For Mommies of Big Families

Updated on April 23, 2012
L.G. asks from Glendora, CA
19 answers

I need ideas for low/no cost fun activities for big families to do in the summer. My kides get so bored!

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for all your great ideas! I guess I should have been more specific. I have 11 children (10 still at home). They range in age from 6mo to 21yrs. I can't wait to try some of the fun activities that have been suggested. Thanks a bunch!

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answers from Reno on

In my house (only 2), if you're bored, what you're really telling me is that you want to do more yard and house chores. My kids learned from the time they were five that there is always fun to be found somewhere because even the silliest game outside is better than chores.

I have a ton of games from Apples to Apples to Risk lying around and, believe it or not, my teens love playing them. I got most of them cheaply at Wal Mart.

Good luck!

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answers from Bellingham on

The beach! Go rock pooling, get a second-hand surfboard and learn to surf etc. go to your local public pool - hours of fun and activity for a few dollars. Picnics at the park, put the sprinkler on in the yard and give them water pistols - my aunt's street has an annual water war which everyone loves. Bbqs, camping out in the yard, going for short hikes, visiting a marina to check out the yachts, make your own ice cream.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

We are a family of 7, and in the midwest. The activities my kids like are nature hikes, pack a lunch, do a scavenger hunt, the older kids get the camera. Picnics are their favorite as to start it off I pick a couple of the kids to pretend to be waitresses and they take the orders. Another one gets to be the chef. All the kids have learned how to cook so they enjoy helping out there. We also play flashlight tag at night. Libraries, parks, zoos, we just read the newspaper for activities that are lower cost, free days etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My family (10 of us) would play baseball. We would rotate through the family. 5 on one team and 5 on the other. Our yard was big enough (26 acres) so that we had our own baseball diamond, but I knew of large families that would go to a public baseball diamond and use it. We also went river rafting and floating and swiming in the nearby lakes and streams. We would then have a picnic and cook hot dogs and hamburgers and make s'mores or just roast marshmellows.

Two years we had a ski boat and did water skiing and tubing.

Camping by a lake or stream is also wonderful.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

We are a family of 7 also and like Mamma3 we also love to do the nature scene.

We love to camp along a river/ lake and swim, fish, hike. Looking at plants and watching the animals. Looking for neat shells and rocks.

We do take along paper, pens and crayons and some buckets and shovels. For the younger two some trucks and dolls and other small toys. A ball to kick around and a tennis ball and racquet's or their baseball glove for the older ones.

Its a great way for the family to reconnect with out all of the technology or spending money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We are a family of 8 total (7 at home with 1 away from home). Our kids are from 5 mo - 17 years old. hope this will help a little eventhough we are pretty far apart...

Alot of zoos offer family passes for under $100, which gets you into the zoo you bought them at for a year at no charge & most of them offer free or reduced entery to other zoos though out the country as well. We also go for a lot of walks at our local Metro-park, which ours have a Spring Spree for All (walk 5 trails under 1/2 mile in the spring & get a pin as a reward) and a Fall Hike (hike 8 trails 1 - 3 miles and get a walking stick & small badge for on it your first year & a badge every year after). Both the Sping & Fall walks/hike things are free to county residents & a small fee for out of county residents. The Metro-parks also offer free classes about nature some of with are age ranked... preschool groups, 6-8 yr groups, ect.

My in-laws have a membership to a neighborhood pool, so they take the kids to it now & then and also take at a few to swimming lessons (last year they took 2 this year it maybe 3 of them). We also bought an above gound pool about 2 years ago... so we use it to pass some of the time.

In addition we take the kids to the school where they can play on the playground or ride bikes in the parking lot.

Movies are free at the library... so movie night is possible.

Honestly - I'm glad you asked this question... looking forward to others input.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Our local library offers passes or steep discounts to a number of local attractions (zoos, museums, aquarium, etc) for free. All you need is a library card to borrow the pass. We've gone a number of places we could never afford for a family by taking advantage of this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hiking, picnicking, spending time at a local beach, river or lake, free activities at the library. Some museums also have free days.
Our local movie theater has really low cost movies once a week during the summer, like $3. Of course they are older movies but they are all rated G and it's a great way to get out of the heat!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Do theme activities that include repurposing or recycling things.

A drive in movie with "cars" the kids make out of boxes and construction paper. A busy activity followed by popcorn and treat making and the watching a feature film. You can make the food match the theme of the movie.

A water day with water balloons and pools and stuff.

Bubbles. you can find recipes to make solution and use strings and sticks to make HUGE bubbles.

A fort day.

Make an obstacle course challenge.

Happy summer!



answers from Las Vegas on

Hey, us small 2 children (nearly only child) families run out of things to do too. Tonight, my oldest rode her bike while I chased behind the little one (foot pursuit), until she had the confidence to ride on her own. Had I not had the older one riding ahead, the younger one would have given up long ago.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi! We're in West L.A. with close beach access so that's definitely on our top 10 list of free stuff to do. We hike at a lot of different parks. We take a picnic and make an afternoon out of it. We've gone everywhere from areas w/in 5 minutes of our house to the top of PV or Griffith park. Griffith park has an enormous area for hiking trails as well as areas to play tag, soccer, baseball, whatever you can come up with. Travel town is free if you have kids who like trains. We even go to the In N Out by the airport and watch the planes landing at the park across the street sometimes. It's free and tons of fun. We also bought a family annual pass to the Aquarium of the Pacific which is really reasonable (roughly $160 for whole fam I think) and go there often with razors and bikes to ride around the path after we're done at the aquarium. For your days when you don't wanna leave the house, I say invest in a slip n slide and a large stock of water balloons. Those have always been the best of times for our family. good luck :)



answers from Jacksonville on

I don't know the area, but we love renting a bounce house and the kids have a blast. See what is in your area.



answers from Los Angeles on

We have a local theater that has free movies during the summer. The are usually older movies, but my kids love getting out to the theater. A typical summer movie day is 10:00 movie, play in the fountains at the mall where we saw the movie while eating a picnic lunch (the mall actually encourages playing in the fountains) then walk a block to the library for a puppet or magic show. I always look up all the free library activities.



answers from Los Angeles on

swimming pool, beach, park, take advantage of the museums that offer free days (often first saturday of the month or something),nature hike, picnics, griffith park



answers from Los Angeles on

Not sure how "big" you're talking about... BUT, some fun things to do near Glendora:
The LaVerne movie theater usually does the free movies on Tuesday or Wednesday at 10. Same thing in West Covina, but usually a different movie. I couldn't find the link for this summer, but I'd be surprised if they didn't do it again! It usually starts in June, so maybe check in a few weeks.

The library in Glendora has storytime and music times. Blue Chair Children's Book Store in downtown Glendora has music time and story time throughout the week, not sure if that will continue in the summer.

The LA Zoo has a family membership, for our fam of 4 it was going to be around $80, I think. Worth checking into - even though there's a cost, it a re-use.

Victoria Gardens to browse and play in the fountain on a hot day.

Put on a family play, invite the neighbors.

I'm going to keep checking back here!!



answers from Los Angeles on

I thought one of the big arguments for having a lot of kids was that they will always play with each other and never get bored? :)

We love the park, the beach, local libraries, swimming parties, etc. During the summer, I send my son to vacation Bible school, which is either very cheap or free at a lot of local churches. Maybe you can think of a fun project that the kids can all work on together for the summer, like building a tree house in your backyard, putting on a talent show or art exhibit, or filming a movie?



answers from Los Angeles on

Tide Pools
Nature Walks
Parks and Recs programs
Look for local craft stores who give classes



answers from Lansing on

I answered a similar question a couple of weeks ago. We live in MI and have a weird Michigan book. It's full of funny bizarre and creepy places in our state. My kids all really remember a trip we took to find "melon head babies" it was so much fun! All it took was the gas and a picnic lunch. We all walked around these woods looking for them....never saw any...LOL. Every book has one of these and some of the stuff is very close to where you live. Grab the book pick a place and go.



answers from San Diego on

I actually live in San Diego, not sure how helpful I will be.
Here, we love the beaches and hiking in the parks (Mission Trails Park, Cowles Mountain, etc).
For inside activities, check out your local theaters, they usually show 2nd run movies that kids enjoy free on Tues or Weds morning. I won't lie, we do not buy the food there... that way it is FREE and the kids enjoys getting a bit of freedom not having to sit right next to me.
Public libraries also offer story time with crafts and special events. The local rec centers might also offer something.
Our middle school offers a FREE science camp for the students attending that school.
Our YMCA has water slide at pool and for non members it is $2 for a session.
My big thing is that you have to plan and research for free things.
Hope this was helpful. We have 5 children ages 17-13-12-10-4, it is difficult to find wide spread activities to make all happy.

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