Kids are out of school for the summer and looking for things to do. While there always seem to be a plethora of fun activities to do with kids and camps to sign them up for, they can often be quite expensive. Summer camp, art, music, and dance classes, soccer camp and horseback riding, are all great options but not always affordable. No parent or caregiver wants to hear “I’m bored” twenty times per day, though, either. That is why I’ve created this list of fun summer games kids can play for hours and be entertained, educated, and have fun all for little to no cost!
20 Free Fun Games For Kids This Summer
Check out these great games and fun summer activities kids will love for summer time fun! These fun summer games are the perfect backyard games to keep younger kids and older kids entertained for hours.
1. Sidewalk Chalk Games
Play hopscotch! Or another of my favorite summer games kids enjoy that can be done out on the sidewalk or driveway is making art with sidewalk chalk. All you need is the chalk, which can be found at a craft store, and a blank canvas! So easy and fun. Kids can use their imaginations, and they will love feeling like they are “getting away” with something by drawing all over the pavement! (Little do they know the chalk can easily be washed away with a hose, or wait for a rainy day!). Kids can take this summer fun to the next level by drawing out life size chalk games.
2. Sprinkler Games
Topping the list for outdoor activities is sprinkler games. There is no better way to beat the heat than playing in cool water. Set up a sprinkler in the yard and watch your kids have a blast running and jumping through the streams of water. Some sprinklers have settings that will change the flow of water. Use these settings to create a game for even more fun. Have them jump over the low streams or duck under the high ones– first one to touch the water is out!
3. Beach Games
If you have easy access to a beach, whether it be by the ocean, bay, or lake, take advantage! Spending a few hours or making it a day trip is an inexpensive adventure for your kids, and can feel like a vacation for parents. Pack a cooler with snacks, fill a bag with a few beach toys and sunscreen, and you and your kids will have a great time! You can play water games like Marco Polo, Duck, Duck, Splash, or have sand castle building competitions. Water play is always a good time. If you don’t have a natural beach nearby, try a swimming pool instead.
4. Sand Art Challenge
Remember the Sand Art table at summer fairs? Who knew such a simple activity could be so much fun? It’s easy to recreate your own Sand Art table at home, with just a few supplies. Colored sand can be found for just a few dollars on the internet or you can make your own. Use recycled glass or plastic bottles, and fill them with layers of brightly colored sand. Kids will love displaying their sand art on a shelf or table. This is a great activity to do out on the porch, driveway, or in the yard for easy clean up! Kids can make a game out of this fun craft by competing to see who can create the bottle that gets the most votes or who can make 20 layers of sand first.
5. Scavenger Hunt
Summer is a great time for kids to get outside and explore their surroundings. Create a list of items for them to find, or print one from the internet. No need to get fancy! Send them out looking for a red leaf, a round stone, or a certain type of flower. If you live in an area where it might be difficult to collect items and bring them back home, have them check off what they find or take a picture as evidence. Stop signs, light posts, a certain color house or building, types of trees etc. are just a few examples of what kids can discover! You could also print out a nature bingo card and see how many times they can get bingo with a small prize for each row they complete. This is a fun way to explore a local park as a family.
6. Investigating Insects
Kids are fascinated by many things, including bugs. Use their fascination with the natural world and turn it into a great science activity. Grab some magnifying glasses and a notebook and begin investigating! Let them flip over small rocks see what they find. Dig a worm out of the dirt and inspect it. Document color, shape and size. Observe how it moves and what it eats. Take your kids to the library and check out books to help them understand their findings. Make a game of it by seeing who can create a more complete bug journal!
7. Reading Nook
Kids should always make time for reading during the summer, but they don’t have to do it cooped up in the house. Have them create an outdoor reading nook. Stringing a hammock between trees, laying out a blanket in the grass, building a fort in the woods or setting up a shady cave on the rooftop of a building are fun ways to enjoy the outdoors while diving into a good book. Cardboard boxes are also excellent for building outdoor forts which can be great fodder the imagination in pretend games. They also make great spots to get out of the sun and read while still enjoying the outdoors. Have a race to see you can read 5 books first and answer the most questions about them correctly.
8. Rainy Day Kitchen Creations
On those dreary days when we’re more likely to want to be indoors, there are many crafts and activities that will keep kids occupied. Having them help out in the kitchen can be a relief for you, and so rewarding for them. Kids love to help with “grown-up” stuff. Let them help make lunch. Make a sandwich assembly line and let them put everything together. Have them make the salad or fill ice cube trays with juice for homemade popsicles. Whip up a yummy blueberry smoothie. They’ll have a great time and you’ll gain a meal-time helper. To them it is a game and to you it is training them for the real world.
9. Summer Lawn Games Kids Will Love
Play summer games kids will love like “Red Rover” and “Red Light Green Light“. Simon Says is another classic game that is always fun. Capture the Flag is another old favorite that is great for older children.
10. Puzzle Time
Get a huge puzzle and spend a whole day working on it. Teach kids to sort the edge pieces out first and work inwards. Take an ice cream break if you need to ease the tension!
11. Outdoor Bowling
When looking for outdoor summer games kids enjoy, your recycling bin can come in handy by providing items that can be used for outdoor play equipment. Using materials from the recycling bin can help save you a trip to the store to buy seasonal yard equipment that you will likely just end up storing later. Tin cans make great bowling pins. Plastic bottles are a little light for bowling pins by themselves but if you fill them with some water and put the lids on they will work great as bowling pins too. You can use any type of ball as the bowling ball. So go ahead and line up some recyclables and have a blast bowling right on your own driveway!
12. Play Frisbee
Lather up on sunscreen and play frisbee. It is a great way for kids to get stronger, more coordinated, and just plain have fun. Plus adults can join in the summer fun too. If you have enough players you can make it a friendly of Ultimate Frisbee.
13. Play Cornhole
Cornhole is always a fun game for the whole family. It helps improve aim and making your own cornhole game is a great summer fun idea in itself!
Set up a game of Twister in the backyard for some outdoor fun. You can also add a sprinkler into the mix on those super hot summer days.
15. Sponge Ball Fight
First have fun making your own sponge balls. Then turn the kids lose outside to have a sponge ball fight. See who can get in the most wet hits! Or use water balloons for the same wet summer fun games. This is perfect for a hot summer day.
16. Target Practice
We set up a fun target practice using recyclables for my kids to aim at. It helps make it more like a fun game than throwing practice and my son can do it all by himself. He sets up his target using tin cans on a box and sees how many he can knock off with how many throws. Just make sure that you approve the target practice area and discuss which direction it is safe to throw in so that no property damage occurs! Your child can always use a soft ball or a bean bag to help ensure safety.
17. Yard Croquet
It is true that you need a croquet set to play this fun backyard game but if you don’t have one, you can have fun making one! Just check out this cool video tutorial for DIY Croquet. My bother and sisters and I loved this game growing up! It is a great family game too because parents will want to join in on the fun!
18. Hula Hoop
Have a hula hoop competition. See who can hula hoop the longest amount of time and try different ways to use a hula hoop.
19. Jump Rope Games
The kids can have individual jump rope competitions to see who can jump the most times without missing. Or if you have a long jumping rope and a bunch of kids, two can turn the rope while the others line up and see who can be the last one not eliminated as they all go through and each round gets faster. See this post for more jump rope game ideas.
20. Dodge Ball
Another classic outdoor game is dodge ball. Make sure you have a soft playground ball so that it bounces right off of people without hurting them. Then you can divide into teams or have every man for himself. As each player gets hit with they ball they are eliminated and the winner is the last one unscathed!
I hope you kids enjoy these ideas for summer games kids can play for hours. Share your inexpensive summer games kids will love in the comments or tag us in your pics #familyfocusblog.