Summer fun with kids doesn’t have to be expensive. Kids are far more interested in who is with them than in what they’re doing, so the things you plan don’t have to be complicated.
If you’re trying to save money this summer, but don’t want to sit around doing nothing for weeks, then I’ve got a great list of ideas to get you out and about without spending a penny (unless you count gas).
There’s even a free printable to post on your fridge as a reminder!
Your Local Library
Our number one summer go to place is the local library. Not only can you borrow books to read, but you can also check out movies, CDs (dance party anyone?), and audio books. Don’t forget to check your library’s even calendar. Our local libraries have loads of summer programs for children of all ages - movie nights, craft nights, game nights, reading programs, day camps, and more.
Vacation Bible School
Most every church hosts a week-long vacation Bible school program as an outreach of their ministry. If you live in an area with a lot of churches you could fill up a good portion of the summer with VBS attendance. What better way to spend a few hours each day than learning about Jesus with new friends in a fun atmosphere.
Kids can learn the benefits of volunteering at any age and summer is a great time to get out in the community and help where you can. Some things that kids can do:
- clean up a local park
- visit nursing homes, ask about those who have no family or friends who visit
- take part with the local meals on wheels
- help elderly in your neighborhood with their yard work
- garden to give to the needy
- wash a neighbor’s car
- write letters or make cards to send to military veterans
Do you have a local Home Depot? If so, check out their kid’s workshops. Most take place on Saturday mornings and are free, but you have to sign up well in advance. They fill up quickly!
Tour a Place
Learn something new while spending the day together on a tour. Some ideas for tour locations include TV stations, Radio stations, Fire Stations, Police Stations, the sky’s the limit really just make sure that you call first and set up a time to visit, don’t just show up!
Stay at Home for Fun
It might sound boring to just stay at home, but the truth is there are so many amazing things that you can do right in your own back yard. Here are just a few ideas:
- have a water balloon fight
- have an obstacle course race
- play a game with sidewalk chalk
- play in the sprinkler or make a slip-n-slide
- have a nature scavenger hunt
- play outdoor scrabble
- have a driveway race
- make your own stomp rocket and launch it
- camp in your own backyard
- play backyard games - dodgeball, baseball, volleyball, tag, red rover, etc.
- make paper planes and see which one flies the furthest
- play hide and seek
Rather stay inside? No problem!
- have a family game night
- watch a movie, or two, or ten!
- look through family photo albums and reminisce
- have a family slumber party
- have a craft night, pull out the craft box and let your imagination run wild
- learn some new jokes and/or magic tricks
There are lots of opportunities in local parks. County parks and state parks both offer many programs during the summer that are free to the public. Even if your local parks don’t have structured programs, you can still try your hand at geocaching, go on a hike or bicycle trail ride, try your hand at fishing (check local licensing regulations), and lots more. We recently discovered that one of our local state parks has horse shows one Saturday per month and it’s free for spectators. That made Princess Dork really happy! Find out what your local parks offer by checking out the National Park Service website.
Discover a New Town or City
There is likely at least one town or city within an hour drive that you can discover for free. Check with the local county or state tourism office to find out where to go and what to do when you get there. You’d be surprised to learn how much there is to do for free. Pack a picnic lunch and some snacks and hit the road! If you’re blessed enough to live near a major city you can even find free walking tours to take part in.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to attend and enjoy any local city and town festivals that happen during the spring, summer and fall. Many of these offer free live entertainment and some even offer free rides for kids. Remember to leave your pocketbook at home if you are trying not to spend money because the booths and food vendors will be veeery tempting! Eat before you go and pack some water and snacks in a backpack.
Don’t forget the free printable list! Hang it on the fridge or add it to your planner so you’ll have a ready list of ideas all summer long! Just click the photo below or this link for an instant download.
What Are Your Summer Fun Ideas?
Do you have a great idea for free summer fun with kids? Please share in the comments below! I'd love to hear it.