds, and fish if you’re near a river.

A snail in some grass

The garden

Your own garden can be a great source of entertainment for children, and it means you don’t have to go too far. How about enjoying a picnic, doing some wildlife spotting or setting up a little water play area?

Plastic tubs, jugs, and cups can be great outside when filled with water, especially if it’s a hot day.


If you want to take the children camping, but you can’t really afford it right now, how about spending a night or two in the garden? You could have a bbq and eat your food outside in the evening, before settling down for a night under the stars.

A tent under the stars, summer activities for kids

The library

Going to the library is a great free summer activity that you can do for free. Children’s libraries tend to have storytime and other events on during the summer holidays, so there will always be free activities you can enjoy.

If it’s a hot day, it can be nice to get out of the sun for a little bit and have a sit down and read a book.


Geocaching is a great free activity that children will love. Geocaches are little ‘treasures’ that are hidden all over the world just waiting to be found.

There’s an app you can download to your phone so that you can see where the caches are in your area. When you’ve spotted some you want to try and find you can use the GPRS on your phone or follow the clues on the app.

Don’t forget your pen

They range in difficulty from easy to hard and are really fun to hunt for. Make sure you take a pen or pencil with you as a lot of them have paper or a notebook in them so that you can write your name and the date you found the cache on.

Summer activities for kids – in the rain?

These summer activities for kids are all very well, but what do you do when the great British weather hits and we are all treated to a downpour?

Have a read of my rainy day activities post for some inspiration. Again, everything on there is either free or doesn’t cost very much at all.

What are some of your favourite summer activities for kids?

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2 Replies to “Summer Activities For Kids That Are (Mostly) Free”

    1. Free museums are a great idea, I hadn’t thought of that! I might actually see if there’s any in my area that I can take my little boy to next week 🙂

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