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Free Summer Activities For Kids

10 Free or Low-Cost Summer Activities For Kids

Wondering how to keep your kids entertained all Summer? Stave off Summer boredom with these 10 fun and affordable activities recommended by Circle of Moms members.

1. Library Programs

Local library Summer programs are recommended by numerous Circle of Moms members. As Rebecca S. advises: "Libraries are always having free events with story times, magic shows, etc." And Evelyne R. shares: "I also love to take my children to the library, most of them have a Summer reading program that offers prizes for books read. My children love this and it is free."

2. Free Bowling

Free bowling for the kiddies all Summer long? Sign us up! Thanks to Kids Bowl Free, children can register for two free games of bowling every day this Summer at participating bowling centers in the US and Canada.


3. Gardening

Gardening is a great Summer activity for children of all ages. "The garden is full of hidden surprises" for preschoolers, says Jeanette B., as they can be entertained by "just looking under rocks (and) feeling the textures of different materials, such as grass, leaves, flowers, stones, [and] fir cones." For older children, Alissa V. recommends encouraging older children to independently make or redesign a small flower bed. No backyard? See if community gardens accept children as volunteers (try the ACGA locator tool). And don't forget a field trip to the local farmers market for inspiration.

4. State Parks

To engage curious kids, says Laurie W., "the best activities involve the outdoors — lakes, ponds, streams, conservation areas and trails — to explore rocks, bugs, birds, and plants." And as Chaya S. suggests, Summer is a great time to explore state parks in your area; many have kid-friendly guided nature walks and science centers.

Keep reading for six more ideas!

5. Camp

From language immersion, theater, and computer camps to Camp Invention and Boy and Girl Scouts camps, there are many different types of day and sleepaway camps for children. Sandra R. advises: "Check out your local university, museum, or science center for Summer camps. My kids once spent a week at a LEGO robotics camp they still talk about. Go with their interests and let them learn something new."

6. Volunteering

Volunteer projects are another great way to engage children during Summer break. Alissa V. suggests volunteering with library programs, nursing homes, or homeless shelters, and Christina F. offers several more ideas: "Volunteer at a retirement home (or animal shelter or pet rescue)," where your child "could be put in charge of a fund raising event . . . or volunteer with the office staff."

7. Discounted Movies

"Check with local movie theaters," Tisha B. advises. "Most of the ones in our area offer a free kids' movie once or twice a week. They don't advertise it, but I called and asked and they were able to give me a schedule."

8. Arts and Crafts

Watercolors, ceramics, flower pressing, photography, drawing, collage . . . the options are endless when it comes to kid-friendly arts and crafts projects. Whether you sign your child up for a class at the local community center or stock up on supplies at a nearby craft store, Summer is a great time to encourage kids to explore art. One at-home art activity Pamela W. suggests is painting with household items: "Use sticks, leaves, cotton buds, fingers, brushes, etc." to paint on "cardboard, old tiles, leaves, bark."

9. Local Attractions

Whether there's a science museum or shipyard in your town that you've never checked out, or a children's museum that never disappoints, Summer is an ideal time to explore local attractions. Save on admission by attending on free days (often offered once a month by the museum, or through deals like Bank of America's museum program). Or, as Jessie M. suggests, consider purchasing a pass to the attraction you visit most frequently: "Get a season pass to the zoo. That never gets old."

10. Simple Backyard Fun

From bubble wands and kites to puppet shows and water fights, some of the most fun Summer activities don't require much in the way of planning or supplies. Tam Z. shares: "We go to Walmart or Dollar Tree and get lots of bubbles and chalk and easy, fun (and inexpensive) things for the kids to play with."

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