Now that summer’s in full swing, you may be finding it challenging to keep your children constantly entertained and out of trouble—I know I am!
Unfortunately, taking your kids out for fun activities all the time can get pretty pricey, especially if you have more than one. But, seeing their disappointed faces when you tell them, “Maybe next time,” can sting a little. And finding fun children’s activities that cost little to nothing can be a little overwhelming at times.
Instead of focusing on the expensive activities that you can’t afford to do every day, use these inexpensive activity suggestions to plan fun, cost-free days to keep your kids occupied this summer—without straining your wallet.
1. A Day at the Beach, Lake, or Park
It’s summertime, so get outside!
If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, take advantage of it! If you’re not near the ocean, scope out the nearest lake or big park and plan a special outing.
You’ll only have to pay for fuel to get there and snacks—or pack a picnic and spend even less!
Don’t forget to bring along a few items to keep the kids occupied. If you’re headed to the beach or lake, pack a beach ball, a volleyball, or buckets and shovels for building sandcastles. If you’re headed to a lovely nearby park, bring a Frisbee, baseball and glove, or kites… whatever you like!
A day outside isn’t just fun for the kids, it’s fun for the whole family—and inexpensive!
2. Visit the Public Library
Even if your kids aren’t super excited about reading, the public library is a great place to go this summer.
Public libraries usually offer a variety of free activities for kids such as storytime readings, puppet shows, workshops, children’s theater, and other group activities. This is a great way to ensure that your kids are not only entertained, but also learn something in the process.
Check out your local public library’s website for their list of activities this summer. Who knows, maybe your children will even discover that they love reading!
3. Visit a Museum
Museums are both fun and educational—a great combination for bored kiddos.
Whether it’s history, art, or science, local museums are a wonderful source of activities and entertainment for your kids. Museums offer less expensive tickets for children, and some may even offer free entrance once a month—so be sure to check their calendars.
In addition to the normal museum exhibits, many also offer specials events or freebies for children during the summer. These are great opportunities for your kids to have a unique educational experience at little to no cost.
4. Neighborhood Olympics
Your kids aren’t the only ones who are bored this summer, so get the neighborhood together for a full day of friendly competition!
Sports like touch football, capture the flag, and potato sack races are fun group activities for all ages. This is another great way to include the whole family as well as neighborhood friends.
With so many people involved, there’ll be more than enough adults to referee games and allow for a change of teams at every event. Try setting up competitions between even-numbered homes versus odd-numbered homes or mothers and sons versus fathers and daughters. The options are endless, so have fun with it.
And be sure to close out the day’s events with a neighborhood potluck and barbeque!
5. Play Board Games
Your kids may be all about video games, but now board games are considered retro and cool! So dust off those old board games and teach your kids how to play.
A great thing about board games is that you can play them anywhere. On warm summer days, grab a board game and head to the park for hours of fun. Is a summer thunderstorm rolling in? Stay indoors and play.
There are loads of games for all ages, so there’s something for everyone. If your family is competitive, set up a friendly family tournament where the winner gets a small prize—like picking what movie to watch that evening.
6. Play Tourist
How well do your kids know their city? You might be surprised!
Perhaps you’ve taken them to the popular tourist spots, but what about other historic, lesser-known sites? Maybe there are some great parks or hikes on the other side of town that you never get to visit, so go check them out!
The summer is the perfect time to play hometown tourist and discover some spots you didn’t know about either.
7. Do Some Volunteering
If your kids have spare time on their hands, volunteering this summer is a perfect way to teach them the importance of giving back to their community.
There are so many organizations trying to make a difference, and because there are so many, you can pick the ones most appropriate for your kids. Opportunities like volunteering at a local food bank sorting food, gardening at the local public school or library, and even delivering meals to seniors are all wonderful, safe ways for your kids to learn the value of volunteering.
Volunteering not only keeps the kids busy, but also teaches them to be selfless and do something for others. Talk about a fun activity that also teaches important life lessons!
8. Enjoy an Outdoor Movie Night
Warm summer nights plus outdoor movies equals loads of fun.
Many parks offer free, outdoor family-friendly movie nights. Check your local parks to see if there are any near you. If not, ask your neighbors if they have a projector and screen so you can organize a neighborhood movie night for the kids in someone’s backyard.
It’s a great—and inexpensive—way to end the day!
Fun Children’s Activities Don’t Have to Break the Bank
Keeping kids entertained with healthy activities during the summer doesn’t have to mean going broke in the process.
Keep these suggestions in mind, and next time your kids complain about being bored, you’ll be ready head out the door—plus, you might just have some fun too!