Frugal and Free Summer Activities For Families

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With the summer holidays approaching, if you’re anything like me (and it’s only my first year when any of my children have been at school!) you might be starting to wonder how on earth you’re going to keep the children entertained for all those weeks. Having three children, I know that a lot of activities cost money, and it can get expensive really quickly so I wanted to put together a list of fun, free summer activities to do with the children over the holidays.

I reached out to other parent bloggers for their go-to suggestions for cheap things to do with kids and they’ve shared some great ideas.

Frugal and free summer activities

My favourite frugal thing we do for summer fun is just to fill up the paddling pool in the garden and let the kids loose in it. If you don’t have one, you can pick them up pretty cheap; last summer we managed to get a pretty big one in Asda for just £5 and it was such a bargain as it got used over and over again. There are also loads available on Amazon that don’t cost too much.

Then I just pick up a box of ice-lollies for £1 and hand them out when they need a break and to cool down. Hours of fun, with very little expense. Sometimes we make our own ice-lollies instead, with reusable moulds like this. (I’ve used our moulds to make ‘adult’ ice lollies too – raspberry and prosecco, yum!)

Here’s some great inspiration for fab frugal or free summer activities that won’t hurt your wallet.

Free and frugal summer activities

Head to the beach

Going down to the beach. We are lucky that we are 15 minutes away from our nearest beach, we don’t even need to take anything with us…Dexter is happy pottering around in the sand, picking up stones and shells and watching the boats and ships pass by. We go in the summer and the winter, as long as the tide is out it’s an amazing couple of hours exploring and finding new treasures.

Nicola, Mummy to Dex

If you go down to the woods…

Trip to the woods always go down well with my lot, they love exploring under the shade of the trees and finding lots of sticks!.

Sarah, Mummy Cat Notes

Do some summer reading

We love going to the local library for a free morning out. It costs nothing and Freddie loves looking through the books. Also, a lot of libraries have activities to do in the summer holidays.

Claire, Freddie’s Mummy UK

You can’t beat a good picnic

We love a nature hunt in the park followed by a picnic, a fun day out on a budget!

Jennifer, My Mummies Pennies

Try Rock Hunting

Really popular among lots of parents and children alike, rock hunting is a great new activity to try out.

Go love rock hunting! Lots of areas around the country participate (there’s a Facebook group to support it). It’s free, gets kids moving and they love finding a rock that’s been painted and re-hiding it!

Catherine, The Money Panel


More frugal and free summer activities…

Have a go at geocaching

If you’ve never tried it before, you can read Katie’s guide to geocaching here.

Geocaching! You can literally do it anywhere. It’s a great way to get outside and explore, especially if you are on holiday or visiting a new area.

Katie, Mum of 2.5

Make use of some free childcare

This has got to be one of my favourite suggestions! Just a little bit of shopping in peace, what more could you want?

I love to nip to Ikea for a free coffee and leave them to play in the crèche for an hour of peace!!

Emma, The Money Whisperer

Get out in the garden

A tip from Kirsty at Navigating Baby is simply to make good use of your garden. She’s written this list of great ways to make use of your garden, even if it’s small. 

Go Fruit Picking

Pick your own fields are always my go-to. Our local is £3 a head, but your entry fee is then taken off of any fruit you pick – so we’ve never spent more than £10! They normally have parks or animals as well, so it’s a perfect day out!

Kirsty, Life With Boys

Get out for a walk

We love walking up hills. It’s so great when we get to the top and see the views. The kids love it and feel the achievement! Plus it’s free, some exercise, fresh air and you can take snacks/picnic

Victoria, HealthyVix

Check out your local museums

Museums are often free and good for keeping older children entertained for a few hours.

Nicola, Someplace Strange

Build a den

The girls and I love heading off with our den-making kit and setting up camp in our local woods. It’s so peaceful and, apart from the occasional dog walker, we always have the entire woods to ourselves. We take some biscuits and juice and build the den together. I’ll set up a treasure hunt for the girls, and afterwards, they run wild, playing tag and hide and seek. Best of all – it’s totally free!

Jacqui, Mummy’s Little Monkey

Create your own treasure hunt

My boys love it when I set a treasure hunt with clues. It can be to find nothing more than a packet of sweets or one of their teddies that I have hidden but they love working out the clues and keeps them busy for ages.

Terri, The Strawberry Fountain


My favourite summer thing to do is to take sausages, rolls and marshmallows, go to the beach, build a fire and have a sausage sizzle! The kids love gathering the stones and wood to build the fire, and will play on the rocks for ages while the sausages cook. Bliss!

Eileen, Your Money Sorted

Visit a country park/see the animals

Animals are usually a big hit with children,  zoos can be really expensive but local farms are a great idea for a less expensive but fun day out to see some animals.

We love going to country parks, where we visit animals, go for a walk in the woods, play at the play park and eat an ice cream!

Raimonda, Cosmo Mum

Visit the playground

Sometimes the simple things are the most fun! When you’re looking for cheap things to do with the kids that they’ll love, a picnic at the playground has got be one of the easiest.

We love to go to our local park for a picnic. We have one 30 seconds walk away, but the picnic makes it that extra bit special!

Jade, Thrifty Yorkshire Mum

Do you have any other free summer activities or cheap things to do with kids that we haven’t mentioned? Comment below 🙂

4 thoughts on “Frugal and Free Summer Activities For Families”

  1. There are some great ideas here. That said, my kids have unfortunately got to the age here they have no enthusiasm for anything I suggest. You have inspired me to try out some of your suggestions though.

  2. Great ideas – and what a fab way to showcase what others find to do for free, love it! I’m quite a fan of freebie museums, going to the local park & taking a packed lunch, and also going around the local library as I’m always on the hunt for new books.

  3. What really great ideas! We don’t have kids, but we like to go for a walk or make our own lollies in the summer. They taste so much better. Thanks for linking up to #MondayMoney. Hope to see you again next week.

  4. Great ideas!
    We love the beach, bush walks (when it’s not too hot), we also got an annual museum and zoo membership so we can go anytime and not have to worry about paying when things are a bit tight.

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