Thursday, June 28, 2012

Frugal Summer Fun!

Free outdoor movie in our local park!
When I made our summer bucket list, I made sure to include things that are free and frugal. It's amazing how you can find things to do for practically nothing if you look hard enough!

First on our list are free concerts. Our town hosts a free outdoor concerts in our local park every Wednesday. I might not make every one, but there are a few performers we will try to see. It's a great activity with the kids, who can run around, enjoy the playground, listen to music or picnic with friends.

Waiting for outdoor movie night in town -- we brought snacks from home, blanket, chairs and... bug spray!
Our town also started something new this year: Free outdoor movies! Once a month, the town will show a movie at dusk on a big screen at a local park. The first night was Saturday and Big Girl and I went by ourselves to see "The Secret World of Arietty." We enjoyed it very much and are grateful that our local Park & Rec department offered this free event.

And speaking of movies, one of our local movie theaters has free films for families two mornings per week. Admission is free, and they have special pricing for concessions. The movies are things you can already see on DVD, but some of them we haven't seen and who doesn't love seeing something on the big screen?

Several bowling centers are hosting Kids Bowl Free days this summer. The program offers 2 free games per day for each child. Click on the link to find out more information.

Our local library also has several passes to local attractions around our state. The passes are for free or discounted admission, and it can really help save some pennies. At our library, you are able to sign up for a date and you just bring it back at the end of your outing for the next person to pick it up.

And speaking of libraries, be sure to plan some visits to borrow books and DVDs. Some libraries, like ours, even have free programs for kids each summer. We have already planned to attend some of the special programming at our library this summer, including a program on bats and birds.

Museums often also have "free hours" or "free days" on their schedule each month. If there is a place you might want to visit but think you can't afford to take the whole family, visit their website to look for discount days. You might even find a coupon on the site as well.

Free fun can also come in the most unexpected places. A visit to the local pet store is great for little ones, who might like to see fish, birds, hamsters, etc. Think of it as a scaled-down zoo for tots! I always loved to do this with Big Girl when she was small, and I'm thinking the little ones might enjoy a trip to the pet store soon too.

Don't underestimate nature! A walk in the park or a simple hike can be a great way to expend some energy and enjoy the outdoors. To make it more fun, make a list of things to find -- a scavenger hunt or "nature bingo," where you search for things like a bird's nest, white rock, pinecone, etc. If you have a GPS, try your hand at geocaching. Just remember to leave something behind in the box!

Free doesn't have to be boring. Just look outside the box and you'll find excitement in the most unexpected places.

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