2012 Butterfly & Herb Festival at Full Moon Natives in Port Orange
National Running Day - June 6, 2012 - Take a run in Port Orange!

Free and Cheap Things to do This Summer in Volusia County, Daytona Beach

Volusia County Schools are on summer break. But that doesn’t mean the kids need to be bored. Summer.jpg
Instead, get them busy doing different things each week. You already know that we have plenty of beautiful beaches to visit throughout the summer, but there is even more to do! There are many free and low cost options available. Check out some of these ideas for things to do with your child over the summer break!

Here are some free or low cost things you can do around VolusiaCounty (Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, Ormond Beach, etc.) with the kids this summer:

1. Visit the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona Beach. Kids ages five and under are free. They have a planetarium, as well as a children's museum area. The first Tuesday of each month is free day, so you can plan to do that in July and August!

2. Cook or bake something each week. Pick a “recipe” day each week, where kids can pick something they want to try making, and then you all can make it together. Cooking gives them skills beyond just learning how to cook, such as measuring and following directions.

3. Go to the movies! There are plenty of free movies going on around Volusia County this summer. There’s the free Movies Under the Stars, Hollywood Theater movies, movies on the Halifax, and Regal Cinemas $1 movies.

4. Visit the library. You should make a stop at the library with the kids a weekly summer ritual. Have them each pick out a number of books to read over the following week. They also have learning games and movies they can check out. Also, check with your local branch, because many offer free classes for kids of all ages (book clubs, chess club, story time, preschool power, etc.). Visit the Volusia County Library site to find your branch and see the calendar of activities that are offered. They are having a wonderful summer reading program that meets weekly.

5. Visit the turtles at the Port Orange City Center. While you are there, take a walk around the pond, or for the younger kids, have them bike ride, while you walk.

6. Have a do nothing day. A day without anything planned is a good day for kids to use their imagination and entertain themselves. A little down time does everyone some good.

7. Go bowling! There are several bowling alleys around Volusia County. Even the toddlers can get involved, by doing bumper bowling. Sign your kids up for Kids Bowl Free, so that they can get some free bowling games throughout the summer (at participating alleys).

8. Visit the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet. Children 3 and under are free, those up to age 12 are $2, over 13 is $5. While you are there, be sure to take the nature walk across the street from the center.

9. Go to the Lyonia Environmental Center in Deltona, where kids of all ages can engage in nature classes and check out exhibits.

10. Pack up a picnic and take a nature walk, stopping to eat lunch along the way. A good place to do this is New Smyrna Dunes Park. Volusia County has so many great places to take nature walks! You can find a list of Volusia County parks here. Or, take a bike ride together.

12. Climb the stairs at the Lighthouse in Ponce Inlet. The kids (and you) will probably ready for a nap that afternoon!

13. Have a project day! Kids love to make projects. There are many project ideas you can get by doing online searches. It will keep them busy and get their minds active. You can find some project ideas here.

14. Plant something! You can teach kids about growing a fruit, vegetable, or flowers, by letting them help choose what to plant and assist in the process. You can pick up some plants while you are taking a short walk over at Sugar Mill Gardens, located in Port Orange, which has free admission.

15. Take them to a farmer's market. Did you watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? He demonstrated that many elementary aged children in America can't name fruits and vegetables much beyond the apple! Try taking them to a local farmer's market and showing them what everything is. Give them $5 and let them pick out whatever fruits and vegetables they want to try with it (And don't talk them out of what they pick. My daughter once picked radishes... I got creative and made radish chips!). You can find a list of local farmer's markets here.

16. Visit Cracker Creek, located in Port Orange, and take an eco-boat tour or just walk around. The kids can get a chance to be in nature, see peacocks, or engage in one of their children's programs.

17. Go to a different park. While going to a park may be a norm in your house, try taking them to a different park. Volusia County is filled with great parks and the change of scenery will help shake things up. Take them to Sunsplash Park one afternoon so they can run through the fountains and cool off.

18. Have a dedicated game day. The closet is probably loaded with games. So set a time each week that will be used for games.

19. Go watch the sunrise. Get the kids up early, pack a light breakfast of muffins and juice, and head to the beach bright and early to see the sunrise. And don't forget your camera, because it's a great time to take photos! You can find out what time the sun will rise here, so you are sure to be down there in time.

20. Have a playdate. You can find many children's play groups in Volusia County by logging onto meetup.com and yahoo groups.

21. Check the events calendar on the Volusia County Moms website to see what family-friendly events are happening.

22. Go ice skating. What a great way to cool off on a hot day. You can also sign kids up for a month of ice skating lessons. Daytona Ice Arena offers open skate times, family fun Friday’s, and lessons.

23. Take in a summer camp. Even if you don’t sign your child up for long camps, you can do a one-week one to give them doing something for a week. There are some that are quite affordable, like the ones offered by Smart Start Tutoring. Check out the camp listing here. Also, check out some of the Vacation Bible Schools being offered around the county. They are affordable and the kids have a lot of fun.

24. Check out a Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics. The kids can make a project, for free!

25. Meet some friends for a kids eat free day! You can find a list of kids eat free day here.

26. If you don’t have a pool, take the kids for a swim at the YMCA pool. Be sure to call ahead of time to confirm the pool is having open swimming (sometimes it is closed due to thunder or swim meets).

27. Take them to the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory in Daytona Beach, so they can take the free tour and see how the chocolate is made. They will also get a free sample after the tour is over.

28. Sign up with Groupon, so that you will know what local deals are being offered. Sometimes it’s miniature golf, other times it’s kayaking. There are many great local deals that can save you a lot of money.

29. Take the kids to the Southeast Museum of Photography, located on the Daytona State campus in Daytona Beach. Admission is free (unless otherwise noted for special events) and they can check out some amazing photography.

30. Load up their bike or skateboard and take them to a local skate park. You can find a list of them here. There are skate parks in Port Orange, Deltona, and all around Volusia County.

31. Visit the DeLand Naval Air Station Museum. They also offer a children’s program for kids ages 7-11.

And this is all in your backyard. It doesn’t even begin to list all the things to do within an hour or so of here (Orlando, Flagler, St. Augustine, etc.). Keep checking Volusia County Moms for local events and activities you can do with the kids. Whether you have a family garage salehit the beach, or camp out in your backyard, make it a great summer! Before you know it, Volusia County Schools will be ringing those familiar bells once again.

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