Summer Brainstorm: 25 things to do with a kid that cost less than $5 - 510 Families
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Summer Brainstorm: 25 things to do with a kid that cost less than $5

I wanted to cry when I realized the Exploratorium dropped their monthly free admission day and raised their prices such that a family of four with two grade-school age children, like mine, pays $88 to visit. (Kids over 6 cost $19 and adults cost $25.) As a comfort measure, I reminded myself that there are plenty of free and cheap things to do with kids in the East Bay, and I invited our 7000 Facebook fans to help me think of them.

tilden little farm

Here’s a list of activities that cost less than five bucks for an adult and a kid. Thanks to all of you who contributed!

  1. Feed celery (BYO) to the goats at Tilden Park Little Farm
  2. Make use of free admission days at Bay Area Discovery Museum
  3. Play a game of Air Hockey
  4. Get wet at the El Cerrito Splash Pad
  5. Bring a ride-on toy to share at Totland, Doyle Street Park, Memorial Park, Frog Park, Always Dream Play Park, or ANY playground
  6. Library hop – try different branches’ story times – many are listed on our calendar >
  7. Visit the T.Rex and other dinosaur skeletons in the Life Sciences building at UC Berkeley
  8. Take a class like Sea Squirts at Crab Cove
  9. Walk around the Lafayette Reservoir counter-clockwise and end up at the playground near the parking lot. Bring 8 quarters for the parking meter (maximum time is 2 hrs).
  10. Small World Park in Pittsburg Whoops! It’s actually SIX dollars for a parent ($4) and child ($2) to enter this venue, but seemed worth mentioning anyway.
  11. Go outside. On your own block.
  12. Discover animals at the Junior Art + Science Center
  13. Share a big cup of frozen yogurt at Yogurtland or Menchies.
  14. Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward (Careful, they have a guinea pig lending library!)
  15. Use “Discover & Go” program through your library to get admission cards for local museums
  16. Order budget-friendly ice cream at John’s in Downtown Berkeley. Cheapest cones in town!
  17. Dollar Days at Golden Gate Fields
  18. Take a ride on public transportation, perhaps to unlock the Disney Store in San Francisco
  19. Tilden Park Carousel
  20. Explore the East Bay Vivarium
  21. Visit a fire station and get helmets and stickers
  22. Catch $2 movies in Alameda, Richmond, or Walnut Creek
  23. Hit the beach at Lake Temescal
  24. Drop-in to Tot Tuesdays at Alameda’s South Shore Center – just for the summer (and just for toddlers!)
  25. Do a $2 craft class at Michaels stores

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6 thoughts on “Summer Brainstorm: 25 things to do with a kid that cost less than $5”

  1. Rebecca at thisfineday

    Great list!! Don’t forget to take advantage of the Discover and Go program through the library systems 🙂

  2. Here at a few:
    $1 summer movies from Regal and Cinemark theatres. Sign up for Regal movie club and get a coupon… $2 for a med. popcorn on Tuesdays.
    Exploring nature at Oyster Bay in San Leandro. Bring lunch for a quiet picnic, watch the planes land, hunt for lizards and bird watch.
    Adventure Playground in Berkeley.

  3. On the topic of museums…
    The Oakland Museum of California has a free day every 1st Sunday of the month. (Next one is Aug 6th.) Kids under 9 are free every day. On Friday nights (5-9pm), kids under 18 are free and adults are half off. Lots of deals there… And you don’t have to pay the $$ to get to Sausalito.

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