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10 Fun, Affordable Summer Activities for Families


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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.

I really value family time so I’m always looking for fun, affordable summer activities for families. Making lasting memories doesn’t have to cost a fortune, especially when there are so many low-cost options for family fun!

So, put away the credit card and enjoy the benefits of spending less (Navy Federal Credit Union). Here are some of my family’s favorite inexpensive summer activities.

a white bowl of popcorn next to a tv remote with a tv in the background with title text reading 10 affordable Family Fun Activities

1. Hiking

This one is pretty obvious since it’s free and easy. Local, state and national parks are great destinations. To find even more options, do an internet search for “hiking trails near me” or “hiking trails in [NAME OF YOUR STATE].”

five young adults & kids from a family standing on a fallen log in an outside area

Make sure to click through to the trail/park site to double check and restrictions, hours, or special alerts before you go.

Cost = Free (plus fuel costs to get to hiking location)

2. Geocaching & Letterboxing

If your family already hikes a lot or doesn’t want to hike at all, turn it into a new adventure by geocaching or letterboxing. These activities transform hiking into a treasure hunt.

Simply visit the geocaching website or the letterboxing website and search by zip code to find some nearby. You’ll see your local area in a whole new light!

Cost = Free (plus fuel costs if driving is required to reach locations)

3. Yard Games

Yard games are great fun for kids and adults. A small investment (less than the cost of taking the family to the movies) can net you several games.

two brothers playing an outdoor game

Here are some popular yard games to check out:

  • Badminton
  • Frisbee
  • Cornhole
  • Spikeball
  • Ladder Ball
  • Horseshoes
  • Croquet

Rotate through games each day or week or have a tournament day and play all the games competition-style. You can also make your own backyard games.

Cost = Free to $500 (depending on what games you already have and how many you purchase)

4. Battle

Yard games aren’t the only way to enjoy good, healthy competition. You can also stage different types of battles.

Here are some ideas:

  • Nerf war
  • Water balloon fight
  • Freeze tag
  • Capture the flag

two brothers holding their nerf guns outside

Even more fun is coming up with your own battle game as a family. Brainstorm an idea together and let the two youngest in the family be team captains.

Cost = Free to $100 (depending on what games you already have and what you decide to purchase)

5. Craft Challenge

These are especially fun when your family ISN’T crafty. Basically, you select a craft project and everyone in the family works to create his or her own version of it.

To keep costs down, you can limit yourselves to craft items and recycled items you already have on hand.

If you happen to be crafty, you’ll end up with some real treasures. If you’re not crafty, you’ll get some good laughs. Either way, it’s a lot of fun!

Cost = Free to $500 (depending on what projects you choose and what materials you already have)

6. Chopped

If you’re not familiar with the TV show “Chopped,” it’s a cooking competition that challenges chefs to create culinary masterpieces from very specific, unrelated ingredients.

To play at home, you can either have each family member compete, divide into teams, or pit two family members against one another and let everyone else judge. Or, ditch the competition altogether and just see what you can come up with as a family!

To minimize costs, challenge competitors to use up items you already have. Like maybe that leftover can of cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or the mushrooms that are at the end of their fresh phase.

Cost = Free to $100 (depending on what ingredients you choose)

7. Backyard Concert

Since many cities aren’t hosting free outdoor concerts this summer, set up a backyard concert at home! Make food and drinks for the occasion too. Play your favorite band or have karaoke. This could be a fun way to still experience those summer concerts we all love.”

Cost = Free to $50 (depending on how much you spend on food and drinks)

8. Movie Marathon

Choose a movie and sequel or a couple of movies related to the same theme (e.g. superhero movies or spy movies) and make a fun day of it. Pop a bunch of popcorn, grab a few of your favorite theater snacks and drinks, and turn your family room into a theater.

2 girls in minions pjs sitting on the couch holding a bowl of popcorn

To make the experience even better, rent a projector and screen and set up outside for an at-home drive-in experience.

Cost = Free to $300 (depending on whether or not you need to rent a projector and screen)

9. Make a Movie

A really fun family activity is to create your own movie. Come up with a plot, create the script, prepare the set, choose who will act and who will film, record the scenes, and edit the movie.

Not up for all the work that goes into a movie? Make a short video instead!

Don’t want to write a script? Lip sync to a favorite song and create your own music video.

10. Create a Monument

If your purpose in seeking family activities is to forge meaningful memories, why not take that idea and run with it? As a family, create something that will stand the test of time.

Work on it together so that each time you look at what you’ve created, you’ll be reminded of all the great conversations and meaningful moments that went into the creation.

Of course, you don’t have to construct a real monument. You can:

  • Plant a tree together
  • Build a playhouse
  • Paint a shared room in the house
  • Make stepping stones for your garden
  • Make a wooden sign for your home
  • Create a piece of art

No matter what you do, remember to focus on cherishing the moments your family gets to share together. Those moments are priceless.

I hope these suggestions help you to save some money this summer. More importantly, I hope you enjoy a meaningful and memorable with your family.

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