Kid-friendly activities that don’t cost a dime
Neighborhood football game
Gather the neighborhood kids for a friendly game of football, kickball or other team activity in the street. Parents can take turns as referee, water boy and cheerleaders! Go team!
Put together a list of random items that most households would have and set your children loose in the neighborhood (or send them with an adult chaperone, depending on their ages, of course). Think of things that your neighbors won’t mind parting with, such as a birthday candle, holiday cocktail napkin or No. 2 pencil (no points for automatic!).
The libraries in most cities are untapped resources -- they offer so much more than just book rentals. Many libraries have great children’s programs that include storytimes free of charge.
Pack a picnic and head to your local park for some good old fashioned fresh air, swings, slides and teeter-totters. Don’t forget to bring a ball, some sand toys and an extra towel or change of clothes so you don’t tote too much sand home with you!
Whether you live in a city or a more rural area, local ponds are frequented by ducks looking for a free handout. Save up a bag of stale bread and make the ducks’ day. Kids love feeding the ducks, but they love chasing them around the pond even more. Some citified ducks are pretty brazen, so make sure your children keep their distance as they toss the bread.
If you don’t have a fishing pole, don’t sweat it. You can make your own by tying a piece of string to a stick. At the end of the string, tie on a hook and use hot dogs for bait! C’mon, every busy supermom has hot dogs in her fridge, right? But before you toss your line in a pond, make sure you know the rules. And have your fishing license if your state requires one.
Dust off the tires of your children’s bikes and encourage the kids to spin their wheels! Hop on a bike yourself and get some exercise while enjoying time with the kids.
Go fly a kite
A windy day practically screams “kite weather!” So grab the kids and set your kite afloat on the wind. If you don’t have a kite, you can make one with a few simple supplies that you probably have lying around the house. Google “how to make a diamond kite” for some simple directions! Could be a nice craft on a rainy day. And give the kids something to look forward to doing once the rain clears.
Even if you don’t know any good hiking trails in your area, take a walk around your neighborhood and discover the wildlife (Look, it’s the Smith’s dog, Sampson!). Keep your eyes out for unique birds or little animals like bunnies and squirrels, and make a list of the ones you see.
Free day at the museum
There are some incredible children’s museums in cities all across the country, and many offer great events and “free days.” For example, Target sponsors Free First Friday Nights at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. On the first Friday of every month, the museum is open to the public completely free of charge from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
What else can you share that only cost a bit of time for the kids to do this summer??