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Places to Go With Your Kids That Don't Involve Money

by Erica Loop, studioD

Give your wallet a break and plan a few fun-filled family activities that don't involve blowing your monthly family budget. If admission charges, ticket prices and other extra costs are adding up, don't begin to worry that you have to trade in a day out with the kids to save a few dollars. Keep in mind that there are plenty of places to go with your kids that don't involve money.


Spending the day at a park is an easy, no-cost activity for you and your child. Younger kids may enjoy playing on the climber, slides or swings at your local community park's playground. Older kids and teens won't get such as kick out of a playground outing, and may need a more adult-like option. Try a nature hike or a bike ride through the park's trails. Aside from local or municipal parks, you can also visit state and national parks. While some activities, such as camping, require a payment, others in a state or nation park -- including hiking, biking, bird watching or swimming -- are free.

Free Museum Day

According to the American Alliance of Museums, about 850 million visitors go to museums in the U.S. each year. While the costs of admission can often seem steep, many museums offer free programs or days. For example, each year participating museums offer free admission during Museum Day Live! hosted, by the Smithsonian Magazine. This annual event is a taste of the free admission that the Smithsonian Institute offers every day year-round at its Washington, D.C. institutions. Other museums may offer a free days for area residents. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago offers select free days each month for all Illinois residents.

Your Own Backyard

If you want to take the kids on a camping adventure but don't want to spend the money on a campsite rental, try a backyard activity. Set up a tent in the yard, tell ghost stories and tuck yourself in with the kids for an at-home, cost-free camping experience. Another backyard option is to have a game or Olympics-themed day. Invite neighborhood kids or friends from school, and hold races and relays such as a three-legged obstacle course, a long jump or tug-of-war.

Farm Fun

With roughly 2.2 million farms in the U.S. -- according to the Environmental Protection Agency -- visiting one of these agriculture-oriented businesses can turn into a fun and free family outing. Choose a farm that allows visitors or has a market-type store. While you might not get to take the kids traipsing through the fields, you can take a walk around them. This will give the kids the chance to see what a real working farm looks like and how farmers grow their food. Some farms may have a visitor or educational tour program. This provides a cost-free way for you to take your kids through the farm with an expert guide.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images