Free Things I Love To Do In The Summer

Kids are freaking expensive, and places where you usually bring your kids for entertainment can be REALLY expensive - hence why we've never been to Underwater World (See here for ticket prices) or Valley Fair or to the rides at the Mall of America or even to the Minnesota Zoo without someone that has a membership. 

Am I denying my child a fun childhood? NO.

I'm being a smart parent that likes to save money.

So we do other things instead.

Saint Louis Park offers free concerts in the park on Wednesday nights.

I did end up buying a pool pass for each of us, however, we've used it 5 times in a week so that's already paid for itself. 

The local neighborhood park is always entertaining.

We bike to Lake Calhoun and stop at the parks around the lake, bring a snack/lunch/drinks and people watch. 

The LIBRARY. OMG. It's the best. I swear, I come home with two new books to read and The Monkey comes home with BAGS full of books. Do they all get read? Not every week but we sure do have fun picking out books - her current favorites are the Fancy Nancy series and all books by Mo Willems (if you haven't heard of Knuffle Bunny, you need to get on that shit, best kids' book series ever!). 

We also just bought a new tag-along bike trailer so The Monkey can sit and pedal along (it's called a WeeHoo). It doesn't have the storage like the full-on bike trailer but it sure is easier to ride and a heck of a lot more fun. Bimmer Man can get up to 17 miles per hour (probably even faster if we were really biking) and I was going along at 13 mile per hour around Lake Calhoun - one guy was happy enough to give us our speed and an enthusiastic thumbs up to The Monkey for being an awesome "biker."

LEGOS. Our basement looks like The Lego Movie. 'Nough said.

Gardening in our yard. The Monkey is happy with a shovel, a bucket, a rake, and a garden hose. Dirty? Yes. Memorable? Yep. I'm starting to teach her how to identify plants. So far she knows a few herbs, lilies, tomato plants, and butterfly bush. And yes, she's only 3.

Cooking/Baking. She helps dump all the ingredients into the bread machine to make bread. She smashes eggs (please note, I didn't write "crack" eggs), stirs what needs to be stirred, scoops cookie dough onto cookie sheets, and is a pretty great "helper" in the kitchen. 

Splashpad. It's free for residents. Generally The Monkey only lasts 15 - 25 minutes anyway, so we don't go as often. Andplusalso because it's free it gets busy and the older kids can be a little nuts. Some parents don't actually watch their kids and the older kids ruin the fun of the younger kids. 

CLEANING. Put your kid to work. I give The Monkey a cloth and a squirt bottle of water and I just say... "Have fun cleaning! You said you were bored!" It doesn't last long... but I also haven't heard "I'm bored!" in quite a few weeks.

Sooo... there's my list of ideas of things to do that are free (or mostly free if you already have the supplies). Summer is a ton of fun and I really like to make sure that we're enjoying the great days outside when we can. I LOVE summer... and I LOVE to enjoy these days while we can - because in the middle of winter I really do miss the 90 degree days of the summer!

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