Summer is in full swing and the kids are home climbing the walls, right? Need to get them out of the house or entertained? I’ve come up with some ideas for (mostly) free activities to do with your children to help the summer pass by more smoothly.
Some of these ideas are probably no-brainers for most parents, but I threw them in the list anyway. 🙂
- Most towns have a small local park. Take them to play on the equipment and have a cheap picnic on the ground. Sometimes county parks have low-cost paddleboats for rent.
- Go swimming. One of our local water parks is half price after 4 p.m. And you can search the internet for discount coupons or coupon codes. Or find a lake where you can swim for free.
- State and national parks are free! Cumberland Falls and Perryville National Historic Site are two that are fairly close to my home. Sometimes there are special events at these parks, so check their websites before you go. Along with some exercise, you can use these excursions as learning experiences. The last time I went to the Falls there was a cool reptile show.
- Take a walk and explore. Pretend you’re on safari or digging for bones. Kids love this kind of stuff and it fuels their imaginations. My friend’s grandma always did those types of things with her and it’s among her fondest memories.
- Go camping. You can find cheap campsites, especially if your camping in a tent. Or you can pitch a tent in the backyard, make s’mores, and tell stories around the fire just like you’re in a campground.
- Go fishing. Fishing is a relatively cheap activity if you’ve already got all the equipment. You can get a dozen nightcrawlers for $2 or $3.
- Get out the Slip ‘n Slide or sprinkler and let the kids run through the water. Guaranteed to bring shrieks of delight!
- Go to the zoo. Most zoos have discount packages. The Cincinnati Zoo offers AAA discounts, money-off tickets through Kroger, and military discounts. If you take your own lunch it will be even cheaper.
Free Activities Indoors
- Gather up all your board games and have a game night or game day. Be creative and make up your own rules.
- Movie night! Watch movies from Netflix, Hulu, or the Red Box. Red Box frequently has discounts. Alternatively, you could go to a free movie under the stars. A lot of towns offer Friday Night Flicks.
- Have a dance party. Pull up appropriate kids music on Pandora and let ’em get their groove on.
- Have a crafting party. Most of us have all kinds of paper, crayons, and other craft items. Let the kids create some cool things. Maybe they could even come up with homemade holiday gifts. Check out Pinterest for some ideas.
More Indoor Fun!
- Take them to a museum. There are many small museums that are free, mainly ones located in parks and historical sites. You may also be able to find art, history, and children’s museums that are free and offer free activities for the kids.
- Libraries are awesome free places to take your children. Most have summer reading programs and offer free activities as well. Book stores are great too, and some of them also have summer reading programs. My favorite is Half Price Books. Their kids books are so inexpensive!
- Go bowling. KidsBowlFree.com and Coupons.com have coupons for free bowling for your kids!
- Go out to eat. Many restaurants offer free meals for kids. Here is a website listing lots of restaurants with offers and discounts for children. And here’s another one. 🙂
- Take them to the skating rink. Kids Skate Free is a website offering free skating for the young ‘uns.
More Great (Mostly) Free Activities
- How long’s it been since you’ve gone to a drive-in? Remember those clunky microphones you used to have to hook up to your window? Even though you listen to the movie through your radio these days, it still makes me feel nostalgic whenever we go to the drive-in. Our drive-in gives you a coupon for 2 kids half-price next time you come. And you can always surf the net for discounts. Just stay away from the costly snack bar.
- Take them to a free sports clinic. These are generally offered on college campuses.
- Vacation Bible School. Even if you don’t have a home church, you can still send your child to VBS. Many churches offer free pick-up and drop-off services.
- Last but not least, take the kids to local events. There are all kinds of little towns around me that have free festivals and car shows with musical entertainment.