50 Ideas for Easy and Inexpensive Summer Fun (including a free printable 2019 summer checklist)

This is the 8th summer for our family's summer checklist. Every year, we make a list of all the fun adventures we plan on completing during my boys' break from school. We fill our summer bucket list with easy and inexpensive ideas for summer fun. This is one of my absolute favourite annual family traditions, and it has helped us to create many priceless memories. Today, I am sharing our 2019 summer checklist (that you can download for free below). I've also included several links to additional info about the activities.

To download and print the summer checklist: click on the checklist below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8X10 photo. I sent mine to my local copy store and printed it for $0.59. That's a lot of fun for less than a dollar!

We always have 50 items on our list, but feel free to adapt the list to fit your family. You can choose 10, 20, 30 or 40 of your favourites and add them to this blank list. It's not meant to be stressful... it's a template for family fun!

To download the blank version: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

And... in case you need more info about the items on my list, or you are looking for items to make your own list, check out the helpful links below.

1) Celebrate Canada Day or the 4th of July - Find simple and fun ideas for photo props, crafts, decor and recipes here.

2) Watch fireworks or attend a parade

3) Have a picnic or BBQ and eat outside - All picnics are great, but a teddy bear picnic is extra special. You can get the recipe for our favourite teddy bear picnic cookies here.

4) Go to a splash pad or swim in a pool

5) Host a "half sleepover" or backyard carnival - Hosting a fun event for friends is a really fun way to spend a summer afternoon or evening. Click on the links above for some of my favourite DIY party details.

6) Go to a farmer's market or visit a yard sale

7) Visit the library and read a book outside - If you are looking for some great books to get your kids reading this summer, you can find a list of some of our favourites here.

8) Have a water fight or NERF gun battle - I have simple tips for transforming your backyard into a water park here and easy and inexpensive NERF battle ideas here.

9) Go fishing or hiking

10) Have a family movie night outside or attend an outdoor concert - Outdoor movie nights are a family favourite in our house. You can read my best tips and tricks for an easy, inexpensive and fun movie night here.

11) Eat donuts from a string (with no hands) 

12) Pick out a toy or treat at the dollar store

13) Plant something and watch it grow

14) Visit a wildlife park, farm or zoo

15) Build a fort (inside the house or outside) or a trail through the woods

16) Get ice cream in PJs (drive throughs are OK) 

17) Play baseball, soccer, golf or street hockey

18) Make homemade ice cream or another cold treat - I have tons of great ideas for ice cream on my blog here. They are all delicious, but I highly recommend giving the DIY ice cream pie a try.

19) Go for a bike ride

20) Decorate a cake or bake cookies - I have tons of recipes for sweet treats on my blog, but if you are looking for a tried and true favourite, check out my soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe here.

21) Spend time at a cottage, beach or park

22) Do a science experiment or make a craft - Science experiments and crafts are perfect ways for kids to have fun, be creative, and continue learning during their summer break. Find some of our favourite science experiments here and some of our favourite crafts here.

23) Play a board game or chocolate bar bingo (which is like regular bingo... but with chocolate bars as prizes) - Playing games together is always fun. I have a great idea for a board game day here and a fun DIY outdoor game here.

24) Go geo-caching or bowling

25) Have a "kids pick the meals" day

26) Play mini golf

27) See a play or visit a museum

28) Have a lemonade stand or yard sale

29) Try a new food

30) Have a theme day (e.g. a pirate daysuperhero day, "parents say yes" day, or "spend our gift cards" day)

31) Camp at a campground, in the backyard or in the living room

32) Have a PJ day

33) Build a large puzzle

34) Make a summer reading list, set a reading goal or keep a summer journal

35) Fly a kite

36) Have a dance party or sing karaoke

37) Go on a scavenger hunt - Scavenger hunts are fun for kids of all ages. You can find one for younger kids (with pictures) here, and you can find a fun idea for older kids here.

38) Organize a drawer, closet or room

39) Play with water balloons

40) Do a good deed or raise money for charity

41) Go on a road trip to another city or town

42) Play "tag" or run in a race

43) Roast marshmallows, make s'mores or cook a different campfire treat 
- Check out my favourite ideas here

44) Write and mail a letter or postcard

45) Visit at least 5 different ice cream stands

46) Go stargazing

47) Choose your own
48) Choose your own
49) Choose your own

50) HAVE ICE CREAM FOR SUPPER! - This is the last item on our checklist every year. It's the perfect way to celebrate the completion of our summer checklist and remember all the fun memories we made together.

Creating and completing a summer checklist really is one of my favourite family traditions. It's always a lot of fun, and definitely something my boys look forward to each year.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)


Don't miss any of the fun....