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Frugal Ideas for Kids this Summer

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Summer Time ActivitiesEach summer parents everywhere hear the familiar refrain: “I’m bored!”

While you can send your children to summer camp, or sign them up for various programs, it can start to get expensive over time — especially if you have more than one child. If you are looking for more frugal options, here are some ideas for the summer:

Family Fun

If you want to do something as a family, it’s possible to find some inexpensive — and even free — activities to enjoy together. Some of my favorite low-cost activities to enjoy with my family include:

  • Picnic: There’s nothing quite a like a picnic to enjoy family company. Pack a lunch or dinner, and head to the park — or even just eat out on blankets in your backyard.
  • Cheap movies: Many movie theaters offer cheap matinees for kids’ movies during the summer. You can often find $1 movies, or even special free movies. Sometimes, theaters give out special tickets to school children. Keep an eye out. You don’t even have to go out to the movies; pick something up at the local library or Red Box.
  • Swimming: If you can find a local pool that offers low-cost admissions, this can be a great option for family fun. Our town has inexpensive admission to the pool, which has a large grassy area, perfect for bringing a picnic lunch.
  • Board games: Family games can be a great to enjoy inexpensive fun, and to create fun memories. Eat popcorn along with it, or make other snacks.
  • Outdoor activities: If you already have the gear, there are numerous outdoor activities you can do for a low cost. We like to drive an hour to a nearby lake with our large inner tubes and sandwich stuff. Other activities that can be inexpensive include bike riding, hiking, and camping. You can also have family fun with sports, including basketball, football, baseball, and other outdoor games.

More Ideas for Kids

There are other frugal activities that you can set your kids to doing during the summer as well. Many of them can also buy you some time to get some work done, or relax with some peace and quiet:

  • Read: Make sure your child reads over the summer. It’s important for kids to keep up with some of the skills they practice in school. Reading is very important. Encourage your child to read during the summer by offering reading material. Make a weekly visit to the library so your kids can load up on new and interesting reading material. There are free e-books for electronic readers as well.
  • Learning games: There are a number of educational web sites that can provide children with the ability to practice math skills, review science concepts, and practice reading. Let your child spend some time with these over the summer.
  • Crafts: Set up craft time for children. Provide them with supplies, and let them make what they want. From popsicle stick creations, to pressed flowers, to finger painting masterpieces, to other crafts, your child’s creativity can shine.
  • Outside play time: If your children are old enough to play outside with minimal supervision, or if you have a safe backyard, you can send your kids out to run through the sprinkler, or just run around and be kids. I sit outside with a laptop regularly, working, while my son runds around and enjoys himself.
  • TV time: While you don’t want your child watching too much TV, it’s actually not a bad thing to let your kids watch a movie, or spend a little time playing video games. During the hottest part of the day, when it’s too hot to be running around, and when it’s not safe, bring them in for a little screen time.

What are your favorite frugal activities for kids during the summer?

(Photo: MMarquit)

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5 Responses to “Frugal Ideas for Kids this Summer”

  1. Matt says:

    If they’re over 16 they could get a job.

  2. Martha says:

    My favorite activity when I was a kid was to go swimming! We would pack our lunches and meet some of our friends at the local pool. It allowed us to play outside while our moms could chat :) We also went each night after dinner from 7 – 9pm once school was over!

  3. Julie says:

    I second the swimming idea! There are also lots of great children’s museums that offer free admission.

  4. Shirley says:

    My brother and I did all these things (mentioned in the article) as kids except for anything involving a computer… it was way too long ago for that. :-)

    One thing that both of us will gladly agree on is that we had a truly wonderful and memorable childhood. Frugality can often bring families even closer together.


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