1 Visit the library and take advantage of their resources. Many libraries offer free reading times, free shows, free book signings, free plays and even free classes and writing groups. Your local library can be a hot spot for fun and free kid friendly activities. (Bookstores also often offer reading time and other kid-friendly events for free.)
2 Check out your local establishments. In addition to the fact that many restaurants have a “kids eat free” night, many museums, zoos, aquariums, and gardens also offer free days. Find out what’s available in your community and make a day of it.
3 Head to the park. Kids of all ages love to go to the park. Grab a blanket to sit on, a bucket and shovel if your kids are young, or a ball and a glove if they’re older. Pack a lunch, grab some music and you have a day of free fun.
4 Look for free summer events. Many cities offer free movies, concerts and even plays in the park during the summer. Find free events in your local listings.
5 Let’s go to the fair. Fairs, festivals and even farmer’s markets are free. It’s a great place to people watch, have fun, and enjoy a day with your kids that doesn’t cost anything.
6 Free bowling & roller skating. Many local establishments offer free nights a few times a year. Check online or give your local establishment a call to learn your options.
7 Go on a nature hike. Grab a camera and go on a nature hike. Children love exploring and you can make a fun day of it by taking pictures of what you find or by simply exploring. Catch tadpoles, climb a rock or a tree, or hike all the way to that waterfall you’ve been curious to see.
8 Go on a scavenger hunt or have an amazing race. Scavenger hunts are a great way to spend the day and they can be absolutely free. Make the hunt more difficult for older children by adding more description to the items on the list. For example, if a younger child has to find a green leaf, you can ask an older child to find a green oak leaf.
9 Cook. Children love to have fun in the kitchen. Plan a meal, or a dessert, and have them help you make it. The key to making this fun is to have your children really help in the kitchen. Let them stir, measure, mix and get messy.
10 Get crafty. There are probably a number of things around your home that you can use to make crafts. Egg cartons, milk cartons, buttons, fabric scraps - you name it, it can all be used to create some pretty interesting crafts. Collect it all, dump it on the table and challenge your children to make something. Sit down with them and explore your own creative side. If you’re short on crafty items, you can make home-made playdoh with items found in your pantry. Jump online to find a recipe.