When it comes to entertaining the kids over the summer, you can’t beat free. I know from experience that it can feel overwhelming to try to figure out fun summer activities for kids on a budget, but as it turns out there are tons of free things to do in the summer that are very kid friendly. With so many free activities for kids it almost seems silly to spend a ton of money to entertain them.
Since I still have a baby who is napping in the morning and the afternoon, it’s hard for me to justify spending a lot of money on activities this summer. I don’t want to pay for the big boys to do activities that require me to stay and watch because I’ll have to take care of an overtired baby. While I’d love to send them to fun day camps, those add up fast and I just can’t justify the cost as a stay at home mom.
Summer Activities for Kids
There are all sorts of fun summer activities that you can do at home, but what about free stuff out of the house? Lucky for me, and you, there are tons of great free summer activities for kids offered in many cities throughout the United States. There are also a lot of good free events for kids that are offered all year long that make for awesome free things to do in the summer.
Check out my list and start planning your ultimate summer of free fun!
The Ultimate List of Free Things to do in the Summer
Kids Bowl Free- Sign up for the Kids Bowl Free program and get 2 free games every day all summer long. You do still have to pay for shoes which can add up fast. If you go often, try buying your own shoes to save some money!
Geocaching- Join the world’s largest treasure hunt by downloading the free Geocaching app. You use the app to find coordinates of geocaches, navigate to them, find a treasure like geocache box, and then log your experience in the log book. Bring a pen and a little treasure of your own to swap. We like to buy small erasers at the Dollar Spot of Target. Then we take something from the “treasure box” and swap out something that we bring.
Visit Environmental Centers- Rookery Bay is the closest one to us and we like to go for free kid FridaysA lot of environmental centers offer free days monthly or weekly. Google “environmental center -your city-” to find one near you. .
Free Movies- Head here for a schedule of all the free movies for 2018Free summer movies are a great way to entertain kids on those hot summer days where it’s too miserable to even play outside. We are fans of the free movies because it’s totally acceptable to bring small kids who are loud or need to leave in the middle of the movie. .
Concert series– Everywhere I’ve lived has had a free concert series in the summer. I don’t know if this is a Florida/ Alabama/ Mississippi thing or if this happens everywhere. It can’t hurt to Google “free concert -your city-” to see what pops up. Here in Naples we have free concerts at Cambier Park every Sunday, and free concerts at Mercato throughout the summer.
Vacation Bible School– This is the ace up my sleeve for sure. Lots of churches offer free Vacation Bible School! Some are whole day, but most are half day events for kids as young as 3! Check with your own church to see if they offer VBS, and if they don’t, do one at a different church. Even if your church does do VBS, don’t be afraid to attend other churches too. It’s perfectly acceptable to attend several!
Year Round Free Events for Kids
Barnes and Noble Story Time– Check with your local B&N to find the schedule of story times. Most offer free story times several times a week. You can even do reading programs for older kids. Get the info on that, and more summer ideas here at Aileen Cooks.
Storytime/ Library Events– Stop by your local library, or look at the website, to sign up for library story time. This is a great way to meet new friends too. It’s where I met my favorite moms in Naples!
Hardware Store Fun– Lowe’s, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Home Depot all offer events for kids on weekends. Check with your local store to see if it is free and to see if you need to register in advance. We often go to the Orchard Supply Hardware store for the free activities, and my kids love it!
Kid’s Hour at the Apple Store– If you live near an Apple Store, you have got to sign up your kids for Kid’s Hour! Kids bring their own Apple products in and learn how to use them in a very kid friendly and creative way. For example, they can learn rhythm and beats using Garage Band on the iPad. Check the site to find times and get more details.
Free Museum Days– September 22nd is National Free Museum Day, but your local museums may have their own free days over the summer. Check the websites for you local museums and see if they have any summer programs. You can also check with your local library to see if you can “check out” a pass to the museum. Our local library lets you do this, but you have to sign up pretty far in advance.
Free Zoo Days– Lots of zoos offer free days to residents. Check with the zoo closest to you to see if they have a residents get in free day. The Naples Zoo has a free day on the first Saturday of each month.