Summer of Saving: Five Free Activities to Keep Kids Busy

Summer is in full swing at our house! It’s a different summer for me because the season hasn’t really been any different than other times of the year since back when I was a teacher (many years ago). This summer, however, is my first summer home with my sweet boy, and we are trying to make the most of it.

It’s been so incredibly busy! As a new SAHM I never realized I would be so much busier than when I had a full-time job outside the home. (How did I have time for that?) Kudos to those who’ve been at it a lot longer than me!

Now that we are down to one full-time income (plus a little from smaller jobs), I’ve had to come up with activities that keep my active little guy busy but don’t break the bank. We’ve splurged on a few activities that cost a little money, but some of our favorite things we’ve done together so far have not cost a dime.


Our local library rocks! They have an excellent summer reading program for kids of all ages (even younger ones like mine who are read to), and he’s had a blast keeping up with his books and taking our log in for prizes. (We did the same thing at our local Christian bookstore, so he’s getting double the rewards!) Plus, they have a great enclosed playground that he loves.

free summer activities

The library also has a jam-packed schedule of free activities in the summer, besides the normal weekly story time they have all year (which he also enjoys). We went to see a play put on my our local youth theatre group. We’re planning to see a puppet show or two as well. There’s also a magician, a juggler, and a “Critter Keeper” on the schedule. We could do these events a couple times a week and never see the same thing twice.




This one pretty much speaks for itself, but we have a few parks in our area, so we try to mix it up a little bit over the summer. We even have a couple parks that have splash pads to play in the water, but we’ve learned that as much as my guy loves water, he is not a fan of splash pads! They are great entertainment and a way to cool off, however. Taking a picnic to the park makes it especially fun and special.

Vacation Bible School

Many churches have morning VBS, including our church, but I also researched other churches in my area with morning VBS and plan on sending my son to two others besides ours. It’s great for him to have some extra time with other kids and it gives me a few hours each day that week to get some work done, clean house, run errands, or whatever else I can do uninterrupted. Plus, being together 24/7, we need a break from each other every once in a while. I think he’s enjoyed it and it makes our time together that much more special.

Home Activities

We’ve come up with all sorts of things to do at home to fill our time. There really is no limit in this category. We’ve used sidewalk chalk to draw outside, played in the back yard, gone for walks with the dogs, played games, built with blocks, colored, played with bubbles, made baked goods, watched movies…well, you see how many choices there are. I still have a whole list of stuff we haven’t done yet, so I am well-armed for when we can’t or don’t want to go anywhere.

Window Shopping

My son loves to just push buttons and look at toys and books in stores, so we have done some of this as well. He’s not one to ask for anything to take home, so this works for us. As a bonus, our local mall has an indoor playground, which is great for rainy or very hot days. I’m not much of a shopper, so I’m really not tempted to buy anything. I realize this may not be the best idea for everyone!

I would love to get your ideas for free things to do in the summer! We’ve also done a few low-cost activities (which I may detail in another post), so I think combining free with almost free will help us survive the summer with our sanity and our pocketbook in check!

Love in Christ,

she who has believed

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