It’s the beginning of summer vacation, and there are so many possibilities for having fun!
This summer, you can take your kids to lots of fun places without breaking the bank. These summer activities also make great homeschool fieldtrips if you’re looking for ideas.
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Museums are fun any time of year, and most offer special exhibits in the summer.
You can visit children’s museums, history museums, art museums, science museums, etc.
Even if you don’t live close to any major museums, there are usually smaller museums located within an hour’s drive.
A local museum could be a great way to learn about your community as well.
#2 — Zoos
Zoos are great to visit during summer vacation because of the nice weather. Many zoos aren’t open in the winter or have fewer animals on display, so summer really is a great time to go.
Some states have multiple zoos within a short distance, so you don’t even have to just visit one.
If you live nearby to a zoo, you could even visit multiple times throughout the summer with a zoo membership.
If you live in the US, check out some of our favorite zoos and aquariums!
#3 — Outdoor Waterparks
Outdoor waterparks are usually open only in the summer.
The big ones can be expensive, so consider a smaller one. The one closest to our house is $10 for an adult and $8 for a child over 36” (kids shorter than 36” are free). This waterpark has a wave pool, lazy river, water slides, a water playground, and more. You can stay all day, so it’s a good deal for the price.
Swimming in regular pools can be fun, but waterparks have more activities that will keep your kids entertained all day. Plus, they’re fun for adults too!
#4 — Lakes
Take your family to a lake for the day this summer. A lot of places have small playgrounds at the public part of a lake. Plus, they usually have cleared out the weeds for better swimming.
Some lakes even have sports fields nearby that kids can play on as well.
I used to take my kids to lakes when they were younger, and they enjoyed swimming and playing kickball on the nearby baseball diamond.
#5 — Tours
Summertime is a good time to tour local factories, post offices, stores, a fire station, etc.
The Meijer grocery store in our area will take a group of kids for a tour in the back of the store where items are unloaded and priced. They will also take you into the cooler and other areas.
I have also taken my kids (when they were younger) on a tour of the post office where the mail is processed.
We have also been to see a local newspaper printed at a press. Unfortunately that place closed.
As a kid, I was able to visit a cereal factory and see how cereal was made. Then, they gave out free samples.
There are many local places that will give a tour if you ask.
#6 — Libraries
Check out your local library for many summer activities. Our library shows free movies, has theme days like Star Wars, and has special guests and demonstrations during summer vacation.
Many times libraries will see how many books kids can read over the summer and offer free books as prizes if your child reaches a goal of books read.
#7 — Movie Theaters
Many towns have a smaller (usually older) movie theater that has cheap matinee movies during the week. The movie may be only a few dollars with small bags of popcorn for a dollar.
Some theaters specifically show extra kid movies in the summer with deals on tickets and concessions.
#8 — Backyard Kid Olympics
Have your own Olympics in your backyard. You can invite neighborhood kids or just do it for your own children.
Make up your own Olympic games such as a stick horse race or backwards jump. Give out small ribbons or stickers as prizes.
You can create games that work well for the age group of children.
#9 — Planting Gardens
Help each child plant a plant or plants in a small garden. Show them how to weed and water them.
If you are growing food, watch it grow and then eat it.
As a kid, I planted a watermelon seed, and at the end of the summer, we ate my watermelon.
You could even grow your own pineapple plant from the top of your pineapple. We planted a pineapple plant one time and had the plant for two and a half years. It never did get a pineapple though because we kept it in a pot. We had to bring it inside for the winter. But if you live somewhere warmer, then you can try to grow your own pineapple plant outside.
#10 — Fairs
Visit a fair this summer vacation. Our county fair takes place in August every year. We always enter items also, which makes it a lot of fun to go.
If you don’t want to enter anything, go and ride rides, eat yummy fair food, and look at all the animals.
#11 — Viewing the Moon & Stars
Stargazing is a fun activity in the summer. Kids can learn about constellations or see the craters on the moon.
To see planets and the moon up close, you will need some sort of telescope.
If you just want to see the moon, a pair of binoculars will work well.
You could also visit a planetarium if you have one nearby.
#12 — Water Activities
Besides going to a lake or waterpark, you can have fun with water in your own backyard.
You can have a water balloon fight or squirt gun contests. You can also have fun with different kinds of sprinklers.
We only had kiddie pools when I was younger. If my mom didn’t want to fill the pool, she would turn on a sprinkler that we could run through.
We also made our own slip-n-slide out of plastic and a garden hose.
#13 — Mini Golf & Other Golf Games
Putt-putt golf is a fun activity in the summer for the whole family.
If that is not your thing, or you don’t want to spend the money, you could also try Frisbee golf at a local park. You can make up your own course by choosing objects around the park to hit with your Frisbee.
Some parks also have Frisbee golf courses set up that are free to use. There are actual “holes” which are baskets for your disc (which looks like a small Frisbee).
Another “golf” type of sport is “kickball or soccer” golf. A small golf course near me offers soccer golf on a regular course. There are large ball-sized holes that you are supposed to kick your ball into with so many kicks.
#14 — Messy Days
Summer vacation is a great time to get messy outside. You can easily hose off when you are finished.
You could paint with pudding on a tarp, have whipped cream pie fights, or other messy food games.
If you don’t want to use food, you could play games with paint such as paint Twister where you use paint for the dots instead of a Twister mat.
#15 — Picnics
One thing that you can do in the summer is to eat outside. One of the things I remember doing a lot as a kid was to take a walk in the woods behind our house. We always walked back to a creek and sat down to a picnic. We would pack foods that we didn’t eat on a regular basis so it would be special. Afterwards, we would look at crawfish and other things in the creek, which was shallow.
You could easily have a picnic in your yard or at a local park for no extra money.
#16 — Minor League Sporting Events
If your kids like watching sports, you could take them to a minor league sporting event such as a baseball or soccer game.
Minor league sporting events don’t cost a lot of money, but kids enjoy watching the game.
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What do you do during summer vacation?
Comment down below the things you like to do with your kids in the summer!