Edited 5/28/18 to update dates & information.
Summer has arrived and you’ve suddenly got kiddos to keep entertained all day, every day. (or maybe you’re like me, and your child isn’t school aged, but you’re always trying to find things to do!)
Now if I’m being honest, I am all for splurging, especially during the summer, on activities and trips that we don’t do throughout the year, but you just can’t do that every day/week. (At least this family can not!)
The following is a list I’ve compiled to save your sanity and your wallet this summer!
(All the activities on the list are COMPLETELY FREE! I also kept the cost of gas in mind and chose things that you most likely have locally, regardless of where you live.)
TOTALLY Free Summer Activities
1. Go to a local park / playground: Many parks have nature trails and picnic areas. Check ahead, but many even have bicycle paths. Spending time at a park is a great opportunity for your child to truly get back to the nature.
2. Attend a workshop/class/camp/club at a local store:
Home Depot offers workshops for children of all ages, but the younger they are, the more supervision they’d obviously need. For this activity, make sure you register ahead of time. They need to have enough materials ready.
Pottery Barn Kids has a weekly story time every Tuesday at 11:00 am (excluding NYC stores). Once children attend five they receive “a special surprise”
Apple Store offers a day camp for children ages 8-12. It runs for three days in 90 minute sessions. Children choose a subject offered and focus on that for the three days.
Michael’s offers a variety of arts and crafts related classes. Although many of their’s have a cost attached to them, there are many that are also free. (Be careful though, many of the free ones require certain supplies, which may need to be purchased).
Lakeshore has a different craft class every Saturday. These classes are for children ages three and up and parents can visit their website ahead of time to see the particular craft for that weekend.
Barnes & Noble is hosting a summer reading program from May 15 – Sept. 3, 2018. Your child must read and keep a journal on eight different books. The journal is then turned in in exchange for a free book!
3. Hike It Baby: This is an organization I recently found out about and immediately fell in love! They take walks/hikes almost daily and the group consists of two leaders and caregivers with their children. Hike It Baby not only offers a schedule ahead of time, but also describes what the walk/hike will entail (location, amount of time, etc.) so you know what ages are appropriate to bring and whether it would be better to use a carrier or a stroller.
4. Go to the library: This one you may have already thought of so that your child can keep up their reading throughout the summer, but don’t forget about classes as well. For example, my local library offers classes that run throughout the week and are offered completely free of charge. You just have to make sure you register your child before the class fills up for some of them! Find your local library! (I was pleasantly surprised at how many we actually have in our area).
5. Go to a public beach: You can build sandcastles, collect shells, and play in the surf, among other things. (If you’re not near a beach, consider a lake or river too!)
6. Backyard camping: No cost, no worries. Pack some snacks, play outside, and stargaze while falling asleep. Worst case scenario, pack up and go back inside to the comfort of your own bed!
7. Volunteer: This can be done at many places, just call ahead and see or use a volunteer matching website. Some places you could consider are wildlife centers, churches, nursing homes, day care centers, or a historical society.
8. Learn more about a local factory: Not every factory offers this, but many will let you go “behind the scenes” and give you a tour of how things are run. Click here to find factory tours in your area!
9. Go for a walk in the neighborhood: While this one doesn’t sound overly interesting you can make it intriguing to little ones by playing I Spy along the way or taking a different route each time you walk. (Update: I just stumbled across this wonderful blog post written on exactly what I was talking about in reference to neighborhood walks. There are even free printables!)
10. Take advantage of your time: Do things that you just didn’t have the time for during the school year – more quality time together, visit family and friends who live close but you don’t see enough, cook together, do crafts, watch movies. Try to enjoy the time you have with your children because before you know it they’ll be starting school again, another year older.