7 Great Ideas for Inexpensive or Free Summer Fun
Ok, parents, let’s ignore the beachy social media feeds and celebrity vacation pics for a minute. What’s it like to enjoy your summer break with your family without having to take out a small loan to finance everything? Do inexpensive/free options for summer fun still exist?
Yes, they do. And a lot of them are closer (and easier) than you might think!
Allow me to share a list of seven inexpensive/free things to do over the summer:
1. Visit the public library.
Did you know that most libraries allow you to rent movies online, for free? It’s true. They also have a lot of awesome summer reading programs with incentives for kids, and books. Yes, there are books, in every format (paper, audio, digital). And air-conditioning…don’t forget the air-conditioning!
2. Hit the public pool.
My neighborhood pool is only $3 a person! At the risk of everyone finding out about it, I am going to share the name of my favorite public pool in Plano: the Texas Pool. It’s inexpensive, and they offer affordable family summer memberships. Frisco and Allen also have public pools/water parks. Kids aren’t ready for a full-immersion yet? Try the massive spray ground at Celebration Park in Allen instead. Bring the sunblock and lots of hydration options.
3. Check out your city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
You want to put your child in an activity, like sports or dance? Your kid wants to learn robotics or art? Your most affordable choice will almost always be your city’s parks and recreation department.
4. Leverage restaurant discounts.
Fast food/family restaurants probably aren’t an everyday thing, but they can be an awesome way to have an inexpensive family fun night. Sign up for email lists and download the apps for the restaurants near you. Many companies like Chick-Fil-A have amazing rewards programs and will even send out coupons for free items to encourage you to return.
A lot of restaurants have discounted kids’ menus too. My Wendy’s offers $1.99 kid’s meals on weekends! And have you seen the Texas Roadhouse To-go Family Meal? It could easily feed a family of 5 or 6 and is perfect for a picnic dinner at the park.
Find some other “kids eat free” options here.
5. Head to church.
I know, I know. There is a little self-promotion going on here, but my kids LOVE going to church. If we skip a Sunday service, they are aghast. Most churches offer inexpensive camp and VBS options, as well as other fun free summer activities. Not only is it fun, but it helps both you and your children build a sense of community and long-lasting friendships, while honoring your values. Find out more about what Chase Oaks is doing for the next gen, here.
6. Plan a home-based staycation.
A little change in routine can go a long way. Ever have a picnic in your own living room? How excited would your kids get if you tell them that you are going to help them build a blanket fort or put up the teepee in their bedroom for an overnight “camping” trip? Add a few microwaved s’mores and they are in heaven.
7. Enjoy Family Movie Night.
There are several awesome free streaming services out there now (TUBI & Pluto are a couple of my faves). Or see #1 (the library) above. For some extra fun, download our free movie resource for families. It’s got movie suggestions and a list of questions to discuss as a family when the movie’s done. Don’t forget the popcorn!
When your kids look back on the summer memories that you made together, they aren’t going to remember how much you spent. Their best memories will be the ones you made spending time together. Don’t believe me? Check out this interview with our Chase Oaks summer interns, recalling their very best summer memories. Their answers might surprise you!
Looking for more summer activity ideas? Check out 5 Fun Ways To Beat the Heat This Summer and 4 Ways To Create a Great Summer for Your Family.