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Guest Post: Summer Family Fun for Free

Guest Post by Christi Bovee from Blessings From Our Home to Yours

In our house, we are all getting antsy to get out and feel some sun on our faces and get our bodies moving in the summer breezes. Here are just a few of our family's favorite ideas for enjoying the Summer months without spending a lot of money. In fact, most of these ideas are free!


1) Try letterboxing. Our family discovered this fun activity a few years ago and our children have loved the thrill of this "treasure hunt". If you've never heard of this before, this article on "Start Finding Letterboxes" explains:

Letterboxing is an intriguing “treasure hunt” style outdoor activity.
Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible
places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of
several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most
highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about
20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual
letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber
stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the
letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of
their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook .

To read more about letterboxing and the supplies you will need to get started, visit

2) Visit your local library. The summer reading program at our library is always a big hit with our children during the Summer. Our library gives great prizes like Frosty coupons, Little Caesar Pizzas, Donuts, and Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookies from the local coffee shop. Those prizes are definitely great motivators for our children to read! Most libraries offer similar Summer Reading Programs and I'd encourage you to check yours out.

3) Participate in nature programs.
Many local parks offer nature free programs. If you check out the website(s) for the parks department in your area, you might be surprised at what things you can learn and do for free!

We often visit Maple Wood Nature Center in LaGrange, Indiana one Wednesday a month for an educational program. Their programs range from learning about maple syrup to patterns in nature to learning about instruments. Last summer we attended a park in Elkhart, Indiana which had a program on old fashioned sodas. We learned the history, tried samples of various old fashioned drinks, and then made root beer and bottled our own to take home.

4) Go to museums. Some of the best educational places are museums, but it seems–especially for families with even a few children–it is nearly impossible to visit these without spending at least the amount that would be spent on groceries for the week. However, don't let the admissions costs deter you because we've found many museums have free or discounted days a few times each Summer.

For instance, in the Chicago area, the Chicago Children's Museum offers free family nights on Thursday evenings and free admission on some Sundays and Mondays. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry has six free days in June and The Art Institute of Chicago offers free admission on Thursday evenings. 

Bank of America has their Museums on Us promotion which provides free admission to over 100 museums nationwide on the first Saturday of every month. More details here.

I'd recommend contacting the museums in your city to see if they have any free admission days or times during the Summer. You might be pleasantly surprised!

There are so many options for parents who can’t afford to take an elaborate or expensive vacation but still want to create special memories with their children. It doesn’t have to cost you a months worth of wages, either. Time spent together as a family will likely be some of the best memories your children have all Summer!

Christi Bovee is a homeschooling mom who looks for every opportunity to build and create special memories with her husband and children every day and season of the year. She loves reading, singing along with her children and husband while he plays guitar, hiking, and enjoying the fellowship of her church family. She and her husband have three children with another one due in May. You can read about the blessings in her family at her blog.

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  • Davonne says:

    About the museums – Our museum offers a family membership for a full year for $50, and it will get us into around 250 museums across the country for free during that year. If anyone (who has a $50 or more budget) asks what I/my family wants for Christmas this year, I’m going to tell them I want a museum membership. Then we can go to many museums, as often as we want, completely free all year next year! (Perfect since homeschooling starts next fall.) Just thought I’d share the thought 🙂

  • Christine says:

    Also, if you call a local college- many professors are on staff during the summer. Even though our local college is already out for the summer we just got to tour the school and see a planetarium show for FREE. The girls loved it!

  • Jill Bentler says:

    Another fun almost free activity is geocaching. This is much like letterboxing but uses a hand held GPS to locate hidden “treasures.” You will need a hand held GPS if you don’t already have one but after that it is FREE! Here is a link to the website: Thanks for the fun list!

  • Kendra says:

    Geocaching is also a lot like Letterboxing. You can go to to find out more. We really enjoy it!

  • Amy says:

    Wow! I have never heard of letterboxing before. I am excited to try it with my kids this summer! Thanks for the great idea!

  • Kelly says:

    Everyday this summer, every child in your household under the age of 15 can bowl 2 free games at participating bowling alleys!

  • Erin says:

    We LOVE to letterbox. A great site to visit is

  • Amy says:

    I had never heard of letterboxing before, but it sure sounds like fun. We’ll have to try it next time we have a free evening!

  • Ashley says:

    I had never heard of letterboxing before your post. I checked it out, told my husband about it, and we have gone on many adventures already!! Yesterday we went on an all day adventure and found 13 letterboxes!!! I think my husband and I are just as excited about it as the kids are!!!

  • Tammy L says:

    Ashley, I wish my husband had that reaction! I was getting super excited (as there are many letterboxes and geocaches in our area!) and my husband was just really *not* into the idea of chasing down boxes!! Haha

    Amazingly enough, Crystal, the DAY after I read this post and discovered letterboxing, a blog reader who lives 1 mile from me (who we are going to meet up with on Sunday!) was saying that they are into geocaching (I had never heard of that before either!). I told Joshua I will just rope her into going with me since he is not interested. 😉

  • Aubrey says:

    Another great letterboxing site is

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