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Free Summer Activities for Kids

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Looking for adventure this summer but don’t want to break the bank? Check out these free summer activities for kids and try something new!

free summer activities for kids

1. Movies: Sometimes it is just too hot to be outside in the summer. Check your local movie theaters for summer deals. Several major chains run $1 movies every week and they are even cheaper if you buy a pass to see all of them. One of our local theaters runs $5 Tuesdays – all movies on Tuesday are only $5 per person! Also look for free outdoor movies usually sponsored by local cities. Take a picnic and enjoy an evening under the stars.

2. Swimming: I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan and several other small inland lakes so we could swim whenever we wanted. But living in the desert, we have to go to a pool.  It’s been hard to find a free pool, but several community centers and YMCA’s offer summer only memberships for families, which are a great deal.

3. Library: Most libraries run a summer reading program, but ours also offers a lot of fun activities for kids and teens over the summer.  Ours also brings in magicians and puppets and it’s all free.  Book stores also often have free events over the summer for kids and teens.

4. Hiking: It’s too hot here to do any desert hiking, but we live near a mountain. In 30 minutes we can be in cool weather with lots of hiking trails.  One of our favorites is a nighttime hike led by rangers in the national forest on the mountain. Most state and national parks offer ranger led hikes and talks all summer long that are free or included with park admission. 

summer activities for kids

5. Museums: Most museums aren’t free, but many offer a year long family membership for the same cost as one visit.  You can visit all summer long and take advantage of summer programs. Plus it’s educational! Bonus.

6. Geocaching: I haven’t done this yet, but it’s on my bucket list. Download a geocaching app to your phone and go find hidden treasure in your own backyard. I know my kids will LOVE this one.

7. Camping: Camping is not free – unless you do it in your backyard! Pitch the tent or set up the camper and let the kids invite friends over for a backyard camp out.  Cook hot dogs and make s’mores on the grill.

8. Sidewalk Chalk: Last summer my kids spent endless hours creating intricate roads and towns with sidewalk chalk. Then they got out their trucks and dolls and played.  It was one of the most creative outlets of their summer and the entire neighborhood got involved in the play. Set out a huge bucket of chalk and encourage them to get creative inventing their very own chalk city.




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