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Let’s face it, kids’ activities can get pricey!
Regardless of your family’s financial situation, raising a well-rounded child who is involved in a variety of activities can put a strain on the family budget. Whether you have the next Picasso doodling on your living room wall or the future Sidney Crosby slapping pucks in your basement, it can become quite a financial undertaking to continue to fuel their passions.
So, what kids’ activities won’t break the bank?
I have always been someone who searches for affordable family fun activities. And, since we began homeschooling, my frugalness has kicked into overdrive.
I believe that giving children educational and entertaining experiences should not have to come at a steep price.
Thankfully, there are a variety of engaging free activities if you know where to look!
FREE (FUN) Things to Do With Kids
Kids’ Activities #1: PARKS
This seems like the most obvious one, but it cannot be overstated.
Remember how fun it was to catch a ball as a kid? (No, not just on the Wii!)
There is so much to do at a park to keep the kids entertained like:
Ride the swings
Go on a treasure hunt
Take a walk
The options are limitless.
Oftentimes, we put so much pressure on ourselves as parents to have everything planned out so thoroughly. We make it a point to have kids’ activities and distractions for our children so that every second is accounted for.
The weather is finally changing and this is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the many benefits a trip to the park has to offer.
In addition to the physical health advantages, a day at the park for a child is a great way to release built up energy and lower stress levels.
It inspires imagination, stimulates social skills, and is just overall fun!
Kids’ Activities #2: LIBRARIES
In a highly technological world with the answers to most questions at the tip of your finger, libraries are often viewed as archaic and obsolete.
This could not be further from the truth!
Libraries are often incredible, albeit overlooked, community resources with many valuable activities for children. The best part? They are free!
Libraries foster literacy early on in a child’s life. Often equipped with engaging preschool programs, they start young children on the right path toward a lifetime of reading.
They also play a very important role in reading achievement for children who may lack access to books and other educational materials.
Libraries promote positive parental involvement in a child’s reading as well. From book clubs to summer reading programs – there is no shortage of valuable, free resources at your local library.
Kids’ Activities #3: NATURE PROGRAMS
Take advantage of your local city and/or county parks system and contact them about upcoming events.
Often, the parks system will offer nature-based programs and hiking excursions at no cost for the community.
While you’re at it, check out national parks as well and take part in the Junior Ranger program “Explore, Learn, and Protect!” from an early age and instill an appreciation for nature. Children as young as five can begin earning badges as part of this educational, family-friendly program.
Kids’ Activities #4: TAKE IN AN OUTDOOR MOVIE OR CONCERT
Great weather is the perfect time to search for free outdoor events.
From concerts, movies, sports and fitness events, there is almost always something to do.
Find out what’s happening near you by visiting your county’s website.
Kids’ Activities #5: GO BOWLING
Bowling is great family activity, but can be pricey with a big family. However, select bowling centers across the country are participating in the Kids Bowl Free program. Registered children will receive two free games per day, every day!
This program, available at certain participating locations, is designed to give back to the community by providing a safe and affordable way for children to spend their summer.
Kids’ Activities #6: FREE ADMISSION DAYS
Most major cities will offer free admission days at least once a year for local attractions. Take time to navigate the websites of your local resources to learn more and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Children’s museums, art and history museums, galleries, and even zoos will typically take part in this program.
Free admission days serve as a wonderful opportunity to experience some of your city’s premier attractions without cracking open your wallet!
*Fair warning: free admission days are significantly more crowded than a typical business day and sometimes parking is not included.*
Kids’ Activities #7: IN-STORE CLASSES
Did you know that many stores offer free activities for children?
At other stores you can enjoy crafts, coloring, Lego building activities, and more!
The list goes on!
The Lego Store – VIP Monthly Mini Model Build Events for those in participating areas.
Whole Foods -check for your location for upcoming craft and story times.
Disney Store – learn to draw your favorite character or create an origami puppet!
Pottery Barn Kids – enjoy weekly story time, activities, and more as part of the Pottery Barn Kids Book Club.
Barnes & Noble – Reading is FUNdamental, right?! Take part in your local B&N free story times with creative activities. Check your location for accurate times and themes.
Apple – Apple has Kids Hour, a new hands-on way to spark your child’s imagination. In this free class children will explore coding, storytelling and illustration, movie making, and more! Check your local store for available dates and times.
Kids’ Activities #8: STAY SIMPLE AT HOME
Wherever your itinerary leads, be mindful not to overlook the most basic but impactful activity of them all: Spending time with you.
The greatest gift you can give your children is your time. So cuddle on the couch and watch a movie. Turn up the music and have a dance party. Take a walk and talk about the day. Cook dinner together (and learn why cooking with kids is important!). Plant a garden. Sit around a bonfire and look at the stars. Look through family albums. Create a craft or art project.
You can do these things right at home, they won’t cost a thing, and the memories are priceless.
Samantha Lee is a homeschooling mom and blogger in the Pittsburgh area. As a wife, homeschooling parent, and freelancer, she aspires to grow academically, faithfully, and wholly everyday. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.