It doesn’t matter where you are in the nation, it’s official, summer is here! Kids are on summer break and parents are struggling to find a rhythm with the new summer schedule, including me. Summer is a great chance to take advantage of good weather and no school to really crank out the quality time with the kids.
Though a lot of summer activities can be a little painful on the wallet, there are plenty of things to do that won’t break the bank that you and your kids will love anyway. So, if you aren’t sending the kids to summer camp this year, here are seven cheap–and fun–things you can do with the kids this summer.
1. Neighborhood Parks – Your park trips don’t all have to be to the park nearest you. Visit your local parks & recreation website and print out a list of all the neighborhood parks in town (or neighboring towns as well if you want) and make it your goal to visit each park by the end of the summer. Take pictures (and let the kids take some as well) at each park and then purchase some cheap notebooks. Use the notebooks to have your kids write what they like and didn’t like about each park. At the end of the summer you can make a scrapbook of all the parks and let the kids decorate it with their notes and pictures. You can call yourself “park explorers” and make it a summer long escapade! It will be an adventure for the kids and a great way to help keep their writing and research skills sharp during the summer break.
2. Letterboxing – If the above project sounds fun to you, than maybe you can take it a step further and check out letterboxing. From the Letterboxing website:
Here’s the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere (in a beautiful, interesting, or remote location) containing at least a logbook and a carved rubber stamp, and perhaps other goodies. The hider then usually writes directions to the box (called “clues” or “the map”), which can be straightforward, cryptic, or any degree in between. Often the clues involve map coordinates or compass bearings from landmarks, but they don’t have to. Selecting a location and writing the clues is one aspect of the art.)
Many Letterboxes are hidden in neighborhood parks or similar areas and the website even has a letterboxing for kids section. The kids will love going on the adventure and following the clues to find the boxes. And after finding a few boxes, they may be interested in creating their own letterboxes to hide places.
3. Get a Season Pass – Go in with another friend and their family for a family season pass for the local zoo, regional park district, community pool or fun park. Many season packages include admission and parking which means you can go anytime you feel like it during the summer, even with an empty wallet! Split the pass and cost with a friend and you’ll have one heck of a deal that will give you and the kids plenty of stuff to keep you busy.
4. Visit the Library – Most libraries host a summer reading program for kids of all ages, which include fun weekly activities that are always free. This is a great weekly addition to your summer routine that is not only free, but air conditioned as well.
5. Summer Concerts in the Park – Check your city’s website for event listings. Many cities offer free weekly concerts somewhere in town. Pack yourself a picnic and go enjoy live music downtown, FREE.
6. Outdoor Movies – Finding a drive-in may not be very easy anymore, but you may be surprised. Visit DriveinMovie.com and see if you can find one within driving distance from where you live. The cost for a family of four to hit the drive-in is still less than one first run movie ticket! If you can’t find one nearby, look at the websites of neighboring and your own city to see if there is a summer movie in park event happening during the summer in your town.
7. Picnics at the Park & Pool – The truth is you don’t have to go far or be super creative when it comes to spending quality tie with the kids. Hanging out at the local park or pool with some sandwiches and cold drinks is more than enough to give your kids the best summer day ever.
What are some of YOUR favorite inexpensive summer activities? We would love to hear your stories and see your photos! Email us at Community@Life360.com if you’d like an opportunity to have your adventures featured on the blog!