23 Low-Cost & Super Fun Activities for Your Summer Family Bucket List

Tanvier Peart | May 27, 2016 Big Kid

kids jumping in a lake

With the promise of summer finally here, families everywhere are looking to fill their calendars with fun things to do -- without breaking the bank! While it would be nice if we could all jet off to Europe every summer, there are plenty of things to do without stretching your budget. Wherever your summer takes you, we've got a ton a ideas for soaking up every drop of fun all season long!

Here's a look at some kid-friendly activities you definitely want to have on your summer bucket list.

More from CafeMom: All the Essentials You Need for a Summer Full of Fun

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  • Make Ice Cream


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    It's pretty much an impossible task to think about summer without the image of an ice cream cone popping in your head. Rather than head to the store or your favorite shop, consider making your own. It will be twice as delicious.

    More from CafeMom: 10 Tantalizing New Ice Cream Trends to Inspire a Tasty Summer Ahead

  • Go on a "Date" ... With Your Kid!


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    Now that school is out, you and your kiddo can hit the town for an unforgettable night. (It also doesn't hurt that your child can stay up a little later.) Eat at your favorite restaurant. Catch an evening show. Go to an arcade. Enjoy a summer performance. The "date night" options are pretty endless.

  • Check Out a Local Team


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    Baseball. Soccer. Basketball. No matter your sport of choice, hit the town with your fam to take in a local sporting event. Just make sure you keep the popcorn flowing. Game on!


  • Scream on a Few Rides


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    One place many families head to during the summer months is a theme park. Not only is it perfect for the thrill seekers at heart, but it also has live performances and special events your children might enjoy. (Hopefully the thought of a super high roller coaster doesn't freak you out!) This can get pretty pricey, but there are lot of ways to save money at theme parks, like googling for coupons (check the parks' Facebook and Twitter accounts, too!) and using your AAA or Costco memberships. You can also check local listings for smaller fairs and carnivals, which can be a lot less crowded -- and more fun!

    More from CafeMom: 10 Unexpected Tips for an Awesome Amusement Park Experience

  • Perfect Your Swing


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    Fore! Golfing is a fave pastime for many an adult -- too bad most kids don't really care about perfecting their birdie. They might, however, look forward to swinging a tot-sized golf club. Miniature golf is definitely the way to go as it typically has interactive props that make the experience even more magical.

  • Fall in Love With the Lake


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    Beaches and swimming pools are great, but have you ever considered venturing off to a lake destination with your family for an afternoon or weekend? You should!

  • Build a Fort (and Let It Stay 'Up' for a While)


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    Put your thinking caps on for this project. Whether you purchase a kit or build your own fort (it can be a "tent" over a few chairs), this is a super fun pastime moms can enjoy with their kids. Plus -- it means staying cool in the A/C for a while!

    More from CafeMom: 17 Genius DIY Toy Hacks to Keep Toddlers Busy for Hours

  • Sleep Outdoors


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    Who needs some stuffy bed when you have a sleeping bag and stars to illuminate the sky? Take a journey with your kid outdoors that will offer all the  camping, marshmallow toasting, and bedtime stories your heart can take. Even if you only venture off to your backyard, it will be worth the trip.

    More from CafeMom: 8 Camping Hacks That Will Make Your Trip a Breeze (PHOTOS)

  • Zip Around the Go-Kart Track


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    Do you feel the need for speed? (Within reason, of course.) Go-karting is so much fun, and a wonderful activity for older kids and their mommies to savor. Seriously, what child wouldn't love putting on a helmet and zipping around a racetrack?

  • Catch an Outdoor Performance


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    Ooh, the summer is full of so many outdoor goodies -- including performances. Whether you choose to go to the drive-in theater, watch a nighttime movie at the town pool, or see Shakespeare in the park, you're going to have an awesome time.

  • Take a Lightsaber Class


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    No, really, this is becoming a thing! Depending on where you live, you just might be close to a club that offers lightsaber classes. You and your family can "use the force" to practice all of your Jedi skills. Seriously, if you can find one of these classes, you'll earn a gold star from the Galactic Republic.

    More from CafeMom: 13 Signs You're a 'Star Wars' Jedi Mom (GIFS)

  • Scale the Wall


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    Face it: Kids are known for trying to climb ... pretty much everything. One way to make it a safer experience is with a trip to a rock climbing facility. Let's see who can make it to the top first.

  • Tag -- You're It!


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    Yeah, you can pretty much consider yourself an awesome mom if you add a game or two of laser tag to your mommy/son calendar. It's like the ultimate hide-and-seek experience, but with beams of colorful lights! Perfect way to escape the heat of the outdoors.

  • Enjoy a Bike Riding Adventure


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    Dust off your helmet; it's time for a family adventure. Bike rides allow families to tour nearby destinations, hop a few dirt mounds, and explore nature. Plus, it's also a pretty nice calorie burn ... if you're into that sort of thing.

    More from CafeMom: 6 Road Rules for Fun Family Bike Rides

  • Venture Off to Family Farm


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    If you have never been to a family farm, you're truly missing out. There are games, hayrides, petting zoos, rides, yummy food, and tons of space for your child to run and scream until he needs a nap. (Hopefully that will happen.)

  • Have a Family Relay Day


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    There's nothing wrong with a little competition. Gather up your family for a relay day. Things like tug of war (parents versus kids) and other fun games will keep you active and laughing for hours. Put on the sprinklers if it's a hot day for added fun and silliness!

  • Take a Hike


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    Outdoors. Bugs. Dirt. What's not to love about hiking? Stock up on water and pack a backpack for an exciting escape into nature.

    More from CafeMom: 10 Tips to Make Your Family Hike Fun for Everyone

  • Craft a Scavenger Hunt


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    Making a scavenger hunt provides endless hours of entertainment for you and your little. You can literally bury toy dinosaurs in the backyard and have your kid think it's the best thing ever.

    More from CafeMom: 7 Family Scavenger Hunt Ideas Perfect for Family Fun

  • Reel It In


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    Ah, doesn't a day on the water with squirmy bait and fishing rods sound lovely? Well, what are you waiting for?! On your mark, get set, fish! (You just might catch dinner.)

  • Learn About Cool Stuff


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    Moms, I have two words for you: science center. Forget shelling out hundreds of dollars to see Mickey Mouse (you can if you want). Save your money by hitting up a destination that mixes education with cool electronics, gadgets, gooey things, animals, and more.

    More from CafeMom: 12 Awesome Toys & Games That Build STEM Skills

  • Go on a Road Trip


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    Believe it or not, many families enjoy long road trips together. (No, really.) Not only is it a great way to save money on travel, but you also get to experience new destinations, both near and far.

    More from CafeMom: 9 Smart Road Trip Tricks for Surviving Car Travel With Kids

  • Build Something


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    "Let's build something together." No, seriously. Bust out those blocks, toy bricks, Legos, or whatever else you can stack with your kid. You two will have loads of fun making buildings and other objects -- before your little one knocks it all down.

  • Bowl


    Image via cherylcasey/Shutterstock

    Sometimes you just need a break from the summer heat -- and bowling is the perfect choice. Families will have a ball knocking over a few pins at a local bowling alley. Plus, there are fun bowling events that include music and lasers.

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