10 Fun FREE Things to Do With Your Kids this Summer

10 Fun FREE Things to Do With Your Kids this Summer

Try these 10 free summer family fun ideas for your best summer yet!


By: Shayne T.

Summer is here! With the warm weather and extra free time you and your kids will likely be on the hunt for fun and exciting things to do before it’s time for them to return to the classroom. But, trips to the beach, waterparks and amusement parks can get a bit pricey.

Thankfully, with a bit of imagination and good research there are tons of free activities to do all summer long. Here’s a list to get you started.

Backyard camping. My three-year-old loves camping, and since we bought our first home this year and now have a decent-sized backyard, I’m looking forward to pitching our tent back there and cuddling up under the stars at least a few times this summer. Complete the experience by searching for fireflies and reading/telling plenty of stories (spooky ones if your crew can handle it).

Bonfire. A summertime favorite that goes hand-in-hand with camping is having a bonfire. Of course, you can have one any night, not just when you’re camping out. But really, the bonfire is just an excuse to make and eat S’mores. Try them with Maria Cookies instead of graham crackers!

Making popsicles. Gather up a couple of cans of leche de coco, some mangos, pineapples, watermelon, guava and banana, and use your blender to puree all that delicious fresh fruit up into the best, most refreshing popsicles your kids have ever had. Have older kids peel and cut up the fruit and the littlest ones can add them to the blender—everyone can help pour the mixes into the molds and enjoy them once they’re frozen.

Splash parks. Go online and do a quick search for free, public spraygrounds and/or splash parks. Some counties and towns have started adding spraygrounds to their free public parks, and many of these are very nice and safe for kids of all ages. If you can, visit during the week for leaner crowds.

Themed scavenger hunts. Give your kiddos a list of items to find either in your home, yard or neighborhood (or head to the park if you want more space), and have them work either in teams or individually to track them all down. Whoever finds everything on the list gets a prize (which can be something small you’ve picked up at the store). You can also offer a special perk like choosing what’s for dinner or what movie everyone will watch that day.

Farm programs. If there are any local farms in your area, call them or check out their Web site to see if they offer any free events. I just discovered that one of our favorite farms has a summer read-and-pick programs which pairs story time with a lesson on harvesting fruit and veggies. So awesome! But, even a simple tour is an exciting experience for little ones.

Plan a small party together. Teach your children about hospitality and the importance of spending quality time with family and friends by planning and throwing a summer fiesta together. But remember, that means you have to actually let the reigns go a bit and use some of their suggestions and ideas.

Teach them to grill. It’s no secret that Latinos love to cook out! Get your niños started early by teaching them the ins and outs at your next summer barbecue. You can let the family observe your grilling prowess, or assign small tasks away from the grill to help you out. Tasks like plating food and sorting toppings, etc., are useful and make each member feel part of the meal preparation. Cooking is an invaluable skill, and doing it together will surely leave your kid with lifelong memories.

Experience nature. I’m not just talking about at the park down the street, although that’s always fun. Actually, a couple of years ago, I discovered an ecological preserve just minutes from my home (which is in a pretty bustling area) and was amazed. Not only did we get to see lots of plant and animal life and hike a lovely trail, but there was a sweet creek to cool off in, and all of it was completely free! See if there is anything similar in your area. If not, try a national park—there’s usually at least one free entrance day every summer.

Visit the farmer’s market. You can actually save quite a bit of money buying local products at the farmer’s market if you shop smart. Aside from that, a visit with no spending is really just something fun to do. Your kids will be exposed to all sorts of new foods, might get to chat up some farmer, enjoy some samples and, at minimum, get in a nice walk.

Outdoor movie night. The town adjacent to mine started showing free outdoor movies every Saturday during the summer, and it’s really just a brilliant idea. Try to find something similar in your area for a great night of community fun (check town websites or the bulletin board at the library). You can also host one at home. All you need is a sheet or drop cloth, a laptop, some speakers and a projector, which you can purchase for as little as $50—sure, that makes this activity not exactly free, but consider it an investment is summer fun for years to come.

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