5 Ideas for Free Summer Play

5 Ideas for Free Summer Play


Guest Post by Kirsten Joy of kirstenjoyawake.com

Summer is more than halfway through and for many of us vacations and stay-cations are in full swing. Usually, this means the budget is spent and we still have half the summer left! If you need a few good ideas in your pocket right now that won’t break the bank, I’ve got a few for you. Grab your cameras and get ready to capture some smiles. This is our top 5 list of ideas for free summer play.

1. Backyard Play

During the day, it’s sand play and pool time. Making the backyard a fun place to be in the fair weather months is key. A sandbox, a slip and slide, and a kiddie pool are all permanent fixtures in our backyard during this time of year. I find that if my kids have fun stuff to do outdoors, it keeps them in the sun and off the video games.
sandbox play
As evening comes, we can pretend we’re camping by cooking over a fire. Smores are fun to make as dessert while the coals are still hot from a dinner on the grill. As the fire reduces to embers, the stars come alive…it’s fun to see if you can name a few.
roasting marshmallows

2. Dough Play

On days that are just too hot to be outside, making “Moon Dough” is a great indoor activity. You might recall seeing this popular  item at your local superstore next to the playdough. It’s a little messy but, this homemade version is even better than the store bought stuff, in my opinion. The recipe is simple and you probably already have these items in your pantry:
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of baby oil (we used lavender scented oil, which makes it smell amazing!)
  • crumbled chalk pastels for color (optional)
That’s it! Combine them well with an electric mixer until it is nice and crumbly and store it in a disposable gladware container.
dough play
Dinosaurs and safari animals not included : )
toys in dough

3. Puzzles & Game Play

Puzzles and games are a great way to give your little ones much needed quality time without the pre-planning. Some of our favorites we like to pull off the shelf include Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Sorry, Trouble, Go Fish, War, Connect Four, Pictionary, Quirkle, and the Memory Game.

4. Community Play

In the summer months, our local newspaper lists events weekly, most of them free of cost. Pictured below, are my boys (6 & 8) at the Community Helpers Day at the local YMCA at the beginning of the summer. They were able sit in the driver’s seat of a helicopter, an ambulance, and a firetruck; a moment of a lifetime for a little boy. Their smiles were priceless. Know what’s going on in your community. You’ll be surprise at the fun you’ll find!
community 1
community 2

5. Park Play

Get some water bottles ready and head to the nearest park. We’ve been known to throw the scooters and bikes in along for the ride. Sometimes kids just need a  change of venue from the backyard scene and the local park is the perfect boredom fix.
park play 1
park play 2
park play 3
Or, if you’re like me you just invite yourself over to your sister’s house because she has a really cool playset and play friends to go with it!
I hope these ideas get your creativity flowing and help get you out of summer boredom into moments big and small full of glee…for free!
kirstenjoyawakeKirsten Joy is a Writer, Home Educator, Wife, and Mother. It’s her dream to wake a generation to purpose starting at home, transform culture by honoring motherhood, and redefine education by replanting it from a system to a family. She is author of  “4 Easy Steps to Homeschooling Success.”  and blogs at kirstenjoyawake.com. She is married to Luis, her college sweeheart, for 13 years and running. Together they have two sons, ages 6 & 8. She spends her days making their Pennsylvania house a home, raising sons that will change the earth, and writing about issues that impact education for the next generation. You can follow what she’s saying on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. She can be contacted at [email protected]


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