Ahhh summer! When families look forward to things slowing down after the hectic school year. Unfortunately this summer is anything but slow. Between an annual youth event at church, babysitting a granddaughter for 10 days and an adoption picnic we had a very busy June. I’m hoping July will be slower because in August we visit number 2 daughter and her husband in SoCal.
So let’s talk about some frugal ways to have fun this summer, when you have time. Our all time favorite thing to do is head to the library. We are in the middle of the summer reading program. Our library has so many activities for free, that we cannot take them all in. The twins are reading up a storm to try and win the top prize of a Kindle Fire. And let’s face it, the library is air conditioned. It’s the last day of June and over 100 degrees outside.
Second on our list is the Summer Movie Express. For $1 per person we can go to the movie Tuesday or Wednesday morning and watch fairly recent kid flicks. Once again…… air conditioned. Check your local theater to see if they participate. In the small town in Nebraska we lived in they used to sell summer movie passes for a fairly small amount. And there have been some years where I rented a movie once a week and mom and the kids watched a movie at home. That was the cheapest of all. If your local library loans movies for free you have it made. Or set up a movie trade with your friends. We have discussed this several times, among the moms here. A lending library of movies that everyone already owns.
Thirdly check you local museums and zoo. When we lived in Denver the zoo had a free day once a month for locals. That way we were able to go numerous times and not feel like we had to “get it all done”. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find how many little museums cost little or nothing to visit. Don’t overlook these free/cheap local resources. It’s a great frugal way to learn the history of your part of the country.
Check out all parks in the surrounding area. Even if you have to drive a ways, it’s still cheap entertainment. We have a water feature park, that’s free, about 15 minutes from our house. Totally worth it to drive there and if you want to be really frugal, plan it on a day you need to run errands in that area. We have lots of parks and they all have different focuses. One is a baseball diamond, one a place to feed geese and ducks, one a wooden play structure and several that are your basic jungle gym playplaces.
Make your own fun. Build your own kites and then fly them. Create a slip and slide, make homemade bubbles, set up an obstacle course in your backyard, make box houses, put up a tire swing. One year we put together an entire miniature castle made out of appliance boxes, free at our local appliance store. The only thing it cost me was paint. I painted it to look like bricks on the outside. If your hubby is a DIY guy, let the kids play with wood scraps. This keeps my kids busy for hours. They have made swords, bootjacks, shields, boats, little tables, a chicken jail that looked more like a chair and a mineral feeder for goats. All 6 have learned how to use a drill and hammer and saw.
Pool your efforts and work for something that benefits everyone. One summer 4 of my kids decided they wanted a trampoline. They worked odd jobs to earn 1/2 the money. Their grandpa told them he’d match funds. That was at least 10 years ago and we still have that trampoline! We’ve had to replace the bed, but the frame is still going strong. You get the idea, think of something everyone would enjoy and work together towards it.
Sometimes all you need is a little primer. And I’ve found with my kids the best fun is fun we have together. It doesn’t have to be grand and glorious and expensive, just a simple recipe of your time and energy and willingness to connect and have fun with them. I’m guessing your kids are not much different. So what is your frugal summer fun idea? Ready, set, go.