When the weather starts to heat up, and more people head outside, that’s when budgets start to go downhill. While all family members look forward to summer, parents and children typically have different viewpoints on what constitutes as a “fun” summer activity.
Of course, when the cost is a factor, trips to the expensive theme parks, and beach house rentals are usually not an option. However, there are a number of fun summertime activities a family on a budget can enjoy together at little or no cost. Keep reading to find some ideas that will work for your family and household budget!
Get Wet –
Nothing makes it feel more like summer than water activities. The family can split up into teams and have a squirt-gun or water-balloon fight. Friends and neighbors can be invited to join in to make the teams bigger and make sure everyone gets thoroughly soaked. Turn on the garden hose and set it up like a sprinkler. Your kids will love running through it!
Home Movie Marathon –
The weather doesn’t always cooperate with planning summertime activities, so when it is just too wet to play outside, families can say in a have a movie marathon. Pick movie series like The Hunger Games or Star Wars and add some popcorn and drinks. Many older movies can be watched for free on YouTube or a monthly subscription to online services, like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, are less than the cost of one paid admission at the theater.
Plant a Garden –
Go to the store and have everyone pick out a pack of seeds of their favorite vegetable. If it is getting too late in the year to plant seeds, starter plants can usually be picked up at a nominal cost. Planting a garden is an enjoyable learning activity for children to see exactly where food comes from. Apartment dwellers can plant gardens on the patio or terrace in planter boxes.
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Have a Cookout –
A cookout is a classic summer activity and is especially nice after a day of having fun outdoors. Additionally, as the family has to eat anyway, this one doesn’t have to cost an extra dime. Invite some friends over and make it a potluck to cut down on even more expense. You can even have a cute theme like Hawaiian Hula Night or Tiki Time!
Play in the Woods –
Pack a lunch and take a hike in the woods, find a pond or lake and go swimming or fishing or watch wildlife. Mountain biking is a great family outing, and many areas have established parks with trails for hiking and biking. Use this fun outdoor activity as a teaching tool to help your kids learn about the plants, animals, and the wonders of nature.
Everybody Screams for Ice Cream –
Taking the family out for ice cream doesn’t have to break the bank. Instead of going to the local ice cream shop or snack bar, hit the supermarket and pick up a couple of half gallons and a box of cones and head for a park. Alternatively, homemade ice cream is always a hit, and there are plenty of recipes available online, with many not even requiring an ice-cream maker. Check out this easy recipe for vanilla ice cream: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/homemade-vanilla-ice-cream/
Find a roller- or ice-skating rink in your area. Many rinks will have a discounted family fee or a special family day or night at a reduced cost. Skating is an excellent exercise and, as the rinks are usually air-conditioned, a great activity when it’s too hot to do much outside.
Arts and Crafts –
Arts and Crafts projects are a great way for the family to spend time together without spending a lot of money. To make it the most fun for everyone, pick projects that will have some added value, such as having everyone build a boat to have a boat race or make something out of Popsicle sticks like a bird feeder or paper airplanes and then have a race to see which plane is the fastest.
Frisbee Golf Tournament –
Get a few Frisbees and set up a course with some trash cans and buckets. The more space in the yard, the more challenging the course can be. Apartment dwellers can head to the park, and this activity can also be done in the garage or basement when it’s raining.
Free Movie Night Out –
Many cities and towns host a free movie night, with some even providing complimentary popcorn. Other communities hold these popular summertime outdoor events for a nominal admission fee, like $1 per person. While the movies tend to be older releases, it’s still fun to watch the show outdoors on a big screen. Most municipalities will have information posted online, or the local chamber of commerce will have information.
Activity Brainstorming Session –
These are just a few ideas, and many more can be found online. Even better, everyone can get together to think up more fun summer activities for families on a budget. Here are a few more budget-friendly activities and ideas: https://www.womansday.com/life/work-money/tips/g1212/summer-activities/