I was listening to the radio the other day and the DJ was talking about how expensive kids are in the summer. He said, "On average, parents spend about $600 per child each summer." What?! That's crazy! There's no way it could be that expensive. But then, I started adding numbers in my head... Between summer camps, tournament fees, t-shirts, food (my kids can eat!) and not to mention all the gas to driving them around, $600 added up quick. It's different for each kid depending on their age and how many activities they're involved in, but no matter what, it's more money than we spend in the winter.
So for all the parents out there who are looking to save some $$$, here are six activities around town that are FREE!
1. Go to the movies
There are a few opportunities to see a free movie in Jefferson City this summer. If you want to enjoy an outdoor movie, check out Stars Under the Stars 2018. The movie takes place at Ellis-Porter Riverside Amphitheater. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to watch these movies on a giant inflatable screen right around dusk, about 8:45 pm. If you want to bring the family a little earlier, Freshwater Church provides pre-show activities that start around 7:00 pm.
If you are trying to beat the heat and want to stay indoors, Capital 8 Movie Theater has their FREE Summer Movie Series for FMG Rewards Members. Each week you can see some of your favorite family-friendly movies Monday-Friday at 10:00am. All you have to do is present your FMG Rewards card at the box office. Each member can get up to 6 free admissions. If you aren’t a member you can still go see the movies for $1 per ticket. BONUS! If you are a FMG member, you also receive 15% off concessions.
2. Go to the library
Our library is great! Not only do they have activities for kids to do on any random day, but they run great summer events. They have everything from STEAM events to family movie nights and its all for FREE! Their children’s program calendar is packed with activities for preschoolers all the way to teenagers.
3. Get out in nature
I know it has been brutally hot, but if you want your kids to get outside and see some nature, take a trip to Runge Nature Center. Early in the mornings the trails stay nice and cool with all the surrounding trees. One of the best parts is that along the paths there are different activities for the kids to do. There are blocks, logs, and kalidescopes to entertain you and your kids on an outdoor adventure.
In addition to walking along the nature trails, the inside of the conservation center is full of educational stations and learning activities. They also have a calendar of summer events, most of which are FREE. Bring your child along to learn about different aspects of nature.
4. Go for a bike ride
I always forget how fun riding a bike is! With the wind blowing past you, there is just a certain feeling of freedom that comes with riding a bike. Even on a hot day, it's still a good time.
One place we love to ride is the Katy Trail. In the summer is it a good place to go because there are so many trees along the path that provide plenty of shade. My father-in-law loves to ride on the Katy Trail with my daughter and they always have such a good time. They leave early on a Saturday morning and ride about 6 miles, which I promise is not that bad on a bike!
5. Go to the mall
Some days it's even too hot for the pool. All you want to do is sit in a nice, air-conditioned space while your kids burn some energy. The play place at the Capital Mall is perfect for this if you have younger kids. They can run, climb, and slide while you enjoy a perfectly consistent 73 degrees.
6. Take your kids to volunteer
There is no better way for kids to learn about giving back to the community than to actually participate. Even young kids can learn about volunteering by picking up litter or going to visit people at a retirement home. In fact, Missouri River Regional Library provides a great list of opportunities for kids to volunteer. Hopefully, young volunteers become life-long volunteer.
What other fun, free activities do you do with your kids during the summer? Let us know in the comments below!
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