Summer is in full swing and that means if your kids aren’t in summer camp, they’re at home and in need of something to do. How do you keep the kids entertained when you are on a budget? There are plenty of activities you can do, some in your own backyard, where the cost can be next to nothing.
A summer staycation is a great way to save on spending and to spend more time with your children and less time traveling. There are activities and local events as well as chores that can be made fun and easy.
There are simple ways for you and your children to have a stay-at-home vacation that is filled with laughs and learning. You don’t have to take out a personal loan to have a great vacation. Saving money and keeping the little ones entertained might be easier than you think.
The Run Down
- What did you enjoy as a child? Think like a kid: something as simple as a sprinkler and a Slip ‘N Slide can turn your backyard into a water park.
- Washing the car gives kids the perfect opportunity to get mom and dad wet (and to play with the bubbles).
- Many business offer discounted or even free programs for kids during the summer.
- Your local library, museum, or park also has activities available, usually at low to no cost.
- Use the Internet to learn about other countries and to find recipes to make with your children.
What activities can you and your family enjoy for free or almost free? Here’s a list of ten ideas that are of little to zero cost to you for fun in the summer sun.
- Water Balloons. Have a water balloon fight with your kids. Balloons can be purchased in large packs from your neighborhood grocery store or dollar store. Your children can toss the balloons to each other or to you. It’s a great way to cool off and let every have a moment of mischief.
- Bird Watching. Even in the city, there are birds to be found, from the common pigeon to blue jays, orioles, cardinals, and more. If you live in the suburbs or have a backyard area, grab a pair of binoculars and spot the birds with your kids. It’s an excellent learning opportunity as well.
- Backyard Water Park. Remember the running through the sprinklers in the backyard or splashing through puddles? The summer heat means you can turn on the hose, set up the sprinklers, get out the Slip ‘N Slide and let the kids have fun cooling off.
- Bubble Bath Car Wash. Make the chore of washing the car fun by giving the car a bath with your children. Make sure what you use to wash the car with is kid and environment friendly and then let loose. If you have more than one child, they can be responsible for washing and drying certain areas of the car, like the wheels (feet) and the eyes (headlights).
- Support Your Public Library. This is possibly one of your greatest local resources. Public libraries often offer free summer reading programs that include workshops, movies, children’s theater, puppet shows, and more. Then there is the vast selection of books that you can check out for reading and for learning.
- For Great Science (and Art). Many museums offer discounted or free programs for children and there may be a children’s museum near you for a total hands-on experience. Museums are both a learning experience and a way to get in from the summer heat. For additional savings, check with your bank – certain banks offer free tickets to their credit and debit card holders.
- Get Crafty. Feeling handy? You and your children can take advantage of free workshops offered home improvement and craft and hobby stores. Check around your neighborhood for stores offering these programs and for times and programs.
- Movie Mornings. Did you know that many theaters offer free or cheap showings of family-friendly movies on weekday mornings? Take a look at your local theatre’s website to learn more.
- Camp Out. If you have a tent (many of you parents might if a son or daughter is in a scout program or if you are outdoor enthusiasts yourselves), pitch a tent in the backyard and fire up the grill. While you handle the hot dogs and hamburgers, the kids can help with setting up the condiments and side items and as a dessert they can make smores with your help (or even pop popcorn on the grill).
- A Nation A Day. With the use of the Internet or your public library, you and your children can learn about a new country each day. Not only can they read about different cultures and customs, you can also find recipes for foods native to the country and have fun making a theme dinner.