Want a frugal family summer bucket list that won’t break the budget? Try our ultimate list of cheap and free things to do in the summer for families and kids bucket list activities!
The Best Frugal Family Summer Bucket List Ever! (Really!)
Need bucket list for summer ideas for family? Our summer bucket list for families is not only fun for summer, but also budget-friendly (either free activities or cheap ideas!). Here are fun summer checklist ideas and fun family bucket list ideas…
Cheap Or Free Ideas for Families In The Summer
Cheap & Fun Summer List Of Things To Do:
- Create a scavenger hunt for local landmarks
- Camp in your backyard or on your balcony
- Buy something inexpensive you’ve never tried at a local farmer’s market
- Be a tourist in your town
- Go on a Get Lost drive
- Search out the free and cheap summer movie days (some theaters have $1 movies!)
- Get free tickets to local events from your library
- Explore free summer movies in the park (great for a summer date bucket list, too!)
- Host a family and friend game night
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter for an afternoon
- Have a backyard movie party (popcorn snacks are cheap!)
- Look for the kids-eat-free days at local restaurants
- Find a weird local landmark (think big ball of yarn) and go see it!
- Try Frisbee golf or pickle ball at a local park
- Go to a free nature center near you and observe local ecosystems
- Give back by creating cards for a local nursing home or children’s hospital (and then deliver them with your kids)
- Search free things near me to see what you can find
KEEP SCROLLING for the full family summer bucket list ideas! Huge list of ideas for summer below to add to your family bucket lists! (We’re talking realistic bucket list ideas that you can actually do and afford!)
Creating An Ultimate Summer Bucket List
You may be wondering what can I put on my summer bucket list or how do I get started with an inexpensive family bucket list for summer? Before we get to list of bucket ideas, let’s talk about how to create your own cheap bucket list and summer fun checklist!
How do you write a summer bucket list?
- Set a budget: Decide on a budget for your summer activities and stick to it. Consider setting a budget for each category of activity.
- Brainstorm: Gather your family together and brainstorm a list of fun activities and experiences that you’d like to enjoy this summer. Encourage everyone to come up with ideas, big and small.
- Prioritize: Once you have a list of ideas, prioritize them based on their cost and feasibility. Focus on the ones that are the most affordable and achievable.
- Categorize: Organize your list into categories such as outdoor activities, indoor activities, educational experiences, and so on.
- Research: Look for free or low-cost events and activities in your local area that align with your bucket list. Check out community calendars, libraries, free movie days at local movie theaters, and parks, and recreation websites (like nature centers).
- Schedule: Map out a schedule for your summer bucket list activities. Consider scheduling one or two activities per week to spread them out and avoid overwhelming your family.
- Get creative: Look for ways to make your activities more frugal. For example, bring your own snacks and drinks instead of buying them, carpool with friends or family, look for BOGO days or kids eat free nights, or make your own DIY projects.
- Have fun: Enjoy your frugal summer bucket list and make lasting memories with your family! When you have to get creative on a budget, it’s sometimes results in the best memories and most fun!
FAMILY TIP: Keep a year bucket list ideas family note or bucket list jar that family members can add to throughout the year (and you can even do a bucket list things to do with friends, too)! Then, you can do a bucket list drawing from the jar. make a family summer bucket list printable, or pick from your list of things to do this summer when you’re reading to do a summer activity. It adds some random spontaneity to your summer plan ideas!
Let’s get to our summer bucket list inspo and bucket list ideas for the summer!
63+ Cheap Bucket List For Summer: Creative Family Activities Ideas for Summer That Won’t Break The Bank!
Things To Put On Your Summer Bucket List
A summer family bucket list does have to be elaborate or expensive for it to be fun. If you’r stuck at home for the summer and wondering, “What can I do for the summer?” this list inexpensive summer bucket list ideas for families is for you!
We’ve given you great ideas for summer here, but don’t forget to get your family together and ask them what they would like on the family fun bucket list ideas for summer!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Outdoor Activities
It’s summer, so clearly your summer bucket lists ideas need to include a ton of outdoor ideas. Here are good bucket list ideas for summer outside…
Host A Backyard Movie Night
Set up a screen or hang a sheet and project a movie onto it.
Bring out blankets and pillows, and make popcorn or s’mores.
You could even make it a double feature!
If you’re looking for bucket list ideas for teenagers, this is a great activity for tweens and teens for summer!
Have A Picnic In The Park
A park picnic is a must on bucket lists ideas for summer.
Pack a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, and drinks, and head to your local park for a picnic.
Play frisbee or kick a ball around afterward, or just chill on a blanket or in camp chairs and read, play on the playground, or play games.
SUMMER TIP FOR YOUR IDEAS LIST: Seek out small local parks that don’t charge admission fees and will often be far less crowded than state parks or national parks.
Go On A Nature Hike
Explore a nearby hiking trail and see what kind of wildlife you can spot.
Take a picnic lunch and make a day of it as part of your bucket list summer adventures.
Have A Water Balloon Fight
When is the last time you had a full-on water balloon fight?
Exactly, so you definitely need to add it to your bucket lists summer fun ideas.
This summer fun bucket list is cheap because you can pick up inexpensive packs of balloons at the local dollar store.
PRO TIP: Save money by buying the cheap balloons and spending some time filling and tying them yourself. (Those fill and tie balloon packs are expensive!) Put people on the job at different sinks throughout the house to get it done quickly!
Fill up some balloons with water and let the kids go wild. Don’t forget to join in on the fun yourself!
It’s a funny bucket list ideas for summer messy play!
Create An Outdoor Obstacle Course
Use things you have at home to create obstacle course summer activities for families in your neighborhood.
Use items from around the house to set up an obstacle course in the backyard. Time each other and see who can complete it the fastest.
Stargazing is a one of those unique summer activities for family.
Take a blanket and lie outside at night to watch the stars.
Use a stargazing app to identify constellations and learn more about the night sky.
Have A Backyard Campout
Camping your yard is a must for your list of family activities in the summer.
Set up a tent in the backyard and have a family campout.
Make s’mores over a campfire and tell ghost stories.
(You’ll be sad if you don’t have this added to bucket list for family night! It’s so much fun!)
Go On A Nature Scavenger Hunt
A nature scavenger hunt is a one of those fun list of summer activities because it gets your kids off the couch / off their devices in a fun and engaging way.
Create a list of items to find on a nature scavenger hunt.
Look for things like different types of leaves, flowers, or rocks.
I love this as a cheap bucket list for family idea because all ages can play — from younger kids to teens to adults will have fun! Good for any bucket list family age!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Indoor Activities
Visit A Local Museum
Many museums offer free admission days, so take advantage of those and add them to your summer activities list.
It’s not only fun, you can learn something new and have fun while doing it!
Even if you’re not a museum type of family, still visit one or two as way to do something out of your comfort zone (especially if you get free tickets or super cheap tickets!).
PRO TIP: CHECK YOUR LIBRARY! Did you know that most local libraries have free passes for local museums, parks, or local attractions? Check your local library!
Look for Cheap Movies
During the summer, there are tons of cheap movies and free movie programs with local theaters and national movie theater chains.
It’s a great time to catch up on movies you’ve missed because it was too expensive for the family at other times.
Create A Family Book Club
Choose a book to read together as a family and discuss it together. Make it a regular activity by choosing a new book each month.
Or, do a compare and contrast where you read the book and then watch the movie.
If you haven’t read aloud with your family for a while, definitely add it to your summer ideas for families. It’s fun to do a bonfire (if you can) and read stories together!
Have A Game Night
Gather some board games or card games and have a family game night. Make some cheap snacks and enjoy friendly competition with family and friends.
Have A Karaoke Night
Sing your hearts out and have a family karaoke night. Use a karaoke machine or sing along to videos on YouTube.
Have A Family Talent Show
Showcase your family’s talents by having a family talent show. Sing, dance, tell jokes, or show off any special skills.
Create A Family Trivia Challenge
Create a trivia challenge with questions about your family history, interests, and hobbies. See who knows the most about your family.
Do A Summer Family Prank Challenge
If your family loves playing pranks on each other or if you’re looking for a funny summer bucket list activity, keep a running tab of who plays the best and most pranks over summer.
Award prizes at the end of the summer, like “Dumbest Prank I Fell For” or “Best Prank Idea,” etc.
Have a Christmas In July party.
Have fun putting a twist on the holidays and have a Christmas in July party like this. You can even make gigs or buy cheap gag gifts to exchange.
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Plan A Staycation (Tourist In Your Own Town)
Have An At-Home Vacation
Planning a staycation (faux vacation) is a must for summer vacation bucket list!
Create a fun-filled staycation at home and plan activities like indoor beach night with cheap sunglasses, mini beach balls and beach music, have a movie marathon nights with popcorn bar, or host themed game nights and invite friends over (each family can bring a pitch-in dish to reduce costs).
Take A Day Trip
Visit a nearby city or attraction that you’ve never visited for a driving day trip.
Pack a picnic lunch instead of buying food and enjoy the sights and sounds of a new place without breaking the budget.
Go On A Scavenger Hunt Of Local Businesses
Create a scavenger hunt for your family that involves a main street or certain area in your town.
(For example: blue and pink logo on a business, a bookstore, somewhere to take your pet, etc.).
Go on a walk through the area and see who can complete the scavenger hunt.
FUN SUMMER BUCKET LIST TIP: Give each family member $5 and see who can find the coolest item with the budget from a local business!
Visit A Local Farmer’s Market
Go to your local farmers’ market and buy some inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables that you’ve never tried to use for a meal or snack.
Talk to the farmers or vendors about how to cook the item and then give the recipe a try as a family!
Go On A Get Lost Drive
A “Get Lost” drive is one of my favorite things to do as a family.
On a random weekend when I was a kid my dad would say “Let’s go for a drive!” and the family would get into the car and drive, happening on weird or out-of-the-way diners and stores and enjoying the countryside.
We still do it today and we’ve created some of the best memories doing this.
This is my vote for best cheap bucket list ideas for family in the summer!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Arts, Crafts and DIY
Have A Family Chalk and Talk
Do you have a balcony, porch, or driveway you can chalk on? If so, add chalking to your family activities list.
Buy bulk sidewalk chalk (we like these) and head out to the driveway to chalk and talk as a family.
You can even have a theme (like best Willy Wonka inspired art or D&D character art). You’ll be surprised how much talking you do while chalking and creating!
(This is a family favorite activity when weather is nice!)
Make Homemade Playdough
Mix flour, salt, water, and food coloring to make homemade playdough.
Have fun molding and shaping it into different creations as a family.
This is another one of those family summer activities that works for all ages because everyone has fun creating silly things. (Great if it’s raining outside and you’re stuck inside for the summer.)
I love this as one of those small bucket list ideas that creates a lot of fun!
Create A Family Scrapbook
Collect photos and mementos from your summer activities and create a family scrapbook together as one of the last bucket lists for summer items.
You can even come up with a list of funny summer family photos ideas. At the end of the summer, see who took the funniest pictures out of each category and award prizes!
I love this for all those summer family photos ideas you have!
Start A Family Garden
Plant some seeds and start a family garden. Grow your own vegetables and herbs to use in your cooking, or plant a fun fairy garden!
Create A Family Vision Board Or Family Goals List
Cut out pictures and words from magazines that represent your family’s goals and dreams for the upcoming year.
Create a vision board together to visualize and work towards those goals.
Build A Birdhouse
Use scrap wood to build a birdhouse together as a family. (Check YouTube for how to build a birdhouse.)
Or, try this cheap DIY bird feeder craft as one of those bucket list ideas easy to do for all ages. (We had a lot of fun doing that nature craft together as a family!)
This is one of those easy bucket list ideas that you can do with stuff you probably already have at home!
Learn A New Skill Together
Choose a skill to learn together as a family, like knitting, cooking, or painting.
Take online classes or watch tutorials on YouTube.
Also, keep your eye on home improvement stores (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.) because they often give free classes during the summer on gardening and building.
Write A Family Story
Write a story together as a family, taking turns adding to the plot and characters.
Illustrate the story and create a book to keep as a family keepsake.
One of those free bucket list ideas that allows you to create fun memories together!
Make Homemade Bubbles
If you’ve never made a DIY bubble recipe, you’re in for a treat! This is such a simple activity that will bring hours of backyard family fun, especially when you get into trying to make gigantic homemade bubbles!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Volunteer Activities / Helping Others
Volunteer At A Local Charity
Look for activism or volunteer opportunities at a local charity organization.
Help out with a food bank, animal shelter, or community garden.
Organize A Neighborhood Cleanup
Gather some neighbors and organize a neighborhood cleanup day.
Pick up litter and make your community a cleaner place!
Donate Old Clothes And Toys
Go through your closets and toy boxes and donate any items that are no longer being used to a local charity or thrift store.
Great time to declutter and refresh your space!
You can even learn how to make cleaning and decluttering into a fun cleaning party. (Seriously!)
Make Care Packages For A Local Charity
Collect items like toiletries, snacks, and clothing, and create care packages to donate to a local charity.
You can also create small blessing bags to hand out to the homeless community in your area. Simply place items in a Ziploc bag – baby wipes, single package of coffee or hot chocolate, granola bars, socks or whatever you want to put in your giving back bags.
It’s a great way to give back to your community as a family!
Host A Bake Sale For Charity
Bake some treats and sell them to raise money for a charity of your choice.
Involve the whole family in the baking and selling process.
Make Someone’s Day!
Make thank-you cards for a local nursing home or children’s hospital!
Create handmade thank-you cards is a fun and creative way you can put a smile on others’ faces!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Educational Activities
Visit A Local Library
Check out books on a topic that interests your family, attend a storytime event, or look for other local events at your library.
Many libraries also offer free classes or workshops.
Also, don’t forget that you can check out movies and video games from the library for FREE.
Take A Virtual Tour
Visit museums, zoos, or landmarks from around the world without leaving your home by taking a virtual tour.
Attend A Free Local Event
Look for free local events like concerts, festivals, symphony in the park / music in the park, Shakespeare In The Park, or movie screenings.
These events are often held in public parks or community centers and many are free or super cheap and affordable for families.
One of our family summer idea favorites!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Fitness Activities
Have A Family Dance Party
Play some upbeat music and have a family dance party.
Dancing is a great way to get your bodies moving as part of your summer fun to do list1
You can even turn it into a glow party with some cheap glow sticks from the local dollar store!
Or, do something cool and trendy like a silent dance party — one of those fun and crazy bucket list ideas for summer, especially if you do it outdoors at night!
Go For A Bike Ride Or Walk A Trail You’ve Never Been On
Take a scenic bike ride or walk through a nearby park or along a bike trail that you’ve never tried.
Enjoy the fresh air and exercise!
You can even vote on which trails or locations as part of your summer family to do list or put the names of local trails in a jar and randomly draw one out!
Play Outdoor Games
Play classic outdoor games like tag, hide and seek, Frisbee, flag football, or capture the flag.
These games are free and provide hours of entertainment.
Think about old-school games you used to play as a kid outside and add those to your summer fun list ideas!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Cooking and Baking
Make Homemade Pizza
Buy some pre-made pizza crusts or make your own dough.
Have everyone in the family pick their favorite toppings and make personalized pizzas together.
Create A Family Cookbook
Collect family recipes and create a family cookbook.
Print out copies for each family member or give them as gifts.
Have A Family Bake-Off
Choose a recipe like cookies or cupcakes, and have a family bake-off or a Nailed It! competition.
(A favorite summer bucket list activity because you don’t have to be good at cooking or baking!)
Have fun taste-testing and declaring a winner.
Or, have a blind taste test and see who can guess what they’re tasting.
Make Homemade Ice Cream
Buy an inexpensive ice cream maker or use the old-fashioned method of shaking a bag filled with ice and rock salt.
Then enjoy your delicious creation!
Frugal Family Recipe Challenge
Give each family member $10 and then go grocery shopping.
See who can come up with the best frugal family food ideas and create a recipe using the items purchased from the store.
Whatever activity you do, be sure to put cooking together on your summer list to do! It’s great family time and family summer fun ideas for things to do together!
Frugal Family Summer Bucket List: Water Ideas and Pool Activities
Have A Sponge Fight
We did this years ago as an alternative to water ballon fights and I still think about how much fun we had with a wet sponge fight!
You just need buckets and big sponges (like big carwash sponges that you find at the dollar store).
Make A DIY Sprinkler
Put a sprinkler on your water hose and have an old-fashioned sprinkler day.
Have fun running through the sprinkler on hot days!
ALSO CHECK OUT: Backyard Water Fun and Water Activities for Kids
Have A Baby Pool Party
Get a cheap baby pool like this and fill it with water, water balloons, sponges, and even floating rubber duckies.
Have fun sitting around the pool with your feet in and sipping drinks, throwing water balloons and sponges, and just chilling on a hot summer day.
If you’re eye rolling right now and thinking “my teens will never go from this” let me tell you, we did this for my teen daughter’s birthday last year and her and her friends had a blast!
Put on some music and also get some cheap bubbles to blow.
This may seem like one of those weird and crazy summer bucket list ideas (especially if you don’t have little ones for a baby pool), but you’ll be surprised what fun it is!
What are your ideas for things to put on a bucket list for the summer? Let us know and we’ll add them!
Also check out more summer fun ideas for families: Guide To Summer Activities With Family: Things To Do During The Summer
What would you add to our cheap and fun summer activities for kids and family?
Happy summer and have fun with these summer fun ideas!