Free Summer Activities for the Family

Between day camps, sports, and vacations, keeping the kids entertained in the summer can be expensive! Fill those non-scheduled days and give your wallet a break with some of these free activities.

Check the website or call your local library. Many branches offer free activities all summer long for kids of all ages. You’ll likely find art classes, science presentations, read-a-louds (sometimes with the author!), and outdoor fun. See if your library has a reciprocity program with other nearby libraries, too. If you live near a city, there might be a whole host of free fun just a short drive away!

Contact your local movie theatres to see if they offer free summer movies. Many theatres schedule showings a few days per week of G- or PG-rated films for free in the summer! It’s a great way to beat the heat and spend some quiet, relaxing time with the kids.

Go bowling! Sign up at Kids Bowl Free to receive free bowling passes for the kids all summer long!

Check with your local home improvement store to see what free summer programs they’re offering. National chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a wide variety of classes for kids and their parents—for free! But also check with your local stores. You never know what they might be offering!

Look for volunteering opportunities. Many nursing homes, hospitals, and county food pantries are in need of helping hands, and summer time offers the perfect chance to take the kids along.

Check the website or call your local parks department. Many recreation departments schedule family movie nights, fireworks, and picnics for residents during the summer.

How do you like to fill your days without emptying your wallet during the long, summer days?

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13 Comments
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Brigitte D.
We go to the public library for entertainment. There is so much to do there. We read a lot in the summer. We also save money by checking out movies rather than renting.
e s.
Our local library has a summer program where they give free passes to museums. Also, many local parks and beaches are putting in "sprinkler parks" which are free.
Vicky C.
National had this summer. It was nice to sit in the a/c for a few hours in the morning just to start the day relaxing then moving forward. I did the bowling but it does get expensive since I have to rent shoes.
Lauren S.
Local craft supply stores often have scheduled activities for kids. Also, your local book store will likely have story time for the younger set. I've even seen some retail stores that hold free themed story times/craft activities monthly.
Kerri A.
We have a great science museum that my kids love to visit, and during the summer it's the perfect time because of the hot weather. While the admission to visit for just one day is not really worth it, purchasing a season pass for the entire year works great, plus we use it during the winter months when it's nearly impossible to go outside.
Candace B.
With gas prices being so high, I love to stay home rather than going places, so I try to have plenty of things that don't cost a lot, but keep the kids occupied at home. We always have a stash of bubbles, chalk, art supplies, board games, water baloons, hula hoops, bouncy balls and more. I pick up art/craft supplies at garage sales as well as inexpensive outdoor toys (scooters, roller blades, jumpropes) so there is always plenty to keep the kids and their friends busy.
Raquel S.
The City Parks offers a monthly movie night, also our church has a swimming pool where we can go swimming for free they also have a lifeguard on duty. Local library has a reading program where the kids read a list of books and at the end of the summer they get to go to a party at the Library
Jessica P.
Nice ideas. I didnt know you could get free bowling passes. Will give that a try
Kelly Y.
My kids love running through the sprinkler in the back yard...it's a two for one ...yard gets watered and kids have fun!!!
Krysti S.
Several local parks here in Orange County, CA have a free summer concert series! It's a great way to spend a weeknight! Bring your beach chairs and a picnic. There is also a playground for the kids and plenty of room for them to run around and play!