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Free or Cheap Summer Activities for Kids

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After such a long and grueling winter, I bet your kids are thrilled to be finally feeling the summer heat. But now that they are out of school, what is going to keep them entertained for the next few months and not empty your wallet in the process? Here are a few free or cheap summer activities to keep the kids entertained until fall.

Museums and Zoos – Heading to the zoo or the local museum can be a great way to spend a summer afternoon. Usually there is one day a week that a museum or zoo is free to the public, so just check your local organization’s website to see when you can take your family for just the cost of transportation. Museums are especially great on days when it is just too hot to be outside. You can get a much-needed dose of culture as well as some free air conditioning.

The Library – Learning doesn’t have to stop just because school is out of session. The summer can be a great opportunity for your kids to read the books that they want to read instead of the books that are assigned to them during school. Check out your local library for any summer reading programs, and take your kids there to let them explore. Maybe even set up a hammock in the backyard for afternoon reading sessions. The library also has a ton of other media available for lending, like movies, audio books, and even some video games. It is a great place to get free entertainment all summer long.

Summer Movies – The summer is full of great new blockbusters, but the price of tickets plus popcorn and a Coke can end up costing a fortune. Lots of cities offer free outdoor movie series during the summer that let you bring a picnic blanket and your own snacks, and offer you the chance to enjoy a classic film under the stars. Check your local area listings to see what films are being offered in your area, and make it a weekly summer tradition. If you are in Los Angeles, here is a comprehensive list of every outdoor movie playing this summer. Do some searching online to see what is playing in your neck of the woods.

Be sure to also check out your local movie theater to see if they offer any kind of reduced rate family films during weekdays. A midday movie can be a great way to beat the heat for just a few bucks. Cinemark theatres offer a summer daytime movie program, so be sure to see if there is a similar program near you.

More Summer Activity Ideas: