Summer is fast approaching, and, if you’re like me, you’re trying to plan some fun, family activities and keep your kids’ minds and bodies engaged, and their butts off the couch.
The tricky thing is trying to find a balance between activities that are fun, and activities that won’t force you to dip into your savings. It can be hard to find activities that are fun and engaging and also easy on the wallet.
1. Get on your Bikes and Ride!
A great place to start is a bike ride! Many cities close down certain roads for biking in the summer, and even if yours doesn’t, there are plenty of trails that are just for bikes. It’s a great way to keep your kids entertained, and also provide them with some exercise. You can even pack a picknick, and bike to a campground for the afternoon.
2. Try Camping
Speaking of campgrounds, you can pack up the car with the essentials and go out into the wilderness. It’s an opportunity to get back to nature, and take in the sights and sounds outside the city. Whether you get a cabin, or just pack a tent, it’s a relatively cheap opportunity for some family bonding. You can pack your own food (or, if you or your significant other are into hunting, catch it), and get away from distracting screens and spend some quality time together.
If camping isn’t for you, you can check out what your local parks and rec department has in store. There are hundreds of activities planned during the summer in local parks all over. From theatre, to concerts, to movie screenings, to cookouts, there are often events planned that are either free to attend, or very cheap (many often provide discounts for kids of a certain age as well), for the whole family—think of it like a party you don’t have to host.
3. Attack the Block (Party)
But, if you can’t seem to find any activities on the schedule that feels right for your family, you can always throw a block party and plan your own! Most cities require a permit that is pretty easy to get, and with a little planning with your neighbors, you can put together a massive party right outside your front door.
Maybe you want to keep your kids minds active. Many museums offer a discounted day between certain hours, and some even offer free admission for kids and students. These can be a great way to keep your kids learning, without putting unnecessary stress on your wallet.
4. Try a Workshop
Or, maybe your kids are into building things—Home Depot hosts free building workshops the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. Each participant receives a child-sized apron, building kit, and achievement badge. If your kids are more into building things digitally than physically, Microsoft offers free coding and game-design workshops for children six and up from actual Microsoft employees on their Microsoft store.
Whether it’s enjoying the outdoors, building new projects—physically or digitally—or just taking in a movie or concert, there are tons of things you can do for little to no cost with the whole family.