It doesn’t really feel like it here in the Midwest, but summer is right around the corner. My stepsons come and stay with us for almost the whole summer, so it is always a fun, active time of the year. And expensive.
Not only do we have two more mouths to feed, and two more bodies to clothe, we try to stay busy and fit as many fun activities in as we can since we have such a limited time to spend with them.
In years past we have gotten memberships to the zoo and children’s museum. If you have one local to you, a membership is a great deal because for around $100 your entire family can go an unlimited number of times in a year. Our nearest attractions were at least a 90-minute drive, so while we were saving money on admission, we were spending more in gas and food.
This summer we plan to have just as much fun but are planning to find some activities that will be easier on the budget. Do you need inspiration for some budget-friendly summer fun? Here are 5 things we will be doing.
1. Free Community Activities
There are actually a lot of free things for kids to do that our community offers in the summer. On Saturday nights, they screen a family-friendly movie on a huge screen in the park. My work schedule didn’t allow us to do this last year, but now that I am self-employed, bring it on. Our local library also has a summer reading program where kids get prizes based on how many books they read. Our local museum and art center have areas for kids, and sometimes special programs during the summer.
2. Have Fun In Your Own Backyard
Instead of buying the kids pool passes this year, we are going to get them a small pool for the backyard. We also plan to get a basketball hoop for their birthday. They have bikes, sidewalk chalk, a water table … all kinds of things they can have fun with at home.
3. Schedule Playdates
I don’t know about your kids, but mine are happy on a free playground at the park as long as they have a friend to play with. Meet a friend at the park and enjoy some adult conversation while the kids play. Going to the park is a special treat for my kids, especially when they get to choose which one we go to!
4. Limit Screen Time
It can be way too easy to let Netflix do the babysitting when the kids are home all day, but we really try to limit their screen time and keep TV and video games as a treat. That way when we do have a rainy day their electronic devices are a real treat. When I do let them watch a movie or play video games, I try to set a firm time limit.
5. Get Crafty
I have lots of crafty hobbies, and my kids love nothing more than pulling out the paper and crayons and crafting right along beside me. When I do Bible journaling we will read the verse together, and they can put their inspired creations on a piece of paper while I journal in my Bible. While I watercolor, they paint by numbers. If I crochet, they rainbow loom. You can use craft supplies you have on hand, or get specific kits at the craft store (gotta love the 40% off coupons).
Saving money on summer fun is as simple as utilizing what you already have on hand, and getting a little creative with how you structure your kids’ time.