Summertime is here, and if your kids aren’t already out of school, they will be soon. Summer is the perfect time to make memories with your kids, but if your plans include the local theme park, shopping at the mall, and meals out, plan to spend a lot of money entertaining the kids. While you can enjoy summer that way, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the summer without spending a lot of money.
Here are some of our family’s favorite low-cost or free summer activities:
Have a Picnic
Pack some sandwiches, chips and some fruit, and take a drive out of town. Find a nice, rustic place to have a picnic and spend the afternoon. Kids will appreciate the adventure and change of scenery.
Go to Summer Movies
Several movie theaters, including Harkins and Regal, offer discounted movies for kids during the summer. For 10 weeks, my kids and I go to Harkins theaters once a week to see a movie. The best part? We buy a pass for each of us for $5 apiece. Yep, if you see all ten movies throughout the summer, you pay just .50 a movie. The four of us can see a movie for $2 total every week. Can’t beat that.
Attend Free Concerts
Many cities offer free evening concerts and movie showings. Just check out the happenings in your town every weekend. You may be surprised how many free events you can find.
Enjoy Summer Bowling
There is also a summer bowling program, Kids Bowl Free, that you can sign up for. While the bowling is free, you do have to pay for shoe rental.
Attend Library Programs
Every week, our local library has at least one free program for kids. This week, my son will be taking a one hour art class. Next week, my daughters will be taking a free science class where they will be erupting mini-volcanoes. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out a few books, DVDs, and CDs.
Camp in the Backyard
If your kids want the adventure of camping but you don’t want to pay the camp site fee, why not camp in the backyard? Kids get the adventure, and if they get scared during the night, the house is only a few steps away.
Go to the Beach
Is there anything better than visiting the beach on a hot summer day? Bring your sun screen and a lunch and spend the whole day playing in the water, reading a book, and getting a tan.
Have a Movie Marathon
Feeling nostalgic? Why not watch the Star Wars movies with your kids or the Back to the Future trilogy? Watch a movie a night until you finish. Enjoy popcorn and reminiscing about watching these movies in your own childhood.
Summer can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to if you know where to look to find free and cheap activities to keep the kids entertained.
What are your favorite free or cheap activities to do with the kids during the summer?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.