Your Summer Break — for FREE — from A to Z

June 4, 2024

ART MUSEUM. Thanks to a local grant, the Denver Art Museum is free every day for kids 18 and under. Drop into Family Central on level 2 of the Martin Building for some hands-on fun and play! 

BORROW A BACKPACK. Local libraries offer Check Out State Parks, which includes a park pass that is good for entry into any Colorado State Park for up to seven days. The backpack includes binoculars, identification guides for flora and fauna, a suggested activities list, the Leave No Trace outdoor ethics principles, and more.

COOL OFF AT A SPRAYGROUND. Our Top Pools, Waterparks, Beaches, & Spraygrounds Guide lists seven nearby parks with splash pads plus other aquatic adventures.

DANCE LIKE NO ONE'S WATCHING. No matter where you live in Douglas County, I'll bet there's a free summer concert near you! See the complete lineup in our Ultimate Summer Fun Guide.

ENJOY A PICNIC ON THE STAGE AT RED ROCKS. Did you know you can picnic and play on the very stage where thousands of iconic musicians have performed? Visit before you go to make sure there isn't an event that evening. You can still enjoy the park, of course, but you may not be able to get onto the stage if the crew is setting up.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FESTIVALS TAKE PLACE ALL SUMMER. Our Summer Festivals Around Colorado article includes events near and far, and many have free admission!

GEOCACHING IS FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY. Do you and your child love the outdoors, exploring new places, and looking for interesting things? Then you should try geocaching! It's a treasure hunt right in your neighborhood! All you need to get started is a GPS-enabled device, coordinates for a geocache, and a sense of adventure.

HIKING TOGETHER CREATES AWESOME MEMORIES. Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the world! Get a new perspective on a day hike. Check out these Kid-Friendly Hikes. And don't forget the 13 Essentials for a Day Hike with Your Kids.

INVITE THE NEIGHBORS. Put your heads together and create a fun neighborhood scavenger hunt. Mix and match families. The first group to complete the challenge wins a prize!

JIGSAW PUZZLES FOR AGES 5 TO 105. We recently discovered an unopened puzzle in our house and spent a day putting it together with my 91-year-old grandmother. But you don't have to devote an entire day to it. Set up a card table in the corner of your family room. The kids can find just a piece or two at a time before heading outside to play.

KICK BACK AND CLOUDWATCH OR STARGAZE. When you have a lazy afternoon, lie down in the backyard with your kids and see what you can find as the clouds roll in (as they do nearly every afternoon). Access a free astronomy app to help you find and learn the constellations or make up your own. 

LEND A HAND TO THE DCSD SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE. Support the Back 2 School Supply Drive for Douglas County Children by donating supplies, money, or your time. Volunteering together is an excellent way for families to bond while giving back to the community they love.

MOVIE TIME. Introduce your children to some of your favorite films from your childhood or teen years. Download our free checklists for 40+ classic movies from the '80s or '90s and make family movie night memories together!

NATURE CENTERS CAN MAKE KIDS HEALTHIER. Studies show that children who regularly spend time outside play more creatively, have lower stress levels, develop stronger immune systems, and have greater respect for themselves, others, and the environment. We've got 6 Front Range Nature Centers you'll want to visit with your kids this summer.

OPPOSITE DAY WILL MIX THINGS UP A BIT. Eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. Say yes for no and no for yes. Spend the day being silly and feeling a little confused.

PAMPER YOURSELF. No room in the budget for a spa day? Give yourself a facial, make your hair shiny, and smooth your skin with a DIY Spa using items you probably already have in your kitchen.

QUIET TIME IS IMPORTANT. It's no secret that kids who read during the summer fare better on fall reading tests than those who don't. Participating in a Summer Reading Program is a great way to keep them reading! Plus, you can earn free books and other surprises!

ROCK CLIMBING ON CASTLE ROCK. In less than a mile and a half, you can reach the base of The Rock and enjoy panoramic views of Pikes Peak and the Front Range. Although the trail is rated "difficult" because of steep and uneven terrain, we've been climbing it with our boys since they were in preschool. Just stay slow and steady!

S'MORES, ANYONE? National S'mores Day is August 10, but we don't think you should wait till then! No campfire? No problem! We've got 10 No-Campfire S'mores Ideas for you, so you can enjoy this delicious combination of gooey yumminess any day this summer!

TOUR A FACTORY. Celestial Seasonings in Boulder and Hammond's Candies in Denver offer free factory tours. Get a behind-the-scenes look and a free taste or two!

UNLEASH YOUR INNER RACHAEL RAY. Summer is the perfect time to try a new food or recipe. Visit a local Farmers Market or the produce section of your grocery store and choose something exotic, then search online for ideas.

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL. Many churches offer free or low-cost programs for kids and families. Check out our VBS Guide to find one near you.

WATCH KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS® BEING MADE. Enjoy a FREE glazed doughnut if the "Hot Now" sign is on. Visit for the address and store hours.

XPLORE A NEW PARK. Check out Our Favorite Playgrounds & Parks in Douglas County & Beyond, and visit some places you've never been.

YOGA, PILATES, AND OTHER FITNESS ACTIVITIES. It doesn't matter if you think "down dog" is what you say to your family pet when he's begging at the dinner table or if you have mastered the full lotus. Free outdoor yoga and other fitness classes for kids, families, and adults are available this summer!

ZZZZ! You should be exhausted by now... time for a nap! My favorite summer snoozing spots are in a hammock or under a tree with my kids.