Free and inexpensive summer fun for the whole family

One of our toughest jobs as parents in the summer is keeping the kids happy and engaged while not spending a fortune.  Camps are fabulous if you have the money, but I reached out to friends on facebook and followers on twitter and found so many wonderful spots to enjoy the Carolinas and not pay a penny!

I found Carainn O'Reilly and her two kids enjoying the fountain on The Green in uptown Charlotte.  "We come every summer and it's amazing the kids love it the weather is good schools out for summer let's enjoy ourselves," she told me.  The best part is it's free!

On twitter I heard from J. Marie. Jea said there's always fun for free at the libraries. She wrote libraries are 'perfect for keeping cool, saving money without my son feeling like he's 'learning' LOL. Which he is. #momtricks

Carmella Whitehead reached out on twitter with tons of great ideas, one I really loved was a reminder of Imaginon.  I hadn't been there in years. I loved the new "Arthur" inspired interactive displays.  Whitehead wrote about Imaginon on 7th Street, "great activities…all free and encourages reading and movement."

Carmella spends four dollars and takes her son on light rail for a ride, it's cool and her  two and half year old is in heaven.

On my Maureen O'Boyle WBTV page, I got lots of ideas, especially local parks from Rock Hill to Lake Norman.

Scott Bedford on facebook said "Charlotte Symphony Summer Pops concerts in June! Kids are free and only $10 for the parents."  The diehard fans will endure just about any weather for the pops.  I was there June 9th and in spite of rain, they stays until the skies cleared and kids had a blast.

Camille Fox on facebook she suggested Goat Island in Cramerton and Clover Community Park in York SC, "both treasures" she says.  WBTV visited Goat Island days before it opened a year's a 30 acre island you can access by bridge or canoe great place for families...and no cost!

Moms and dads have embraced the Toys and Co brand in Charlotte.  They opened a store in Cotswold and have grown to a second store on Park Road.  Many say they go there because the store encourages play areas. They let kids get their hands on the toys and no one is expected to buy.  Good idea to set up ground rules with your child before you go there, just so there are no meltdowns when it's time to go!

Please share your ideas, or look for me on my Maureen O'Boyle WBTV facebook page.  Or follow me on twitter @maureenoboyle

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.