Summer is fast approaching. Soon the kids will be off school looking for things to do. You need to keep them busy but you’re on a tight budget. Here are five more fun, and cheap, summer activities that you can have as a family and save money.
“Listen” To a Good Book
We love to encourage our kids to read during the summer but truth be told, reading is not a favourite activity for most kids. Try a more entertaining alternative – listen to a book instead. There are several sites where you can download classical stories for free including Books Should Be Free and LibriVox.org. Have fun listening together to The Adventures of Sherlock Homes, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or The Swiss Family Robinson. Free downloads are available for iTunes, MP3 and M4b formats. Prefer to read? Books Should Be Free also has eBook versions of many popular books. For more recent books you can always try Audible.com. Many series go on sale in the summer and you build free credits along the way.
Have a family ‘listening night’ something like a movie night. Make some microwave popcorn or sit outside with some lemonade or ice cream while you listen as a family. After listening, do a book review. Ask your kids how did they ‘picture’ the movie in their minds. It might be fun to compare visions.
By A Summer Pass
If you are going to have a Staycation consider buying a summer or season pass to a local tourist attraction to save money on regular summer outings. Often two visits can pay for the annual pass and by your third visit you’re saving money by enjoying the activities for free. Ask about summer passes for local water parks, sports & activities centers, adventure parks or zoo. Check to see if parking is included as sometimes this can be an additional cost. Compare the price to multiple visits then mark days in your calendar to enjoy the amenities early and often.
Make Your Own Movies
This one works for both younger children and teens. Encourage your kids to make their own movie. Have them write a movie script, hold ‘auditions’ with local friends for parts and design their own costumes and set. Have them record their movie on a home video camera or cell phone then edit the movie on a home computer. There are many free, easy to use Video Editing Tools like Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or even YouTube Editor that you can use either online or by download.
Don’t have a video camera? Another fun activity is to make a stop motion animation. It can takes weeks to plan out and take each shot with a regular still picture camera. Kids can craft characters out of modeling clay, lego or any toy or craft material. Again using video editing software, import each picture and run them together as a stop motion movie. Keep the free fun going by having your kids organize their own movie premiere.
Organize A Tournament
Kids love their activities but even they get bored doing things on their own. How about letting them get their friends together for a little competition? It doesn’t have to be huge, a few friends will do, it just puts a new twist on getting together. If they like basketball how about a one-on-one tournament? If they like gaming how about a gaming tournament? RC car race? Bike race? Anything can be organized into a game.
Grow And Cook Challenge
Here’s a cheap summer activity that keeps on giving all summer long. Kids love to garden and many adults do as well. Add in the challenge of using your own produce in a weekly cooking challenge and you’ve got the “seeds” of a fun filled summer. For the gardening part you don’t need anything fancy just a small garden plot or try a balcony garden. Start with the simple stuff – carrots, beans, radishes, lettuce. Seed packages are often sold at the local dollar store for a $1. You can purchase a tomato plant at your local garden center and pot it up as well. Add some herbs for variety. Share the activities around – weeding, watering, harvesting, even watching for bugs!
Now comes the cooking challenge. Keep a close eye on what will be maturing each week. Make a menu for the weekend using as many ingredients out of your garden as you can. Given how much produce you can generate even in a small garden you will not only have a cheap summer activity but you can lower you grocery bill at the same time.
What are your summertime plans for cheap, or even free, activities for the kids? Leave a comment below.