Summer is almost here, and spring in Alaska has been tough. One day it’s fifty, the next day it snows. The weather is always changing too fast for my liking, but it’s true: Summer is on the way!

Each summer, I struggle to find low cost ways to entertain our four kiddos and each summer I find something fun and different to try. Entertaining kids for the summer can be tough, especially when you’re on a budget. In this article, we’ll discuss the top seven low cost activities for the summer that you can do with friends, family and your adorable littles.

Picnic in the park

Picnics in the park are always so much fun! Let the kids help out packing their favorite snacks or even packing lunches for each other. I’ve found that given a few slices of deli meat and sandwich cheese and a cookie cutter, my kiddos were always way too eager to help gather ingredients and cut out fun shapes in their food. ‘

We have also used this activity to work on our alphabet and counting skills. Sometimes we would only pack items that started with a specific letter and other times we would only pack specific numbers of items. Either way, this activity is both fun and yummy!

#ThirstiesTip  Help reduce landfill waste by packing one of these Manataee produce bags on your picnic and these reusable sippy cups and fork/spoon sets!

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get exercise for the entire family and see more of the outdoors together. I like to bring along a hiking scavenger hunt to help keep my kiddos on the path and entertained. You can even bring a fun prize for the child who finds the most items! We also like to talk about maps and how to follow them, directions and what to do if we ever get separated. Hikes are a fantastic way to get the kids outside, exercising and having fun.

#ThirstiesTip Make sure to bring along plenty of water and a large enough water bottle like these 40 oz Hydro Flasks!

Camping

Ok, so I’m not a camping person, per se. But, this is a great activity that you can do with the entire family for little to no cost. Many states will also allow you to purchase a state park parking pass for a discount so that you don’t have to pay for parking each time you camp or hike.

I do love packing for camping and I always insist that our kiddos help. It teaches them how to plan ahead, which gear we should choose for different kinds of weather and also how to be responsible for their own items and clothing. Stories around the fire will help kiddos use their imagination and let’s face it, fresh air is just good for them. Many camp grounds do charge a fee, but it is usually very minimal if any.

#ThirstiesTip Camping obviously does require significant effort on the caregiver’s part, but I like to use everything as a learning opportunity. Even the little kiddos can help pick out what types of food we need to pack or run around grabbing socks and towels when we start packing.

Nature Walk Near Your Home

One of my favorite places to explore is actually near our own neighborhood. I like to take the kids for nature walks using a small notebook so that we can write down or draw pictures of any wild life, plant life or natural elements that we see. Surprisingly, my four can stay entertained on a nature walk for quite sometime and they like to make games out of who spotted something first or how many drawings they have in their notebooks. Living in Alaska definitely has it’s perks and one of them is that there is a ton of great places for a nature walk very close to home.

#ThirstiesTip Wet bags are my favorite thing to take on a nature walk. They are great for snacks and holding notebooks and crayons or even sunscreen and bug spray. You can never have too many wet bags!

Trip to the Library

Rainy summer days are for reading! A quick trip to the library always perks up my crew (and at least then I don’t feel like we did zero educational activities for weeks on end). We like to have the kids choose books for one another so that there’s a bit of a variety. Library books are also great for long road trips or days spent out camping. It’s so nice to see the kids pick books that they truly enjoy and not just what they were assigned. Little ones can usually enjoy story time at most libraries and some even have free craft days too.

#ThirstiesTip We like to choose a day of the week to go and stick to it. That way, our books get returned on time and summer doesn’t accidentally fly by before we make it back again. If nothing else, hey, there’s AC at the library.

Family Cleanup/Trip to the Donation Center

This is probably mom’s favorite activity and my kids’ least favorite activity. Cleaning up as a family helps keep everything more organized and keeps the house feeling fresh and put together. Summer is a great time to get a garage sale together and ask the kids to pitch in. We use our oldest as the ‘banker’ and while she works on her mental math, we let the younger kids sort things into piles by categories. Admittedly, this is definitely an activity that’s both free and a little bit of work, but summer is a great time to clear out and freshen up!

#ThirstiesTip We always use our garage sale money do to something fun that we wouldn’t normally spend money on like going to the movies or a museum. Another way to keep them entertained during the summer at a low cost (because garage sale money!).

Build A Garden

Building a garden is a great way to entertain the kids, teach them about how plant life grows and spend quality time together. It’s also an activity that can be done all summer long, even in the rain! My kids love to pick out their seeds together and carefully plant them in the garden beds and the best part is I can supervise it all from the porch with a glass of lemonade! Super low cost activity that keeps them both learning and occupied.

#Momrealness

My preferences have changed as my kids have gotten older. Many cities also have free or low cost activities sponsored by large organizations. Check with your city’s parks and rec center to see if there are any sponsored low cost activities in your area!
Do you have a summer activity you love? Share it with us in the comments! You can shop Thirsties cloth diapers at your local retailer or online with Thirsties. For other cloth diaper tips and tricks, you can visit Thirsties on Facebook or join the online community, Thirsties Groupies. And don’t forget to checkout Thirsties Instagram feed, @thirstiesinc.