We all want our kids to have fun during the summer but some activities can get expensive. Summer camps, and other activities, can start to add up if you aren’t careful. The key is to find ways to keep your kids occupied without breaking the bank. As an added bonus, you can also find ways to make these activities educational as well, so they don’t lose as much of what they learned during the school year during the idle days of summer. For this, all you need is a little creativity, and a small budget.
Here are five tips you can use to save money on kids’ activities:
1. Break Out the Crafts
One way to keep your kids occupied, especially on rainy summer days, or days that are too hot to go out, is to break out the arts & crafts. You can find inexpensive craft supplies, including glitter, pipe cleaners, Popsicle sticks, and glue at the craft store. Keep a craft box, and whenever the kids start to complain of boredom, ask them to create something. This stimulates their creative juices and helps them work their minds as well as their hands.
2. Encourage a Creative Endeavor
Another option is to encourage other creative endeavors. Ask your children to put on a play for you. Encourage them to write it, assign parts, and then perform it for you. Costumes can come from old clothes, and they can design small set pieces with what you have at home. They can spend time each day in this endeavor, and it should be good for at least a week of low-cost activity. This can work for musical compositions (encourage them to put on a concert for you as a “kitchen band”), novels, and other creative attempts. It doesn’t have to cost much, and it will keep them busy with practices as they use their imagination to fuel their entertainment.
3. Take it Outside
There are a number of ways that kids can enjoy themselves outside. You can turn on the sprinklers and let them run through. Send them on a scavenger hunt through the neighborhood. Invite other kids over for a game of outdoor hide and seek. There are a number of ways that your kids can enjoy inexpensive fun, if you head outside for a little while, and it gets them much needed exercise at almost no cost.
4. Look for Community Programs
Many communities offer free or low-cost activities. Look for free historical tours, discounted museum days, and free activities in the park. Check your local community center, the city’s recreation department, and other resources for information about free and low-cost activities. From $1 matinees, free summer movies, family night at the municipal pool, to free summer reading programs at the library, there are a million options when it comes to low-cost community programs.
5. Create a Learning Schedule
You can reduce the amount of time that your children need to be entertained by putting together a summer learning schedule. Consider having your child read for a portion of each day or practice a musical instrument (this might not be as frugal depending on the instrument). You can even set up math games on the computer and require your child to play them for half an hour. It might be important to focus on the fun rather than the “summer school” like nature of creating a learning schedule!
Encourage involvement in programs like 4-H and Scouting that encourage practice with a skill and learning. These low-cost programs can help your child be occupied with something beneficial, reducing your need to provide non-stop entertainment. Make sure your child engages in learning some part of each day, and you’ll have less to worry about in terms of costly activities. Not everything has to cost money!