1. See the home team play- Go to a sporting event. Go see a minor league team, or to really save money, go and watch a Little League game.
2. Pull out the sprinkler. If you don't have one, they can be purchased for very little. If the kids are a little older, get a slip n slide (or make your own with a tarp) instead. Instant summer fun in your own backyard!
3. Go to the park. Most towns have several parks with playgrounds and picnic tables. If the kids are older, check out a state park and walk a nature trail. It's usually free and will provide an afternoon of fun.
4. Camp out! Find a local place for camping or pitch a tent in the backyard.
5. Build a fire in the backyard and have a hot dog roast. Don't forget the s'mores! The best part of this plan is the kitchen stays clean!
6. Invite some folks over for game night. Have everyone bring a finger food. You get to enjoy the company of friends and laughter is sure to ensue! We enjoy Phase 10. If you're feeling more competitive, try a high energy game of Spoons.
7. If you aren't in to card or board games, have a kickball game. If there isn't room in your yard, take it to the park! All you need is a kickball and some "bases".
8. Serve in your community. Take the whole family to serve at a local soup kitchen or pick up trash. Most hospitals will allow visitors on noncritical floors. We've gone and asked at the nurses station to point us in the direction of someone that needed a visit. There's always someone.
9. Look in the paper and online for free and/ or inexpensive local events. A community theater play, an arts and crafts show, a car expo, or a concert by a local band can all be cheap and provide entertainment. Many times social media can be a great way to seek out these events. Last weekend a local attraction held a "free" day to celebrate an anniversary. Towards the end of the summer or beginning of fall, the local symphony holds a free outdoor concert. These are events that are family oriented and can provide some fun.
10. Have a yard sale! This isn't only cheap, it can make you some money! Pull out the things you no longer need or are using and set up in the front yard or driveway. Get the kids involved with a lemonade stand. If you just aren't in to having a yard sale, spend a Saturday morning going to yard sales for some bargains. You'd be surprised what you can find!
These are some simple ideas, but I hope they will inspire you to have some free or cheap fun this summer. You don't need a bucket list or even a daily schedule to fill the summer with laughter. Just take time to spend as a family and include friends on occasion to make the summer months a time of joy.