Five Inexpensive Summer Activities with Kids

How to Have Fun (and Spend Less) this Summer

As the summer months approach, do you worry about how to entertain your children? Here are five ways to have fun as a family without going broke. (Bookmark these websites in your browser for future reference.)

Have Fun #1: Visit Your Local Library

If your local library offers a summer reading program, take advantage of it! These programs are usually for little ones, children, and teens. Adult summer reading programs may also be available. These programs typically have awards for a specific number of hours or books read. A free book, a coupon for a free meal at a restaurant, or a free admission to the zoo are an example of the program prizes my children have earned. Some libraries may do drawings for prizes, too. Libraries may have complimentary passes to local museums or other venues which can be checked out.  The ones I have seen allow four people to be admitted to the museum or another venue at once without paying an admission fee. Check your library’s calendar to see what events or in-library programs they offer. Sometimes the ones near us have had a local magician visit, Lego building, story time, knitting classes, writing groups, 3D printers, book clubs, guest speakers, or classes for new business owners. Savings: Unlimited savings when borrowing books and movies. (Remember to return early so you avoid late fees!)  Classes and events are usually free or at a low cost.

Have Fun #2: Summer Deals for Kids

Going to the movies as a family is fun. It does tend to end up costing a lot to see a movie, especially when you have children wanting to go. The movies offered for these summer deals are usually not current shows. Typically, the movies are older and perhaps your children have not seen them. AMC Theaters has a Summer Movie Camp for families during the summer for a reduced admission cost. Regal Cinemas has a Summer Movie Express where specific movies are $1 per person. These movies are shown at the listed days and times as listed on their website. Savings: $5+ per movie admission (depends on the theater and the cost of a regular movie ticket)

Have Fun #3: Workshops for Kids

Many companies offer free or inexpensive workshops for children and families. These workshops are a great way to expose your children to working with wood and various crafts. Home Depot offers a free Kid’s Workshop monthly (usually on the first Saturday of each month). The first workshop your child attends they will be given a Home Depot apron and a pair of goggles. Each month, there is a new project to build. As each child completes their project, the employee running the workshop gives each a pin they can add to their apron. My four boys have loved attending these workshops! They have learned how to build projects and have something to take home. Michael’s has in-store classes and events. Many have a cost of $2 or the purchase of an item with the rest of the supplies provided. AC Moore offers in-store Make & Take and other activities for kids as well as adult classes. Check your local store’s calendar of events for more details. Jo-Ann Stores offers in-store classes for kids, teens, and adults. While their classes are not free, there are classes for learning how to sew, knit, crochet, paint, quilt, and decorate a cake. Many of the classes are available for multiple age groups, so you can take a class with the kids. (Cake decorating as a family, can there be anything sweeter?) Savings: Free or low cost depending on the store and activity.

Have Fun #4: Summer Food Service Program

This program is administered by the federal government. Each state or school district may run things a little different. No proof of residence in the district is required to obtain the lunches. Savings: $5 per meal (savings will vary based on food options available)

Have Fun #5: Use Discount Sites and Local Coupons

Websites like Groupon and LivingSocial usually have discounts available for entertainment, lodging, restaurants, and classes.  Maybe a local fair, waterpark, zoo, wildlife habitat, or restaurant is offering a discount which makes sense for your pocketbook. These sites sometimes offer classes and concert discounts, too. Check your local newspapers or ads in the mail for possible additional savings. Ask friends if there are any blogs which share deals for your area. Two bloggers I follow are Gather Lemons and  Thrifty Northwest Mom – both bloggers post deals they find for local happenings as well as deals available across the nation (either due to a national chain or online deal). I love seeing what these two moms have going on their blogs! Savings: Variable depending on what venue or activity is selected and the available discount being offered.

Bonus Have Fun #6 – Create Your Own Fun

Spend time at the park. Take a digital camera (or two) and take photographs of nature and each other. (Love a photo? Use it on your holiday greeting card!) Go swimming, hiking, or cycling. Volunteer at a local food bank. Have an indoor picnic and play board games. The fun times are endless. Savings: Free or low cost as places like swimming pools may charge. Serving others is priceless.

Share Your Inexpensive Ways to Have Summer Fun with Kids

I would love to know how you have or will have summer fun with your kids without using a ton of cash! Please share in the comments below. I respond to each one. Enjoy the summer having fun with the family and not spending a lot of money! ~Adrienne This post was originally published on on April 26, 2018. It now it resides here.

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