Now that kids are out of school and summer is in full swing, you might be looking for something to do to keep everyone busy and make sure they're having fun. Here are some free things you can do with your family this summer:
1. Go to a local water park
Most larger cities have free public water parks that they open up in the Summer. Usually, the bigger the city, the larger the water park, and if you're really lucky the'll have a couple available for you to go to. If you're not sure if you have one locally, check out your city's webpage to find some details. Even if your city doesn't have one, a nearby one might.
Water parks are a great excuse to be outdoors. If you have kids, as long as there is some water splashing the quality of the facilities doesn't really mater, so don't be put off by an “old” or “small” park. Just get out in the sun with your family. Even if you don't have kids, or if your kids have long gone, water parks are a great place to sit and people watch on a nice sunny day.
2. Go to the beach
Unless you are stuck in the middle of the desert, chances are good there is a beach pretty close nearby. It may not be a swimming beach, and it may not be the biggest beach, but going on an adventure to the local watering hole can be fun for the whole family.
Watching wildlife, or splashing around in the ocean, or building sand castles and finding cool rocks are all perfectly legitimate reasons to be outside as a family. Bring some sunscreen and bug spray just in case, and if you want to get crazy, bring a picnic lunch with you as well.
I have few better memories than spending time at the beach when I was young, so you can make those same memories with your family today.
3. Go for a hike
Now that the woods are open and clear of snow, take some time to traverse your local geography.
One of the houses that I used to live at was back right onto a pretty popular hiking trail. It was a great opportunity to use the land's natural features to spend some quality time with my family, and I'm sure your hometown has some great opportunities nearby as well.
It doesn't have to be a big hike, and no one will judge you for driving most of the way to the top. Bring a hat and some water if the heat is strong, and make sure you're prepared to encounter wildlife.
4. Go the library
Summer heat getting to you? Want to spend some time in a nice cool indoor location without paying a dime? Head to the local library with your whole family and plan to spend a couple hours inside.
Scope out some comfy chairs and read a book, or play games with the kids by giving them a theme or an author and getting them to find the best book to match. Most libraries will even stock magazines these days, so take advantage of old back issues and plan out future purchases, your dream house, or an amazing garden from the available periodicals.
As long as you stay quiet and obey the rules of the library, nobody will mind you spending a hot afternoon indoors.
5. Build a fort
Got some scrap lumber and an old tree? Got some giant cardboard boxes and some tape? Want to turn lawn furniture into a lawn fortress? Turn your backyard into a construction zone and get to building an amazing fort.
It can be permanent, it can be temporary, it doesn't really matter. The point is not to create an award wining design, it's to be creative and outdoors with your family. Have a large family, or have the neighbour kids over? Create two fortresses and go to war with nerf guns or tennis balls.
Spend a day “shopping” for fort supplies by driving around town picking up “free” stuff on the side of the road, or bugging box stores for giant boxes. Personalize the forts with whatever you can find laying around the house. Soon your back yard will be the envy of the entire street.
6. Have a water fight
Too hot outside, too hot inside, and don't want to go anywhere? You don't have to have the latest and greatest water gun on the market to have a water fight in your own backyard. All you need is something that holds water and a bit of energy.
Combine this with the fort making to have an incredible all-out war. Assault the forts with water balloons, sneak attack the opponent with a bucket of water from the porch.
It doesn't matter how old you are, you move pretty quick when someone is chasing you with freezing cold water straight from the tap. Calm down after and catch your breath with some iced tea in the shade before starting round two, and time will whiz by without you spending a dime on entertaining your family this summer.
What are you doing with your family this summer?