Free summer fun doesn't have to be elaborate. Let's face it, if it's free summer fun, it's probably pretty simple.
What puts the "fun" in these ideas is parent participation. Work-at-home moms need plenty of everyday summer activities to keep kids busy, often in addition to summer child care. But all work and no play makes mom a dull girl. And kids start to get a little stir crazy after finding their own fun for too long.
And if this isn't enough summer fun check out these 100 ideas for kids and parents to do together.
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You've got to eat, right? So take it outside because kids love picnics. Picnics can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can throw together sandwiches and eat lunch under a tree in the backyard or fry chicken and spend the day at the beach. (Or perhaps somewhere in between like buying fried chicken and going to a local park.) And dinner picnics are after standard business hours, plus they give kids something to look forward to.
Many movie theater chains offer free or deeply discounted (i.e. $1 or $2 admission) movies during week day mornings in the summer. This list of theaters
gives locations of the chains so you can find the ones in your area. Along these same lines, drive-in movies, though not free, are a lower cost alternatives if there aren't any free movies near you. Read more on how to save money on kids movies
Summer Concerts or Outdoor Movies
Many cities sponsor free concerts and sometimes movies in parks
and other outdoor spaces. Keep an eye on the local paper or go to About.com's local site
for your area to find these events near you. Invite friends and it becomes a party (that you don't have to host). Many of these are evening events, so they won't cut into work time.
Museums, Zoos and Attractions
Most attractions are not free (though a few are), but many have "free days" when they waive admission. Often it's on a regular basis, like the first Tuesday of the month, but sometimes it's just a once a year event. Go to the websites of attractions in your area and search using the keyword "free" and see what come up. Make a list of what's free and when in your area and refer to it often.
Play in the Sprinkler
Laureen Miles Brunelli
This one is the most fun when mom joins in, but if you like, you can stay dry and work by a window where you can watch the fun. Water balloons, spray bottles, wading pool and water guns all add to the fun.
If your child is young (but older than one year), consider buying a child carrier and bring him out on your bike. If you live somewhere you can safely bike
on streets or bike paths, use your bike to run errands. You'll get exercise; your child will get outside, and the errands will get done.
As kids get older, they can ride their own bikes, but it takes a while before they can cover long distances and safely navigate roads. Biking with your kids gives you the opportunity to teach them safe biking safety rules for the day when they'll bike without you.