It's summertime. If you live in the north like I do, then you know this is a great time to get outside with your littles. I kind of feel like this last winter was the longest winter ever! So, I am being very intentional to get outside this spring and summer. The goal in our home is to find something that is fun and low cost (or free). I have set out to find things to do this summer that fit into this criteria.
1. Local parks.
We have several parks immediately in our area that we enjoy. We have also purchased a state park pass to use this summer as well. It was only $28.00, but it is for unlimited visits to any state park here in Wisconsin for the rest of this year and we plan to use it again. We can pack up a lunch to take it with us and can also bring small toys or games to play with at the park as well.
2. The zoo.
We have a zoo very close to us. We bought the yearly pass and it is totally worth it. I paid $150.00 for this, but it includes the parking which is astronomical per visit and one free guest. We have already gone to the zoo about ten times this year. This more than pays for our pass. Plus, I can take a grandparent, friend or another of Joe’s friend with us for free. We can choose to pack a lunch and keep it low cost or we can buy lunch there. Our zoo pass this year also included four free tickets to some of the different attractions that are there so we can visit the lego display or ride the carousel or train for free.
3. Splash Pads
Last year I discovered splash pads. We are excited that this year they are building a splash pad, not just in our village, but the village near us as well. The splash pads around us are all free and so much fun.
4. Outdoor Movie Night
We have a local website that will write guides for different things that we can do or see in our area. This year I plan to check out several of the outdoor movie nights. We are a careful with what our little guy is allowed to watch, so we will be checking out some that are geared towards the really little people. Again, these are all free events. Some of them will have booths set up to sell snacks and foods, but enjoying a movie is not dependent upon shopping the booths.
5. Take Nature Walks
Here in Wisconsin, we have plenty of walking trails. We have a couple right near us and have gone a few times already. I try to point out all things of nature. My son is two and a half, so we talk about colors, shapes, what letter a certain word starts with and what sound it makes, etc. It is a nice way to get outside and it is completely free.
6. The Lake
We have several lakes around us. (The reason we are called “lake country” I'm sure) This year we have visited a couple. My guy is more interested in the sand than the water, but it sure is nice to get out and just sit in the sun to soak up that vitamin D.
Our area is alive with festivals in the summer. We have not done a whole lot of them in the past, but this year we are going to hit up a couple of them and we also do our yearly visit to the the State Fair in August. If your state has a fair and you haven't gone, then you should go. The tickets are fairly inexpensive to get in and it is so much fun. My husband typically gets free tickets from work and we go. I personally love going to see all the animals that are competing, but there are other fun things to do. There are always big-name singers/bands there that you can pay additional money to go see. Of course, food. Lots and lots of food. Ours has a lot of carnival type rides for the kids. This is one that is always on our list of fun stuff to do.
8. Visit A Friend
Get together with your friends. I have a friend who lives on the lake. She has invited us over. We intend to go. We just put up a large play set in our backyard. We will be inviting friends over to play. Find your people and get together in your own backyards. Everyone brings a dish to pass or snacks and you have a tribe to help keep track of the kids.
9. Visit the Big City
We live right next to a "big city", but in the springtime we went to visit Chicago. It was so much fun. Just to see a different area and different people. It continues to amaze me that an hour or two of driving can take you to a completely different culture of people. My son had an amazing time too. We went to visit the aquarium, but we had to park a distance away and were able to visit a small park on the way and some fun interactive play areas on our walk over.
10. Farmer's Market
Friends, I don't know where you live, but in our area there are Farmer's Market's galore. They are everywhere and they are all on different days of the week at different times. I love to visit, walk around, talk to people and buy from local people.
If you are not sure of what is happening in your area then ask around. If you do not have many friends or just moved to the area, you can get on social media and find out events in your area. I am in a couple of mom groups on Facebook that plan outings together and they also share upcoming free or low-cost events that they find. I also follow a group of ladies on Instagram that blog about things that are going on in our area and write guides of the different events happening. I especially like this one because they will post about upcoming events in their Instagram stories and then they also will blog guides that they share of events and things to do. If you are in the lake country area of Wisconsin you can check them out at lakecountryfamilyfun.com or follow them on Instagram (they are even on Facebook) Use social media to help you get outdoors with your family.
Have fun friends and enjoy this summer, because... winter is coming.