If your kids aren’t home for the summer yet, you know they will be soon. Every mom loves her kids, but we know that there’s only so many times you can hear them say, “I’m bored,” and, “there’s nothing to do,” before you start counting the days until school starts again.
The good news is that it’s possible to keep your kids busy even if you’re cutting household budget expenses and shopping for bargains. Below are 10 fun and cheap ways that you and your kids can enjoy summer both indoors and outside.
Chances are good that there are several free parks and playgrounds in your town, so pick a new one to visit every week. You can explore what each park has to offer and even pick “souvenirs” like pretty flowers or interesting rocks to keep.
For kids that are a little older, you can make these outings more exciting by looking up local flora and fauna and creating a “nature scavenger hunt.”
Many parks and playgrounds now have fitness challenges posted at various points, so you and your kids can have fun trying to complete the challenges and get in some extra exercise.
Summer is the season of fairs and festivals, so you should check online for a list of free events happening nearby. These local fairs can be a great way to get everyone out of the house while saving money, and many events like these can also be educational for older kids.
Your backyard is the perfect place for a fun-filled camping trip. If you don’t have actual camping supplies, you can get creative and string up sheets, blankets or mosquito netting to make a makeshift tent. Drag out the sleeping bags and air mattresses, grill some hot dogs and hamburgers and let your kids learn how to make s’mores over a real fire.
If you don’t have the time or ability to go all-out with the camping experience, you can opt for just stargazing instead. Have your kids spend the day learning about stars and constellations, and see if you can spot them in the night sky.
Museums and libraries always hold family-centered events during the summer. Most are free, but some may cost a few dollars per person. Your local librarian can usually give you information about all of the scheduled events in the area, so take a library trip one day and find out what activities are going on in your community.
Arts and crafts immediately become more exciting when you move them outdoors. You can stick with traditional drawing and painting, or you can try one of these fun ideas:
– Swap paintbrushes for cheap squirt guns, and let your kids make abstract, squirt gun paintings.
– Make washable sidewalk paint by mixing cornstarch and food coloring in disposable squeeze bottles.
– Make tie-dye shirts in the backyard with Kool-Aid and vinegar.
Your community center is a great place to find out about free or discounted activities happening near you. In addition, it might be worthwhile to look into purchasing a membership for the summer if they have sports, swimming or playdate activities scheduled for the summer.
This can be as simple or involved as you want it to be. Simply fill a jar with slips of paper that have various activities listed on them, and anytime one of your kids says, “I’m bored,” he or she picks out one of the slips of paper.
For young children, it’s best to keep the activities simple. Examples would be “draw your favorite animal” or “read your favorite book to an audience of stuffed animals.”
Older children can be given more complex tasks such as “find out how many teeth an adult human has” or “draw a comic about a superpower you wish you had.”
Often, local farms will host “pick-your-own” events where families can come and pick fruits, veggies or flowers to take home. This is great for moms who are shopping for bargains on fresh produce. You can call or look online for scheduled harvest times to make planning the trip easier.
Community centers, libraries and movie theaters often do special summer screenings of family-friendly movies. Some are free, and others are usually deeply discounted, so you can take everyone to see a movie while still saving money.
Cutting household budget expenses doesn’t mean you and your family can’t still have fun. Craft and hardware stores offer hands-on activities for kids that include building a birdhouse, scrapbooking or jewelry making. Most classes are free, but some may cost a few dollars.
Have Some Budget Friendly Summer Fun
Summer activities don’t have to break the bank. There are tons of fun, inexpensive ways to enjoy your summer.