If school has not let out for the summer yet, that last day is probably just on the horizon. While there are plenty of reasons to be happy about a break from the typical routine, there are also plenty of parents who are petrified of a summer with no schedule, no structure, and a tight budget. Luckily there are also plenty of avenues for family-friendly fun with minimal to no cost for participation!
Here are 7 cheap ways to enjoy some summer fun
1. Public libraries are an excellent resource for free family activities. In fact, many libraries offer a very diverse array of events ranging from story time and crafts to celebrations and parties.
2. Check with local retail stores for free family workshops. Hardware stores like Lowe's and Home Depot regularly offer classes where kids can learn to build or create something fun—best of all, these are usually completely free! Other great places to check for craft workshops include chain stores like AC Moore, Michaels or even JoAnns Fabric. If there are any local businesses in your area, you might encourage them to host events like this!
3. Public parks and recreation services tend to feature plenty of completely free venues or destinations for outdoor exploration and physical activity. Make a list of all the parks that are in your area and switch up the ones you visit—not only does this allow your kids to meet and make new friends, but it’s just enough variety to keep them entertained.
4. If you live in or near a larger city, check with organizations like the Arts Council or possible Children’s Theater type institutions. These associations have a reputation for hosting and organizing plenty of family friendly activities that are low or even no cost to participants. For example, some cities host a weekly outdoor concert with food and craft vendors.
5. Check the bulletin boards at your local supermarket or coffeehouse for posters and flyers advertising charity events, street festivals, or public celebrations. Smaller towns tend to have a variety of street events that are themed around a local happening, harvest, or simply just a tradition. Even if you choose not to buy something from a vendor, this is a great way to walk around and see some interesting stuff!
6. If there are any child-focused establishments in your area that have a pricey entrance fee, don’t hesitate to call and ask if they have a discount day. For example, the local Children’s Museum might feature half price Fridays once a month. Movie theaters usually offer reduced prices once a week, and your local bowling alley or skating rink might do the same. In this case, make a calendar for when all the places around town provide their reduced fees.
7. Call your local church, nursing home, or closest charity organization and ask if there are any volunteer opportunities for your kids. Depending on the age of your little ones, you might tap into free activity resources AND make a difference in the lives of others at the same time. Double win in my book!
Having a great summer vacation that is full of fun does not have to cost a fortune. It simply takes a little research and some proactive planning to create a calendar full of engaging and affordable activities. Have fun!