Last-Minute Cheap and Free Summer Activities with Kids

If your family is anything like mine, school supplies have already been loaded into your kids’ fresh, new backpacks. While this provides me with a feeling of goodwill and relief, I’m also aware that summer is rapidly coming to an end – there are a few fun family activities that we haven’t yet completed.

If you also feel some pressure to achieve last-minute memories of summer fun, here are some ideas to help!

Head to the Library

If your kids participated in summer reading, it’s time to turn in those calendars for prizes! At this point in the summer, kids who turn in a completed summer reading calendar receive a free book as well as a packet of prizes that include coupons to local businesses – a sample of ours is a coupon for free admission to the local aquatic park and a free lunch at a pizza place in town.

Once you sort through the coupons and goodies, schedule when you’ll go out and use them during the last couple of weeks of summer. This will help all of you have fun while not straining your budget!

Get Wet at a Splash Park

There’s a reason why these last days of summer are called “the dog days” – it’s hot! Invite friends for a play date out on the town at one of your local splash parks. Take a picnic full of snacks and water. Many times there are play structures nearby that the kids can also play on, alternating between heating up and cooling down. Don’t forget to bring a comfortable chair for lounging in the shade, and enjoy the adult conversation with other moms while your kids wear themselves out.

A Day Trip

No matter where you live, there are summertime hot spots to hit before school starts. For us, it’s the lake, the beach and the state fair. If you leave fairly early in the morning, you and your family can stay all day. With enough food, my kids will go anywhere.

If you’re able to afford it, consider camping out overnight to extend your family fun. Reservations for camping at State Parks are often made months in advance, but are canceled at the last minute. Keep a close tab on the State Parks you’re interested in, and nab an open spot as it becomes available. Your kids can play, ride bikes, hike and participate in the activities sponsored by the park while you relax with a good book. Pack plenty of food and water, and you’re good to go for less than $20 a night.

Wherever you’re headed, don’t forget basics like snacks, towels, a blanket and – most important – your camera to capture these last-minute summer memories!

Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and expert on frugal living as well as an editor for Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store providing families and classrooms with high-quality, low-cost Teacher Supplies.

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