Thursday, June 19, 2014

Think It Thursday: 15 Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy on a Budget this Summer

Keeping your kids busy during summer break can be one of the most difficult things ever. I mean, sure, if you happen to have endless pockets, they can do whatever their little hearts desire (within means of course). But if you're like me, you can only spring for their hearts content once or twice (especially with three kids). But that doesn't mean that there's no fun to be had! There are a gazillion different things your kids can do this summer that won't break your bank. 

•Summer Reading Programs are running rampant at the local libraries. And if by chance your local library doesn't have one, you can always make your own. Just be sure that the reward is suitable, like dinner out or an extra hour of outdoor play. 

•VBS (Vacation Bible School) is a popular activity during the summer months whether you belong to a church or not. They usually last 4 days & have fun filled activities for a couple of hours each day. Like I said, even if you don't belong to the particular church, it's a great way for you & your kids to meet new people & have fun at the same time.

•Summer picnics at the park is technically two things since you have to go to the park first (& play of course!). But for some reason, it's more adventuresome than just picnicking in your backyard. Just be sure to bring everything you need, including a comfy blanket to sit on. 

•There are so many arts & crafts that are perfect for summer! You can make chalk murals on the sidewalks, build birdhouses from popsicle sticks & tons more. Just do a quick Google search, or take a look-see on Pinterest, to find ones that suit your child & budget.

•Movie time! If you have a local drive-in, they usually offer a 2-for-1 showing & are much cheaper than a traditional movie theater. But if you only have a traditional theater, be sure you check out their matinee showings. They're usually less crowded & cost a few bucks less per person. Some may even offer the occasional free showing, you'll just have to check for details on what they have to offer.

•Camp out under the stars! In your backyard if you prefer. That way you won't need much at all. Just a tent, some sleeping bags & a few flashlights. Oh & bug repellent of some kind - never forget the bug repellent. The nice part is that you still have access to running water, a toilet & warm food just a few yards away from your pillow. And if you decide that camping out is just no fun at all, it's no big deal to just go sleep in your bed. 

•Gardening is great for kids. Not only do they learn about how things grow, but they are so proud when they do all the work themselves & see what they end up with. If you don't have much room for a garden, just pick up a decent sized window box for your kids to plant in. This is extra fun since they can get some paints to decorate it too.

•Swimming is just synonymous with summer. It's a great way to stay active, all while cooling down. Of course if you happen to go to a water park daily, it can take a toll on your wallet. If you don't have access to a pool everyday, just bust out the hose & play in the water (it still counts). But if you're really adventurous, check out any local canoe liveries & go canoeing.

•Where I live, there always seems to be an outdoor concert of some kind nearby. The music may not be your style (or even close to it), but if you're the dancing type, it can be a lot of fun. I remember being at a campground with my mom when I was little & they had a bluegrass band. You better believe I hopped right in there & started jumping around & shaking like everyone else! One of my favorite memories ever! 

•My favorite, have a party! You don't need any specific reason to get a bunch of friends over during the summer for a good cookout. And you can even ask them all to bring a covered dish or their own drinks to help keep your cost down. But the main objective is simple, just have fun!  

•My oldest wants to have a lemonade stand so bad this year! And I'm pretty sure that I'll happily oblige. Keeping it simple is easy, a card table, tablecloth, some homemade lemonade & cups. This is also a great lesson for kids to learn about money & the economy. 

•Be one with nature & go on a hike. Even better if there happens to be a fishing hole nearby, or a creek to splash around in.

•It's July! July 25th (or the weekend closest to it) is perfect for Christmas in July. Decorations are easy - keep them patriotic from the 4th. A simple cookout will suffice. & instead of going crazy on gifts, have all of your guests bring a food donation for the local food pantry. Not only is this just a fun excuse to get together, but it teaches kids a valuable lesson about giving to those who need it. 

•Farmer's Markets & roadside produce stands are just about everywhere during the summer. If you happen to have a picky eater, this is great way to get them to try more fruits & vegetables. After all, they helped pick them out. Kids can also learn lessons about money & budgeting, making it more beneficial than they realize. But if you really want more of a hands on approach, look into local berry picking available during the peak seasons. 

•Going on a tour is a really neat way to learn more about something. And most of the time, local companies will gladly oblige - especially the fire stations. You can even check into any local businesses that produce goods, or a local restaurant. You may have to purchase a product, but it will be a far more memorable experience. Especially if you already purchase the products anyways.



  1. Great tips!! I also know that a lot of libraries in my area offer free activities for kids during the summer! Awesome post! I pinned too :)

  2. What wonderful ideas! They make me homesick for when my girls were younger (they're teens now)!

  3. I love the idea of Christmas in July. Fun life lessons. Brilliant.

  4. Thank you!!! I needed some more ideas :)

  5. Great Tips, But I think I will be doing some of these and not my nephews! :)

  6. My son will be going to summer session and doing swim classes. I need more for him to do though. Thanks for these ideas.

  7. Wow, this is great! Thank you so much for this! :)

  8. Fantastic list. My kids want a lemonade stand as well. Also, I wanted to let you know that usually, yellow blogs make my eyes bleed, but yours works very well, so Kudos!

  9. I just saw this post. I will print these ideas out and keep them in mind for when I have the grandchildren during the summer.