Backyard activities for kids: summer activities on a budget

Backyard activities for kids: summer activities on a budget

By Babysits
6 min read

Let’s face it, planning affordable activities for your kids over the summer seems like a challenge. You may have many dreams of going on a vacation to Disney World or to a beautiful lake in British Columbia. However, for many of us, those dreams are not possible due to time constraints or a tight budget. This year has been difficult for many people, and it might be nice just to stay home and enjoy the simple things! The best part is, children can have fun anywhere; kids have a joy for life that inspires all of us. That’s why we’re sharing these 7 summer activity ideas to help you have the best summer in your own backyard.

7 backyard activities to do in your backyard this summer

Slip and slide

The most iconic summer backyard activity is probably the slip and slide. It’s a fun way to cool off in the sun and get the kids active and burn some energy. The kids will definitely remember it for years to come. All you need is a tarp, some kid-safe soap, and a hose, sprinkler, or another source of water.

Place the tarp in a grassy spot that is safe for slipping and sliding, making sure that there are no rocks, sticks or other sharp objects underneath. Next, secure the tarp in the grass with soft pegs or other objects that can hold the tarp. Lastly, cover the tarp with soap and water and let the fun begin!

Slip and slide

Water balloon fight

Another fun way to cool down outside is with a water balloon fight. This activity creates a real sense of excitement and is also a great way to get the kids to blow off some steam. You can create teams so you can have some organization to an activity that has the possibility of becoming a little chaotic. But isn't that why water balloon fights are so fun? On the other hand, you can always let it be a free for all and forget about the competition.

For this activity, just grab some water balloons from the dollar store. Then make sure you have a waterproof bucket or something that will be able to hold all of the balloons once they are filled with water. Then, place it in the middle of the backyard. Have everyone stand in a circle a fair distance away and count down, 3, 2, 1, GO!

Water balloons for kids

Obstacle course

An obstacle course is a great way to get creative with a summer backyard activity. This is because you can come up with endless obstacles and challenges to create your course. This activity can also be done as a team challenge or an individual competition.

Try setting up several stations that the children will have to complete in order to reach the finish line. Try a potato sack race, jump rope, hula hooping, jumping over or crawling under/through objects.

Obstacle course for kids

Scavenger hunt

The scavenger hunt is another activity where you can truly get creative. You can think about what sort of scavenger hunt you want it to be. The theme can be nature, pirate treasure, james bond, indiana jones, or just random!

To create your scavenger hunt, you can use riddles and clues to find what you are looking for, or simply have a list of things to look for in the backyard, like a green leaf or a yellow flower. Whatever the theme, this activity will allow your kids to use their smarts and problem solving skills while school’s out for summer.

Scavenger hunt


Gardening is also a great activity to teach your children something new. Not only is it a fun activity to do, it will teach them how plants grow and to learn patience when they watch things grow and thrive in their own backyard.

If you want to keep the budget down, you can use seeds and cutting from vegetables and fruits that you eat this summer. Instead of discarding food scraps, teach your little ones how to eat sustainably. You can try this with almost anything, like celery, onions, carrots, avocados, tomatoes, pineapples, papayas and more. The list goes on and on.

Gardening for kids

Mini sports tournament

Whether it’s soccer, basketball, baseball, field or road hockey, frisbee or disc-golf, the kids can get into a competitive spirit with a mini sports tournament. Invite their school friends, family friends, or neighbourhood friends to join in your tournament, whatever sport you may choose. You can even create fun team names and team uniforms to really feel like it’s a real tournament.

If you have a big enough backyard, the more people you can invite. If you have a smaller space, keep the group small, or take it to the nearby park! Whatever you decide, a mini sports tournament can be a great way to fill up an entire weekend with fun competition. This is also a great opportunity to make refreshing snacks or a celebratory BBQ after the tournament.

Soccer for kids

Tie Dye T-shirts

Tie Dying T-shirts is a really fun activity for summertime, because the kids can practice their DIY skills and show them off by wearing their creations for the rest of the summer. You can use old T-shirts, and will also teach the kids about recycling old things and creating something new. Just make sure the shirt is cotton or a cotton blend.

The first step is to wash the shirt to make sure it’s ready to be dyed. Also make sure the colours or design on the shirt will work with the tie dye pattern that you want to create. The second step is to select your dyes. These can be relatively cheap, and can be most likely found for a reasonable price at your local dollar store or art store. Third, place your shirt on a flat service, and twist your shirt by placing a stick in the middle of the shirt, and twisting it until it is wrapped up but still laying flat. Finally, add the dye where you wish, and wait for it to dry in a waterproof bag. Once it’s dry, wash them and then show them off!

Tie Dye Kids T-shirt

We hope there is something on this list that you want to try this summer. There is an activity for everyone, whether your kids are into nature, sports, art, or puzzles. Water balloons and the slip and slide are also a classic fan favourite, there is no shortage of options. Let’s make this summer the best summer yet!

Looking for more activities for your family? Be sure to check out our other fun activities for kids and families!