Local Kids Summer Activites on a Budget

pete the cat at ohio historical center
Summer is here and it is time to enjoy some fun with my kids, but taking 5 kids palces can get really, really expensive so I need things on a budget. Of course their are all kinds of great programs that I would love for my kids to be involved in but they are expensive and quickly add up. Here is a list of places I suggest looking to find great deals on free or inexpensive activities for your children.

  • Local library: Usually they have a weekly free story time, summer reading program and often other special events that are free as well.
  • Community center: Check out prices at your community center and those surrounding you. Sometimes even non resident prices are very reasonable. Also check out you nearest city, city sponsored programs tend to be be very inexpensive. You can find one time events or even camps or classes.
  • Parks & Recreation Departments: Many parks offer one time free events and classes for kids especially during spring and summer.
  • Local churches: Many churches offer all kinds of programs that are open to everyone, not just members, for a very nominal fee. VBS is big in the summer and most churches offer a discount if you volunteer.
  • Zoo, museum and other attractions: While special events at these places are often very pricey usually they offer free events on occasion or discounts to members. We recently discovered the Ohio Historical Center and the attached Village a member ship was just $55 for our family for the year and it reciprocates many other places.
  • Join A Pool: Here in Columbus there are pools of all price that may be worth joining. We get a membership at a pool where we know a majority of the people so it is a play date and summerf un plus they have $.50 hot dog night so cheap dinner!
  • Organize something with friends: Organize a fun activity with friends this is always more fun for the moms if you can socialize while the kids play. Pick a local free activity and go as a group or ask about group rates.

This is what I have found so far, I would love to hear if you have any other suggestions on finding cheap or free activities to get your young kids involved in. Cheers to affordable summer fun!


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  1. Great summer ideas we are fortunate to have two community pools that we can use. Even though I work outside the home I hope to visit the pool often this summer.

  2. I always liked taking my son to the library, the City Pools and park. We also went and got a day pass to ride all the rides at the Park downtown. We had movie night with his friends and of course him and his friends played video games. You have a lot of great places to take the kids!

  3. We have a park pass and museum membership. We also have community stuff that’s free that they host throughout the year that we go to. It’s always great when your community has events like that.

  4. This is a super list! We find a lot of programs through our local library. They always have something going on like movie time in addition to story time.

  5. These are all great ideas to check out this summer. We definitely take advantage of our local park and rec centers!

  6. I love saving and using the public library for our entertainment. I rent movies, books, and cds. Why not? it’s free!

  7. I love to check out the local paper. We have a local free periodical that list all the local free festivals and happenings going on in the area. The parks and rec is an awesome resource year round as well.

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