10 Fun and Frugal Family Friendly Summer Activities

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It’s summertime and if you are like most parents you are looking for some simple ideas for engaging family fun. With so much of our time spent looking at screens without fully interacting with others in meaningful ways, it’s important to make family time a priority. Statistics show that children benefit emotionally, academically,  and even physically from the simple act of routine family dinners. Creating space for fun family activities not only silences the “mom I’m bored” whines but helps your family bond and become closer. Here are ten family activities you can try this summer:


Food has a way of bringing people together. For this activity, you could let each family member choose one recipe they would like to bake together. You could use a family favorite recipe or try a totally new pastry recipe. Also, you could even get distant relatives involved in the activity by asking them to share their favorite recipe and have them join in to give instructions through Facetiming or other videoconferencing apps.  You could do several baking projects over the summer and then create a recipe binder as a special keepsake. Use this cute recipe card printable to make your family baking memory book.

Baking at HomeGardening

Not only is gardening fun but it is a very useful skill. Your gardening project can be as little or large as you like. Depending on your space, you could do a simple windowsill herb garden or use a spot in the backyard to plant flowers or vegetables. If you have a lot of space, everyone can have their own little plot where they can grow what they want as well! Gardening is a great way to show your kids how patience, hard work, and perseverance can pay off in big ways! Keep a garden journal to track and record all your gardening projects.

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Story Time

To get the whole family involved in a favorite story, try acting it out instead of just reading it! Everyone will become part of the story, and you will all have an amazing memory to look back on forever. Bonus points for going all-in with costumes, funny voices, and homemade props!

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Board Games

An oldie but goodie is board games. Sometimes just a relaxing day of playing board games is a great way to pass the time. And there are so many to choose from. Mix things up a bit by creating new rules for old games. Or share some vintage board games from your childhood that your kids may not know.   You could even print your own board games right at home. Unleash your creative side, and play by your own rules. Check out this collection of printable games.

Craft Day

Host a family craft day. You can do coloring, collages, slime making, beading, painting, or even STEM projects. Engaging in art projects can be quite therapeutic. But be careful to make it a positive experience for everyone by avoiding negative critiques.  Everyone’s style of arts and crafts is different and there is no wrong way to be creative. Just have fun! Need inspiration?  You can find craft ideas via Pinterest or Fun Family Crafts. Or simply pick up one of these fun craft boxes from Cratejoy.

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Make Cards or Write Letters

Take a day to create cards or write letters. Letters and cards can mean so much to the elderly in nursing homes and troops overseas. You could create handmade cards with happy messages, or write kind letters, and send them out to senior living facilities and military bases. It’s a simple way to spread love and boost morale for those who may be lonely and discouraged. You can send your cards through organizations like Support Our Troops or Operation Gratitude.Fun & Frugal Summer Activities

Learn To Sew

Another activity to consider is a sewing project. Not only can sewing be fun but it’s also a handy life skill.  Just knowing how to sew on a button can be the difference between an awkward situation and a quick fix with no fuss. Basic stitches are also good to know in any future fashion emergencies. Check out these learn to sew kits.

Scavenger Hunt

Get the family’s brain and body moving with a scavenger hunt.  There are endless ways to set up your own hunt.  You can theme it by color, size, room, and more!  You could host a backyard, neighborhood, or even a road trip scavenger hunt. Set a time limit if you have older kids; and make sure if you have younger kids, that they can have fun without feeling too pressured to “win.” Family days and activities should be all about fun!

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Paint Rocks

Rock painting is another low-cost idea. Just head outside and find a cool rock.  Then, you all can use your imaginations to see a shape of something specific in that rock. Once you have figured out what your rock looks like, you can paint it so it becomes that thing. For example, a lumpy rock might look like a toad; so you can paint legs and eyes and spots on it to make it look like a real toad!

Quiet Time

And don’t overlook the importance of quiet time. It’s an opportunity for the kids to think, play by themselves, and give mom and dad a break! Here are a few ideas to try for quiet time:

Now those are just a few simple ideas to get your family interacting. Find more ideas in this free printable 31 Day Family Fun Idea Calendar.

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Looking for a way to organize your summer days, check out Vickie’s Summer Fun Schedule List.

Chalkboard with List of Weekly Summer Activites