A group of children smile at the camera.

As the weather gets warmer and summer approaches, many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids entertained without breaking the bank. Fortunately, you can do plenty of fun activities with your children for less than $25. And you can get almost everything you need at Ocean State Job Lot! Here are six ideas to get you started:

A family wearing aprons cooks together. A father helps his daughter slice a cucumber while the mom makes a salad.

Cooking With the Kids

Cooking is a great way to teach children valuable skills while also having fun. You don’t need fancy ingredients or equipment to make something delicious, either. For example, you could make pizza bagels by topping bagels with some tomato sauce, cheese, and your child’s favorite toppings. You could also make a cake or cookies from a mix. We have a great selection of Bob’s Red Mill mixes, including some gluten-free options! Or cut up some strawberries and add them to your ice cubes. When they’re done, use them in water or lemonade for a refreshing drink. Kids love getting creative with food, and it’s a great way to bond with them.

Backyard Water Park

When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing more refreshing than playing in the water. You can create your own backyard water park using items you probably already have at home. Sprinklers are a classic option, but you could also set up a splash pad or have a water balloon fight. Our water toy and pool section has plenty of affordable choices. Pool noodles can also be used for water games, such as noodle races, or as an obstacle in the water.

A little boy in a pool tries to catch bubbles blown by a little girl.
A boy crawls through a series of arches made from pool noodles.

DIY Backyard Challenge

Challenge your kids with a DIY obstacle course using items you have around the house. You can use ring floats to jump over or through. Pool noodles can be used as hurdles, or stick each end in the ground to make an arch your kids can crawl through or jump over. Tape two together to make a larger arch for bigger kids! You could also set up lawn games like cornhole or a ring toss. Set up some different-sized bowls filled with water and take turns trying to toss some splash balls or water balloons into them. The possibilities are endless, and your kids will love competing against each other and seeing who can complete the course fastest.

Backyard Campout

Camping is a fun way to spend time with your family, but it can also be expensive. Instead, why not set up a backyard campout? All you need is a tent, some sleeping bags, and a few snacks to create a fun camping experience. You can also make s’mores over a fire pit or grill, listen to a ballgame on the radio, tell stories around a flashlight, and stargaze. Or set up the tent in your living room and camp indoors. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your kids without leaving home.

Three girls in a tent smile at the camera.
Two girls draw outside with sidewalk chalk.

Outdoor Summer Crafts

Crafts are a great way to keep kids entertained and engaged, especially when they’re stuck indoors. However, there are also plenty of fun crafts you can do outside. For example, you could paint rocks or create a chalk mural on the sidewalk. You could also make popped bubble art! Add a drop of food coloring to some bubbles and have your kids blow them onto some paper and pop them. It’ll leave behind a fun design that you can actually frame! These crafts will not only provide hours of entertainment, but they’ll also encourage your child’s creativity and imagination.

A Great Way to Unplug

There are plenty of ways to entertain your kids without spending a lot of money. It’s a great way to spend quality family time without the distraction of cell phones and tablets, too! Connecting with your children creates memories that they’ll take with them no matter how old they get or wherever they go. So unplug, get creative, get outside, and have fun with your kids this summer!

A family lays of the floor reading a book together.