Five FREE Summer Activities

Ah summer.

The kids are home and all of a sudden work output decreases because there are children under foot and in the cupboards and needing all the things. So what do you do with these kids that doesn’t cost you an arm, leg, and the neighbor’s dog?  Well, since I am on a tight no budget around here, I have developed a list of the five FREE things we do to tire out entertain the kiddos during the dog days of summer.




1. The Park

We are super fortunate to live in an area that has an almost endless number of parks. My boys are 5 and 2 and most of the parks around here are just big enough that they don’t get bored, but small enough that I can see everything from one bench. So I get to park myself in the shade while the boys play. The boys like the park because it’s a change of scenery from our backyard. There is tons to explore. We usually go in the morning around 10am, and we tend to have the park mostly to ourselves. When we leave just before lunch, it’s starting to load up with kids.

2014-06-13 10.15.58


2. Playdates

Playdates are the ultimate way to shift the responsibility of Entertainment Coordinator from yourself onto other kids. Plus it’s a nice way to have adult conversation with someone. The range of playdates we have varies. We have impromptu ones with neighborhood moms/kids, we have planned ones with cousins, and we have evening ones as a family with another family.  The kids LOVE playing with other kids and it’s MUCH needed time with another adult for me.

2014-04-18 17.50.30


3. The Library

We are big fans of reading around here, but the library is more than that. Our library has lots of events for kids. Plus we live near two different libraries (one has two branches near us, so really three buildings). We have something called the Zee Bus too that is an old school bus tripped out to be a mobile library. It has regular stops at parks in the area. For instance this week Curious George was at one of our library branches. Free fun AND books!



4. Local Events

We are fortunate to live in an area that has lots of free things to do. Every Monday night there is a Feel the Zeel night (we live in Zeeland, Michigan) that has balloons, water fun, and lots more that is family friendly. Thursday nights our neighboring town has a street performer series that is free. There is also a concert series in one of our local parks. It might take a little research, but many towns and cities have free family events.

2014-04-11 15.24.49


5. Your Own Backyard

Sometimes the backyard is the most fun thing. While I like to get the kids out of the house and out trying new things, some days our own yard can provide hours of fun. It’s not like our backyard is anything special either. We have a small clubhouse thing, a water table, and a sandbox, but on special days when my boys actually play nice together, they can pretend and imagine for hours out there.  Those are my favorite days because they mean a little peace and quiet for me to either work or read a book.

2014-06-05 15.22.19


Did I miss anything? Any free activities that you would add to this list?


  1. Local movie theaters often have free or very cheap movie offerings for kids during the summer. Here in Austin, some theaters do free movies and some are $1. They’re usually movies that a few years old, but even ones that my kids have seen, they still love seeing in the theater.

  2. We have a really big mall near us that I think would also be fun for the kids. It’s not free if you BUY stuff, but there’s a play area in the center. Would make for a good rainy day activity.


  1. […] our favorite weekly meal with a new movie from the library, and everybody’s happy. I’m happy because the popcorn came out perfectly so I […]

Add Your Comment