Summer is an awesome time of year for families. Kids are out of school and many families head out on vacation. Unfortunately, vacations can get expensive. Thankfully, there are plenty of free or cheap summer activities for kids.Here are a few of my favorite activities you can use to keep your summer entertainment costs down.
Explore Nature Near You
Nature is awesome. There are so many fun and free things you can do outside. Check out your local community for things like nature trails, lakes, swimming holes, beaches, and other attractions that are either free or just cost a few dollars.
Personally, my wife and I enjoy heading to the beach. But we do live in Panama City Beach so we’re a bit spoiled.
Go Tent Camping
Tent camping can be a ton of fun for your family. Depending on how adventurous you want to be, you can set up a tent in your backyard or head to a local state park. Tent camping is much cheaper than renting a hotel or glamping in an RV, but it’s definitely more rustic, too.
Build A Camp Fire
If you go tent camping, building a campfire is a must. However, you don’t have to go camping to build a campfire. Building a fire in your back yard can be just as fun. Make smores or simply enjoy the ambiance after the sun has set.
Check your local laws and warnings to make sure you’re allowed to start a fire in your back yard and a burn ban isn’t currently in effect. You don’t want to get in trouble or cause a wildfire in a dry area.
Every summer, localities put on amazing fireworks shows for the 4th of July. Make a plan to enjoy this fun and free event with your family.
Usually, there are plenty of other activities including parades, farmers markets, or street fairs depending on your local community’s traditions. This information should be posted in advance so you can make the best of this fun holiday.
Visit A Local Museum
Did you know there are more museum’s in the US than there are McDonalds and Starbucks combined? It’s true (or at least it was in 2014)! That means there are probably several museums close to you and they usually offer deals that make them very affordable.
Often times museums will offer certain days free or have free passes at the library. Call around to your local museums and ask what discounts are available.
Related: 62 Places Where Kids Eat Free
Play Yard Games
Yard games like corn hole, bocce ball, and croquet can be a ton of fun for a family. These games have a small upfront cost, but once you own them you’re free to use them as often as you like.
You can set up a weekly yard game day and invite friends and family over or just randomly play games whenever the mood strikes. If you do invite others over, ask them to bring along their favorite yard game, too.
Attend Cheap Movie Days
Our local movie theater shows an old movie on Tuesday mornings in the summer and only charges $1 per ticket for admission.
Check and see if you have any local theaters that offer a similar opportunity. Most of the time, the theaters show kids movies. That said, most kids movies have plenty of adult humor in them, too.
Build Something As A Family
Summer is a great time to make memories. Give your family something to remember by building something you can use for the next few years. You could build a swing set in the back yard or a table for your dining room.
While this activity may not be cheap in the traditional sense of the word, you may be able to make whatever you’re building cheaper than you could buy a cookie cutter version of the same thing at a store.
Check For Free Community Activities
You should check to see if your community has a community events calendar for the summer. Panama City Beach has a free summer concert series that we could attend if we see something we think we’d like.
While I do live in a tourist destination, plenty of the non-touristy cities in our area also have calendars full of fun and free to attend events like concerts and farmers markets.
Attend Minor League Baseball Game
If you live in a city with a minor league baseball team, attending a game can be a great way to have a cheap outing for the family. Tickets are typically relatively cheap compared to major league baseball games and the atmosphere can be a lot of fun.
Check Out What Your Library Has To Offer
If it’s too hot to go outside, check out your local air-conditioned library. Libraries often offer free activities for kids during the summer because they know parents need something to get their kids out of the house.
Additionally, you can check out books, DVDs, or other fun things to do when you’re stuck inside your home on a rainy day. Our library even offers cake pans for unique cakes such as Mickey Mouse that you can check out.
Volunteer To Help Others
Helping others is a great way to spend some family time in the summer. Your family can volunteer to help at a food bank or to help build a home with Habitat for Humanity.
Find a local organization that you believe in and ask how your family can help. You can help a couple of times throughout the summer or turn it into a regular event.
Summer is a great opportunity to build family memories. While you definitely can build memories on an expensive family vacation, consider the above budget-friendly activities to see if they’d do the trick.