School is out for summer, and that means you have some energetic kids on your hands and a ton of time to kill. 98% of my favorite childhood memories occurred during the summer. But, that doesn’t mean that I spent the summers with season passes to water parks and jet-skiing and taking trips to amusement parks. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to make sure your kids have a fun and memorable summer, sometimes some of the best memories are the ones that didn’t cost a dime.
Not everyone can afford to take their kids to the moon and back this summer. So, for those parents on a budget that want to make sure their kids stay busy and still have a blast, we put together a list of some of the free and FUN activities for your kids this summer.
Believe it or not, there are still libraries and they are still free. You would be amazed by how much more excited kids are about reading when you let them choose their own books at the library. Most libraries also have huge selections of movies now that they lend out as well. While you are at the library check their community bulletin board. A lot of libraries offer free activities for kids during the summer like storytime or craft day.
Camping doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars to make your kids happy. You don’t need to run out and buy a new tent, sleeping bags, and rent a campground. Go rustic in your back yard. Tie a string between two trees and drape a sheet over it. Drag out the pillows and blankets, and make a campfire and whip up your smores. Your kids don’t care if you have state-of-the-art camping gear, they will probably have more fun making their own tent out of sheets and blankets anyways.
Let your kids make their own boards on Pinterest and find crafts they want to do. Pinterest has a smorgasbord of budget friendly kids’ crafts and printable activities. Plus, your kids will be much more excited about the activities if they choose their crafts themselves.
You don’t need to buy season passes to a nearby water park to cool off this summer and splash with the kids. There are tons of FREE places to go swimming, and guaranteed your kids will have just as much fun. Check out your local YMCA and see if they have an open swim day. Also, you can find a nearby public lake, or if you are lucky enough possibly even an ocean.
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Have a movie day – you don’t need to run out and purchase a bunch of DVDs. Fire up Netflix, or rent some for free from your local library. Go all out in the living room, let the kids make forts out of the couch cushions and whip up some microwave popcorn and snacks.
Check the National Park website and find one in your area. National Parks are free, full of wildlife, have amazing hiking trails, and some even have lakes or ponds. A lot of National Parks even have activities for kids and free programs, do your research online and check out the National Parks website right here.
Employ the help of a few parents in your neighborhood and put together a treasure hunt – you can hand out maps to all of the kids, and lead them on a wild goose chase around your neighborhood for a house. Of course, eventually, you will have to have a treasure stashed somewhere for them, a box full of candy and trinkets would make it all worthwhile.
Not everyone has a local zoo, but nearly every city has a pet store. Have a firm chat with the kids before heading inside and let the know that you are by no means bringing home any animals unless of course you want to adopt a puppy which would definitely keep your kids busy this summer. Pet stores have it all – fluffy bunnies to pet, reptile rooms, puppies that lick your face, and gorgeous tanks of tropical fish.