Want to plan a summer of fun for the little people in your life? Good news! An over-the-top summer doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or take tons of prep work. With this list of our ten favorite things to do with kids under 5, we prove the old axiom that the best things in life FREE (or at least very cheap).

9. Explore Science at the Youth Science Institute

Looking for some hands-on science fun? Then head over to the Youth Science Institute with your little ones this summer. YSI nature centers at Vasona Park and Alum Rock are open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons all summer long. Check out the replies and amphibians that are housed in the nature center or take one of the group hikes around the grounds with volunteer docents who will point out all sorts of flora and fauna.

Vasona Park
333 Blossom Hill Rd.
Los Gatos, Ca
Hours: through July, Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 pm; In August, Saturdays 1–2 p.m.

Alum Rock Park
16260 Penitencia Creek Rd.
San Jose, Ca
Hours: through Labor Day, Saturdays and Sundays noon–4:30 p.m.

Online: ysi-ca.org

Photo: Youth Science Institute via Facebook