Family at picnic

10 Fun and free things you can do with your kids this summer

What are your favorite childhood summer fun memories? Did you build a fort in the back yard, climb trees, bike around the block, or play neighborhood games, like Ghost in the Graveyard or Red Rover? How much did that cost? Nothing. It only requires a creative mind!

I bet your favorite memories required very little money.  While money can make things easier, it does not buy happiness.

Here are ten tips to help you enjoy time with your family this summer without breaking the bank!

1. Bring your food outside and have a picnic!

You need to eat anyway, right? So why not pack up your lunch and head to the park. Bonus: You don’t need to wipe off the table or vacuum up crumbs.

2. Visit the local fire station

Most stations will arrange a free tour for kids. There may even be a local event with the fire safety house set up.

3. Go camping in your backyard!

Your kids will enjoy the experience, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting to pack something.

Also read: Why I pay my kids to do household chores

4. While you’re camping, gaze at the stars

Find a star chart online and teach your children about the constellations. You can encourage their own creativity and ask them to make up their own constellations too.

If they enjoy it, find another place in town with a better view and make it a weekly activity throughout summer.

5. Plant a garden!

Kids love to play in sand and dirt, so why not benefit from their digging?

6. Cook or bake with garden ingredients

Did you plant rhubarb, raspberries, spinach, or parsley? Teach your children how to make a new favorite recipe with fresh ingredients that they can pick from their own garden.

It will likely become a summer tradition that they will remember for years to come!

Also read: Tips for raising money-smart kids

7. Set up a neighborhood game night

Play kickball or capture the flag. You could even set up a tournament. The parents can join the teams, or cheer on the sidelines.

8. Explore the National Parks

Many National Parks have free days, so check the schedule in your area and plan a few days to hike, bike, run or camp outdoors!

9. Visit the local library and find out if they have a summer reading program

If they don’t, you can create your own. Set a goal for each person in your family to read a certain number of books, and encourage each other with prizes.

The prizes don’t have to cost money either. Let the winner skip chores such as doing the dishes, washing the car, cooking dinner or cleaning.

10. Train for a race!

See if your area has a local festival with a race. Whether it’s biking, running or an obstacle course, and make it a tradition! Perhaps you will enjoy training together so much that you will keep it up all year long.

There are countless more activities that you can do for little to no money, and the memories will be priceless. Be creative and enjoy fun in the summer sun!

Also read: Seven travel tips for parents on a budget

415388 CAN/US (07/17)

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Michelle Budzien

Michelle Budzien is an Accredited Financial Counselor for Foresters Everyday Money, providing unbiased financial coaching and education with the goal of improving the financial well-being of Foresters members. Michelle enjoys writing about all aspects of personal finance such as budgeting tips and tools, debt management, understanding credit, analyzing future needs, and industry trends.