When school lets out and the temperatures heat up, it’s time to spend some fun time together as a family. Forget pricey excursions — save money but have big fun with these five free summer activities for kids.
Backyard amusement park. Set up a private amusement park in your back yard for hours of fun. Include water activities such as a water balloon toss and squirt gun area. Add classic favorites like a hula-hoop area and a large space for jump rope games. If you have a backyard bag toss game, set that up as well. A bubble blowing area is ideal for younger children, although older kids may enjoy it just as much as their younger siblings. Arrange the games and activities into “stations” and have the kids take turns visiting each.
Visit a working farm. Taking the kids to visit a working farm can be not just entertaining but also an educational experience for the entire family. To find a working farm that welcomes visitors, check out LocalHarvest.org. You can search by ZIP code or city name to find one in your area. Many farms have set hours for visitors, and some even offer guided tours. Remember to dress for the weather and avoid wearing flip-flops or sandals; closed toes shoes may be safest. Local Harvest also suggests bringing your own water and snack.
Free museums, zoos and other attractions. Not every zoo or museum costs big bucks for admission. Many throughout the United States are free and are a great way to spend a day with the kids. For example, Lincoln Park Zoo in downtown Chicago is free to the public every day. The Houston Zoo offers free admission to guests the first Tuesday of every month. In Los Angeles, the California Science Center, the Hollywood Bowl Museum, the Maritime Museum and many others are free every day. To find fun places with free admissions, visit a city’s website or Chamber of Commerce page.
Summer library programs. Across the country, public libraries offer free summer programs for kids of all ages. Most programs meet once a week for about an hour. During that time, kids may play games, make a craft and even have a snack. Some programs offer incentives for reading books each week and keeping track. After so many books read, a prize is won. This is a great opportunity for kids to engage in summer reading and spend time with other children in a supervised environment.
Nature walks. Even if you do not live near a forest preserve or state park, you and your children can take a nature walk. Explore your neighborhood streets. Compare the different types of trees and their leaves and look for ones that are in bloom. A nature walk through a city park is a chance to see different plants, flowers and various insects.
Cool off after the fun with some Mango Frozen Yogurt Pops!