Cheap Summer Fun!!
By Sally Pyle (a.k.a. Frugal Sally)
Here are a few ideas for some frugal fun this summer. You don't have to spend a fortune on entertainment if you just look at what is available around you.
Have a Bon Fire. Roast marshmallows, or make s'mores. Dance around the fire (that should have your neighbors talking). Tell ghost stories. Just sit and watch the fire cuddled with a loved one. This is what memories are made of.
Go on a photo safari! Get your camera's out and go to the park, on a nature walk, a sidewalk tour. My husband and I don't own a fancy camera, we have rather inexpensive ones. I love to see what amazing pictures I can take with a cheap camera. Try different angles and views. Then come home and hit up a free site such as www.picmonkey.com to edit your pictures.
Couch Surfing. This may be better if you are traveling alone or with just one other person, not so much something to do with children. If you have an adventurous side and you want to travel without the expense of accomodations, go couch surfing. You can find free/very low cost places to stay.
Visit a Museum or an Art Gallery. There are certain weekends you can get into these places for free. There are also Military days and discounts. Science and history museums are great for the kids. Art museums add culture and beauty to your life. It's a win/win for the family!
If you are a Bank of America account holder, they offer their customers certain days of the month where you can show your debit or credit card at select museums or galleries and get free admission.
Get wet!! If you have a pool, be it at home or a neighborhood pool then make it a point to enjoy it. If you don't, try place like the local YMCA or Aquatic Centers. You could always get out the garden house and have fun, the old slip 'n slide, or even water balloons!!
Learn a new craft. Take time to learn to do something you always wanted to do. Sewing, crocheting, canning, cake decorating, cpr. There are classes at craft stores, community centers, extention offices, hospitals. Check what is available in your area. Some of these places offer special classes to kids, such as computer workshops, babysitting classes, first aid.
Backyard camping. Pitch a tent in the backyard. Camping can be a very frugal vacation. Take off to a campground or be as close as home. Rough it in the wilderness or someplace that offers modern conveniences such as restrooms and showers. It can be in a camper, RV or as simple as a tent.....it's a fun experience your family will always remember.
Garden. Gardening and landscaping can be a lot of fun and cheap if you already have the proper tools. This is also a productive way to play in the dirt!
Get me to the matinee on time!! Most movie theaters offer lower rates for the matinee. Usually morning showings or on a certain day of the week. One of our local theaters also offer a free childrens movie once a week during the summer. Check with your local theater for times and special programs.
Discover the farmers market. Go to your local farmers market and learn about all the strange new fruits and vegetables that you have never been exposed to. Some farmers markets also have food courts with food from different cultures and countries. You can also find some really good prices on produce and more. Here is a great chance to pick up something new for dinner.
Community and local events are another great source of cheap or free entertainment. In my town they offer "Movies in the Park", Fourth of July fireworks, Arts and Crafts fairs, Holiday Parades, concerts in the park or on the square. In some cities there are amateur acting troupes that put on plays. High schools and local colleges also have plays and musicals too.
Hit the library. Your local library is a vast resource of things to do. Many offer summer reading programs for the kids. Computer classes, movies and more. Check with your local library to find out about their summer programs.
Vacation Bible Schools. Many local churches offer a week long bible school free to the kids. It is for teaching them about the bible. They usually also include crafts and fun activities for the kids and some extend the invitation to the adults too. You don't have to be a member of the church to go in most cases.
Give a helping hand. Volunteering is a wonderful way to spend some time over the summer. Help with adoption days at the local animal shelter. Help build a house by putting in some hours at Habitat for Humanity. Help stock food at the food bank. The children will learn very valuable lessons from this time spent helping others.
Make a little fun money. Have a garage or yard sale. Help the children with a business such as a lemonade stand. We used to make cookies and let the kids sell them at the yard sales. Have a neighborhood sale complete with a bake sale. Let the kids wash cars for a little extra money (and good clean fun).
Get out the board games. Have a family game night. Trivia or Monopoly, Candy Land or Sorry...it's all fun and games. Have everyone up dancing to the Wii or be rock stars. Make a bunch of munchie foods and have a blast! Oh, and don't forget yard games such as horse shoes or croquet.
You can also do a family movie night. Rent a new release and pop the popcorn. Even with snacks and the rental it is still hands down cheaper then going to the theater. You can also borrow movies for free from your local library.
Take a class. This one may cost you a little but it is usually well worth the money. Take a class at the local college or university. Most offer adult education classes such as flower arrainging, decorating, photography, personal finance, etc.. Why not increase your brain power this summer.
Have a cookout! Have all the family and friends over for a BBQ. Have everyone bring a dish (potluck). Throw some hot dogs on the grill and boil some corn and you have a very inexpensive gathering.
Team sports. There is always baseball at the local parks in the summer, but even if you aren't part of a team you could form one. Have a family and friends volleyball team or touch football. My son plays disc golf and my daughter is in roller derby. So you know we spend a many nights at the roller bouts. A neighborhood softball game or a friendly game of hoops.
This should at least get you all started and headed towards some frugal family fun for the summer. Have a blast!!