With summer being officially here, it’s now time to embark on some great family summer fun. But, things are looking a bit different this year with COVID-19 happening. So, while we would usually go on a family vacation or two in the summer, that is not really in the cards this year. Instead, we have have had to brainstorm some other fun ideas. And, since we are watching our pennies, we didn’t want them to be anything expensive. So, this list of family summer activities are not only fun, but budget-friendly. In fact, a lot of them are free!
1. Disc Golf
One of our favorite things to do all year round is play disc golf. This sport is a combination of hiking and Frisbee. And most courses are free, which is one of my favorite things about it. I love to hike and my spouse loves to play disc golf, so this is a great combination. Plus, it is really easy for our kids to play also.
Most states have disc golf courses strewn throughout city parks. These courses usually have 18 holes (or baskets) and a tee pad or two for each hole. The game is just like ball golf, except that you throw a disc from the tee pad instead of hitting a ball with a club. There are par’s for each hole and the goal is to try and come in under par, whenever possible. The best place to find disc golf courses near you is with Udisc. They not only give you a map of all the courses but also course ratings and reviews. This is really good information to have with regard to water holes and how well a course drains. This is especially true in any state that has notoriously rainy summer seasons like we do.
There are three different types of discs: drivers, mid-range, and putters. If you are just starting out, you can probably get away with just finding a mid-range disc that feels good in your hand. Another perk of this sport is that the discs aren’t very expensive. You can certainly find discs online, both new and used. But, it might be better to try and find one at Play it Again Sports, since they usually have a vast selection of discs and you can feel them first. Sometimes, you can find used ones for as cheap as $6 or $7, but the normal price for a new disc is closer to $20.
Since I already mentioned how much I love to hike, this is a natural go-to for my family and I for summer fun. We are lucky that there are a lot of natural green spaces where we live to hike. While a lot of the state and national parks have been closed to hiking during COVID-19, the greenways have not been. As long as you are social distancing, hiking the natural greenways is allowed.
And there is nothing better than spending some family time outdoors and getting exercise. It not only helps to boost your immune system but your mood as well. And I don’t know about you, but I prefer happy kids. Plus, it helps to burn out their energy. Which is something all of us as parents need!
While we are hiking, I love to point out plants and fungi that I know to my family. And since we have been doing this, they have learned how to identify quite a few more plants/fungi. There are also a lot of apps you can download to identify plant life, which is something we have done this year too. One of my favorite apps is called PlantNet. This helps to increase our knowledge about the natural world around us, which is an additional bonus in my book.
While we are on the subject of spending time outdoors, rivers and lakes are another family favorite. Since the summer is usually pretty hot, we are always looking for a way to cool down. If you are lucky enough to have a river or two near you, that is clean, then you are in luck. We have a couple rivers near us that just happen to have some sandy “beaches” when the river is lower. So, when it hasn’t rained in a few days, we will head out to the closest river to have some fun.
Our kids love to bring a few different things with then whenever we visit the river to increase their level of summer fun, such as:
- water shoes
- large shovels
- small shovels
- nets with handles
- water bottles
The river is a great place to learn a lot about what lives in the ecosystem near you. So, not only is this a learning experience, but you get to cool off and have some fun also.
The same can be said about lakes if you have ones near you that are clean enough to swim in and aren’t overly crowded. The best way we have found to enjoy the rivers and lakes near us while staying safe is to find areas that are off the beaten path a bit. That way we are less likely to run across a lot of other people if any.
4. Water Fun
If you don’t have either of the aforementioned options near you, you can still enjoy some water fun. When I was a kid we had a great time with sprinklers and Slip n’ Slides at our house. And today doesn’t have to be any different. Even though we are lucky enough to have a pool in our backyard, sometimes the kids still want to have a different kind of water fun.
And what can be more fun than setting up a sprinkler or water slide in your yard to play on? And when it comes to cost, the sprinklers will usually be a bit less than the water slide option. Plus, you can use the sprinkler for it’s intended purpose of watering the lawn also. Double bonus!
5. Explore Your Neighborhood
Another one of my favorite things to do with my family is to just get out and explore our neighborhood. Most of us don’t really spend much time exploring where we live. We usually go on vacation to other places instead. But, when we get out and spend time exploring where we live, sometimes we find some great surprises.
So, throughout the years, I have been taking my family on little perambulation trips just to see what we find. You don’t even have to drive, in most cases. Just walk out your front door and start exploring where you live from one direction to another.
Although, another good way to do this is to jump in the car and drive a couple of minutes from your house. When we do this, we usually pack a backpack with snacks and water in case the kids start to complain. But whenever we do this, we have run across quite a few great surprises. Some of these surprises include:
- mini-book exchange boxes
- wildlife we didn’t know existed in our neighborhood
- small family-owned restaurants
- lost money
- working electronics (like MP3 players and Bluetooth speakers)
- rivers and streams
Most of the time the kids really like these sorts of adventures, and we have fun too. Plus it doesn’t cost us anything, except for gas, if we choose to drive.
6. Scavenger Hunt
Creating a scavenger hunt in your yard or house is another great idea for summer fun. You could create more than one scavenger hunt for ongoing summer fun.
No matter which path you choose to take, there are some basic guidelines to creating a scavenger hunt.
- Figure out where you plan to have it
- Create rules for the hunt
- Come up with clues and an answer key
- Decide how many points each correct answer is worth
- Figure out what the prize will be (it could be no chores for the day, they get dessert, a sticker, anything!)
And if you really want to make it more fun, you can have the kids create a scavenger hunt for you.
7. Mini Home Improvements
Since we have been at home for so long now, we have started working on a lot of home improvement projects. While a lot of these can cost some money, not all of them have to be that expensive.
Our girls wanted an accent wall painted in their room. I just happened to have some paint leftover from my office renovation, and they liked the color. So, we all worked on getting that wall painted and it didn’t cost me anything since I had already purchased the paint for another project.
We have also changed out light bulbs to LED bulbs to increase light in a lot of the rooms, which was pretty budget-friendly. Another little fun project was to put in color-changing LED bulbs in some of the kids lamps so they could create cool colors in their rooms.
But my favorite mini home improvement project was to go through all of the kids rooms with them and organize and declutter. It was extremely cathartic for me and the kids said they like their rooms even better now because they feel bigger.These are awesome, budget-friendly, summer fun ideas for the whole family! Click To Tweet
Family Summer Fun Summary
Overall, there are just so many things you can choose to do with your family this summer to create some fun. Even if it isn’t normally what you would think of doing during the summer months. And, a lot of the options are free and low cost. Which is a big win for those of us trying to watch our wallets during this pandemic.
Some of our favorite options for family summer fun are:
- Playing disc golf
- Going for a hike or walk
- Visiting rivers and lakes
- Having some water fun at home
- Exploring the neighborhood
- Creating a scavenger hunt
- Doing mini home improvement projects
No matter which of these resonates with you most, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. And the memories you create this summer will be unlike any other year. So we can’t wait to get the most out of our summer and create some awesome long-lasting memories with our family.
What are some great family summer fun ideas you have planned for this year?