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Summer is here, the warm weather we were all praying for this winter is here. That also means summer vacation is here. This means more time for family and kids that need to be entertained. The ‘I'm Bored's' will start over the next few weeks and you will be trying to figure out ways to keep everyone entertained while keeping you budget happy. Been there done that! Here are my top tips to have some fun.
Frugal Family Summer Activities
Go on a Camping Trip
Camping doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get a tent at the beginning of summer and camp at State Parks for $20-$40 for the whole weekend. With camping comes fishing, hiking, swimming, and all kinds of outdoor activities you couldn’t do at home. Then, you can use the same tent year after year.
Camping the Backyard
During the weekends, you aren't going out and camping you can take that family tent and pop it up in your backyard and have a fun weekend and still have a nice bathroom to use! Make a campfire and sleep under the stars. This is also a great sleepover activity when you kids have friends over, plus it keeps the noise outside!
Blow Up Balloons
Head to Walmart and get a $2 pack of balloons (though I can find them in store for 97¢ most of the time). Blow up the balloons and fill up a room and watch the kids of all ages go crazy. My kids and husband make up games throwing them around and having a blast. If you kids are younger, add in a fan and the fun will go on for hours.
Have a weekly or several times a week family game night. Alternate let one person pick the game each time and watch the bonding as alliances form and kids plot and plan to win against the parents or boys against girls. The trick is to let one child pick the game each night and let them know ahead of time they will entertain themselves picking out a game. Siblings will try to talk the game picker into the game they want to play it entertains more than you know!
The same as game night above instill a family movie night, or day during a rainy day. Let each pick an age-appropriate movie on their turn and find some new movies you might not have tried! If you have Netflix or Hulu choose a movie you haven't seen before from your streaming service.
Get Involved in the Community
People used to know everyone in their neighborhood or community, but as time went on and cities got bigger more and more people have disconnected. However, your community hasn’t disconnected from you. Many cities still offer free outdoor movie nights in the park, activities at local libraries, and free activities throughout the summer. Head into your local library for flyers or keep your eyes peeled in the local paper. You can also Google ‘(you city name) events.
Make the yard Beautiful
When it comes to landscaping and “work,” you may get some huffing and puffing. The key to working in the yard is to make it fun for everyone! Take your family to the store to pick out their own flowers or plants, make your own stepping stones (individual handprints), or decide how to arrange your yard by including everyone in the decision. Kids like making decisions, so let them tell you how to make the yard beautiful and go with it.
Take a Nature Walk
Keep with the outdoor theme take a nature walk around your neighborhood. No matter how urban or suburban your neighborhood you can make a great game out of it. Search ‘Nature Walk' on Pinterest and tons of printables pop up. They have everything from scavenger hunts for younger ones, questions, and writing for older ones and even games like Nature Bingo. Best of all most of these are free.
Do Some Crafts
Crafts are always fun, but they can be even more fun to do when you make them especially as decorations. Design your kid’s rooms with crafts they make. Make your own lampshades, picture frames, and decorations. Your children will love making their own stuff and being in charge of decorating their rooms. You can find a ton of great ideas on Pinterest.
Get your Science Goggles on
You can turn any activity into a science lesson. Get out the goggles, the magnifying glasses, and start experimenting. I like to mix different ingredients to find out what happens. If you need your house cleaned, you can always mix up some different cleaning products like vinegar and water or baking soda spray and see which one cleans the best! Make an erupting volcano, some Gooblek, or go on an adventure outside. I also love the Magic School Bus Science Kits and the Clifford Science Kits. We also loved this Farm Science Kit when we did a Farm Unit Study.
I love watching Groupon for deals on local activities. I even shared how I get free tickets to local events from Groupon. You can find everything from discount tickets to museums and attractions to concerts and festivals on Groupon. Plus, because you are spending so much time together as a family, you will need help cleaning your house right? Well, you can find great discounts on that too!
If you have a National Park Service Site near you or even a state park site head over and have your child take part in their Jr Ranger Program. In most cases this program is free. The most we have had to spend is $2 per child for the book at some of the bigger National Parks. This program will allow your kids to learn about the site, and earn a badge for completing the book.
When it comes to summer fun, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg finding things to do! What other frugal summer family activities do you like to do?