Five Free (Summer) Field Trips


1.  Spraygrounds- Called spraygrounds or splash parks, these free fountains are always a kid favorite.  Who doesn’t want to play in the water on a hot day?  I was especially grateful for spraygrounds when I had a baby and a toddler.  Take them both to the swimming pool by myself? A nightmare.  But watch my oldest run through the fountains while my baby sits and splashes?  Very doable.

2.  Bowling Alley– Kids can get two free games of bowling every day, all summer long!  Check out to see if a bowling alley in your area participates.  We did this last year and loved it!

3.  Concerts– Lots of shopping centers, communities, parks, and churches do free summer concerts in the evenings.  What better way to spend a summer night?  Just do a search for “free summer concert (your city name here)” and see what you can find.

4.  Art Fairs- Hands down my favorite activity.  We have already been to two this summer!  Although taking toddlers to a place with large groups of people and very expensive objects is not for a the faint of heart.  Wearable babies or older kids make the best art viewers (in my experience).

5.  Public School Playgrounds-  The schools are out and the playgrounds are open!  Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon “at recess.”  Just make sure to check the signage to make sure it is open to the public.


Five Free (Indoor) Field Trips

I go a little stir-crazy around the house in the winter.  We try to go outside for a little bit to get some fresh air.  But it’s so cold!!  The kids and I have to get out of the house, explore the world, and….see other people.  Oh yeah, I also don’t like to spend money.  Where can you go to entertain the kids that doesn’t cost anything?


1.  pet store- It’s like going to the zoo…only free!  Oh yeah, it also has a little smaller animals.  No problem.  Small animals are great for small kids!  Hear birds squawking.  Watch fish swimming.   Maybe you’ll even get to touch a few rabbits.   The kids will love it!  Just don’t walk away with another pet.

2. library- Most libraries have a story time, but some go above and beyond with book chats, speakers, Mother Goose time and the list goes on.  We’ve even gone to a “preschool disco” at our library!  Check with your local library for a schedule of events.  Even if there isn’t a special program, a trip to the library is always worth it.  Grab some books, DVDs, and CDs to keep the kids entertained when you are stuck at home.

3.  toy store-  This can be tricky.  Only attempt it if you know there won’t be an ugly melt-down when the kids realize you aren’t buying anything  (i.e.- you don’t have a two-year-old).  However, some toy stores have LOTS of toys on display that the kids can try out.  We have successfully gone to toy stores, played, and walked out empty-handed.  Try giving older kids a pencil and paper to make a wishlist for their birthday.

4.  art museum- This is one of my personal favorite field trips.  Some art museums do charge admission, so try out free galleries or even local art displays in malls or civic centers.  Make up an art scavenger hunt before you go to have even more fun!

5. mall- Let’s go the mall, today!  Or just go to the mall indoor playground!  It’s a win-win.  You get to people watch.  The kids get to play and get infected with all sorts of germs.  Wait.  Make sure you have some hand sanitizer in your purse.  Also, never tell the kids that those ride-on machines take money.  My kids were not aware that they moved (and still happily sat, pushed buttons, and pretended)…until granny ruined my secret!


If you are interested in more:  Five Free (Fall) Field Trips

Five Free (Fall) Field Trips

Like that alliteration?  I should write tongue twisters.  Five free fall field trips to see ferocious pheasants and fat furry farm animals.  No good?  Anywhoo……

Your toddler is starting to say “Bust my buffers” because he has watched too much Thomas the Train, and you are getting stressed out looking at all the dishes and laundry you need to do.  Time to pack the kids up and go on a little adventure!  A change of scenery will put everyone in a better mood and they might learn something, too!  Don’t worry about planning a big outing, even little field trips are exciting for kids.  Afterall, my idea of a good time isn’t going up and down the escalator 20 times, but my daughter loves it.  Okay.  Maybe I like it a little, too.  Here are a little more (ahem) educational ideas than escalator riding….

1.  Farmer’s Market-  Yeah, you could buy things.  Or you could just take in all the sights, smells, and sounds for free.  It’s great place for learning the names of new foods and even tasting a few samples.  KC Locals: Check out this farmer’s market list from KC Parent.

2.  Fall Festivals- This is my hands-down favorite thing to do with my family.  You can watch artists at work, listen to live music, and maybe even jump in a bouncy house or two.  What is not to love?  KC Locals: Here is KC Parent’s Fall Festival List.

3.  Nature Walk-  Walk on a bike path or just around your neighborhood.  Talk about what animals you could see.  Compare the colors of trees.  Bring along a bag to collect acorns, leaves, and other “treasures.”

4.  Story times-  With school starting, library (or book store) story times are in full-swing.  Listen to some good books, and then you can do some related crafts or activities back at home.

5.  Picnic in the Park-  Soak up the last of the nice days in the great outdoors.  Pick out a park you have never been to before, pack some snacks (or go grab some fast food on the way…nobody’s judging!) and a blanket, and spend the day in the sunshine!