Low-Cost / High-Fun Factor Family Activities

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pricey camps and European vacations may not be in your budget, but that doesn’t mean you and your family have to sit slumped in front of a TV all summer. A little imagination and research yields a variety of interesting free or low-cost entertainment that can make your child’s “What I did this summer” essay a fascinating read. To start, keep checking out the site’s calendar of events

Free Music: 

  • Every Friday evening from May 2 through August, families can enjoy a free concert at O’Donnell Lake in St. Charles beginning at 7:00 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and a picnic. For the schedule, visit here
  • Free concerts are also held on Friday evenings at Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden beginning at 5:30. This concert series extends from Memorial Weekend through Labor Day weekend. Click here for the schedule

Play Miniature Golf or Paintball: Create some family memories with a competitive game of mini golf or paintball for $10 or less per person at Southern Maryland Paintball

Rely on the Library: Not only can you fill your summer by reading books; your local library offers free movie rentals. The Waldorf West library also has a variety of events including free children’s story hours. Check the website for updates.

Check out the Farmer’s Market: Every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning you’ll find a variety of fresh produce and baked goods from local farmers.

Go to a Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Baseball Game: Kids under age 5 attend for free and lawn seats are just $8 for the games. Check the website for the schedule.

Go to the Park: White Plains Regional Park includes an 18-hole golf course, lighted tennis courts, a tot lot and playground, and a dog park. Athletic fields, available by permit only, include a lighted soccer field, a lighted softball field, a lighted baseball field, a lighted Little League field and a lighted football field. The Little League field is available for community pick-up play when not scheduled for official league use.

Get Active: St. Charles has eight community centers, swimming pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, and hiking and biking trails all ready for residents to enjoy.

Old-fashioned Fun: You don’t always have to travel far to make fun memories. In fact, some of the best activities can happen right at home:

  • Camp in your backyard. You won’t need expensive camping gear – in fact, some blankets and sheets can be used for a makeshift tent.
  • Flashlight tag. Play hide-and-seek in the dark but tag people when you find them by shining the flashlight on them.
  • Organize a scavenger hunt. Make up your own clues based on the age of your kids and have them search your house or your neighborhood to find a prize – something as simple as a plate of cookies or cooler filled with popsicles will do.
  • Put on a play. Check out a children’s play from the library or have your kids write their own based on a familiar fairy tale or their own imagination. Help them out with props and costumes and invite the neighbors as their audience.
  • Organize a band. If you have them on hand you can use your own instruments but if not, let the kids make their own percussion instruments with a coffee can and some dried beans or a steel drum from your sturdy pot and a wooden spoon.
  • Play with water. Run in the sprinklers or set up an inflatable baby pool with toys. Even the adults can enjoy soaking their toes on a hot day.
  • Finger paint with pudding. Mix up a batch of vanilla pudding and add food coloring, then let your kids paint with the pudding on paper taped to a picnic table or sidewalk. Feel free to let them lick their fingers.
  • Play tag or hide and seek indoors or outside.
  • Play games. If it’s too hot to be out, turn on the air conditioning and dig out a deck of cards or a board game. If your kids are old enough, teach them to play chess.

Think back to your childhood memories and you can probably add to this list of fun and free activities.