Most kids are out of school for the summer, or will be very soon.
Are you slightly stressing over what your kids will do this summer and how you will entertain them?
Are you dreading the thought of hearing “I’m bored” almost every week?
Sometimes it can be hard to keep kids entertained, especially without breaking the bank.
I personally looked into summer camps for my son and they were all either too expensive, too short (most were only 1 week long), or just outside of his interests, so I took on the role of making sure he has a fun and eventful summer regardless.
If you are in a similar boat, here 7 fun and free summer activities for kids to get them out of the house and enjoying quality time with you.
Kids Bowl Free is a popular nationwide program I try to sign up for each year, and it’s very easy to join. You go to their website, sign up at your nearest bowling alley, and your child gets 2 free games of bowling all summer long during week days.
If any bowling alleys near you offer discounts or coupons to use on certain days, you can reduce the cost of bowling for yourself, or you can pay a one-time fee of about $30 when you sign your child up for Kids Bowl Free so you can bowl with them at no additional cost.
Either way, paying for less people with Kids Bowl Free is great to take advantage of when you need to get out of the house and keep your kids entertained.
2. Check Out the Zoo
Normally, admission to the local zoo would be costly. On the contrary, there are many different free zoos and small petting zoos all over the country.
Most of them are in the Midwest, with one in New Jersey, Washington D.C., and California. If a free zoo listed here is not near where you live, I encourage you to check to see if nearby towns or even your home town has a smaller zoo that is free.
For example, Chicago is the largest city near me and it’s home to Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free, but I also found out there is a free petting zoo right in my hometown and another one in a nearby town.
Most kids love the zoo, so it’s a great outing to keep them engaged and learning new things. It’s best to choose a day to go that is not extremely hot because the animals will be more likely to come out into the open.
3. Picnic at the Park
Every day of the summer won’t be eventful, but you can throw in little spontaneous activities like picnicking at the park for lunch instead of eating lunch at home.
Grab some sandwiches, fruit, drinks and a blanket and head to your nearest park for a lunch picnic.
Afterwards, relax in the shade and let your child play for a bit, or you can bring some outdoor games and toys. It’s that simple.
4. Movies in the Park
Movies in the park is one of my favorite events to attend with my son in the summer. Most everyone in the neighborhood shows up to a predetermined location on a particular evening with a chair and some snacks and watches a family-friendly movie on a big projector screen.
These events cost absolutely nothing, and it’s fun to get out of the house and enjoy one of your favorite movies or watch a new movie. Most towns have a summer movies in the park program, so check with your local park district to see what events are going on near you.
Since most of the events I’ve been to are kid-friendly, they sometimes offer games and activities before the movie or have a bounce house so kids can play until dusk. Back when I was in college, we went to an outdoor screening of the movie Frozen and got to sit right on the football field while the movie was playing on the scoreboard. It was really cool and it was open to the public so it didn’t cost a dime.Keep your kids entertained for free this summer with these 8 fun activities! Click To Tweet
5. Hang Out at the Beach
Going to the pool is fun, but those pool passes are not cheap.
If you have any beaches remotely near you, take advantage of them and head to the beach for free instead. You can bring food and snacks to make a day out of it and let your kids play on the sand and in the water for a while.
All you need is a bucket and a shovel, and some kids will be entertained for hours on end just with that. You can go searching for seashells, too.
6. Go to the Library
If you need to cool off, head to your local library and see if they have any activities going on. Libraries have everything from storytime events, games to play, and movie screenings, to crafts and special presentations.
Download a list activities and events at your library this summer so you don’t miss anything that interests you.
Worst case, if you happen to make an unplanned trip to the library, you can simply read stories or ask the librarian in the Children’s section if they have any projects or crafts your child can do.
7. Camping in the Backyard
Want to stay home for the evening? Pitch a tent in your backyard, roast marshmallows on the grill and read stories and play board games while camping out with your kids in the backyard.
They’ll surely find camping like this super fun, and you’ll get cool points without spending much money at all.
If the weather is bad, you can always create a fort out of blankets in the house.
8. Realizing Less is More
As a parent, I understand the feeling of always wanting to do more for your child. The pressure can become quite intense around the summer if you want your child to have a fun time and create some lasting memories.
However, summer vacation for kids is all about spending quality time with loved ones, and sometimes the little things matter most like eating popsicles on the porch or riding bikes. These things cost nothing, yet allow kids to enjoy their summer to the fullest.
Even if you have a vacation or some exciting outings planned, you’ll still need to do some of these free things if you want your kids to be consistently entertained if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on summer camp.
What free activities are you looking forward to doing with your child this summer? What are some activities they’ve loved in the past?