Cheap Summer Activities For Kids
Summer is here, and the kids are home! While most of us don’t necessarily want to be tied down to entertaining our kids moment to moment, it is important to realize that they will naturally start getting bored because they are not sitting in school all day. (And if you have a child like my oldest, he’s bored sometimes even when he wants to be doing nothing!) Summer is a win for the kids because they have free time, but also an issue because there is a lot of extra time. Whether your kids are in camp or hanging at home, you will still need to find some cheap summer activities for the downtimes. Here are some ideas to get you going.
One really fun thing to do during the summer months is to have a movie night. You can choose whether or not to have it inside or outside, but this can keep the kids entertained for hours. You can also spend time making snacks with the kids, which can extend the hours even further. Snacks don’t have to be expensive – make things like popcorn, trail mix or popsicles along with cups of water. Try my Apple Nachos or Blueberry Peach Popsicles to get some fresh fruit into them on the sly!
Create a Masterpiece
When it comes to keeping kids busy, art work is always a great way to go. You can usually pick up art supplies at your local Dollar Tree or Walmart on the cheap, so try to stock up during back-to-school sales. There really is no need to go broke trying to keep your kids busy since art supplies and chalk can be inexpensive. Hang the results on the fridge and/or in the windows, and cycle through new a new masterpiece every couple of days.
Turn your yard into a water park! Get everyone in their swim suits and turn on the sprinkler. Fill up some water balloons and have a water fight or balloon toss. Make some Spongeballs and soak each other. You can even make a DIY slip and slide out of some heavy duty plastic sheeting, a hose and some dish soap (to help the sliding). Use your imagination and have fun!
Bake Up a Storm
While it can be expensive to bake, there are tons of options that won’t break the bank. You can start by buying baking supplies in bulk to help cut down on some of the eventual costs or use coupons stacked with sales to get some nice deals at your grocery store. Check out your local Dollar Tree for $1 baking mixes and decorations. By the end of the summer, try letting your child take the lead in the kitchen and you be their sous chef! To help you move a little “out of the box” (see what I did there?), try my No-Bake Truffles with Whoppers, Peanut Butter Chocolate Éclair Cake and Banana Pudding Trifle.
Get a Little Crafty
Pinterest is crawling with awesome and inexpensive doable craft ideas. You can make anything from sock puppets to a city out of recycled plastic. Once you show your kids how to use their imagination in the craft world, there will be no stopping them this summer! You can save on supplies by shopping at places like Joann Fabric, Walmart and Amazon. Try out these DIY Floating Spoon Flowers to get you on your way. You can even do something that is both craft and snack with these Grape Shapes!
Check Out the Town
Most areas have some sort of “free” activities going on at all times. With a little bit of research, you can have the whole summer lined up with free places to be. Whether that means going to the library or attending a free event put together by a local business, take a look online and see what you can find! For example, if you are a Chicago resident and have a library card, you can get free entrance to most of the museums in the area as well as enroll your child in a summer reading challenge. See if there’s anything like this near you!
Go On a Nature Walk
Perhaps one of the most intriguing and inexpensive ways to keep the kids busy this summer is to head out into nature. There is something about nature walks and being out with nature that makes it special. Hiking trails, parks, and paths are usually free, so there’s plenty of time to explore, get dirty, and understand why they are so special. Also, think about putting together a scavenger hunt for each new visit!
Invent Something or Start a Business
These days, it’s so easy to allow kids to get stuck in an electronic rut. Instead of encouraging your children to play on electronics, why not encourage them to invent something or maybe even start their own business. With your help, this could be the highlight of their summer – not to mention, they are learning so much in the process. Last summer, my kids started their first lemonade stand. They pooled their money and we went to the local Dollar Store to pick up some supplies on the cheap. They ran their table as often as they wanted and experienced what it was to really be in charge. They even had a Buy One, Get One 50% Off sale and sold drawn pictures as add-on items! It was an easy (and fun!) way for me to show them how business works and how you have to invest money into your business to watch it grow. Lemonade stands and lawn mowing services are easy ways to start, but as long as you have the patience and time, let them run with whatever ideas they have!
Keeping your kids busy this summer doesn’t mean you’re trying to ditch them or get rid of them. It just means that you’re trying to find a solution to boredom and maybe teach them something in the process. Don’t ever feel guilty about trying to keep your kids busy and their minds positively entertained. Do you have any ideas to add? I’d love to hear them!