Columbus Summer Activities for Kids (Free or Cheap)

Summers are our favorite time of the year at our house. I am a teacher so I am fortunate to have summers off to stay with my boys and go on adventures. Columbus has an ample amount of activities that are geared to kids that are either free or very cheap. With three active boys, and an amazing city, it makes for a fun summer. I have compiled for you a list of our go to activities for summer fun in Columbus.


Columbus Commons 

Columbus Commons is a beautiful park located in the heart of downtown Columbus. The park offers fun and family friendly activities throughout the year, but summer is our favorite time to go. Family Fundays take place two times, the first one on May 26, 2018. The day kicks off at 4:00 with free carousel rides, face painting, hands on activities, and for $5 you can purchase a wristband for the children to play on all of the inflatables. The event goes until 8:00, and is immediately followed by a free showing of the Greatest Showman. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and snacks, and watch a movie under the stars. There will also be two additional movie nights on Friday, June 29, and Friday, July 13. Commons for Kids  is a favorite of the boys and takes place almost every Friday from June 1- August 10.  This event is from 10:00-1:00 and is free! Each Friday there are various hands on activities, storytime, crafts, free carousel, inflatables, and sometimes characters and mascot visits. We have a blast every time we go and the boys are always asking if it’s Friday yet so we can go to Commons for Kids.

Columbus Arts Festival 

It has been a couple of years since we have been because of being away for vacation, but are excited to go back this year. The Columbus Arts Festival will take place June 8-10, 2018 this year. We love the children’s area! The children’s area has a wide selection of free hands on art activities and creation stations. The children can also meet the Art Shark and make sure that you have your child experience the Children’s Gallery. This takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30-1:30. It is a tented area that children 12 and under can go in and pick out a piece of art for $5 or under. The parents are not allowed to come in because they want the children to fully choose their art without influence. I got in line with the boys around 11:00 or so and gave them each $5. They both came out with amazing pieces. Logan’s is still hanging in his room. He picked a large wooden fish that is painted with bright patterns and colors.

Easton Movies By Moonlight

On Tuesday nights starting June 5, you can enjoy a movie under the moonlight at Easton Town Center. The show starts at dusk but arrive early to grab a spot. There are usually entertainers there before the movie to help pass the time and a cart with reasonable snacks for purchase is available as well. I usually pop a lot of popcorn at home and grab some movie candy and from the store to take with us. Also, a tip would to get some glow necklaces or bracelets from the dollar store to bring along for the kids during the movie. You can check out the Tuesday Moonlight Movie lineup here.



My boys love storytime at home and we try to do it every night before bed. During the summer we attend at least one storytime a week. Our go to spots are the Gahanna Library and Barnes and Nobles. Both locations offer activities along with the stories and sometimes snacks. Check your local library and Barnes and Noble to see when storytime will take place close to you.

Splash Pads and Fountains 

A wonderful thing about living in Columbus is the amount of splash pads and fountains that are available for kids to play in at no cost! Easton Town Center fountain is a great place to let the kids run around and cool off. You can than watch the trains while the kids dry off. On certain days there are towels available to dry off.

Scioto Mile Fountain is huge and I like that there are staff members that help to monitor safety while playing in the fountains. We usually will walk here after we have our morning Friday fun at Commons for Kids.


We also like visiting Powell splash pad and are looking forward to checking out Westerville’s new splash pad! 

Kona Ice 

Did you know you can have the Kona Ice truck come to your house? All they ask is that you have at least 10 paying costumers. We had the truck come and park right in front of our house. I sent out a Facebook message to the neighborhood and everyone gathered to visit and have some tasty Kona Ice. The boys thought it was the coolest thing that the ice truck was at our house! Contact Austin at (614) 586-6999. Thank you to 614 mom for this awesome tip!

Also, don’t forget about the monthly Lego mini builds and Home Depot builds that are always free. Registration is required for both events.

I will also be adding summer reading programs that will be taking place around Columbus once all of the information has been released.

Please share any free or cheap Columbus summer activities or events that you love below! I am always looking to try new places with the boys.

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