I’m going to brag a bit in this post because of all the cool things that you can do in my hometown. My family just happens to live in one of the top 100 places in the country for young people. There are tons of things to do here. I haven’t even listed all of them. These are just some of the things that I like to do with my family. I am all about free events and getting freebies. Occasionally there are costs involved, but for a person on a shoe string budget the fees are small (5-30$). This video is a short one and half minute video of some of the things on this list.
1. Visit a farmer’s market
(Lots of locally grown produce at reasonable prices). I like the best bang for my buck, so if the prices didn’t match the local grocery store I do not purchase the goods. Reasons to buy from a farmer’s market
- Locally grown (fresher)
- Helping your community farmers
- Your child/students meet the people who actually produce the foods that is on their shelf
- Show examples of running part of a business
- It’s fun to go and see what’s growing (changes with the seasons)
- Usually these are held outdoors
- Sometimes there are free samples. (I love the kettle corn guy)
- Prices are reasonable
2. Visit your local library
I can’t stress this enough. There are all kinds of reading programs in the summer for little ones, big ones, and adults. For my 17 month old there is a song/reading/play time. It is reassuring to see that I’m not the only parent that has a child who melts down, or shows signs of terrible twos. For my older daughter (8) there are computers with games, and lots and lots of books for us to read together (Fairies). For me there is also a summer reading program. After reading to the girls I then read for myself. Right now I am reading two books; The Element by Sir Ken Robinson and Artistic License by Julie A. Hyzy. As I was reading Artistic License, I remembered that I had read the book a few summers ago. It was a good book then, and still is.
There’s still more
- Free movies
- Crafty Thursdays
- Free speakers geared towards the summer reading program for children
- Programs for Teens (I’m not there yet as a parent)
- Programs for babies (past this stage)
- Lots o’ books
3. Visit your local gardens
The Dow Gardens is the best! So if you don’t live in the area, I’m sorry. They host lots of neat things geared for all ages. The cost is 10$ per person (5 and under free) for a seasonal pass or $5 a visit. We go two to four times a week so it’s worth its weight in gold.
- Attend an outdoor concert. (Free if you have a pass) Our local garden hosts a concert every Wednesday. Pack a lunch and listen to the wonderful tunes.
- This year a glass artist is installing new artwork piece every Sunday somewhere in the garden. My daughters and I go hunting for the new piece.
- There are free movie nights for adults. Pack a picnic, blanket. Take your sweetheart with you.
- Attend the craft making station in the Children’s garden. Yes they have gardens just for children; one of my favorite sections on the property. This also occurs on Wednesdays.
- Attend story time on Friday’s in the Children’s garden. On the second and fourth Friday they have super story time and they set up the sprinklers. My daughters love the sprinklers.
In the Children’s Garden they have lots to do for free:
- Pick vegetables in the fall, one per little hand
- Weekly scavenger hunt of things in the garden
- Build scarecrows for the garden (this is a fun day for families)
- Kiss Sir Lancelot (big pig statute)
- Talk with the gardeners, they have lots of answers
- Blow bubbles (there’s a bubble station)
- Play in the sand box (it’s in the fort)
- Water the plant (there’s a spot to fill up water buckets)
- Brush the sidewalk (lots of brushes)
- Play in the apple house (it’s very cute)
- Sit in the cob house
- Build fairy houses and attend the Fairy Party (this is where I had my fairy idea)
- Look at the fish in the pond
- If you put your registration in early (February) then you can be part of the Growing Gardeners’ program. We almost didn’t make it this year. I called two days after they opened the sessions and it was almost filled. This program is amazing. Mrs. Melissa is wonderful!
- Step 1: Register
- Step 2: Pick your plants
- Step 3: They start them from seed
- Step 4: Attend at your time and day: receive, plant book for each week with lessons, bag, pencil. (They have the tools you need) They teach how to use the tools and what to do.
- Step 5: Build your own scarecrow
- Step 6: Come back every week, water, weed, measure and watch the plants grow throughout the summer.
- Step 7: Harvest your vegetables and eat. Yumm!
There is a little cost for the program (25$, it is so worth it. Cheapest “summer camp” that I know of) This year they opened a weekend box program for those who didn’t get into the Growing Gardeners.
4. Visit your local Nature Center
Every week there are a variety of activities to explore and trails to follow. There is a spot to go and catch tadpoles and frogs. You can check out tools for exploring, and pond dipping.
5. Visit your local forest and walk the trails
We like to go into the “tree” houses that are placed throughout the forest. They also have a beehive that is placed indoors and connects outdoors.
6. Attend local art fairs
Every Thursday there is an Artist’s Market at the Farmer’s market.
7. Visit the local art projects downtown
This year trolls have invaded the downtown area. One year there were frogs everywhere.
8. Attend your local baseball games
These are a lot of fun. Personally, I like the lawn seating. The tickets are cheaper and more fun because you don’t need to worry about blocking another person’s view. Our local stadium has a playground area for children who get restless. I also like to watch the fireworks at the end of the game.
9. Visit your local science center
We saw reptiles dead and alive. We also like to see the other experiments and exhibits.
10. Visit your local rib place
Bone Daddy’s won the nugget cook-off. So when I say I know where to get the best ribs in the nation. I’m not telling a tale. Best part. I live really close to them. On a good day you can smell the ribs.
11. Visit a local ice-cream shop
My personal favorite is the Great Lakes Ice Cream Company. Dog puke is my favorite ice cream. It’s sounds gross but it is ever so yummy. This is a treat for a hot day.
You may not live in my community; however, a great spot to check out your local events is the library or the newspaper. Go out and have an adventure!