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Frugal Family Fun: The Summer Edition–Coming Friday!


We’ll be celebrating Summer here on Friday (the first day of Summer!) with a big Frugal Family Fun: The Summer Edition round-up.

Put on your thinking caps and let your creative juices flow and get ready to tell us all about your very favorite inexpensive (or free!) family activities for the Summer!

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  • Elizabeth says:

    Playing in the kiddie pool (I got it a few years ago at Walmart for under $10) or making easy snacks, like putting marshmallows or bananas on a stick, rolling them in chocolate and sprinkles. Also water gun fights or bubbles (you can make your own, even).

  • Michelle says:

    If you are military, you and up to four dependents get one free day pass to any anheuser busch park. Seseme Place, Sea World and Busch Gardens. Visit to print your form. Also you can upgrade your one day pass to a season pass for less than $20! This is a great deal!

  • Rose Atwater says:

    Home Depot has free Kid’s Workshops the first Saturday morning of each month, from 9am-Noon. You just walk in and participate, no sign-ups or appointments. Each child gets their own orange apron, a pin & certificate for each project completed, and of course, a great hands-on project to bring home. We do this year round, but it’s especially nice in summer-time because it’s usually inside (out of the heat). My kids have built bird houses, stools, craft boxes, and many more neat things!

  • Crystal says:

    If you are in a large enough city, check the schedule for the local orchestra/symphony. Ours has a few free shows out in some parks and it is fun to take kids, have a picnic, and listen to some music.

    Also, local parks may have some festivals or kids days through the summer that are free.

  • Becky says:

    Nothing beats the library!! In the heat of the summer, the library is a cool oasis. We look at books and check out all the different displays the library has. My son enjoys sitting in the kid-sized chairs while looking at new-to-him books. Our library (and many others, I’m sure) has different story times with different themes. The kids section also has puzzles and coloring sheets for the kids. All this is in addition to the summer reading program where kids earn prizes and coupons for summer treats all by checking out and reading books (or in the case of my younger kids, having books read to them). It’s great and it’s free.

  • Library summer reading program activities: magicians, animals, storytellers, reading time, crafts, etc.

    Walk at the free nature center.

    Free Wednesday brown bag lunch concerts at our city’s outside band shell.

    At the same band shell are free jazz concerts on Friday nights as well as two big band concerts on Sundays.

    A park a week – we have several parks within our city and outer township limits so we pick one park per week to visit one or two times. Over 8 or so weeks, we’ve visited every one in the city!

    Home Depot’s and Lowe’s free “kid project” days – Home Depot is first Sat of month and Lowe’s is 2nd and 4th Saturdays.

    Our city has an antiques sale the first Sunday of each month in the main downtown park and a farmers’ market every Saturday – it’s always free to browse and visit (LOL) but we often grab a buck or two in change to get homemade cookies from one particular farmers’ market vendor.

    Our homeschool and MOMS Club groups have play groups – sometimes several a week.

    Camping in backyard (The Great American Backyard Campout ( is technically June 28th but it’s a good idea anytime! I even saw a cute idea in a recent Family Fun magazine on how to make an outdoor movie screen out of PVC and a sheet! LOL

    Garage sale-ing and/or hitting Goodwill esp. the last Saturday of the month when everything is 50% off!

    We have saved $15 a month for 4 months and popped for an annual membership at our local kids’ science museum – worth EVERY dime on a rainy day. There is also another kids’ museum an hour away that has free admission – just pay for gas which isn’t too bad for us because we have family in that town so we’re usually fed for free! LOL

    A sprinkler, a baby pool at the botton of a kiddie slide, some popsicles, and some sunscreen is always a great way to “blow” an afternoon.

    Go to your local fire station (it’s polite to call ahead but we’ve even dropped by unannounced while walking home from something else) and you’ll find some very proud firefighters oh so happy to show your little ones around! LOL

    Crafts , crafts, and more crafts using recycled materials – mostly stuff you’d throw away anyway…search online and/or access books from “The Busy Book” series by Trish Kuffner!

    On a closing note, I realize many of the preceding ideas are specific to my community but I’m a big advocate of throughly scouring your local paper for ideas! LOL You’d be amazed at what you will find!

  • Julie says:

    Our local creamery has calf feeding you can help do twice a day, that our kids love to do. We finish with “real” ice cream cones. The free movies already discussed on the site. Also we have a pool and we offer to friends to come over, if you know someone you may want to ask. We love to have others over for fellowship and it helps the pool to have alot of activity, with prevention of algae! Going on factory tours.

  • Alissa Moy says:

    Lowes also offers great workshops, but you need to register first at their website!!! Free summer movies (like Regal), and summer library programs are great too! :0)

  • Elizabeth Hanson says:

    St Louis moms…The Magic House is free every Friday this summer from 5:30-9PM as part of Wichovia’s sponsorship.

  • Erin M says:

    We love to hang out at the city pools since we don’t have a pool in our yard. The pool near us has a great “toddler pool” and they also offer swimming lessons for a very reasonable rate.

  • Kasey says:

    One of our favorite things to do is the free kids’ movies at our local movie theater. I know of several areas that offer free (or $1) kids’ movies in the summer, so it’s a great chance to get in out of the heat or an alternative if it’s raining. Also, everyone there has little ones, so nobody cares if your kids are a little loud and crazy!

    Personally, we have invested in making our backyard our own play place. Our home isn’t big enough for a playroom, so our backyard is the playroom. We have spent money once to make a place we can play at anytime we want to! It has been so worth it!

    Another fun option in our area is our local Parks & Recreation- they offer a lot of great and fairly inexpensive activities for families and children.

    We also have a local mall that has an outdoor fountain plaza- that is a really fun option in the summer, because the water shoots up from the ground and the kids can play in it.

    Everybody have a great summer!

  • Diane says:

    Seeing that I remember you posting you had moved to the Kansas City area not too long ago I thought I’d add a small list of free/inexpensive things to do in the KC area:

    – Deanna Rose Farmstead is an absolute can’t miss FREE attraction, it has a a free petting zoo and an ever growing living history area as well as pony rides, fishing, panning for gold & feeding baby goats milk all for a very small fee. The fishing is fun for a couple bucks they give you a simple pole (no rod or reel) and a bucket of worms. It is strictly catch and release but there are so many fish in the pond it is near impossible to not catch something no matter what your age.

    – The Downtown KCMO City Market. There are several Farmer Markets around town but the Downtown market is both the largest and most children friendly. There are often pony rides, hay rides, moonwalks (for small fees) as well as free balloons and face painting thanks to a local church booth. There are also a variety of street performers each week that are fun to watch. Not to mention ofcourse all the wonderful home grown produce. On one end of the market there is the Steamboat Arabia Museum. It costs to go through on a tour but my son could spend hours just watching the paddle wheel go round upstairs where it is free. There is also a lookout point over the Missouri River just a 2 block walk away that he enjoys watching the river and the multitude of train tracks in nearly every direction.

    – Nelson Atkins Museum is a wonderful fine arts museum and free. There are also a variety of childrens workshops that I believe are free.

    – Kansas Speedway – This is a little known freebie my husband stumbled on and not advertised anywhere I can find. If you go to the track on an afternoon that they are holding a “Driving Experience” event they will let you in to watch the race cars on the track for free. My son doesn’t know or care that the race cars aren’t being driven by “real” race car drivers or that it isn’t a race. All he knows is that he is seeing real race cars going fast on a professional track. He is so excited whenever his dad takes him.

  • Elizabeth Hanson says:

    Sorry…mistake…The Magic House is free every WEDNESDAY night this summer from 5:30-9pm and free every third Friday of the month from 5:30-9pm.

  • Another idea…go geocaching! Free fun, tromping through woods, parks, beaches, etc. and a “prize” at the end. Just visited

  • Katie says:

    In Phoenix, there are a ton of splash pads and open areas with fountains where the kids can run in their bathing suits. We pack a lunch, meet friends, and go there for a couple of hours before the kids come home and CRASH in bed. We just did that today and I had so much fun I had to blog about it. Fun and refreshing!

  • Abbie says:

    We take the kids to the outdoor mall where they have splash pads, the kids love to get wet and play with other children. We also take them to parks where we fly kites. We take them the boonshoft museum of discovery which is free every third Tuesday of every month.

  • Diane says:

    Just wanted to second the geocaching comment. My 4 year old loves it. He is really into pirates right now and loves to wear a pirate hat, play sword and pretend he is following a pirates map to the buried treasure.

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