Three free things you can do with your kids at a moment’s notice

School’s out! Now what? Despite having all the toys they could ever need, you’ll inevitably hear “mooooom, I’m bored.” Deep breath. Here are three free (and screen-free!) things you can do with your kids at a moment’s notice. Sanity saved, peace restored. 

  • Check out your local library
  • No longer just a place to be shushed by elderly librarians, kids are encouraged to come and enjoy today’s libraries. Most libraries offer storytimes for all ages of kids, and special events like reading to therapy dogs or crafting classes. A lot of local libraries have been redesigning their children’s sections to be more exciting for kids. Think Legos, giant wall-size Lite Brites, STEM activities, puzzles, life-size building blocks, and things to climb on and get the wiggles out. Plus, kids and adults can check out books, comics, magazines, and movies. 

  • Be mad scientists  
  • There are hundreds of recipes on Pinterest for science experiments that you can do in your kitchen with just basic pantry staples. Try the time-tested favorite of a baking soda and vinegar volcano or try to mix oil and water, or find something more complicated to really stretch your creativity. You can even find recipes for homemade playdoh and slime with common kitchen ingredients for added boredom busting. Bonus, once they’re done mixing up their latest scientific concoction, they can spend time playing with it, too. 

  • Visit your local parks
  • If you’re in the suburbs, try visiting different neighborhood playgrounds for a change of scenery. Check out your city’s website for different activities they may be hosting at local parks. Some parks have splash pads which are great for beating the heat on those hot summer days. And splash pads and fountains like that are generally free. Your city parks might also host events like family movie nights, concerts in the park, or events like touch-a-truck. Check out neighboring towns, too; you don’t have to be a resident to enjoy the free events in the parks or use the park systems. 

    Being the coordinator for all the things is a lot of work, and then having to manage the kids’ summer entertainment on top of it all can be overwhelming. Of course, there are plenty more free things you can do with your kids, but when you find yourself at your wit’s end, taking them to a park to burn off some energy or to the library on a rainy day could just be the sanity saver everyone needs this summer.