Summer break is almost here, and with that comes the need to keep kids busy during the summer months. If you are like me you like to find new ideas that will not only keep your kids busy but make good memories for them along the way. Here are 20 ideas for things to do with your kids that will not break the budget.
1) Check your community for free festivals or concerts – Most communities have a summer concert series and various festivals throughout the year. If you not your community then check out neighboring communities to see what they have going on.
2) Have a Water Party – Kids love water so set up a water park in your back yard. Set up a wading pool, a slip and slide (can be store bought or homemade) some sprinklers and a water table with bowls and cups for your own mini water park. Have a picnic lunch and lay out on beach towels for a fun and cool day.
3) Look for Dollar Days at your local amusement parks – Many amusement parks have discount days either every week, or one or twice during the summer season. Some parks even have free days once or twice per year.
4) Spend time out at the lake – If you have a lake near your home this is a perfect way to spend some frugal time with your family, pack up the bathing suits, towels, and lunch and head out for a day of swimming and fun!
5) Make a photo Journal of your travels – If you hike a lot, go to different parks or other recreation areas take lots of pictures and make a photo journal of your summer fun.
6) Side walk Painting/ chalk – draw a city on the patio, play a game of what is it, make roads, and write secret messages. Check out this homemade sidewalk chalk recipe here.
7) Scavenger hunt – Set up a scavenger hunt in your backyard, ask your children to find items such as rocks that are a certain color or shape, a flower, a certain type of leaf, a blade of grass. Give the winner a prize.
8) Hit a bargain matinee – Once the kids are out of school, most theaters have bargain matinees for a couple of dollars in the afternoons. Much cheaper that regular movies this is a great activity for really hot days to get out of the heat and cool off a bit.
9) Join a summer reading program – Most libraries and some book stores such as Barnes and Noble have summer reading programs for your children. Many of them will offer a prize such as a free book or coupon to a favorite restaurant if your child reads a certain number of books over the summer.
10) Plant a Butterfly garden – Plant Asters, Black Eyed Susan, Butterfly Weed, Daylilies, and Golden Rod in a garden. Have your child help plant and care for the flowers. Over time keep your eyes out for the butterflies!
11) Make bird feeders – Kids love to watch birds, so to attract birds make your own home made bird feeders either from pine cones stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in bird seed, or with a piece of yarn thread thru a straw and cheerios strung on it. Hang them up in the trees and wait for the birds to show up.
12) Local tours – many factories and other businesses offer free tours. Ever wondered how cheese was made, or how root beer came to be? Find out what businesses in your area offer tours and make a point of visiting some of them.
13) Out of the way Museums – We all know and love the big museums but what is more fun is to find all the smaller out of the way museums in your area. Most areas have at least a few of these and they are generally very inexpensive and often they are free. In our area for instance we have a car museum and a railroad museum.
14) Be a tourist – Find places in your area you have never been before and take time to visit them. Take your camera and act just like a tourist.
15) Explore your state parks – If your area has a lot of state parks like our area does then the time to visit some of them. State parks are usually free, and all have something different to offer.
16) Have a water balloon fight or squirt gun fight – There is nothing more fun that having a water fight on a really hot day, gather up your squirt guns, squirt bottles, and balloons and see who can get the wettest.
17) Volunteer at the local animal shelter – Most kids love animals and will appreciate the time to spend with a variety of dogs and cats and you will all have the satisfaction of helping out. Take shelter animals for walks and play with them.
18) Go for a family bike ride – Many states have bike trails, this is a perfect adventure for a cooler day, pack a lunch, grab the bikes and camera and go for a long ride.
19) Have a book reading adventure – Choose a book to read to your child or children and craft a set of activities to do around the book. Include things such as nature hikes, historical tours, crafts and meals that could reinforce and help them experience what they have read.
20) Build a fort – collect old lumber, blankets, and other items and set up a fort among the trees and bushes. Hang out and have lunch or read a good book while you are there.