As parents we know how expensive it can be to entertain the kids, so we thought we would put together a list of things to do for free with the children. Yes, we do mean things that are completely free of charge! Here’s our suggestions for the best free family things to do this summer:
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#1. Take a Family Walk together
It’s easy to forget that a simple walk together can also be a fun activity. Maybe you are so used to running around in the car during school time, doing after school activity drops and pickups, work, errands.
Make a list of 5 places near you that you can take a walk. Could be round your neighbourhood, a nearby park, woods, even the beach.
Make it extra fun by playing games along the walk (we like to play Unfortunately Fortunately where we tell a story in turns) or doing a nature scavenger hunt.
#2. Get On Your Bikes
Strap on the helmets, grab the bikes, and go for a cycle. You can head out in your local area if you have cycling nearby or pile the bikes in the car and head to a forest or park where it’s safe to cycle.
PS: Don’t forget your helmets! Sustrans has some good family cycling safety tips.
#3. Make The Most of Libraries
Make sure to check out your local library and find out what classes and events that they run throughout the year. Your local library branch is a wonderful, free, resource for families.
All libraries host very popular, annual summer reading programmes while many of the branches run or host parent and toddler groups, storytelling sessions, arts and crafts classes, book clubs, games and activities sessions, exhibitions and so on. Not to mention the fact that there is free computer access and the option to borrow books and DVDs!
For a change of scenery, why not visit a different library to your local branch?
Related: Summer Reading Challenges for Kids
#4. Visit a Playground
There are some great playgrounds for children nowadays with well designed equipment, safety features and also designed well to cater for different ages.
You probably have a favourite playground you go to regularly, why not make a list of other playgrounds near you and aim to visit them all over time? It’s an activity that is both free and good fun!
Make sure to bring some snacks and drinks or a picnic lunch.
#5. Take in some History & Heritage
Research some historical sites near you and make a plan to stop by and visit them. Often people ignore small local museums but they can contain some interesting gems and the staff are usually happy to give tours or information for you to enjoy your visit.
Historvius has an interactive map of UK Historic Sites as well as Australian ones, Heritage Ireland has maps and information on heritage sites around Ireland while the National Park Service (USA) lists historical places on a register.
#6. Visit a Graveyard
Speaking of history, it may sound gruesome but kids love graveyards and they are great places to have a ramble and an explore around. We have found them to be tranquil and calm places, obviously we don’t visit them at night when it could be spooky!
It’s always interesting to look at the gravestones and wonder about people from long ago. It connects us to the past and children do appreciate that.
#7. Go to the Beach
A favourite family activity of ours is heading to the beach. No matter what the weather is! (Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothing!).
Here’s our handy Summer Beach Checklist to save you running in and out of the house 10 times!
#8. Visit a Farmer’s Market
Make a change to your shopping routine and visit a farmer’s market near you. Kids often think things come in packet and it’s good to show them fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and breads etc lined up on stalls. You get to taste things, talk to the producer in most cases, find out more about how things are made and pick up seasonal things as well which is better for the environment.
The Local Foods website gives information on markets in the UK; Bord Bia’s website has Irish local markets listed by county; the USDA has a National Farmers Market Directory while the Australian Farmers Markets Associations gives details of farmer’s markets around Australia.
#9. Go on a Photograph Tour
Take a tour of your own village, town or city armed with your smartphone or digital camera and snap places as you go.
Then when you get home print the photos arrange these into a summer photograph scrapbook, “Our Neighbourhood” or “Our Village”.
The kids will have fun writing captions for the photos too and maybe add in some information that they know about each place. “Here’s where I was born” etc.
#10. Find a Geocache
Geocaching is a fun free activity where you try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share your experiences online. It’s kind of like a modern treasure hunt or Hide and Seek! You will be amazed to find out how many geocaches there are near you.
You look up a geocache near you and put in the coordinates e.g. into Google Maps then set off to find the cache. There’s a clue given with the coordinates to help you locate the cache.
Do you have a favourite free thing to do with your family? Share it in the comments below