8 Free kid activities for summer

Family Picnic

When you’re a kid, there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of summer vacation. Three months of uninterrupted fun, including (but not limited to) summer camp, swimming pool sessions, and maybe even a vacation or two. As a parent, however, summer vacation isn’t quite as thrilling. In fact, it might even feel a bit daunting or exhausting. Keeping the kids entertained an extra eight hours a day from June to August is no easy task. Here are eight activities you and your youngsters can do for free this summer.

  1. Outdoor movies. Drive-ins used to be a dime a dozen, but when they started to dwindle, a new outdoor movie movement took their place: movies in the park. Almost every town and city across the country has hopped on this bandwagon, so see your local parks and recreation department’s website to see when movies are showing at parks near you.
  2. Concerts at the park. Concerts at the park are another fresh-air activity that you’ll find on the schedule almost anywhere. Usually you’ll get the chance to see local bands live, and spread out a blanket or set up some lawn chairs while you watch. Many concerts at the park even allow you to bring your own food and drinks! Again, see your town’s parks and rec page to find out if this is an option near you.
  3. Events at the library. Librarians understand the struggle of the summertime parent. That’s why they regularly host events designed to keep your kids entertained (in A/C) during the hot summer months. From weekly story hours to movie screenings and craft time or art classes, each local library has something a little different in store for the summer. Check online to see what’s happening at yours.
  4. DIY field trips. Who says you have to wait until school’s back in to send your kids on a field trip? Find a free local museum or botanical garden in your area and plan your own field trip for a day. Sure, you’ll have to chaperone, but the exhibits and sights should keep your little ones entertained, so you’ll actually be able to enjoy the experience too.
  5. Prepare for the heat. Instead of shying away from the summer heat, embrace it on a hike. Pack plenty of water and snacks, and do some preliminary research about good places to hike near you. A quick search of state parks in your region should give you an idea of which trails are popular in your area as well as which are appropriate for kids and less experienced hikers.
  6. Volunteer together. There’s no better time to cultivate a passion for serving others than when your kids are young. Summer is the perfect time to help build a park, participate in a neighborhood cleanup, or tag along on a number of other altruistic ventures in your area. Search Volunteer Match for kid-friendly volunteering opportunities.
  7. Picnics in the park. There doesn’t have to be a concert or movie screening in the works for you to enjoy your local park. Simply pack a picnic and a blanket, then spread out your smorgasbord in the sunshine. Let kids get in on the picnic-packing process to make them even more excited about your afternoon adventure.
  8. Free days at the museum. Most museums offer admission on select days, so if you are planning a field trip, check out museum websites first to see if any have free days coming up.

Free Summer Fun for Kids [About Parenting]

12 Free or Low-Cost Summer Activities for Your Kids [U.S. News]

Free (or Almost Free) Things to Do with Kids This Summer [Care.com]