As a work at home mom on a major budget, it’s important for me to find activities locally that are free (or almost free). I’m just not the type that can sit in my house all day and neither are my kids (probably because of me). I have a hard time doing free activities because I end up spending money on lunch or I go Target and well, I’m sure you know what happens there. I actually just went through my camera roll to see what I’ve actually done with my kids that was either free or very cheap! I was surprised that there were quite a bit of activities we do!
I have compiled a list of things that we like to do regularly that are either free or very cheap and affordable. I didn’t include any “in the house” activities other than cooking. Let me know which ones you’ve tried and some new ideas I can try too!
- Local Public Library: Most public libraries have a kids section where there are toys and games. My daughter LOVES the library almost as much as the playground. There’s a toy kitchen, dress up clothes, blocks, and so much more. We then end our playtime at the library by picking out a couple books for her to check out. There’s also “Story Time” at our library on specific days so we also love going to that because it’s free and educational.
- Playground and Picnic: We like to go to the playground often, but bringing a little picnic makes it even more fun. Bailey likes to pick out her own snacks now, so we spend some times packing some yummy treats for the lunchbox. We also like traveling around the county to different parks so we’re not going to the same neighborhood park each time.
- Nature Walk: Find a trail and go on a nature walk! Collect leaves and acorns and create leaf crafts at home. Click here for tons of leaf craft ideas on Pinterest! I’ll post mine soon!
- Baking/Cooking: My daughter loves cooking, so we like to bake cupcakes, brownies, cookies, or anything that allows her to lick the bowl! ha! Make this even more fun by going to the grocery store together to buy the ingredients. Stores like Harris Teeter and Weis have mini carts for the kids!
- Check Local Activities in your county: We have lots of local kids activities that are free, such as programs at the Marine Museum or free movie nights. We also have a county newsletter that sends out activities so we can stay up to date on the local events. This fall, check your local farms for corn mazes and pumpkin picking!
- The Zoo: We have two zoos within two hours of each other, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. The DC zoo is free but we usually have to pay for parking, so the cost of this trip can get high if you don’t plan it out accordingly. You can bring food into the zoo, so if you pack lunches, the cost of the trip is only the parking and whatever souvenirs you’d like to purchase. The Maryland Zoo costs $19 for adults and $15 for kids but the parking is free. So it’s a toss up between the two depending on what you’re interested in.
- Movie Theater: Find the day that offers cheaper tickets (ours is Tuesday) or just go to the matinee movie. Bring your own snacks and then you’ve got a cheap activity! Our movie theater has an arcade in it, so I always bring a couple dollars to let Bailey play some games.
- Children’s Museums: Admissions to these museums can be pricy, so check Groupon or Living Social because these frequently have discounted tickets. We got tickets from Groupon to go to Port Discovery in Baltimore. It was so much fun!
- Fruit Picking: During the summer we went strawberry picking at a local strawberry farm. It was not expensive at all and Bailey loved doing it. We came home and made strawberry pie! Check out what farms are near you and what services or events they offer. Fall is a great time for farms and baking!
I hope some of these gave you ideas for end of summer and fall activities! If you live close by a city or in a city, then you probably have many more options. Let me know what you and your kids do for fun in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by!