Saturday, June 8, 2013

10 Things to do with Kids This Summer ~ FREE!

These days, "fun" and "free" don't seem to meet up enough. But there are plenty of ways to have fun with your kids this summer, without having to spend a lot of cash! You just have to get creative. the key is to make ordinary things more fun! Like my first item on the list...

Beat the Summer Time Blues with Free Fun Activities!

1. Have a picnic! 
You have to eat anyway, so why not make it fun? You don't have to invest in one of those cool picnic sets to have a blast (even though they are pretty cool). Make some sandwiches, grab some chips and juice and head to your back yard or local park. Or you could even grab take out and go to a park, the idea is the same and you get to eat while taking in the scenery. Plus the kids can work off some energy before you head home! Bonus!

2. Expand their horizons...for free!
Many cities have free concerts in the park, some even have free (or cheap) movies in the park. We have seen several free plays by local colleges. Check your local paper or go to's local site for your area to find these events near you. Invite friends and it becomes a party (that you don't have to host). Many of these are evening events, so they won't cut into work time. You can bring your own snacks, too. 

3. Educational fun
Most museums have free or deeply discounted days during the summer. Often it's on a regular basis, like the first Tuesday of the month, but sometimes it's just a once a year event. Go to the websites of attractions in your area and search using the keyword "free" and see what come up. Make a list of what's free and when in your area and refer to it often.

4. Learn to Skate
There are dozens of roller skating rinks nationwide that participate in the Kids Skate Free program—which is just as it sounds: a way for children to skate, and therefore get some good exercise, for free this summer. Visit the Kids Skate Free website to find a participating rink near you. You’ll find rinks in 30 states.

5. Take up Bowling
There are dozens of roller skating rinks nationwide that participate in the Kids Bowl Free program ~ if you sign your kids up at the Kids Bowl Free website, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Some bowling alleys have free or cheap shoe rentals as well. 

6. Earn Free Books & Prizes
A great free activity for summer has always been free summer reading programs at your local public library. This summer, your young reader can participate in Barnes & Noble’s own version of a free reading program, and earn a free book in return. All the details, including a book log to use, are on the Barnes & Noble website
This summer, my daughter completed the reading programs at both our library and B&N, she earned 4 free books and a few fun trinkets, like a bracelet, bookmarks, and a reading pillow.  She loves getting in on freebies, and loves books!

7. Camp out
Either use a tent you already have, borrow one, or make one out of blankets - it doesn't need to be fancy to be fun! You can even roast marshmallows over a little hibachi grill, tell stories, or play games. Plus, if you need the bathroom or the weather takes a turn, you can run indoors. This is great for most age groups. 

8. Have a scavenger hunt
This is something that can also be modified by age group. Clues and hiding spots can be made more difficult for school age kids, or they can help younger siblings complete the list! Make it fun, going through the house and the yard.

9. Grow a Garden
Check with your neighbors, or your local Craigslist "free" listings, for free plants and gardening supplies. My daughter and I have a little container garden that we put together from peoples' leftovers, and it has given us a fun thing to do together every day.

10. Build a back yard water obstacle course
Another idea that can be changed depending on the age of your kids. Use (safe) items from around the house to mark off a course, with fun tasks. Borrow things from neighbors and invite their kids to join in, too! Use a wading pool, lawn chairs, laundry baskets etc as obstacles. Make it more fun by adding sprinklers to run through, or have them carry a full water balloon through the course - the idea is to not drop it! The kids who make it through with an intact balloon get a prize - getting shot by the adults with the hose!

Creative Commons License
This work by Little Mom on the Prairie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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