For kids, the summer means no school and that means days full of fun. Unfortunately for many families today, budgets are extra tight and won’t lend themselves to funding all the summer fun for the family. If this is the situation you’re in, here are some fun activities for the whole family that won’t break the bank.
On those especially hot days, consider just setting up your hose and sprinkler in the backyard and invite friends and neighborhood kids to join in. It will keep the kids occupied and cooled down for hours. The day before, make some juice popsicles using ice cube trays and toothpicks to make an easy and cheap treat for the kids that will help them cool down.
Strap on your helmets and go for family bike rides through your neighborhood, city parks, state parks, or nearby trails. Loading the family up and taking a bike ride won’t cost anything and is a great way to get outdoors while spending time together.
Don’t have bikes? Dig those Frisbees, whiffle balls and bats, soccer balls, or horseshoes out of the garage and hold a weekly tournament at the park or in your yard. Especially in the summer, there are so many ways you can utilize the beautiful weather to entertain the family without spending a cent. From sports to hikes, to backyard games, to simply reading outside, the sun offers everyone plenty of totally free activities.
You could use your biking trips to get to your local museum, aquarium, planetarium, or zoo. Look into days when admission is either free or reduced or a day that kids can get in for free. If you can’t find admission prices you can afford, consider biking to the library so where each family member can select a couple books to read.
If you already have the necessary supplies, plan a good old-fashioned family camping trip. Getting away from the everyday grind is a good way for the whole family to spend some time with just each other and to get into nature. If you don’t have the tents and sleeping bags needed, “camp” in the backyard and make s’mores using your grill or fire pit.
Be sure to plan plenty of picnics to create a fun way to spend family meals together in a new setting. Aside from the cost of the food, which you would spend anyway, you don’t need anything other than your picnic basket and a park. Want to even save your gas money? Hold your picnic right in your backyard. A weekly potluck picnic would be another great way to get friends, family, and neighbors involved and create a way for everyone to spend time together without spending extra money.
For summer nights, plan family stargazing nights. You could incorporate this into any dinner picnic or camping trip as well. Hit your local library for some books on how to find constellations and which constellations are which and then start gazing. You could also find this information online.
During the summer there’s no reason to strain your budget to entertain the whole family. Using these tips, your savvy planning skills, and ideas from your family you’ll easily fill the whole summer with free, or at least next-to-free, activities that the whole family will enjoy.