Inexpensive Things to Do This Summer at Home With Kids

Without the routine of school and after-school programs, kids and parents are left with a lot of time to fill during the day. We’re here to help you have a fun summer at home without going over budget.

Here are some entertainment ideas for kids that won’t break the bank.

Mom and child washing dishes together

Get The Kids Involved Around The House

Creating a summer chores list might not sound appealing at first, but if you add a big reward at the end, kids will jump right in. Things like organizing the Tupperware drawers, dusting the shutters, washing the curtains, tidying up the linen closet, or vacuuming the car usually fall by the wayside during the craziness of the school year.

But these kinds of things make great summer projects! If you need a few hours to get something done, give your kids a household task to complete. Make it exciting by rewarding them a “commission” for each completed item. Plus, if you have any items you wish to donate from all that organizing, bring them to a Goodwill donation center near you.

Inexpensive and Repurposed Craft Supplies

The novelty of a big shipping box can outweigh that of your kids’ toys. Been there? Then you know how kids love to use their imaginations to play with random non-toy items. The next time you go to recycle or toss something around the house, think about how you could repurpose it into a craft.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Egg cartons…Get out the paint!
  2. Popsicle sticks…Collect them all summer, then make a birdhouse.
  3. Big shipping boxes…Make a lemonade stand or pretend storefront.
  4. Leftover mail…They could play office!
  5. Cotton balls…Do a summer snowman craft.

A little girl in eyeglasses playing with wooden building blocks at home

Summer Kids Activities To Do at Home

You can find tons of gently used toys at your local Goodwill. Sometimes a new toy provides weeks of entertainment. Or create a fun box with several small toys. Your kids can choose a new toy each week. Some of the toys to look for include:

  • Shovels and sand buckets
  • Board games
  • Card games
  • Cars and trucks
  • Dolls and doll accessories
  • Tools
  • Shape sorters
  • Bubble machines
  • Learning toys
  • Activity tables

Make a Summer Reading List

Reading is a great activity for kids who are spending the summer at home. Create your own reading challenge with special prizes for reading a certain number of books. At your local Goodwill, you’ll find a large selection of books for children and young adults. With such low prices, you can stock up for the summer! You’ll also find great inexpensive prizes to use as your kids complete their reading challenge.

Novelty books are also a fun way to mix it up. Goodwill stores are full of unique finds like encyclopedias, biographies, almanacs, The Guinness Book of World Records, skill-specific deep-dives, coffee table books and so much more. Even if you think your kid might be too old or uninterested in a random old book, you may be surprised.

Create-Your-Own-Game Night

Fridays are a popular night for family game night. Instead of buying a new game, create a challenge where one person (or two people together) has to create a game for the family to play that Friday. They could spend the whole week planning it, creating game pieces, rule books, and prizes. You’ll be surprised at how into-it kids can be with a silly game night challenge. If they need supplies, bring them to Goodwill!

woman and child making a scrapbook together

Make a Scrapbook of Their School Year

Saving your child’s schoolwork throughout the year is fun to do. How could you not keep that cute handprint craft they made or the spelling test they aced? But then you’re left with drawers full of schoolwork. What to do with it? Let your kids know that you want to remember their school year by making a scrapbook. They can decide what to keep and what to recycle. Add glitter, stamps, photos, and anything else that makes it feel special. This is a fun summer tradition that you can start at any age.

Did you know that Goodwill stores have craft supplies? You can find fun knick-knacks and even seasonal items that you can use for scrapbooking and other crafts. The fun thing about shopping for craft supplies at a thrift store is that no one else will have what you have because it’s a unique find. It’s also a great way to get those imaginations working.

Make an Epic Homemade Tent

Some homemade tents are cute for a while, but an epic indoor tent stays up all summer. We’re talking multiple rooms, people. Sacrifice your living room or an open space for the sake of some serious tent building. Don’t worry, Goodwill has tons of great linens to use at a discount. You’re going to need them! Challenge your kids to make the tent of their dreams. And who knows, they may end up sleeping in it all summer. Once it’s built, remember something new can always be added. So, if they’re bored, remind them that they may need to add some twinkle lights or a reading nook to their epic summer tent.

Do a Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt

Someone’s got to go grocery shopping, right? Usually kids are a big no for running errands with their parents. Turn it into a challenge with a prize and maybe they’ll perk up. Turn your grocery shopping list into a scavenger hunt and see who can find the most items (no running, of course). Or get your kids involved with finding coupons and sale items in the store. The amount of money they help you save could be their prize! That’ll motivate them.

A dad helps his little girl go skateboarding, holding her waist for support.

Get Outdoors

If it’s not too hot outside, playing outdoors is a fun entertainment option for kids during the summer. Check out Goodwill for gently used bikes, scooters, and more.

Some ideas include:

  • Tricycles
  • Kids bikes
  • Scooters
  • Bike seats
  • Bike trailers
  • Water and sand tables
  • Tennis rackets
  • Basketball hoop

When in doubt, turn on the sprinklers and let them play. If you need outdoor gear like shorts, shirts, and sandals, Goodwill has you covered.

Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona stores are known for their sizable selections, unique goods, fun finds, and of course our low prices! You’ll find tons of inspirational entertainment ideas for the kids this summer at home. Shop for toys, games, books, clothes, and outdoor items at a Goodwill location near you.

Exciting Events this Week!

Amazing things are always happening at Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona! Whether you are looking for a daily special or want to participate in one of our job training events, we have something for you.

*Daily deals are valid at select Metro Phoenix, Prescott, and Yuma locations. Please check with your neighborhood Goodwill for details. Dollar Day pricing adjustment goes into effect on Jan. 5, 2023.

Discount valid on used merchandise only. Not valid on food or drink, new goods, seasonal or holiday items. Not valid at Goodwill Clearance Center.