Your kids see nothing but summer fun at amusement parks, water parks and game centers, while all you see are dollar signs. But take heart! You can find deals for favorite summer pastimes and even create your own fun at home without breaking the bank.
Whether it’s free community offers, revved up picnics and play dates, or good old-fashioned backyard games, here are some ideas that are sure to entertain even the most screen-drenched kid.
So lather up on the sunblock, put on your flip-flops and put and get ready to have the best summer ever (without breaking the bank)!
Summer Deals and Steals
Low-cost excursions and coupon deals are popping up everywhere online. Ask around to friends and neighbors, or just spend some time surfing the web to find the best e-coupon subscriptions. Online coupon websites often dish out discounted theater tickets, museum admissions and amusement park passes. Save them for special occasions when the kids deserve a little summertime reward!
Livin’ La Vida Local
Stay-cations are often much less stressful than vacations! I remember one summer when a big heat wave hit our town, and my sister took her kids to a local hotel for a couple of days after spotting a great online deal. For her, it was pure bliss—a pool, room service, no dishes and air conditioning to beat the heat.
Scour travel websites for hotel deals in your own hometown. Just getting away from the confines of your own home for a weekend can do wonders. And you never know, you may strike gold and end up with a suite!
Score Big With Freebies
Check your newspaper, city-based Parent magazine or online community groups for free and low-cost offerings in your area.
Local museums and activity centers often offer special free or low-cost admission days.
And many parks departments offer free summer concerts or family movie nights at local parks or outdoor shopping areas.
Make an activity out of researching great freebie finds together. Children who can read can be tasked with searching magazines and newspapers for activities that spark their interests.
Make a Splash!
Water play is great for beating that summer heat and satisfying the desire to be somewhere on a beach. A community pool or splash park membership is invaluable for hot summers and energetic kids.
And if you’re really lucky, you may find a free water park or a friend or relative with their own pool. Score!
Whip up your favorite new recipe or bring refreshments, so everyone stays hydrated in the sun. By bringing healthy snacks for everyone, you’ll be a shoe-in for another swimming invitation soon.
Or, dig out that old sprinkler! Kids of all ages—including moms—can have a lot of fun. Have a water balloon fight, do a car wash or simply sit back with a cold drink while the kids run and jump through the sprinkler.
There are countless DIY projects and ways to play at home online. Let your kids surf the web and create a list of fun crafts and activities they’d like to do. You can narrow down the list to ones with the least amount of purchasable items for the most fun.
Get Back to Nature
If a summer camping trip just isn’t in the cards this year, pick a day and throw up a tent in the backyard instead! Make it as close to the real thing as you can: light a lantern, make s’mores, tell ghost stories—it’s all part of the fun! Lay under the stars and try to identify constellations together; or, have fun with it and make up your own! Your kids may just laugh themselves to sleep!
Summer fun doesn’t have to empty your savings. There’s plenty to do right in your own hometown. Take advantage of those free and discounted activities, and when you do spend money, make sure it’s going to give you and your kiddos the biggest bang of excitement for your buck.