Summer Fun on a Budget!

For many of here in the South, summer vacation has already begun and we are well on our way to summer fun…on a budget. What if you are already penny pinchin’ through the year and don’t have the extra dough to make those summer getaways? You still want to make it extra fun for the kidlets but don’t want to go broke at an Adventure Park that will cost you a whopping $200+ $$ just for an afternoon of fun. Ouch!

Well, a girlfriend of mine and I sat down a couple weeks ago to brainstorm some ideas of summer fun for our kids. We met up with ideas and a calendar and scheduled a summer packed FULL of FREE/LOW COST (mostly free) fun for our kids!

So, I thought my readers of this blog might benefit in some of these ideas AND I would LOVE your input for more ideas for FREE or very low cost fun (I mean less that $20 for an entire family). Please, I invite your comments! :)

Here is our list of Summer Fun on a Budget:

1. Cool off with water!

(LOW $)- Use a sprinkler to run through and time it for a half hour. My kids love using the traditional sprinkler I bought at Home Depot for less than $10.

(LOW $)- Buy a low cost wading pool to cool off in. We picked up an inexpensive Shark shaped pool at Aldis for $10 and the kids LOVE it! We just bring out some of their favorite bath toys to put in it and play with.

(FREE) – Schedule in some time to go swimming in a friend or family members pool. I have a couple family members with a pool, so we’ve worked that into our schedule! It’s great! We always pack a picnic lunch & snacks.

(LOW $)- Visit a local public pool. We have several of these pools in our county that have water slides, a lazy river, lap pool and more fun stuff for only a couple $$ per person. It’s like going to a mini-theme park for a super fraction of the cost! We always pack a picnic lunch & snacks.

(FREE)- Go to a public water fountain (no…not a drinking one ;) ). These are really popular here in the South and children are allowed to run through them and cool off. We always pack a picnic lunch & snacks.

(LOW $) – Have a water balloon fight with friends. The $ Store always has packs of these balloons. Complement this with drinks & popsicles to make it extra special.

2. Backyard Campout with Smore’s!

(LOW $)- This is extra fun, especially when you invite friends to come over and participate. If you have a projector, put on a night movie outside to make it extra special. If your friends have children too young to camp over, invite them for smores and outdoor night games like Hide & Seek. Have people bring their favorite chocolate & graham crackers and you provide the marshmallows. :)

3. Hide & Seek Night with Potluck BBQ

(LOW $) – Remember when we were able to just go out with friends in the neighborhood and play Hide & Seek…at NIGHT??! Well, here’s a great, safe way to let your children have the same experience but instead, make a fun night of it with a BBQ and friends over. Everyone saves when they each bring a dish. Besides, isn’t it more interesting when other people bring over their favorite recipes?

4. Fishing Trip with FREE Fishing Days

(FREE) – Already have your fishing gear but don’t do much fishing anymore and you don’t want to buy your license to go fishing once or twice a season? Well many states have FREE fishing days, so find out if your state participates and make a day of it! :) CLICK HERE to find out if your state participates and when the free fishing days are.

5. Hiking/Walking on local nature trails

(FREE) – It’s amazing how much my kids LOVE to get out in nature and go on adventure hikes through the woods and in nature. It is like walking into a magical world for them. I love it too (as long as I have water and bug spray! ;) )

6. Low Cost Summer Movies

(LOW $) – Many major movie theaters have a children’s summer movie series. You may also know of a local movie theater that shows movies that are no longer at the big theaters at a discounted price. We have a local theater that charges $2/person for those types of movies.
- Regal Cinemas has a series of children’s movies for $1/person.

7. Indoor restaurant playgrounds

(LOW $) – Yes, I’m sure you’re familiar with the indoor playgrounds at places like McDonalds to beat the heat. Have lunch before you leave home and just have an ice cream cone (or other low cost dessert) for a treat with ice water to quench their thirst. You can even bring your laptop and connect to their wireless to get some work done (like me) or check in on your email while they’re playing. :)

8. Public playground

(FREE) – Pack a picnic and go early to beat the sunny noon hours. Try to be their by (or before 10am) and after an hour or so have some snacks & a drink.

9. The Library!!

(FREE) – The library is AWESOME in the summer (and throughout the year!)! They typically have summer reading programs where your child can earn prizes for what they’ve read through the summer months. Wow! AND they also have schedule summer activities for the kids. Our library has puppet shows, magic shows, read alouds, character visits, arts & crafts, summer movies and more! All for free! It’s great to see our tax dollars go to wonderful use. :)

10. Ice Cream Social

(LOW $) – This is a great event that my neighborhood participates in every summer. It’s wonderful. Everyone bring some ice cream and some toppings and next thing you know you have a array of yummy things and wonderful conversations with friends & neighbors. :) It’s a great time!

Those are my top ten things to do this summer for FREE or LOW $. Do you have anything to contribute? I would LOVE to hear your ideas! :)

Happy Summer!

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