Let’s face it, raising kids can be expensive. Once the bills are paid there’s often not a lot left for family fun. I’ve learned, however, that there are plenty of awesome, free community resources I can take advantage of with my kids. Everything from local festivals to free puppet shows and more can entertain us all with culture and fun at little cost!
Looking for even more free or cheap activities to keep the kiddos entertained? Check out more than 52 free activities for kids and families around the country, plus 5 summer activities you can enjoy in your own neighborhood and 25 crafts to make indoors when the heat is on!
Finding these events can be a challenge unless you know where to look. Check your city hall, library, and local newspaper for some of these free community resources that my family loves to use!
1. The local library
I live in a small town outside of a large one. When I moved here, I thought the lazy summer afternoons I used to spend in city libraries would be over. When I discovered that our local community college not only had a library we could enjoy, but also had puppet shows, story time, and more, I was very excited!
Not only does it have a great area for the kids, there are often flyers and information for more free events around town, too. I always feel like I get the best information for free events from the local library.
Quick tip: Make sure your kids each get a library card. One of the best ways to get kids excited about reading is to make them feel grown up about it. My girls love heading to the library, picking out books, and checking them out for themselves. It’s also a wonderful way to teach responsibility because they have to remind me that we need to return them on the due date!
2. Community recycling
A wonderful way to get kids involved in the community and teach them to care about their environment is to visit the local recycling center. Even though we also have recycling on the curb, I love going and watching the kids sort and organize.
Our recycling center has great advice and information for the kids to help maintain their excitement about recycling. It’s a fun day trip, cleans out my recycling bin, and is educational as well!
3. Free concerts
In the big city of Houston, and really any large city in the U.S., there are many places with free concerts. We have several outdoor venues where you can hear everything from the Houston Symphony to pop music by cover bands. These events are pretty regular, so check your city news website to find listings.
4. Free festivals & parades
My town is the king of festivals and parades: Almost every weekend there’s something going on at the town center. I find out about these events from the community newspaper that comes in my mailbox or online on my community’s Facebook page.
These events are free to attend and often have live music. They can last one day to the whole weekend and feature food, drinks, games, and even carnival rides. They’re awesome, close to home, and totally affordable!
5. Local parks
I think we sometimes forget about all of the awesome parks around us. Within a 10-mile radius of my house — and I live in the boonies! — is everything from hiking trails to neighborhood parks that we can enjoy.
With fall around the corner, I’m ready to start enjoying the cooler weather at the park. We can take a picnic, play all day, and come home tired. Check online or at the library for maps and guides to local parks near you
Check out places like city hall and the library for events and resources in your town that are free and fun. My kids get more excited about this stuff than they do huge water parks, to be honest!