Whether you’re wealthy or not, the summer can be a fun, relaxing time for families, but it can also be an expensive time of year. Here are some ways you can have fun with your kids and best of all- they’re free!
By foot and by bike, you’re basically talking FREE! Travel one of the many Tennessee bike and hike trails or visit a local park. Either way, you’re exercising and spending some family time together.
Visit the Library
While some kids dread the library due to reading programs at school, the library has more flexible summer reading programs and they are usually rewarded with prizes for completing levels of reading. For a reader, it’s a no brainer. It could also be an incentive for a child who is not interested in reading as much, but loves to win prizes or a chance to see a puppet play.
Adopt a Pet
Pets are a great responsibility, but also a valuable learning experience for kids. Be prepared to step in and care for a large pet like a cat or dog, but fishing a guppy out of a lake or river might be just enough for a younger child. Craigslist is one of the few places left where you can adopt for free (often), but be sure to ask around your workplace too.
Visit a Lake, River, or Park
Take the kids for a short visit to a local lake, river, or park. Whether your family enjoys feeding ducks by the lake, throwing rocks into the river, or visiting a local park (think Splash Parks, like Ava’s), it could offer a change of scenery for everyone.
While you’ll be paying for your meal, some restaurants do offer reduced or free meals for kids. Ask before you purchase because some places only honor the freebies on certain days. Hit the free food before or after a long day.
Watch a Movie
Rent a free movie from the library, borrow one from a friend, or visit local theaters on Tuesdays for a fee of $1 per person. It’s a great alternative for a rainy day or for a guaranteed nap time for the parents. Check with your local big city and see if they offer outdoor summer movies too!
Take a Tour
Take a walk downtown (yes, parking will probably cost you), do some some geocaching, visit a free museum or state capitol building. Be sure to bring a bottled water and some good shoes for walking in the summer sun.
Learn a Skill
This is trickier than it sounds, but there are free lessons out there. While most free lessons are online like this group (that is consistently assisted by the owner), you can hunt and find free cooking classes for your kids that will keep them involved and you out and about! Don’t forget to build at Lowe’s, and check out the summer activities at Bass Pro Shops or Pottery Barn and maybe going bowling for free afterwards!
Go for a Dip
If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in the back yard, your problem for free summer fun is almost solved. If not, visit a local community pool. Many are free! Both are quick ways to keep cool in the summer sun and learning how to swim is a skill that most people appreciate learning.
Challenge your kids to grab their cameras and photograph objects…..that begin with the letter A, that are shaped like right triangles, that are made of sedimentary rocks. The possibilities are endless and the shots are free! Afterwards, you may want to take an art walk too.
Yes, your child really is learning when he’s just playing. Tinkering encourages problem solving and allows your hands-on kid to really dig into understanding how things work. There are several tinkering apps and video games for tinkering kinds of kids (who don’t have the garage full of stuff).Do you have a rock or bug collector living in your home? Encourage them to identify their favorites.