Summer Learning Activities That Are Free (or Cheap!)

summer learning activities that are free or cheapFor most of the year, students are involved in plenty of learning at school and at after-school programs. However, when summer arrives it is a good idea to keep kids’ minds active and busy. Letting kids watch TV all summer or play with the iPad constantly won’t stimulate their brains or make it easy to go back to school in the fall. Doing fun things around the community that involve learning as well is a great way to enjoy summer while still working out the mind! Here is a list of ideas and suggestions for summer learning activities that are usually free (or cheap!).

Summer Learning Activities to Keep Kids Active

Local Parks

A lot of the time, your local park will host activities for children and the community that don’t cost anything. Tours of the local nature preserve or hands on learning about nature, resources, or local wildlife are offered when the weather is nice out. Local parks may host nature hikes that focus on specific topics and in bigger cities you can even find photography or yoga programs in the park! Often times these activities will be listed on each park’s website online, but if not just give the office a quick call to see if there is anything offered. It is a great way to get outside and meet other kids and parents in the community, while learning about nature!

The Library

The library is a great free resource for summertime activities (or anytime!). Libraries often offer summer reading lists and prizes to students for completing their book list as well as free learning activities for kids and students. For younger kids, storytimes and storytelling groups are a great way to get kids involved in reading and to meet other kids. Libraries have even have classes on how to use the computers and many times have free computers to use with learning games for students.

Like the parks, most of the time these activities and classes will be listed online. It can also just be fun for kids to pick out different, fun books to take home, and if you sometimes have trouble getting your student to read, check out these tips.


Museums are always a great way to learn and explore! Most museums offer discounted or free admission for kids, and if not, there is usually one day a week that they offer free admission. History museums usually have educational videos and hands-on activities for kids and adults along with many different types of exhibits and interactive displays.

Art museums are a great way to get kids talking about time periods, technique, art mediums, and more. They can be very inspirational to creative kids who like to paint, draw, or take photos, too. Just like other local spots, museums usually offer summertime activities for kids and different classes to learn about art and meet local artists.

Encourage kids and students to ask questions, or make up a scavenger hunt before you go of things to look for in the paintings or at the museum. Some kids are under the impression that museums are boring, but making an activity like that can make it more exciting!


A lot of festivals happen around town in the summer, and many times kids’ admission is free or discounted. Local festivals can vary widely by the area you live in, but community festivals can include things like music, food, art, workshops, and local vendors. Festivals are a great way to get involved in the community and have kids and students learn about new things.

Music festivals can introduce kids to different instruments and genres of music and might even encourage them to pick up an instrument. Art festivals introduce kids to a wide variety of crafts and art mediums, and usually vendors are eager to demonstrate their craft and answer any questions. Interacting with festival participants is a great way for students to find new things they are interested in and learn (while not feeling like they are learning).


You can involve your children in learning at home by letting them help you with the cooking. Make it a special day by finding a recipe and then letting them go to the store and try to find the ingredients. It will encourage independence and it is almost like a scavenger hunt while they are trying to find all the ingredients and crossing them off the list. Each child will also be able to learn about measurements, and older students can help make recipes bigger or smaller by dealing with the fractions. Using real world applications of math concepts will give them practice without seeming like work.

These are just a few ideas to get you started with summertime ideas. There are so many local resources out there, depending on the type of community you live in and what kids like to do.

What do you like to do with your kids in the summertime? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Elisa Travalio, Teacher and Editor at A Grade Ahead

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