35 Free Summer Family Fun Activities
Summer is here (hooray!) which means loads of family time together as schools and businesses close for the festive period. Although this time of year can be expensive (hopefully we all get those bonus cheques, right?), it really doesn’t have to be. With a bit of creativity and that happy holiday energy, even the smallest and seemingly insignificant free family activity can become your new favourite memory.
Free Family Activities & Excursions
Here is my list free family fun to do at home or while on holiday:
1.Bake and Feast
My son loves spending time in the kitchen with me and I have the fondest memories of cleaning out the mixing bowl with all ten fingers (my face and hands covered in cookie batter) while trying to fight off my little sister when I was younger. When baking, the house smells delicious and I love the look of anticipation on my son’s face as the buzzer goes, telling us it’s time to get whatever treat we have just prepared out of the oven. Here are some ideas: lunch box ideas for kids.
2.Make your own Sidewalk Paint and Draw on the Pavement
This is another one of my son’s favourite messy activities (which is super easy to clean up)!
All we do is: mix ½ cup of cornstarch with 1 cup warm water and add in some food colouring. Voila!
This is great for gross motor skills development: blow up two balloons and make your own 'tennis rackets' out of cardboard.
4.Visit a Local Park / Playground
Most major cities in South Africa have little local parks with playgrounds in all the suburban areas. These are ideal for an impromptu picnic, walking the dog, playing ball games or simply running around. Here are our favourite spots in Gauteng and Cape Town.
5.Explore your Area
Go for a walk and explore your area – look out for certain trees, collect rocks etc
6.Have a Picnic in the Garden
Make some snacks with the kids (popcorn is great for this) and have a picnic or tea party in the garden.
7.Plant Something Together
Whether you want to create your own veggie patch or you want to re-pot some plants, get the kids involved. They will love it.
8.DIY Christmas Decorations
Create your very own, unique Christmas decorations in preparation for the upcoming Festive period. Read our post on meditative summer crafts for kids for some inspiration.
9.Fly a Kite
This is particularly fun on the beach but a large sports field or park will also do. If you do not have a kite, make own! Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for these types of projects.
10.Create Your Own Puzzle
You can either draw a picture together with the kids or look for one in an old magazine, stick it to some cardboard and cut out puzzle squares. This could even double up as a gift for grandpa and grandma.
11.Learn a New Skill
Teach your kids a line dance or learn a few magic tricks for example.
12.Have a Scavenger Hunt
This is another favourite childhood memory of mine. Dig out those old, forgotten toys and create a treasure map.
13.Have a Water Balloon Fight
This needs no explanation – I am sure every single person who reads this will smile at the idea automatically. In drought stricken areas, use grey water.
14.Play Board Games
This is the perfect activity for an indoor day.
15.Build a Sandcastle
If you are not near a beach, simply build one in the garden using mud or in a sandpit.
16.Play Dress Up
My mom had a large basket with some of her old clothes from the ‘70s and ‘80s and my sister and I used to spend hours with that basket during the holidays. We even dared to venture into her make-up case every now and again which, as you can imagine, never really turned out well for my mom. We had a blast though.
17.Visit the Pet Store
I often visit the Lifestyle Centre in Randburg and walk around the nursery and pet store with Bean.
18.Camp in the Garden
This is especially fun for older kids as they get some independence.
19.Build a Blanket Fort
Grab some blankets, clear some space in the lounge and build away. This can become a secret hideaway for the holidays.
20.Create your own Instruments and Play Music
Another favourite activity in our household as my Bean loves music. For some inspiration, read our blog: Make your own Musical Instruments.
21.Wash the Car
Fun fun fun! Water, mess, soapy bubbles – what else could a child ask for? This activity is best done in areas where water restrictions do not apply.
This keeps my little guy entertained for hours and always ends in loud fits of laughter.
Swim in the ocean, your own pool, a municipal pool, a friend’s pool or in a river or dam.
24.Create a DIY Garden Adventure
Fellow blogger, Charlene, recently posted some great home DIY entertainment ideas, including how to make your own Teepee, how to create your own garden playground and more. Read more here: 7 Easy Outdoor Activities to do with Kids.
25.Look for Constellations
This might require a drive out of the main city centre to an area where the stars can be seen in all their glory. Pack a picnic basket and a blanket and remember to do some research with the kids at your local library before you go.
26.Go to the Beach
If you are in the Cape Town area, be sure to read our post on Family Friendly Beaches in Cape Town, for our guide to the best child-friendly beaches as well as lists of fun family activities to do at these locations.
27.Play Ball Games
Grab a ball, head to the garden, park or beach and simply play.
Start a new family hobby and go hiking. South Africa has so many family-friendly hiking trails to choose from.
Another fun family hobby is scrapbooking. Print your favourite photos from the past year and get creative.
30.Create a Science Experiment
I have a little half-brother who simply loves anything to do with science. And rightly so: it’s almost like magic after all! Read this for 3 Fun Child Friendly Science Experiments.
31.Make a Paper Airplane
This can become quite technical and whenever we get together as a family, my husband and brother-in-law always have a mini competition about who can build the best one.
32.Visit the Library
Teach your kids to love reading by introducing them to the magical world of books.
Another firm favourite in our family which ends in hours of laughter.
34.Visit a Fire Station
Contact your local fire station and find out whether they offer tours. Kids will love this.
35.Climb a Tree
If you do not have a big tree in your garden, find one at your nearest park. Not only is this activity challenging and fun, it’s great for gross motor skills development.
For more home entertainment ideas, read Ideas on Keeping your Kids Stimulated and Entertained this Holiday.