20 Free Ideas for End of Summer Fun

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By Angela and Laura

Are you on End of Summer count down yet? Ready to get back into some regular routines? I live in a HOT desert, and many here are tiring of the heat yet also know we are on the down- slope and hopeful they will make it. Some stores like Hobby Lobby are already filling their isles with not only Fall, but Christmas decor. I love Fall like the rest of you. And Christmas- It’s the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” right!! I just am feeling a bit rushed.

Most of us have a few more weeks of some carefree evenings, no lunches to pack and summer weekend get-a-ways.  So as you near the end of Summer, Laura and I wanted to share some simple tried and true Summer Kid Fun, outside or inside, to help you get through the rest of the summer with success!!

1.  Water Painting

Grab a bucket, paint brushes and some water! Easy and inexpensive. Summer can be expensive ya’ll!! Go outside and let them paint the sidewalk, the house, themselves. šŸ™‚ They will cool off. And little clean up for you.


2.  Water Tub

My kids LOVE for me to get out a big tub of water (usually one of the garage totes, or under bed storage totes).  And fill it up with measuring cups, whisks, spoons, ladles, and strainers.  We put it under the shade and let them explore.  

3.  Ice Melt

Freeze some tiny toys into ice cube trays or small tupperware.  Have the kids melt the ice off in water, or chip away at it with a wooden spoon handle.  

4.  Mid-Day Bath

Sometimes I don’t have time, patience or energy to let my kids play and goof around during night time baths. During the day when we’re bored, we pick out a few toys, maybe some My Little Ponies or Captain America, and we take a bath.  Bubbles are fun, but so is washing their figures with washcloths and breaking out the bath crayons. 


5.  Go on a Pretend Trip

Set up some chairs in the house or outside. “Buckle” yourself in and take a “Plane Ride”. Mom, you be the pilot and instruct them what to do when you get there. “Go to the Beach” Be sure to put on your sunscreen. Pretend to rub sunscreen all over your arm, legs and don’t forget your nose! Be sure to do some digging while you are there and grab your cooler. What should be inside? It’s pretend so make it fun- Soda. Chips. Do some swimming. Move your arms like you are swimming and towel off real good. Get back on the plane and let your preschooler decide where to go next.

6. Read a Book and Watch the Movie

Many classic books have movies. Or should I say that many classic movies have a book that started it all- that could surprise your kids. Read the book out loud together. Depending on your child’s interest, have them color a picture to go along.  Act out the story. When we read the Stuart Little Book, my son Josiah wrote a letter, like in the book. It is a treasure, I tell you. I still have it all these years later. Stuart Little LetterWhen you are done with the book. Choose an afternoon to watch the movie. Pop some popcorn or if appropriate choose a snack from the book. Keep it simple and fun.

My daughter is a nanny to two elementary age girls. She just finished reading CS Lewis’, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. There were some days were the girls were not to excited to start the reading and by the end of the chapter were fulling enjoying it. Be confident, patient and persevere in passing on the love of literature to your children.

7. Check out Books on CD

We’ve been scoping out the libraries in our city, playing with their toys, and perusing.  But we are LOVING books on CD.  Our kids have rest time daily and they have to stay in their rooms, but they get to listen to a book while they play quietly.  We’ve done Frog and Toad, Junie B. Jones, Dr. Seuss and Laura Ingalls Wilder so far.  


8. Take a Hike

Laura talked all about the importance and benefits of hiking in her post here. So add in one more family hike and enjoy the great outdoors this summer.

9. Visit a Museum

Or if it’s too hot, find a museum and use the same principles that Laura shared. Let the kids lead the way. My daughter, the Super Nanny mentioned above, took her 6 year old charge to the visitor center of a local hiking area. It was too hot to go hiking, but they enjoyed the visitor center and all the many things to see, do, touch and feel. It is free or yours might have a small entrance fee.  Because there were not too many hikers out- it wasn’t very crowded.


10. Find a New Park

Research some parks in your city or if you want to have a drive, one close by.  You can type in the county name or city name in a google search with parks, or park and recreation to see pictures, a description, and a map of how to get there.  

11. Shaving Cream Fun

Buy some shaving cream and send your kids outside to play! Your kids might want to wear an old bathing suit or clothes that could get bleached. Set out some guidelines of what is allowed to get shaving cream on it and what is not ok. Then let them hose off when done.  Join in if you are feeling daring and didn’t wash your hair that morning šŸ™‚ Am I the only one that thinks this way?

12. Cooking Experiment

Some friends of mine did some outdoor cooking on a homemade solar oven. Cook an egg.  A hot dog.  Choose some items from the kitchen. Have each child guess which will melt the quickest and record your results.  Check out Pinterest for a whole slew of ideas! Solar Oven Resized

13. Make Popsicles

Pinterest is full of Easy Popsicle Recipes. Be prepared to help them clean up the kitchen when the fun is done.

14. Picnic at the House

Spread out a blanket outside or on your kitchen floor and make a memory eating finger foods together.  

15. Bring Reality TV to Life

Hold a Mock America’s Got Talent by putting on a Mini Talent Show with some neighbor kids. I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when my sister, our friend from across the street, and I would put on shows using the fireplace hearth as the stage and wooden spoons as our microphones. Our parents were our audience- bless their hearts and we sang to songs using our cassette tape players as our track music. It was simple and fun! 

Set up a Simple Scavenger Hunt around the house and call it the Amazing Race. You set it up for them or better yet, let them set up clues/ activities for you to do.

Gather some different ingredients for your kids to make dinner with- that would be a fun version of Chopped and give you a dinner making free night. Though again be prepared for some extra clean up help. Let’s be real- cooking is going to be more exciting for your kids then clean up.


16. Pull Out Some Games/ Puzzles

I know it’s easier to suggest, “Play some of the games in the closet” when you hear the famous summer saying, “I’m bored!”. Beat them to it. After breakfast- pull out a family favorite game and set it up on the table. Play a round or two together to get the game day flowing! Set up a competition/ score sheet over a few days for a fast pace card game like Speed or Slap Jack. Have a simple prize ready for the winner. Pull out a card table and a jigsaw puzzle. Turn on a family friendly Netflix TV series and watch several episodes while working on the puzzle. My favorite summer TV series is the Gidget TV show. We have the DVD’s and have watched and enjoyed over and over.

17. Enjoy the Olympics

This summer enjoy the Olympics together.  Have each family member choose a favorite athlete and have them do some research on and the country they represent to share with each other. Follow their sports and scores. Have a special dinner on the night of the Opening Ceremony. Decorate with flags.  Go to a neighborhood pool and practice your Olympic Swimming strokes and race each other.

18.  Balloons

Go find your stash of birthday supplies and blow up a few balloons.  DAYS of fun I tell you.  

19. Cut and Glue

Get out some construction paper, scissors and glue and let them do whatever they want.  If you don’t have a craft table, pull out the card table or get some newspapers or a vinal table cloth.  They will love ripping pieces of paper and gluing them all together.  You could even make a card for someone and put it in the mail.  


20.  Visit a Garden Center

We LOVE our local garden center.  There are so many things to see and not just flowers and trees.  Even if you don’t have one near you, a walk through the Home Depot or Lowes outdoor garden center would be great.  Let the kids smell and touch and experience the different varieties of plants.  

You Made It! 

We hope your last summer memories are not filled counting down days until they go back to school, but spent making having family fun and being children.  

Have a Delightful End of Summer! 





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