What’s a parent to do? If you are like me, you want to make the summer a fun and memorable one without breaking the bank (especially of you are a big family with multiple kids.) Here are a few tips to stay busy, have fun and to make memories all while saving money.
1. Reading Programs: Almost every city and town has a local library and or books store. Find one near you and sign up. The kids will enjoy listening to story time. Give them the freedom to choose whatever they want to read as a part of the program. They will find satisfaction in receiving prizes for meeting their weekly goals. Also, swing by a coffee shop and let them pick out a drink to sip on while they get lost in their new books!
2. Sprinklers or Splash Pads: If you live in a neighborhood like mine, then there is no pool to swim in. All kids love to get wet! Search your town for a local splash pad or water fountain for city approval that allows kids to get wet in. Put on the sun screen, pack a lunch and let them frolic around for an hr our two. Some may even want to bring a few toys or water guns to play with. If your city doesn’t allow it, them go pick up a $10 sprinkler and set it up in the yard. Now your grass can get watered while the kids are having a blast!
3. Screen on the Green: Most major cities have free movie nights in your local park. Grab a blanket and movie treats and enjoy a family friendly movie under the stars. Don’t live near a major city? No problem; charge up your lap top or portable DVD player, grab blanket and watch a movie in your local park or in your own back yard. The kids will enjoy picking out the movie and snuggling under the stars.
4. Camping: Many camp sites are around $10-$15 per night. That’s a whole lot cheaper than a hotel price. Search for camp sites near you so that you can also save on gas. Once the kids get into the woods, then it will feel like they are on a far away adventure. Not a camper? Don’t have the equipment? That’s okay too. Camp in the living room. Use several blankets to built tent or fort. Make foil dinners in the oven. or S’mores in the microwave. They will enjoy that just as much!
5. Get Moving: Go on a nature walk. Several parks offer nature trails for walking. Let the kids enjoy discovering new wildlife and greenery while getting some exercise and stretching their legs. Early mornings or evenings may be a good way to beat the heat. If you don’t live near a park then walk your neighborhood or street. and look for small animals like squirrels or birds.
6. I Scream for Ice Cream: Who doesn’t enjoy a cool treat to beat the heat? Look for weekly sales at near by ice cream shop or frozen yogurt store. Many places also have rewards points that will earn you savings for your frequent visiting (be sure to ask). If that is too pricey, then run to your local McDonald’s for a $1 cone. If that’s still too much then run to the dollar store for a tub of cream or Popsicle’s (let the kids pick it out). When you get home, enjoy sitting outside together on the porch chatting and eating.
7. Movie Time: Check your local movie theater for their summer movie programs. Most places have free or cheap movies that they will show for kids once a week. Our city has two! The theater will show a movie before opening hours in the morning. Usually both the movie and the concessions are sold at a discounted price. The movies are typically older and not new releases but the kids don’t mind, they are happy to get out and about.
8. Cook Together: Go to your local new or used book store, let your kids pick out a new cook book and enjoy making one recipe together a week. They will enjoy doing things with you, making new foods and eating their accomplishments. Not to mention, that they are also practicing math and reading skills!!
9. Experiment Together: Check out Pinterest for tons of fun kid friendly experiments and try something new together. If you don’t have an account then once again, visit your local new or used book store. Just remember to let the kids pick out the book.
10. Local Hotel: Now, I know I mentioned camping as an alternative to hotel stay but, find a local hotel and stay for one or two nights. You will save on gas from traveling out of town. You can pack your own food rather then eating out. Also, your kids will love the feeling of being on vacation. Let them stay up late watching TV or swim in the hotel pool. It’s nice to spend $100 rather than $1,000.00.
I hope that these tips are helpful to you and your wallet. Make a routine out of the activities and do one activity a day per week or mix them up. There are ways to have fun while saving money are making summer memories. What are some of yours? Feel free to leave comments!