Kids

School’s out for summer – are you ready? If your house is beginning to get a lot busier, it can be intimidating to think about how to entertain your kids. Maybe they’re already enrolled in summer camp or classes, but chances are you’ll have a handful of unplanned days ahead.

It can also be tricky to figure out how to get the whole family inspired to do something on long summer weekends without going over budget. Fret no more. Below are 12 fun and free activities the whole family can enjoy this summer.

  1. Stop by the library.

Your children’s school may or may not have sent them home with a summer reading list. Either way, piling into the car and visiting the library is something the entire family can enjoy. Everyone can pick out a book or two for themselves; there are plenty of fun activities and displays for children; and the library might have its own summer reading lists to check out.

  1. Rent a free movie.

While you’re there, browse the movie section. It’s completely free with your library membership. You may not be able to get brand-new releases, but there should be a nice collection to choose from.

  1. Read from a book as a family.

Before you leave the library, pick out a book you can enjoy as a family. Classic tales such as “Anne of Green Gables,” or adventurous fantasies like “Harry Potter,” will appeal to everyone. Have a parent read aloud 20 minutes per night all summer long for a fun evening tradition.

  1. Go on a picnic.

Pack some munchies and visit nearby parks that no one has explored to make it feel like a mini getaway.

  1. Check out the farmers market.

Most towns – and even cities – have farmers markets through the summer and fall. Browsing the stalls is a great way to pass time. Chances are, many vendors will offer you free samples. Seeing local produce and wares up close can help kids better understand where their food comes from.

  1. Take a hike.

Nature is mostly free to enjoy, with the exception of small entrance fees at national parks. Discover hikes in your area through a free app like AllTrails, where you can easily find out the difficulty, length and location of nearby trails.

  1. Visit a public beach.

Beaches also offer another way to enjoy nature for free, though you might have to pay for parking. If your kids are too young for the ocean, try a small pond or lake.

  1. Attend a free workshop at a craft or home-improvement store.

Perfect for a day when you need to get out of the house, craft stores like Michael’s and home-improvement stores like Lowe’s often offer free instructional classes that are kid- and adult-friendly.

  1. Find free outdoor concerts in your area.

Warm summer months are usually full of free outdoor events, such as concerts and movie screenings. Pack your own snacks, blanket or chairs and enjoy.

  1. Have a board game night.

Kids will love dragging all the board games out for one night of marathon competition. Find a few fun snacks and treats to serve up as prizes.

  1. Learn a language.

Kids are like sponges, and it’s been said that the younger they are, the better able they will be to pick up a new language. Download a free language app like Duolingo and challenge the entire family to learn something new.

  1. Volunteer at a nonprofit.

Not only is it free, but it’s a great way to teach kids the importance of giving back. Volunteer as a family on a summer Saturday.