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20 Cheap and Free Summer Activities For Everyone

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Now that summer is here, you may have some extra leisure time. It can be tempting to spend money on fun activities when it’s nice outside, but the costs can quickly add up.

This is especially true if you’re looking for things to do for multiple people. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 20 summer activities that are super frugal – most of them are completely free!

This list covers activities for children, teenagers, single adults, couples, and families. Whether you prefer to stay indoors or you’re feeling adventurous, this list has something for everyone. Explore the options below to see which ones are right for you. I’m confident you’ll find many fun, engaging activities to enjoy during these summer months.

Summer Activities For Children and Teenagers

1. Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

If you have children in grades 1-6, you can enjoy getting free books through Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program. When children read eight books and record them in their Summer Reading Journal, they can get a free book from a list of different options.

This program runs from May 16th to September 5th, 2017. The Summer Reading Journal is printed directly from the Barnes and Noble website. There are dozens of books to choose from, and they are divided into age appropriate categories. This program is 100% free for children!

2. Home Depot Kids Workshops

Home Depot offers fun workshops for children throughout the summer. One example is the “Tic Tac Toe” workshop held at many stores in June. Children get to enjoy a three-hour class where they create their own tic-tac-toe board.

For teenagers and young adults, there are classes such as the “Jewelry Organizer” workshop held in May. Visit the link above, select your store, and see what classes they have to offer! The best part is that these hands-on workshops are completely free.

3. Explore Programs At Your Local Library

Libraries tend to offer a huge selection of different summer enrichment activities. My local library hosts ‘Movie in the Park’ nights, Music Mondays, reading groups for toddlers and infants, and so much more. Visit your local library’s website to see what options are available for your children.

There’s often something for every age group, so all of your kiddos can find something to enjoy. Our local library programs are totally free of charge, and yours may be, too!

4. Join A Free Apple Program For Kids

Apple Camp is a program available at your local Apple Store for children ages 8 to 12. The camp takes place over three sessions, and children learn about fun topics like robotics, movie making, and more.

Teenagers may enjoy Apple Workshops, which are hour-long sessions that include subjects such as ‘Discover Apple Music’ and ‘iPhone Photography’. You can register and see what your nearest Apple Store has to offer at the link above. All of these programs are completely free for children and young adults to enjoy.

5. Participate In The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a unique enrichment program that takes place from May 8th to September 8th, 2017. Children log the books they’ve read as they read them throughout the summer.

In return for this, they win free virtual prizes and exclusive sweepstakes to win free books. There are dozens of books to choose from on the reading list, and they’re divided up into suitable age groups. This educational program is free for children to join.

Summer Activities For Families

6. Find A Free Campsite Near You

One of my favorite childhood memories is enjoying a camping trip with my family. If you want to brave the outdoors, use the link above to find a free campsite near you. features a map that shows you all of the no-cost camping options in your area.

You can also use it to plan a frugal trip if you’d like to travel. You can use the Trip Planner feature to map out your route and travel time. Why pay for a camping spot when you can enjoy one free of charge?

7. Have An Arts And Crafts Day At Home

If you want to take a break from the sweltering heat, enjoy an arts and crafts day with your family. You don’t have to spend a single dime on supplies if you get creative. Look into recycled craft projects on Pinterest for some fun ways to turn household items into fun projects.

You can also look at free arts and crafts projects on Pinterest for even more ideas. This is a great way to cut down on waste while spending quality time with your family – and it’s totally free!

8. Visit A National Park

The National Parks throughout the country are truly beautiful, and they’re great places to build summer memories. Many National Parks have ‘Free Entrance Days’ throughout the year. At the link above, you can see all of the parks that have fee-free days during the summer.

On fee days, you still get a great deal with prices ranging from $3 to $30. This is an excellent way to build memories and enjoy the outdoors with your family. Since so many options are free, you can easily plan a memorable trip.

9. Read ‘Yes Day!’ And Enjoy Yes Days Together

If you’re a parent, change things up a by having ‘Yes Days’ with your children. This idea is based upon the book ‘Yes Day!’; it features the concept of spending a day saying “yes” to all of your child’s requests.

Whether they want to build a pillow fort or make homemade cookies, you go along with it! You can let your children take turns each having their own very special day. Make sure to order a secondhand paperback copy of ‘Yes Day!’ on Amazon for as little as $0.25.

10. Volunteer In Your Community

Would you like to teach your family the importance of volunteering in your community? Visit the link above to see what volunteer opportunities are available near you.

Some examples that come up include working with animals, cleaning donated toys and baby items, assisting veterans, and so much more. In my city alone, there are nearly 1,000 different opportunities for making a positive difference. This is a totally free way to spend your time, and it’s an enriching experience for your entire family.

Summer Activities For Couples

11. Explore The World Of Geocaching

Geocaching is a unique recreational activity where you hunt down hidden objects using GPS coordinates. At the link above, you can get started with geocaching in your area. This hobby is a great way to get outdoors while challenging your mind at the same time.

You and your partner can enjoy date nights throughout the summer by indulging in this fun activity together. Geocaching is free, and the opportunities for finding items are virtually endless.

12. Enjoy A Picnic At A Local Park

Date nights at your favorite restaurant can be nice, but they’re certainly not the most frugal option. Change things up a bit and make a picnic lunch or dinner to enjoy at the park. If you want to truly cut down costs, get crafty with the ingredients you already have at home.

I love using to find recipes that solely use food items that I have on hand. From baked goods to entrees, you’ll find all sorts of unique and tasty recipes. This is a fun and free way to enjoy a meal with your significant other.

13. Rent Movies From Your Local Library

Are you tired of binge watching T.V. shows on Netflix? Or perhaps you don’t want to spend $40 on movie tickets and concessions. You and your partner can browse your local library’s movie selection to find something to watch at home.

From old classics to new releases, you may be surprised to see what you can find. If you have a library membership, renting movies is typically free!

14. Create Your Own Cards Against Humanity Game

Do you enjoy playing the funny but crude Cards Against Humanity Game? You and your partner can shake things up by creating your own customized Cards Against Humanity deck. The link above features a PDF file of blank cards; you can print them and fill them out however you’d like.

You can look up how to play Cards Against Humanity if you aren’t too well-versed in the game. This fun date night idea is free, and you can use the card templates repeatedly to keep things fresh.

15. Take A Free Massage Course Online

A couples massage can be an incredibly relaxing experience, but it’s certainly not cheap. Where I live, this type of massage costs upwards of $100. Yikes! At the link above, you can find free massage courses that include in-depth video guides.

There are several courses and blog posts to check out, so you can learn all sorts of techniques. Additionally, search for “DIY massage videos” on YouTube. This is a soothing, intimate and 100% free way to enjoy time with your special someone.

Summer Activities For Single Adults

16. Check Out Activities On Meetup.Com is an excellent resource for finding local activities with other people in your area. From wine tasting to game nights to group dates, there’s something for everyone. There are even classes for personal enrichment as well as groups for single parents to make friends. Explore the options in your area, and see what activities suit you. Whether you’re looking to make new friends or enjoy the dating scene, is great for all types of social connections. The website is free to use, and the cost of activities will vary – though some are free!

17. Host A Yard Sale To Earn Extra Cash

It’s never too late to indulge in some spring cleaning, and you might as well make some money from it! By hosting a yard sale, you can clear out space in your home and turn a profit. Order some pricing stickers on Amazon, and you’re good to go.

Post ads for free on Craigslist and in local Facebook buy, sell, and trade groups. You can also see if friends, family members, or neighbors want to co-host the garage sale with you while selling their own items. Pricing stickers only cost about $1, and you’re making money off of this activity, too.

18. Take Free Classes Online

If you feel like learning something new, you can take thousands of free classes online. Coursera offers classes from reputable universities, and you can choose classes that suit your interests. Some topics covered include programming, digital marketing, psychology, religion, and much more.

You can also find classes through Udemy, FutureLearn, and several other sites. All of these classes are 100% free to take.

19. Join A Free Apple Workshop

If you have an Apple Store near you, you can take free one-hour Apple Workshops. In my city, the available Apple Workshops include ‘iPad Basics’, ‘Apple Watch Basics’, ‘Intro to Apple ID and iCloud’, ‘iPhone Videography’, and much more.

There are even business-oriented classes if you’re looking to brush up on your tech skills. Use the search feature at the above link to find classes near you. They’re educational, in-depth, and free to join.

20. Check Out Your Local Community Calendar

Many community centers offer a huge selection of classes and activities for free or cheap. You can find your local calendar by searching “(City Name) community calendar” or “(County Name) community calendar” on Google.

You may also want to browse your local parks and recreation site. In my county, we’ve got activities like ‘Mom & Me Camping’, ‘Overnight Fishing’, and more. These activities range anywhere from free to about $10, so they’re a frugal and fun way to enjoy your summer.

Wrap Up: Enjoy Your Summer Without Spending A Fortune

As you can see, there are so many unique ways to make great memories this summer. From camping to learning a new skill, there’s something for everyone’s taste and preferences. Whether you’re a single adult or looking for family activities, this list is sure to inspire some frugal fun. Check out the options that catch your eye, and start planning budget-friendly ways to enjoy your free time!

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