Five Free Activities to Keep Kids Engaged This Summer

If your home is like many, the novelty of summer break can wear off quickly, leaving you wondering “what to do now?” We’ve compiled five free summer activities for kids in Denver to keep them engaged, offer new experiences and nurture their interests. The result is hopefully a summer to remember for the entire family

1. Read

Reading is a great way to learn, relax, escape to an imaginary place or to bond with your child. Sign up for the Denver Public Library’s free Summer of Reading program (registration is currently open and ends on July 27). Any child up to 12th grade can participate in the Summer of Reading program, and win books and other prizes. Simply visit your local branch, sign up, and start reading. For more information, visit or contact your local library.

Each library branch also offers fun events to take advantage of throughout the summer.

2.  My Denver Card

Kids who live in Denver and are between the ages of 5-18 can get free access to 24 recreation centers, pools and cultural facilities*. Visit the Denver Zoo, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and many others with the MY Denver Card. The My Denver Card is a library and recreation card all in one. To learn more or sign up, click here.

3.  Spend Time Together 

The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) sponsors free days over the summer (and year-round) to cultural facilities throughout the Denver metro area. From Jazz in the Park, Denver Zoo, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens and more. Click here for a calendar of free days.

The Denver metro area is packed with free summer activities for kids. Click here for a full list of festivals, events, live music, and attractions.

4.  Be Active Together

Make sure your summer is filled with physical activities with these free summer activities for kids in Denver.

  • Take your child to the park after work each day for a game of catch, kick the soccer ball or shoot some hoops.
  • Get a pass to the local public swimming pool. Many passes are very reasonable or even free (see My Denver Card).
  • Go on a hike. Here’s a site with some hiking trails near Denver. The trails are easy and offer plenty of opportunities to explore the beauty of our state. Check out the free hiking guide you can download to help you prepare, pack and make the most of your adventure.
  • Go on an Urban Trek. Explore your neighborhood, or explore a new one – on foot. Make a day of it.
  • Go Geocaching. It’s a free and easy way to get outdoors and have fun!

5.  Create Together

Summer is the perfect time to explore and discover a child’s hidden talents.

  • Plant a garden or join a community garden. Not only will they learn to care for something, it might also help make them be more adventurous eaters.
  • Visit a Farmers Market to learn about new foods. Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being hosts a Farmers Market every Wednesday evening with family farm and gardening activities, food and juice demos and music.
  • Allow them to try a new instrument, or take a few music lessons. If they show a true interest, attend a symphony, jazz or other free concert. The SCFD sponsors several free days over the summer to cultural facilities throughout the seven-county Denver metro area. Click here for a calendar of free days.
  • Take a cooking class together, or have your child choose and prepare dinner one night a week for the family.
  • Create an arts & crafts activity box (perfect for rainy days). Take a trip to the dollar store and buy some fun materials to experiment with. If they show an interest in art, take it a step further and attend a First Friday Art Walk, visit the Denver Art Museum or spend a day exploring Denver’s arts districts. For more info, click here.

Take advantage of these free summer activities for kids. The best thing you can do for your kids this summer is to spend time with them. The bonding, activities and relaxation are good for them and great for you.

Have a great summer!

*Restrictions and limitations vary for each cultural facility.