18 Free or Low Cost Ideas to Keep the Kids Cool This Summer

18 Free or Low Cost Ideas to Keep the Kids Cool This Summer

18 Free or Low Cost Ideas to Keep the Kids Cool This Summer

How is your summer going? It is super hot here in Texas which is very typical for this time of the year. It finally reached triple digits temperatures a few days ago so we have been staying inside quite a bit. Staying inside at home has its benefits but my kids have already gotten a bit restless. They have been constantly asking me if we can go do this or that. Since my kids are getting restless and I am sure that your kids are the same way, I wanted to share some ideas on how to keep the kids busy while beating the heat. Plus, most of my ideas are free or low-cost too!

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Craft Time

Crafts are usually a huge hit with my kids. They enjoy making things and it is a great way to keep them busy for a few hours. Gather up a few supplies (there are even crafts using things around the house too) and find some fun activities on Pinterest.

Go to the Movies

During the summer time, movie theaters usually have special showtimes during the summer that are inexpensive. Our movie theater features a few of the older movies once a week for less than a $1 a person. Check with your local movie theater for more details and see if they offer anything like this for your children.

Head to the Mall

The mall is a great way to cool off during the summer time. You don’t even have to spend money in order to have a good time. You can go window shopping, people watching, or if your mall offers an indoor play place you can let the kids play for free.

Visit the Splash Pad

The splash pad has been a huge hit this summer with my youngest son. He enjoys playing with the other children and it is a great way for him to cool off. Plus, its free! Find out if your community has a splash pad. The splash pad in our area has certain hours of operation so you should find out if they are any restrictions before heading out.

Cool in the Water Sprinkler

Hook up the sprinkler and turn on the water. Let your kids run through the water sprinkler for a little while. I remember doing this when I was little and it was always so much fun.

Buy a Wading Pool

This was one of my favorite thing to do every summer when I was growing up. My mom would buy me a wading pool and we would set it up in the backyard. If you set it up first thing in the morning, by the time the kids are ready to go swimming in the late afternoon the water will be warm. Just remember to use caution when you allow your children to play in the wading pool. They do require constant supervision. Even though most wading pools are shallow, it is still possible for them to drown in a small amount of water. Add a bucket of water to wash their feet off before getting into the pool. Doing this will help keep some of the grass out of the pool especially if you just mowed. The great thing about most wading pools, you simply dump the water when it gets dirty and start all over. Check out the huge selection of wading pools on Amazon.

Have a Water Gun Fight

Have a Water Gun Fight

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Get the kids to change into a swimsuit. Then grab a few water guns and give one to each of your children. Then fill up a bucket of water so that your kids can easily refill them. Then let your kids have fun shooting each other. They get to have fun while cooling off at the same time.

Go to the Library

The library usually has a few activities for the kids during the week. These activities are usually free unless noted on their calendar. Our library has a weekly story time which is perfect for the younger kids and activities several other days for the older kids. See what your library has to offer.

Host a Movie and Popcorn Party

Invite several of your friends over for a movie and popcorn. You can rent, stream, or even let the kids pick a movie from your DVD collection. Then pop some pop corn and give the kids some water while they enjoy their movie.

Video Games

Let the kids play a few of their favorite video games. I typically don’t let the kids play video games all day long during the summer. I want them to read, play with each other, and do a few other fun things. If you have any cleaning that you need done around the house, let them earn some extra video game time by helping out around the house.

Have a Picnic at the Park

Depending on where you live, you can pack you and the kids a lunch. Then head to your local park so that they kids can play for a little bit. Once they are done playing, have lunch at the park. Don’t forget to pack the baby wipes to clean up icky hands.

Let the Kid’s Wash your Car

Get the kids to change into their swimming suit so that they can wash your car. Give them a few sponges and a bucket of soap. Then let your kids have fun while they wash the car. My kids love doing this because they usually end up spraying each other in the process.

Play Board Games

Grab a few of your kid’s favorite board games and let them pick a game to play. They can even take turns picking their favorite game. Let the kids play a few different board games. This usually keeps my kids entertained for a few hours.

Have an Ice Cream Sundae Party

Go to the grocery store and buy a few of your kid’s favorite flavors of ice cream and toppings. Then invite a few of their friends over for ice cream. Set up an ice cream sundae line and let all of the kids pick their own treats.


My kids love slushies and it is a great way to cool off with an icy treat. You can make your own or head to Sonic for 1/2 price slushes during happy hour.

Play in the River, Lake, or Beach

Play in the River, Lake, or Beach

Photo Credit: Pixabay

If you have a river, lake, or beach nearby, check to see if they have areas where you can swim. Some places even have life guards too. Just make sure that you take life jackets and watch your kids closely. Don’t forget the sunscreen too.

Let the Kids Play in the Bathtub

Too hot to play outside? Do you have a garden tub in your master bathroom? Let the kids put their swimsuits on and fill up the bathtub with luke warm water. Then give them a few of their favorite water toys or cups and let them have fun playing. Once they cool off, dry them off.

Find an Indoor Playground

My kids always love playing at the park but often times during the summer it is just too hot. Find an indoor playground and take your kids there to play for a while. You can even buy them an ice cream cone or drink to help them cool off too.

I hope that you enjoy these fun ideas on how to keep you and the kids cool this summer.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

What is your child’s favorite summer time activity to stay cool?

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18 responses to “18 Free or Low Cost Ideas to Keep the Kids Cool This Summer”

  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) Avatar
    Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    Those are all great ideas. We spend lots of time at the beach, which isn’t cool unless you go into the water, but the frozen lemonade guy is always there, so that helps!

  2. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle Avatar

    These are all great ideas. We love to have water gun fights in the back yard.

  3. Diana Villa Avatar

    Go to the movies is our favorite activitie! Thanks for all those wonderful tips ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. kristin Avatar

    We are so lucky to live near a beach and have the ability to go to the cumminity pool. Our summer days seem to be full of lots of water fun. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  5. Dawn Avatar

    Splash pads are always fun for younger kids. We live in a small town,and the town next to us just built a new splash pad!

  6. Bismah Avatar

    We have been having a really hot summer this year. These are all great ideas! We will have to try some of the indoor ones that we have yet to try.

  7. Chubskulit Rose Avatar

    Our summer here is weird, we had rainy days and less hot sunny days but I am not complaunung. It is still great compared to Winter. Thanks for the tips.

  8. Debbie Denny Avatar
    Debbie Denny

    We love going to the creek with the grandkids. Great list you have.

  9. Alyssa C Avatar

    Great list! We just found a local splash pad and my girls LOVE it.

  10. Rosey Avatar

    Kids never outgrow water guns. My two grown boys still love them.

  11. Ronnie Avatar

    GREAT ideas! The pools here are so expensive that there’s no way we can take the whole family when it gets hot… We like going to this water fountain that’s made for kids to play in. Free and fun!

  12. Holly @ Woman Tribune Avatar

    Crafts are always a huge hit with one of my stepdaughters, and the other is ALL. ABOUT. the gaming consoles! But when it’s hot outside, we head out to the backyard to our pool and swim. We do a ton of swimming and grilling, which is pretty much our perfect way to spend summers around here.

  13. HilLesha Avatar

    My family and I haven’t had a chance to go swimming this summer. However, we’ve been heading to the library a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly Avatar

    I don’t have kids, but quite frankly I could totally go for an Ice Cream Sundae Party right NOW! YUM ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Erin Avatar

    Maybe its just because my car needs washed but I love the idea of having a car wash! LOL! I’ll instruct, they can wash ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. Krystal Avatar

    We love to go to the splash pad or Target actually. It’s nice to walk in the AC And have some popcorn and look around!

  17. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green Avatar

    Great tips, we’ve taken advantage of a few of these. We have several big fountains in our area and they are free fun for the kids. It’s the perfect cure to the summer blues.

  18. Winter White Avatar

    Is it crazy that I want to do all of this stuff and I’m not even a kid! I wish adults had summer break like kids do ๐Ÿ™‚