Classic Summer Fun on a Budget: 20 Activities to Add to Your Summer Bucket List

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Once upon a time, I remember a summer that didn't involve planning out your kids' every waking moment to a T - before social media, blogs, and yes, even the internet. We'd wake up, run out the door, and the world awaited us. I remember climbing trees, swinging for hours at the park, and splashing around in puddles - not the over-the-top, insanely supervised, planned-to-a-T-Pinterest-worthy activities that seem to be designed to make parents feel completely exhausted and overwhelmed just looking at them. That being said, there are a few things I want to do with my girls this summer - you know, the classics:

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1. Splash in some water - we don't have money for a pool pass this summer, but we do have a plastic kiddie pool, free splash park like this one over on Camille Styles, and of course, muddy rain puddles.
2. Go fishing - even if you don't have all of the equipment, tie a piece of string to a stick or grab a net and head down to the creek - guaranteed your kids will still have the time of their lives.
3. Fly a kite - find the biggest hill around on a nice breezy day and let them run to their heart's content.
4. Sleep under the stars - cozy up together in a big pile of blankets and pillows and watch the starts come out at night one by one.
5. Catch fireflies - they've just started to appear in our yard and my daughter is already asking for a jar with holes in the lid.

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6. Go on a picnic - a big blanket and some paper bags full of goodies like this setup on Oh Happy Day are all you really need.
7. Visit the zoo - or if that's too pricey in your area, visit a local farm or feed the ducks at the pond.
8. Pick berries - and make sure you leave with your mouth stained with juice.
9. Go on a hike - tell stories, sing songs, and enjoy nature.
10. Go cloud gazing - choose one of those days with a clear blue sky and puffy white clouds, spread out a big blanket, and dream away.

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11. Go to a local ball game - or better yet, organize one yourselves with family, friends, or the local neighbor kids!
12. Eat a snow cone - I've always loved when I hear the lilting tune of the snow cone truck coming around the corner.
13. Go on a scavenger hunt - not one of those complicated ones that you have to set up ahead of time, but the simple kind where you collect acorns, blow on a wishy, or spy a robin's nest.
14. Play in the rain - rain gear or not, choose a warm day and have fun splashing around in the rain. Who knows, maybe you'll even see a rainbow.
15. Make a lemonade stand - charge ten cents a glass and be generous with the sugar. All you need is an old crate, a paper sign, and an tin empty can to collect the riches.

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16.Roast marshmallows - a backyard fire pit like this one over on Lesley W. Graham or even a small charcoal grill will do.
17. Play in the creek - put on your water shoes and go for a stream hike or tie a rope to a tree and swing around. Even just put your feet in and study the guppies or collect rocks. There's nothing like splashing around in a stream for a few hours on a hot summer day.
18. Climb a tree - my four-year-old loves to climb the tiny Japanese maple we have out front. It's just her size and she feels a bit brave and daring.
19. Go camping - even if it's in your backyard and you borrow a tent from a friend, it's an experience your kids will never forget.
20. Go to the drive-ins - fill up the back of your car with blankets and pillows and pack a bunch of yummy snacks like Danni and Nick of Oh, Hello Friend. (first image)

What classic fun do you remember from your childhood? We'd love to hear your ideas!

(Image credits: Danni and Nick of Oh Hello Friend; Wynn Myers; Heather Zweig for Oh Happy Day; Lauren Hufnagl; Lesley W. Graham)

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Lauren is a writer, DIYer, and Etsy addict living with her family in her tiny work-in-progress home in Pennsylvania. When not blogging, she can usually be found chasing around one very spirited little three-year-old and snuggling her new baby girl.