8 Ways to Entertain your Children For Free This Summer!

School’s out for the summer! If your children aren’t enrolled in daycare or summer camp, it may be hard to find activities to entertain your children that won’t break the bank. There are tons of fun play places and locations that will entertain your children for hours (but cost money!). Below is a list of some cost effective ideas on how to entertain your children (or babies and toddlers) this summer.

Go On a Nature Walk

If you’re bored at home and your children need to run, take them on a nature walk! Not only does this get them outdoors, but there are so many new areas to discover when walking in the woods.

Spice it up by printing out this scavenger hunt game for your children to enjoy. It will keep them focused on trying to find all of the items on the list while you enjoy the beauty of the nature around you. Fresh air makes everyone feel better too so it’s a great activity if someone is a little under the weather.

Take Them to a Splash Pad

Does playing in the water on a hot summer day without having to worry about drowning sound fun to you? No water wings or life jacket to worry about? Children love the splash pad. Splash pads are so much fun for children because the water comes out of multiple sources and keeps them entertained.

Splash pads are a great place for our children to meet other children and create new friendships. It allows them to develop cause and effect, experiment with the different flows of water and it builds on all their gross motor skills. Such fun!

Enjoy Local Library Programming

Our local library offers an array of summer programming that caters to all ages. It allows for the children to participate in structured learning activities like circle time, arts and crafts or group games. The library is also a great place to practice using their inside voices and promote literacy. Besides the programming offered, the library provides children with the opportunity to choose books that interest them, and give them a chance to practice responsibility when caring for the borrowed books.

Local Play Groups

My small town offers an early learning center which provides drop in (you must accompany your child) play groups. It allows them to practice all sorts of developmental skills, gives them a chance to play with new toys and participate in new activities and meet new children. Plus, the added bonus of this activity is parents accompany their children so there are adults for you to converse with! Win win.

The Playground/Park

This one is a given, but have you thought of taking them to a new playground maybe in the next town over? Having a new place to explore will be fun for them and you’re able to relax outside while watching your children burn energy and have fun.

At the park you could also have a picnic lunch which is always fun while visiting anywhere outdoors. Pack a large blanket, a variety of easy to eat picnic foods and lots of wipes! The kids can eat in between play breaks and bonus food for you.

Make sure to bring some peanuts in the shell for some furry critters who may be lurking nearby waiting for you to drop something!

Boat Locks

This is an educational place to take your children and it gets them outdoors. Watching boats go through the boat locks is a bit time consuming but it is so much fun! Watching the water levels rise and sink, watching the boats go up and down, it helps children develop their spatial awareness and helps them understand pressure, gravity and the concept of weight. Just make sure to keep a close eye on them when they’re near the water!

The Beach

Pools are fun, splash pads are great but none of those options beat the beach. It’s swimming, nature and a giant sandbox all in one! The kids will get a kick out of building sand castles, playing in the water, flowing on inflatable boats and dumping water into dug tracks leading from the top of the beach down to the water. Make sure you bring lots of sunscreen, floatation devices and sand toys!

Free Museum Days

Some of our local museums offer free admission on certain days for families. Taking advantage of these days allows your children to experience some culture and history. Going to a children’s museum specifically will give them free reign to explore things their own way because they’re designed for children.

Some NOT Free Ideas

These ideas aren’t free, but they’re here if you need something new to do.

  • Bowling
  • Children’s play places
  • Trampoline parks
  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Mini Golf
  • Movie Theatre for rainy/hot days, drive in theatre for warm summer nights!
  • Camping
  • Day camps

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