Need to get out of the house but don’t have the funds for anything extravagant? I’ve got you covered with 8 free things to do this summer with your kids. When I was little, we didn’t have much money, but I never knew it. Especially in the summers, my mom always had plenty for us to do that didn’t cost anything. Our days were full and fun, even if we just played outside all day. In the age of Pinterest crafts and the parenting comparison game, it’s easy to get caught up in the temptation to overkill the summer schedule. There are plenty of options for nice days when everyone is going stir crazy and you need to kill some time. Many of these came directly from my childhood! It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Stop making childhood complicated. Got it?
1 | Visit a Farm/Stable
This was a favorite of mine as a kid! We would go to a local stable, chase chickens and pet horses until our heart was content. We even “named” our favorite horses and couldn’t wait to go visit them again the next time.
2 | Look for National Park “free admission” Days
Keep an eye on your nearby national parks and what days they offer free admission. This site is awesome as a resource. National parks are usually a great way to stay busy for an entire day with plenty of space to play and lots to do and see.
3 | Check out Local Museums
Museums also often have “free admission days”. I found this site for the Bay Area, but you could just Google to find the ones nearest you. The museum bonus is AIR CONDITIONING.
4 | Visit the Library
This was another frequented summer spot for us. While there is a ton to read and explore, the library also usually hosts fun free events. They likely have a calendar on their website to check out.
5 | Go to Ikea
No, seriously. Grayson thinks that the free playground at Ikea is Disney World. If you sign up as a member (free), you can take advantage of Smaland, the free childcare/playground for up to an hour! Mom can even get some shopping done if so desired.
6 | Tour a Nursery
I know this sounds boring, but as a kid, we LOVED this. We commonly visited a landscape and nursery place and loved it. There were so many plants to look at and even ponds with fish in them. Sometimes, we were allowed to pick a small plant to take home. It was a lot of fun and definitely killed some time.
7 | Go for a Hike with a Scavenger Hunt
Take your kids to somewhere safe and open to “hike”. Give them a short list of things to look for and check off their list. Things like “butterfly”, “wild berry”, or “smooth rock” would be totally fine! It keeps them occupied and motivated to stay outside while they do their search.
8 | Make a Playground Bucket List
We are lucky in the respect that we have several good playgrounds nearby. You probably do too, if you look into it hard enough. Make a list of which ones you want to visit and start checking them off. Each playground is like a brand new experience for the kids!
For our every day outings, I am a long time patron of Gymboree for comfortable and cute play clothes! The temperatures here can vary from chilly to blazing in the summer, so I love all of the options Gymboree has to combine and make the perfect outfit. Gymboree dresses kids from newborn to 12 years old, so check them out next time you need to restock! We love how affordable and on-trend they always are. Grayson has literally been wearing their brand since birth!
Are you going anywhere fun this summer? Leave it in the comments!