Under the Umbrella: Low Cost Summer Fun!

The April showers have tapered off and the May flowers are vividly blooming. School has been out for a little while already and, if we know kids, they are already telling you that they are bored and want something to do. Aside from assigning household chores, or settling the kiddos in front of the latest video game or mobile app, there are plenty of fun activities that you can all do for little or no cost.

When the sun is shining: Go outside! According to one study, children today are spending less than half of the time they spent outdoors 20 years ago. Wisconsin is a state that is filled with natural beauty, and adults as well as children can enjoy the great outdoors. Why not expose the entire family to all that Wisconsin has to offer? Check out your local and state parks. Many parks offer free activities and family activities. If you need a starting point: start with Wisconsin’s 7 Natural Wonders.

Travel the world while staying close to home.  Exposing children to vibrant beauty of other cultures can be difficult with a limited travel budget. But many Wisconsin communities offer ethnic festivals from all over the world. From the Northland Mardi Gras to Bastille Days in Milwaukee, the whole family will get to experience the food, dress and crafts of other cultures all while expanding their horizons by learning about the wider world around them. Check out this list for ethnic festivals in your area.

Enjoy a family movie outside. If you are having trouble getting the kids off the couch to enjoy the summer weather, why not compromise and enjoy a family movie outside. Besides boasting many classic and affordable drive-in movie theaters, many Wisconsin communities offer outdoor film nights, such as Baraboo’s Movies On The Square or Milwaukee’s “Family Flicks” in the parks. You might also check with your local Park & Recreation Department, as smaller communities often have similar offerings.

There is a festival for everyone! From the New Glarus Fire Fest to the Medford Strawberries & Cream Festival, there is festival for every taste and interest. Wisconsin is famous for its wide variety of street festivals. These festivals are fun and engaging and showcase local goods such as crafts and tasty treats. They also offer a wide variety of family activities that are sure get the whole into the festive atmosphere. Be sure to check out the statewide fairs and festival event calendar.

colorful-boats-header.jpgThe land of 15,000 lakes. Minnesota may be proud of the moniker “The land of 10,000 lakes,” but did you know that Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes? And many of those lakes have beaches that are available to the public. Besides swimming, there are many water activities such as canoeing and fishing available. Check out the DNR’s lake website to find a lake near you.

But it’s raining outside! If the weather turns sour all of a sudden, there are many great activities you can do indoors. The local library has many activities for children during the week, and it is a great place for children and families to spend a rainy afternoon. You can also check out local museums, which not only offer fun activities but unique learning experiences to capture a child’s imagination.

These are just some of the many free and low cost activities available to families in Wisconsin. With a little planning, you can pack the long days of summer with enriching activities that will be sure to bring families together and build lasting memories.


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