This is my second summer as a mama but my first where we are actually out and about doing things! My 11-month-old twins are soaking up the world around them (and eating it — the struggle is real). I love to give them opportunities to visit new places and try new things. While two babies are twice the love and twice the fun, they are also twice the price of admission, so I’ve been on the hunt for free, baby-friendly fun this summer. Here are my top five free, fun activities for littles!
1. Playgrounds and splash pads
Playgrounds scream summer to me, and we are lucky to have so many amazing spots in and around Boston. We’ve been touring different playgrounds, and my favorites for toddlers and babies are North Point Park in Cambridge and Winthrop Park in Brookline. North Point Park’s playground is fenced in, with structures for big and little kids, a rubber surface, and fountains and a spray deck. Winthrop Park is shady, fenced in, and has plenty of fun structures for little ones. Other playgrounds we have visited but are better for bigger kiddos (or those who don’t try to eat every wood chip and grain of sand) are the Esplanade Playspace, the newly renovated Waldstein Park in Brookline, and Alexander W. Kemp playground in Cambridge. We’re looking forward to trying out Artesani Playground in Allston, Beaver Brook in Belmont, and the Waldstein Park spray deck in Brookline.
2. Picnics at the park
We have lunch picnics a few times a week — in our neighborhood park, on playdates, and as a pit stop on the way to or from running errands. Some days we’re fancy and I pack hummus and veggie sticks, watermelon, and cheese with crusty bread. Other times, it’s pouches and a pasta salad from Whole Foods. Either way, it’s fun to eat outside (and when we’re eating food, no one is eating grass). Some of my favorite picnic parks are Larz Anderson in Brookline, Cushing Memorial Park in Framingham, Millennium Park in West Roxbury, and Hall’s Pond Sanctuary in Brookline, where you can usually catch some wildlife in the form of turtles, herons, and other birds.
As a librarian, I love visiting different libraries. It’s easy to forget they offer so much more than books. The main branch of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square has a phenomenal children’s room. There are tons of engaging activities for little ones — sensory boards, puppets, baby dance parties, story times, and of course, books. For older kids, most libraries have summer reading programs with extra events such as sing-a-longs, movie screenings, craft and building projects, family yoga, and special presentations. Your local library likely also offers free or deeply discounted passes to most of greater Boston’s amazing museums, theaters, zoos, and even harbor cruises!
Free museum days
This summer, we are going to take advantage of Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays. Free Fun Fridays provides free admission to select museums in Massachusetts each week. In addition to Free Fun Fridays, I’ve been trying to take advantage of freebies that museums already offer. Our favorite free museum day so far is visiting the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln. They offer free admission the first Wednesday of the month! The deCordova has gorgeous sculptures, walking paths, plenty of green grass for picnics, a cafe and gallery, and interactive art exhibits. Other freebies to check out are Saturday Playdates at the Institute of Contemporary Art, and (almost free) $1 Friday nights at the Boston Children’s Museum.
Fairs, festivals, and concerts
In addition to special summer events like strawberry festivals, there are so many ongoing summer concert series and activities for kids in and around Boston. We will be checking out Kid Friendly Fun at The Street in Chestnut Hill, Brookline Summer Concert Series, Boston’s Summer in the Parks, free summer movies, and Tots at 10 at Assembly Row. You can find even more kid-friendly events on the Boston Moms Blog events page!
Tell us, what is your favorite free summer fun activity?